Welcome to your first BHC hockey blog! We are kicking off the blog topics with a simple one: what are the most important skills to learn as a beginner?
Beginning any new sport can be a daunting prospect, but we were all beginners once and we are here to help you grow and progress as a player. No matter the level you would like to achieve as your end goal, these tips are a great starting point for any player.
If you are picking up a hockey stick for the first time in school, later in life, or somewhere in between, these are our top 5 skills to learn for beginners:
Your first touch on the ball is the most important. A good first touch marks the difference between successful and failed play. To get a good first touch, you need to receive the ball in the direction of where there is space available to play into. For example, a great first touch allows you to move the ball right or left in order to create space between you and the opposition. Creating this space then gives you time to scan the field in order to make your next move. To work on this good first touch technique, practice receiving the ball from different angles, directions and positions on the field.
Leading is essential in allowing you to have more time on the ball in order to make better decisions during gameplay. This skill allows you to get into a good position on the field to create slick passing opportunities. Timing is absolutely crucial in leading as you will need to understand the player on the ball, as well as be able to anticipate what is going to happen next. These factors will inform your leading tactic.
Click here for the England Hockey video on creating space.
A good passing technique should be the bread and butter of your gameplay. Effective and accurate passing is essential in then being able to progress your skills further. There are different passing techniques favoured according to the position you play on the pitch, but we would encourage you to practice them all in order to become a well rounded and adaptable player.
Some passing techniques specific to position are as follows:
Defender - could practice fake slapping or overheads
Midfielder - could practice passing off the right foot or lifter passes into space
Attacker - could practice 2 vs 1s or one-touch passing
Click here for a great England Hockey video demonstrating good passing and hitting techniques
Having a powerful hit is a coveted skill by all hockey players and is an important one to master to be effective on the pitch. When learning how to hit, it is important to think about your body positioning - such as where to hold your head, body, foot and also ball positioning. When you strike the ball, think about your hip rotation, that your weight is transferring forward and that your head is on top of the ball. And this may seem obvious but don't forget to look where you want the ball to go!
Click here for a great England Hockey video demonstrating good passing and hitting techniques.
5.Flat Stick Tackle
The flat stick tackle is essential for any beginner to learn. This tackle will give the basis required to enter into one on ones with the opposition and is a good, strong tackle for use in many defensive situations. Things to be aware of in a flat stick tackle: don't commit too early as the opposition could simply dribble around you; don't be flat-footed as this could cause you to make a bad tackle which could lead to either injury or being carded.
Click here to see an England Hockey video on the way to carry out a flat stick tackle, among other tackling techniques.
I hope you have enjoyed BHC's first blog and we will keep you posted on the next instalment!