When starting to play hockey, it is important that players get a chance to try playing in all the positions on the field. Once players have had a taste of what it takes to play in each position, they can make an informed decision on their preferred position options.
Other than finding your place in the team, playing in more than one position can enable a player to become more versatile and give them an understanding of the team dynamic within a hockey game. Understanding each team member’s role can help prevent confusion and conflict in a training or match situation. Here is a brief breakdown of each position’s role for young players to learn.
The three strikers play in the front of the team formation; left, right and centre. The role of the strikers are to work together to create and convert goal scoring opportunities in the attacking circle. Strikers need to take responsibility for making the most out of opportunities by communicating with midfielders and defenders to run the right angles when putting opposing players under pressure.
A midfielder is the link between the attack and the defence. A midfielder may need to play in both attack and defence at times so they need to be the most versatile players.
The primary responsibility of the defence is to ensure that the opposition team can’t create any scoring opportunities for their attackers. Marking opposing players is a big role of the defence for two reasons; to prevent strikers from getting the ball with space to score, but also “containing” an opposing striker for long enough to allow your team members to get back to support you.
Goalkeepers have one of the most important roles in a team; they must communicate and organise the defence on the field based on their full view of the field. Goalkeepers are also required to get themselves in the way of the ball using their body or stick to defend their goals.
You can start teaching your daughter these positions if she is considering playing hockey at school. It is also a great template for coaches to share with their teams to ensure they are getting a good understanding of the game.