Dribbling is a key skill when playing field hockey. By dribbling, a player can run towards the opposite goal, bring a ball out of defense and evade markers. The mazy run, controlling the ball is important to learn if you’re going to progress.
- Stand with your knees bent in a basic stance, with the ball one foot in front of you.
- Grip the stick with one hand at the top and the other at the bottom of the grip and straighten your back.
- Flip the hook and tap the ball from side to side.
- Move forward pushing and tapping the ball from side to side in tandem with each forward moving foot.
My nine-year-old nephew asked me how to dribble with a hockey ball. Without a field or a stick anywhere near, I tried to be as concise as possible. In a haphazard way, I explained the above. The question played on my mind for a few days so I decided to research the topic more indepth. There are in fact several methods of dribbling with a hockey ball, which was surprising. Hockey never fails to intrigue me with surprising techniques and titillating facts that keep you enthrauled.
- Keep your knees bent in the basic hockey stance, try and keep your back straight
- Grip the stick with your lower hand at the base of the grip and your other hand at the top
- With the ball a foot ahead of you, tap the ball from in front of the right foot toward a space in front of the left
- Flip the hook upside down and meet the moving ball on the left side
- Repeat the motion, tapping the ball in front of your right foot.
- Continue to play this motion from side to side as you move forward.
As you practice you will become faster at tapping the ball, and more assured. Then you will be able to move at good speed forward. Keep your eyes up so you know when to pass, where to pass, or when to ping the ball toward goal.
First appearing at the 1956 Olympics, the Indian dribble is a great way to bamboozle the opposition. If mastered, it can be played at high speed and the opposition won’t know if you are about to pass left or right.
Firstly, it should be noted this is a skill best performed when stationary.
- Spread your feet to at least shoulder width.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Your hands should be well spread on the handle.
- Position the ball about a foot in front of your toes and drag the ball from in front of your right toes to in front of your left toes
- Flip the stick over and repeat numerous times.
When you are proficient you can play this routine over and over again at high speed.
Pull back, dummy and dribble
This is a good technique to unleash when you are being closely marked.
- Turn the stick over (the toe) and step back dragging the ball back with you.
- Flip the stick over again to stop it.
- Repeat the motion to further confuse the opposition and to keep possession if you’re under pressure.
For the dummy
- Repeat the double pull back, your feet should be at shoulder’s width apart.
- When the ball is almost still, drag it towards the left, but not further than in front of your left foot.
- Sweep the stick and the toe in front of the ball as if you are aiming for a left pass
- Then flip the toe round and at speed push the ball back to the right.
With practice, you will be able to dummy to the left and the right for effective stealth.
One handed dribbling
My personal favorite. This allows for great wing play where you can concentrate on your sprint, outpacing, and keeping the inside defender at bay. Proficient players with strong wrists can also turn and twist using a one-hand dribble with greater speed. It really is only suited to wing play, as the technique isn’t very easy to defend against from both sides. How do you do it? Simply run with an outstretched arm and stick keeping the ball close to the hook (use your right arm if you’re on the right flank.)
An important fact to remember: hockey is a right-handed sport only. The right-handed dribble down the wing is a specialized position, as it won’t work down the left-wing.
One handed G turn
- Tilt the hook over the ball, trapping it.
- Extend the stick with one hand with a reverse grip, which is like a backhand in tennis.
- The ball should be a few feet in front of you so your arm is fully outstretched.
- Attack the forehand of your opponent, the ball should be protected by your stick.
- Spin to your backhand side in almost a complete circle.
You have now succeeded in taking the play to the other side and away from your opponent. This will set you up well for a tomahawk.
Now that you have dribbling under control, let’s take a look at the 5 ways to hit a field hockey ball!