A parent’s guide to youth field hockey

Field hockey is a non-contact, relatively safe and social sport, allowing children to focus on building skills and friendships.

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Equipment and safety

Playing sports is extremely beneficial to children, but they need to be safe. The top priority needs to be a mouthguard, to protect your child from any possible mouth injuries. Shin guards are also essential safety kit, as well as appropriate sports footwear.

Invest in a good quality composite hockey stick, which is the best type to start with, as it can help your child’s performance.

Clubs

Field hockey is popular in certain areas and schools, but if your child’s school doesn’t offer enough sport participation, consider enrolling them in a club team, to get fully introduced to hockey.

These teams can be run by sports professionals or high-level players who will give superior instruction on the essentials of the sport. Teams also offer your child the opportunity to build lasting friendships, as well as the experience of playing competitively.

The continued support, instruction and feedback from coaches will also help your child build their skills.

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Crossover to other sports

To gain understanding of hockey quickly, compare it with other sports, such as ice hockey and football. Also look at a hockey drill video, such as those found at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Hockey/.

Football uses a similar number of players in similar positions. With the aim of the game to score as many goals as possible, it is comparable to hockey. The practice of shooting and passing also applies to both hockey and football, with the difference being the use of feet instead of a stick.

Both field hockey and ice hockey are similar in their use of shooting and passing techniques, with ice hockey played with a puck instead of a ball. However, ice hockey is a contact sport, with good ice skating skills required to play the sport well.

The language

Penalty corner: This is a penalty awarded for a foul by the opposing team, primarily committed in the penalty circle.

Free hits: A free hit will be awarded when an opposing team member commits a foul. This will be taken where the foul took place.

Scoring: The ball must be touched from within the shooting circle in order to be counted as a goal.