Field Hockey Coaching Drills
These field hockey coaching drills will work the fundamentals that every player, regardless of ability, should know and continuously work on in order to reach their full potential. The best field hockey coaches at any level will devote a portion of practice time to the most basic parts of the game, because advanced movements and/or strategies all build upon the fundamentals. While some of these drills may appear tedious to your players, it is your job as coach to stress their importance and find innovative ways to make them exciting.
- Ball Handling. Have each player set up two cones or markers about five feet apart. Cradling the field hockey ball with their stick, the player should guide the ball from the left marker to the right marker and back. When the player switches sides, he should also switch which side of the stick the ball is on. Your job as coach is to monitor your players to make sure they are practicing this drill diligently, crisply, and not simply going through the motions.
- Weaving. You and your players have probably seen this field hockey drill in a basketball or soccer practice. Set up a series of cones in a straight line. Have your players weave in and out of the cones, stressing ball control. You can time your players to see who can perform this drill the fastest without losing control of the ball.
- Loose Balls. It's often said that the team that makes the most hustle plays and grabs the most loose balls will win the game. For this field hockey coaching drill, have to players line up next to each other. Lob a ball in the air to a nearby part of the field, and have the players race to the loose ball. You can increase the difficulty and competitiveness by seeing if the player who gets the ball can make it back to the starting point without the opposing player stealing the ball from him.
- Scrimmage. To break the monotony of some of the more basic field hockey drills and to keep your players focused and excited, end each practice with a scrimmage. Divide your players into even teams and play a simulated game. Once the game has started, don't simply watch your players go. Make sure to shout instructions or tips to players, and note observations. Don't hesitate to momentarily stop the scrimmage if you feel there is something the entire team needs to be aware of.
- General Fitness. As a field hockey coach, you want to make sure your players are in good enough shape to handle the rigors of the sport. Incorporate lap running, wind sprints, pushups, and sit ups to help build your players' overall strength, speed, and cardiovascular endurance. If you and your team have access to a weight room, spend two or three days a week in the gym.