Stick and Ball. How to make them work.

For many people the best way to improve football is by shrinking the ball, making it hard and then chasing after it with a stick. I say football as the rules for hockey are very similar. Hockey is starting to become very popular again following on from the brilliant performance by Maddie “Mad Dog” Hinch MBE and the Great Britain Hockey teams Gold medal triumph in 2016. You had to go back to similar levels of interest when the Men’s GB team won gold in Seoul in 1988. Hockey as a regulated and administered game began at the turn of the century in public schools but its appeal soon went beyond that. Its real origins go even further back than that to the ancient Egyptians. At least we think it does. Archaeologists found a frieze that contained two figures about to “bully off” or at least they look like they do. There are other examples, the Irish game of Hurling is one and that also dates back about 3000 years. You can be sure that they will have needed a series of Hockey Drill Videos to hone those skills and there are plenty that can be viewed at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Hockey/. We can start you off with a little bit of advice here and now with how to hold the stick and how to hit the ball.

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Hitting the ball is very important in Hockey as you would expect. You cannot hit the ball properly unless you know how to hold the stick in the first place. There are two positions that the hockey player adopts when playing and they alternate between each one depending on the situation in the game.

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If you want to be in control of the ball and make short sharp passes you need to be in control of the stick. You need to be as low to the ball as possible and that means you need to take up the lower grip or, choke grip as it is charmingly know, on the hockey stick. You use both hands and clasp the lower end of the stick making sure there is no gap between the two hands. If you’re looking to do a long pass or shoot, then you switch to a higher grip. This is the same shape as the choke grip. But it will allow you to swing the stick about a lot more easily to get power but aiming is harder.

If you decide to pass you need to have your head over the ball looking directly down on it. You plant your left foot down and wait or move the ball until it is a bit ahead or in line with that planted left foot. You then, with the higher grip, smash the ball one. Make sure the stick goes right through the ball otherwise its going nowhere. Keep that grip tight too, you don’t want a floppy hockey stick face. Best of luck.