If you are a passionate hockey player and/ or coach but have not delved into indoor training principles – you may want to start incorporating indoor hockey in some way or form in your personal and your teams’ practices.
At the Investec Hockey Academy, we incorporate elements of indoor training into our Players’ and Coaches’ Courses. We believe that, in order to hone in on the skills needed for hockey, it is important to include training elements of indoor hockey as well.
The differences between the two games allows more focus to be placed on the elements that both versions of the sport have in common. These aspects form the basics of all hockey; which we believe is the key to success in the sport.
- There is no hitting in indoor hockey which means that passing skills are everything. By incorporating indoor hockey training into field hockey training, players spend time mastering the basic skills needed for both games.
- Indoor hockey requires more flicks and lifts to gain ground and score on the smaller court which are useful skills to have in field hockey in difficult tackle scenarios. A lift or a flick can help you gain advantage over the tackler’s stick or pass to your teammate when you have nowhere to go.
- The indoor surface means that, when passed, the ball is travelling at high speeds – making it trickier to stop and pass again. By practicing receiving on this kind of surface, receiving and passing the ball on the AstroTurf should become much easier and more precise.
- Indoor hockey consists of a smaller team; meaning that each player gets more ball contact “time” and needs to learn to defend/ block their opposing player well. In a field hockey game, a player may become distracted by the number of oppositional players around them and may block the wrong person due to the opposition’s efforts to distract the player.
- On the smooth indoor surface, control of the ball is the most important aspect. This element is just as important in a field hockey game – it is just more difficult to achieve than on an indoor court. If performed well on an indoor court, it will be second nature in field hockey.
Indoor hockey practices can also refine your game mind-set – meaning you naturally think and react faster – here’s why:
- An indoor hockey field is much narrower than that of field hockey and players have to be faster and more agile to negotiate the ball to score.
- Observation is key on a narrow field and training your eye to read the other players’ actions allows you to practice your reaction speed. The faster your reaction, the better you will perform in any form of the game.
- Timing is crucial in indoor hockey as it is a much faster game. You need to be in the right place at the right time in order to take opportunities.
- An important part of timing is learning patience. As fast as the game is, you can’t always be hasty in getting to the ball. You need to understand when your teammate has the play under control and when you are needed. Wait for the right moment to approach the opposing player to maximise your effectiveness in regaining control of the ball.
- Planning is a very important element of indoor hockey. The game needs structural play and all teammates need to be fluent in each play scenario. The same can be said for field hockey; however, players can sometimes get carried away in their own method of play due to the perception of the space available – something that can be easily misread.