Which five things should field hockey players always carry? If you are a high school student, living in the U.S there are 6 items. That 6th item is a pair of field hockey goggles, which are mandatory for college students. A stick is the obvious number one item a hockey player should carry but what others?
The following hockey items are available worldwide. According to the International Hockey Federation rules, shin, ankle, and mouth protectors are, ‘recommended’ to be used by all field hockey players. Most organizations will not allow players to take to the field without at least shin guards which protect three sides of the lower leg from balls and from hockey sticks.
Balls can travel up to 100 mph and can often bounce off legs. Blows from hockey sticks can at the very least cause bad bruising and grazes. Sometimes hard-swinging blows can even cause fractures. I was chatting to my girlfriend about the issue and she chipped in:
“Not any cheap shin guards should be worn. It’s best to buy modern shin protection that slips over the foot like a sock and that protect the ankles too. They fasten with Velcro and protect legs from the top of the foot to the lower knee.”
She continued with a frown, “I used to be lazy and grab any cheap plastic guards that barely covered half my shins. One day a defender a foot taller than me took a swing catching me on the ankle; that poor ankle was literally blue for a week and as painful as fire too!”
I can back my girlfriend on her warning. If you play field hockey regularly as we do you should wear shin pads. I am ashamed, to say I slipped in my protection levels before and suffered for my lackadaisical approach. My opinion is to make a good pair of shin pads 100% part of your kit. Top brands like kookaburra and Grays offer lightweight high tensile carbon fiber padding. Don’t go for the rock bottom priced set on sale in a bargain bin that barely covers a few inches and will split with a soft whack.
Modern guards protect ankles so you’re covering 2 FIH recommendations right there! Check out Amazon prices of the STX Stallion guards>>
2. A gum shield should be among the 5 things field hockey players should carry. The enforcement of gum shield, protection is becoming more prevalent in field hockey. Costing a few dollars, gum shields offer protection for teeth and gums. We both don’t tread on the field without them. My girlfriend said, “She once saw her teammate receive a hard blow in the mouth. She wasn’t wearing a gum shield and lost a front tooth.”
Sounds grim and that’s why in my opinion a gum shield is a must in your field hockey kit bag.
3. Among the 5 things a field hockey player should carry are a few good-quality field hockey balls.
The type of ball you’re hitting can do long-term damage to your stick if it’s a half-penny solid plastic ball. Carry a few field hockey balls with dual-layer cork cores. Like the Kookaburra balls. Besides I can count on both hands the times a match ball has disappeared into a hedge never to be seen again. When I was a junior the teacher would provide a ball that felt like solid stone, probably stuck in the kit bag for two decades.
My girlfriend added, ” Besides, you never know when you’d like some practice.” So, there’s another reason why carrying a few good quality balls in your kit, in my opinion is good for you. Buy them on Amazon>>
4. Gloves are a good tip to be one of the 5 items field hockey players should carry in a field hockey kitbag.
According to FIH rules gloves may be worn for outfield hockey players if they are not cumbersome and bulky. I am not talking about goalie gloves. Outfield players should wear them for protection and warmth in colder climes.
In my opinion, bulky gloves would impinge on the personal skill levels of a player. FIH sees it that way too. However, small, lightweight gloves do have advantages. In colder climes, gloves offer some respite from the cold. These Grays Pro gloves are padded yet light. You should find them for less than $40, 30 GBP, $50 AUD on Amazon>>
Gloves will also offer protection for knuckles and joints from hard blows. My girlfriend piped up, “They do support joints while twisting and turning and from stresses of the game.”
She is right!
5. A spare stick should be item number 5 in the kit bag.
I have written a few articles on sticks and determining factors that decide which stick is best for you. These include experience, skill level, position, and budget. If you are a beginner on a strict budget, in my opinion, buy good gum protection and shin pads first. Try and buy a stick from a reputable brand with at least some Fiberglass in the composite for stiffness and lightness. You can always upgrade later if you decide to play field hockey often. If you’re a regular player you should carry a spare stick in the kit bag – maybe the stick that you upgraded on. Or keep your stick that is showing signs of wear as your reserve stick. You never know when you might need it. See my reviews of the best hockey stick to suit every skill level, experience, and position of play here…
If you can think of other ideas I have missed please post them below.
by Eddie G. Hockey enthusiast.