How to Tomahawk in Field Hockey

How do I Perform the Tomahawk in Field Hockey?

The Tomahawk is a key shooting skill in field hockey. Also known as a backhand shot, the tomahawk can pack a powerful punch. When correctly performed the stroke will allow you to attack from a left sided stance. The left side angle opens up play allowing you to shoot or spray passes from left to right.

  1. Start with your grip. Both hands should grip the top of the handle with your thumb and forefingers, creating ‘V’ shapes toward the bottom of the stick.
  2. Step with your right foot towards the ball which should be a stick length away when you make contact.
  3. Swing with your stick so when it reaches the ball the shaft of the stick is flat and only an inch off the ground.
  4. Do not strike the ball with the toe/hook. Hit the ball with the shaft two inches above the toe/hook.

Your body, leading leg and stick should be in one straight line when the ball is struck. Keep your head low so you don’t loose balance. The tomahawk is a powerful strike for shooting on goal.

Why use the Tomahawk pass?

The Tomahawk is gaining popularity by top players as it allows you to shoot on goal with the same power as a forehand swing whether that is on goal or for a pass.

┬áDon’t allow the ball to be too much ahead of you or too near you or you’ll miss the shot. Get low as possible with your hind knee only an inch or two off the ground.

An important point to remember is to try to hit the ball in the center, so the ball runs smoothly and fast-paced. If you make contact with the ball at the bottom it will lift and run slower. If you skim the ball at the top again it will run slower and won’t run a good distance as it won’t tend to spin forward cleanly. This will come to you with a decent amount of practice.

Get maximum power in your swing by thrusting your whole body into the motion. However when you are first practicing keep your swings slow and concentrate on the technique of hitting the ball in the middle and pointing your follow through to the target.

With more practice you can experiment hitting the ball just under the center point this makes the ball rise and this is another good shot when done properly that will test the goalkeeper to the maximum.

Tomahawk like a Pro

As you become comfortable with the shot, try leading with your left leg and swinging with your left arm. This technique is used by pros to gain a modicum more time when an opposition player is burning towards them. Again with practice you can get to grips with this impressive skill.

The follow through is an important part of the Tomahawk. After you have made contact with the ball allow the stick to point to the direction where you want the ball to travel. Practice is once more needed to practice a good follow through which will make your shot more accurate. As with the slap shot when practicing if you constantly practice shooting at a tight angle of the goal you will become more consistent and accurate. If you have a big garden with a high wall or hedge I would recommend buying a goal so you can practice at home (Don’t place it near any windows or the neighbours’ wall).

Practice, practice, practice your Tomahawks!

If you don’t have room ask the coach if you can borrow the goal on the weekend or after work/college.

To recap in short:

A. Get the grip right.

B. The ball should be a stick away

C. Hit the ball at the center for full power

D. Follow through

E. Right foot should be in line with the ball when you’re hitting.

Enjoy practicing this great shot or pass. Please remember to play safe and wear shin pads and gum shields.

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