Field Hockey has similar strategies and positioning to soccer. Unlike soccer, field hockey players cannot use their bodies to protect or project the ball. They control the ball with their sticks alone. Feet must not touch the ball whether deliberately or unintentionally. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to use (either of) her feet to stop or kick the ball.
Nevertheless, good footwork is foundational to field hockey. Players must stop, start, and change direction with quickness and balance. When they are chasing, receiving or passing the ball, it is ‘stick work on the run’. Indeed, the running may seem endless. During 70 minutes of play, players run nearly 10 K – more than athletes in almost any other sport.
Freeze Frame on Three Footwork Skills
Foot positions change quickly as field hockey players perform skills while running. A player gets the ball for just a split second. So this is a snapshot description of a three-way connection: her feet, her stick and the ball.
From a wide base of support with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, the player stands sideways to the ball. The ball is midway between and in front of feet; the ball is on her stick, her eyes on the ball. She transfers weight from her right foot in back to her left foot in front as the ball is pushed forward. During the weight transfer, her left knee is almost touching the ground.
In the path of the ball, the player moves her feet constantly to ensure she is in the best position before ball arrives. She stays low with knees bent. She reaches out in front with her stick at a 45 degree angle to the ground ahead of her left foot.
- Hitting the Ball
As she brings her stick through, she steps forward on her left foot to the ball, transferring weight forward to that foot. Her left shoulder points in the direction the ball is to be hit. She hits the ball with her stick off her left foot. Her next step is a cross-step behind the left foot.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)
TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM