Hockey festivals can be greatly beneficial for young players for a number of reasons; players learn teamwork, persistence, goal-setting, how to deal with losing, and most of all, how to have fun with your team without taking the game too seriously.

These lessons teach your daughter the things that she needs not only to be a great hockey player and sportswomen, but also prepares her for life. However; young players who are used to playing singular matches at a time, find the game after game nature of a festival challenging.

Shelley Russell, who has achieved 250 caps for SA women’s hockey, has participated in many festivals during her hockey career and knows how daunting a hockey festival can be on a young girl.

“I am grateful for competing in lots of festivals as they taught me how to prepare myself physically and mentally for matches,” says Shelley.

Shelley had to learn how to get through hockey festival nerves and make sure she was ready to give her best. Fortunately, you don’t need to learn through trial and error as Shelley has some useful hockey festival tips for you!


  1. Start the morning with a good breakfast.
  2. Stay away from any sweet quick-fix-energy drinks/sweets.
  3. Hydrate well. Be sure to pack lots of water, electrolytes and even a recovery shake for after a gruelling game.
  4. Plan your eating schedule and nutritional intake around your playing schedule to ensure you keep your energy levels constant. Do not eat too close to matches and also don’t not eat enough!


During the festival

  1. Know your playing schedule so you can plan your recovery between games. It helps also not to be disorganised as this can make you feel unprepared.
  2. If you get a chance, put your legs into a swimming pool to stretch and gently kick them out. An Ice bath is great for your muscles if this is an option.
  3. Lie down and get your legs up against a wall to help drain lactic acid build up.
  4. Try stay calm and rested between matches to conserve energy. Half an hour before warmup mentally start preparing yourself for your next match.
  5. Rest as a team, in a group situation, to keep team spirit and camaraderie high.
  6. Watch the teams you are expecting to play against. Each player must identify and study her opposing player in order to know her strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Long days can also be mentally tiring, try and shut out distracting factors by going to sit in quiet place for a few minutes during the day.

Good luck to all players and thank you to all those hockey moms and dads who consistently support their daughters and her team from the side-lines!