Field Hockey is a fast-paced sport. One of the major focus’ of hockey is being able to maintain control of the ball whilst undertaking sharp movements. Whilst playing hockey, players must change directions quickly, often to keep up with the pace of the game. Through our simple field hockey drills, your child will learn to control the ball like a pro.
Adequate space will be needed at home to practice field hockey drills, as well as a smooth surface. Kids will usually be playing their hockey matches on artificial turf however short trimmed grass at home is sufficient.
The use of cones when doing hockey drills at home offers great variety. Cones can be easily placed down at different distances and in different areas. The use of cones in drills can also and help teach kids great hand-eye coordination and ball control. Controlling the ball is extremely important in hockey. Not being able to control the ball would mean your child cannot move around the field with the ball. Moving around and manoeuvring through defenders with the ball is necessary to give your team opportunities to score. There are many different ways to dribble the hockey ball, including the straight and Indian dribble. Below, you can find some simple field hockey drills that focus on the most important three.
SIMPLE FIELD HOCKEY DRILLS FOR YOUR KIDS
Hockey Grip and Stance
Before we touch on our three simple field hockey drills, your child needs to know how to hold the hockey stick. A correct grip of the hockey stick will enable your child to properly play hockey. Keep in mind that when moving and controlling the ball, your child must also be in an athletic stance. Get your child to take control of the stick first with their left hand. Do this, by forming an ‘L’ shape with their thumb and index finger (forefinger). The left-hand grip is firm, at the top of the stick, and does most of the controlling. The right-hand grip, however, is soft and at the bottom of the grip tape. The right-hand grip on the stick is quite relaxed and acts as a guide.
Standing with the stick needs to be done with slightly bent knees and with feet shoulder-width apart. Your kid’s left elbow needs to be bent comfortably away from their body.
A video on how to correctly hold the hockey stick can be seen below.
Straight Dribble Drill
The Straight Dribble is the most common dribble for hockey players. It is, therefore, the first drill from of our three simple field hockey drills that your child should learn. When using this dribble, the ball never leaves your child’s hockey stick as they advance forward with the ball. This gives the player the most control of the ball and therefore the most protection from their opponents. Doing the Straight Dribble requires the player to hold their stick in front of them as well as slightly to the right of their body. It is important to maintain contact with the ball and keep your child’s eyes up so they’re aware of their surroundings, as well as following the correct grip mentioned above.
Straight Dribble with cones
Set up three cones for your child 2-3 metres apart. Making sure your child keeps their stick attached to the ball, get them to move forward from cone to cone. When they reach the cone, circle around it whilst closely controlling the ball. Then, they can make their way to the next cone.
Loose Dribble Drill
The Loose Dribble is like the Straight Dribble, as you are controlling the ball whilst moving forward. However, instead of maintaining contact with the ball, you are slightly tapping it forward. These can be short 10cm taps or 1m taps, depending on how fast the player is wanting to move with the ball. It is therefore best used when making a run up the field and in need to advance the ball quickly. Again, it is important to teach your kid to make the gradual improvement of looking down at the ball to controlling the ball whilst keeping their head and eyes up. It’s also important in making sure that they keep the ball in front of them, not beside or behind them.
Loose Dribble with cones
Cones can be set at the same distance as the Straight Dribble Drill for short taps of the ball however as your child gets better at this drill, cones will have to be set further apart to make larger taps of the ball. Get your child to repeat the Straight Dribble as they advance from cone to cone and around each cone but this time whilst tapping the ball.
Indian Dribble Drill
As one of the most important dribbles for a hockey player, the Indian dribble is required to take on and get past opponents. This ranks as the hardest of the three simple field hockey drills and should be learnt once comfortable with the straight and loose dribble. This dribble requires hockey players to move the ball forward as they would with the Straight Dribble or Loose Dribble, but then to push it onto their left side to be able to control it on the other side of their body. The first thing your child will learn whilst playing hockey is that they can only control the ball with the inside face of the hockey stick, so they need to be able to learn to rotate the stick 180 degrees when controlling it onto their left side.
To do this, it will require your child to first tap the ball onto the left side of their body. Then, rotate the stick with their left hand (holding the stick at the top) whilst keeping their right hand at the bottom of the grip tape, holding the stick loosely. They will then be able to control it on their left side and be able to tap it back onto their right side. Repeating this continually with control is doing the Indian Dribble. Teach your kids to try and keep their eyes up once they pick up the skills to control the ball.
Indian Dribble with cones
Practising the Indian Dribble whilst standing in the one spot is great to teach your kid. The art of controlling the ball on both sides of your body with the hockey stick. Getting them to then move with it through cones is a great way to advance their skills. Cones can be set up in a straight line to teach your children how to use the Indian Dribble whilst moving and changing directions. Get your child to move through each cone tapping the ball from their right side to their left side whilst appropriately rotating the stick. Cones can also be set in shorter distances to make quick movements.
There you have three simple field hockey drills on ball control that your child can practice in a short space at home. For further development and experience, attending one of ASC’s Field Hockey Camps, will teach these skills and more so that your child can make rapid progress and enter the hockey field with confidence.