This article contains some valuable tips which can be used to develop field hockey drills, field hockey plays, and assist with field hockey coaching.

Field Hockey Tactics

The main methods by which the ball is moved around the field by players are: the "dribble", where the player controls the ball with the stick and runs with the ball, pushing the ball along as they run; The "push", where the player uses their wrists to push at the ball; the "flick" or "scoop", similar to the push but with an additional wrist action to force the stick through at an angle and lift the ball off the ground; and the "hit", where a backlift is taken and contact with the ball is made quite forcefully. In order to produce a much stronger hit, usually for travel over long distances, the stick is raised higher and swung at the ball, known as a "drive". Tackles are made by placing the stick into the path of the ball. To increase the effectiveness of the tackle, players will often place the entire stick close to the ground horizontally, thus representing a wider barrier. To avoid the tackle, the ball carrier will either pass the ball to a teammate using any of the push, flick, or hit, or attempt to maneuver or "pull" the ball around the tackle, trying to deceive the tackler.

When passing and maneuvering between players, certain commands are used to ensure understanding of movements and plays among teammates. Although these vary depending on which country the game is in, there are a few standard calls. By calling "through" or "straight" the ball is passed straight ahead to another player. "Flat" or "square" signifies a pass made to the right or left of the player with the ball at a 90 degree angle. Passes made backward are occasionally signified by a call of "drop". A hit made forward at an angle is recognized as "up".

In recent years, the penalty corner has gained importance as a vital part of the game as a goal scoring opportunity. Particularly with the advent and popularisation of the drag flick, penalty corners are highly sought after. Some tactics or set plays used involve the aforementioned drag flick, the straight hit, deflections towards goal, and various, more complex plays, using passes before shots at goal.

At the highest level, hockey is a fast-moving, highly skilled sport, with players using fast moves with the stick, quick accurate passing, and hard hits, in attempts to keep possession and move the ball towards the goal. While physically tackling and otherwise obstructing players is not permitted, collisions are common, and the speed at which the ball travels along the ground (and sometimes through the air, which is legal if it is not judged dangerous by the umpire) requires the use of padded shin guards to prevent injury. Some of the tactics used resemble football (soccer), but with greater speed - the best players maneuver and score almost quicker than the eye can see.

field hockey drills