• katieshirlarnold

An Overview of Hockey Positioning

Welcome to another BHC blog! This week we will be talking about the different hockey positions on a pitch and the responsibilities that accompany each different role.


Now there are a few different ways you can set up the playing formation of a hockey team, but today we are going to look at the standard 3, 3, 4, 1 setup that we tend to follow at BHC. This formation entails having 3 strikers, 3 midfielders, 4 defenders and a goalie - as seen below:

Image Source: https://websites.sportstg.com/get_file.cgi?id=1210008


A good hockey team will have a high pass rate, adaptable and diverse players able to play in several different positions, athleticism and speed in all positions and proficient base skills in pushing, hitting, sweeping hit, reverse stick, overhead skills and receiving skills. A good team will also have an expansive use of the pitch, playing equally down both flanks and will have organised set pieces for penalty corners, free hits and long corners.


Goalkeeper

The goalie could be seen as the most important player on the pitch. A good goalie can win you games and so should have the dedicated time and attention necessary at training sessions.


The goalkeeper is responsible for the defensive circle and often takes on a leadership position within the defensive players, observing and directing from the rear, as they have the best vantage point to direct play.


The key attributes of a good goalkeeper are as follows:

  • Fast and agile

  • Proficient with both the left and right foot

  • Ability to judge and close down shooting angles

  • Ability to make aerial saves with the glove (left) and stick (right)

  • Ability to go down correctly at defensive penalty corners and/or remain standing depending on circumstances

  • Good communicator and organiser of the defence

The main requirements for a goal are to save straight shots at goal, to clear the ball wide of the goal, to organise the defence and to communicate with other defenders.


Defenders

The defensive line includes a Left Half, a Right Half, a Right Back and a Left Back.


This back line's main role is to work as one cohesive unit in order to minimise the chances the opposition has on goal. However, they can also join in on the attack as long as only one of the back four aggressively attacks at once. This ensures that the team is not left defensively vulnerable should the opposition gain the ball and go on the attack.


The remaining three defensive players would move forwards with the attack, maintaining a relative distance with the midfielders and attackers, while also marking free attackers in case of a quick counter-attack and turn of the game.


The key attributes of a good defender are as follows:

  • Fast and agile

  • Strong basic skills, particularly trapping, passing, tackling

  • Ability to channel opposition attack away from the danger zone

  • Understanding of both 1 on 1 and spacial defence, and an ability to correctly decide which approach to use

  • Vision and spacial awareness – understanding of where other players are, and where the best passing opportunities are

Key requirements of the different defensive positions are:

  • Right Half - Marking Left Wing opposition; ability to overlap and move into the stikers or midfielders and occasionally join the attack; responsible for taking most of the free hits from right-hand side of the pitch; outlet passing includes Right Back and Left Back; priority passing includes Inside Right, Right Wing, Centre Forward and Centre Half.

  • Left Half - Maring Right Wing opposition; ability to overlap and occasionally join the attack; responsible for taking the majority of free hits on the left-hand side of the pitch; priority passing includes Left Wing, Inside Left, Centre Forward and Centre Half; outlet passing includes Left Back and Right Back.

  • Right Back - Marking Centre Forward opposition or acting as the 'free person'; moves forward with the attack and picking up the free central striker; also being available as an outlet pass; responsible for most of the 16 yards and free hits in the defensive third on the right-hand side of the pitch; priority passing includes Left Back, Left Half, Centre Half, inside forwards and strikers; outlet passing includes Right Half and all right side players.

  • Left Back - Marking Centre Forward opposition or acting as the 'free person'; moves forward with the attack and picking up the free central striker or being available as an outlet pass; responsible for taking most of the 16 yard or free hits in the defensive third on left-hand side of the pitch; priority passing includes Right Back, Right Half, Centre Half, Inside forwards and strikers; outlet passing includes Left Half and left side players.


Midfielders

The midfield line includes the Inside Right, Inside Left and Centre Half.


The midfielders are the heart of the team, contributing to the attack, while also holding key defensive positions and responsibilities when needed. The midfielders are responsible for stopping the opposition from making clean breaks through the middle of the pitch.


The key attributes of a good midfielder are as follows:

  • To be fit, fast and agile with good acceleration

  • To have strong all-round basic skills, including passing, receiving, ball carrying and shooting

  • To have vision and game awareness - in terms of opportunities of play

  • To have an ability to switch play or change the point of attack

  • To have an understanding of both one on one and zonal defence, and an ability to correctly decide which approach to use

  • To have an ability to appropriately weight passes

  • To have an understanding of angles and lines of attack and defence in midfield play


Key requirements for the different midfielder positions are as follows:

  • Inside Right - at least one of the 3 midfielders should join the attack; normally positioned around the edge of the shooting circle for rebounds; direct and post deflection shots, responsible for marking opposition Inside Left, one inside to support the Centre Half in providing an outlet to the back four when possession at the back; to be mobile when receiving the ball and looking forwards as a first priority; to take quick free hits anywhere on right hand side of pitch or offering up a pass for the wing half, full back or Centre Half; priority passing includes the Right Wing, Centre Forward, Left Wing, Centre Half and Inside Left; outlet passing includes the Right Half, Centre Half, left and right full back.

  • Inside Left - at least one of the 3 midfielders should join the attack; normally positioned around the circle edge of the shooting circle for rebounds, post and direct deflection shots; responsible for marking opposition Inside Right; one inside must support the Centre Half in providing an outlet for the back four when they are in possession of the ball; be mobile when receiving the ball and look to move forward as a priority; can take free hits anywhere on left hand side of the pitch or offering up a pass for the wing half, full backs or Centre Half; priority passing includes the Left Wing, Centre Forward, Right Wing, Centre Half and Inside Right; outlet passing includes the Left Half, Centre Half, left and right full backs.

  • Centre Half - responsible for marking the opposing Centre Half and occupying the centre of the pitch; in an attacking shooting circle, will normally be positioned at the top or just outside the circle for rebounds and direct and post deflection shots; has a key role in providing an outlet pass for the full backs and must be available when they are under pressure; mobile when receiving the ball and looking forwards as a priority; responsible for taking free hits in the centre of the pitch (roughly in the attacking two thirds of the pitch); priority passing includes Inside Left, Inside Right, Left Wing, Centre Forward, Right Wing, Right and Left Half; outlet passing includes full back, Right and Left Half.

Strikers

The forward line includes the Right Wing, Left Wing and Centre Forward.


A striker's number one priority is to create and take advantage of scoring opportunities. To do this, the attacking line must work as a unit, create depth and width on the attack, link well with the midfield line and make the most of the opportunities they are presented with.


Another way of thinking of the attacking line, is actually as the first line of defense and their ability to 'reverse press' is a crucial part of the game. Having a strong reverse press means that the opposition have less opportunity to develop a strong attacking play and this can generate turnovers for your team.


The key attributes or a good striker are as follows:

  • To be fast and agile with good acceleration and change of pace

  • To have good basic skills, including receiving, ball-carrying and shooting

  • To have an ability to identify and execute the best shooting opportunity

  • To have vision and game awareness

  • To have constant movement – leading, creating space and attacking opportunities,

  • To have an ability to put pressure on opposition defence

  • To have an ability to use skills to force a penalty corner or attacking free hit at the right time

  • To have an appropriate weighting of passes

  • To have an understanding of angles and lines of attack and defence


Key requirements for different striker positions are as follows:

  • Right Wing - to look to receive the ball in behind the opposition's defence and link with the Centre Forward and Left Wing; receive the ball going forwards wherever possible and take on the opposing Left Half; accelerate ahead of the ball carrier and use the baseline; shoot where possible or create a shooting opportunity for another player; be ready for the ball in the attacking circle at all times; responsible for making the line to the Left Half and forming the first line of defence; priority passing includes Centre Forward, Left Wing, Inside Right and Inside Left; outlet passing includes Inside Right, Right Half and Centre Half.

  • Left Wing - to look to receive the ball in behind the opposition's defence and link with the Centre Forward and Right Wing; receive the ball going forwards wherever possible and take on the opposing Right Half; accelerate ahead of the ball carrier and use the baseline; shoot where possible or create a shooting opportunity for another player; be ready for the ball in the attacking circle at all times; responsible for marking the line to the Right Half and forming the first line of defence; priority passing includes Centre Forward, Right Wing, Inside Right, Inside Left; outlet passing includes Inside Left, Left Half and Centre Half.

  • Centre Forward - to look to receive the ball in behind the opposition's defence and link with the Right and Left Wings; receive the ball going forwards wherever possible and take on the full backs; run hard to get ahead of the ball carrier and use the baseline; shoot where possible or create shooting opportunities for other players; be ready for the ball in the attacking circle at all times; link with the midfielders to create attacks; responsible for setting the first line of defence and applying pressure to the opposition's full backs; priority passing includes Left Wing, Right Wing, Inside Right, Inside Left; outlet passing includes Centre Half, Inside Right, Inside Left, Right and Left Half.

If you would like to read more about the different hockey positions and the hockey playing area, click here to read this useful simplified explanation from BBC BiteSize.


We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and check back soon for more hockey topics!

62 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Location

North Oxford Academy,

Drayton Road,

Banbury,

OX16 0UD.

Please see How To Find Us page

Privacy Notice and Cookie Policy

BANBURY

HOCKEY CLUB

© Copyright Banbury Hockey Club 2020