Hockey in India; A Beginner’s Guide


Just 4 years, precisely on the 18th of December 2016, India attained another golden height in its history of field hockey participation.

On that day, the Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team won the Uttar Pradesh Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup.

Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in Lucknow was filled to the brim by lovers of field hockey.

Indians love their Hockey that much. In another sleek example of India’s leadership in field hockey, the Indian Hockey Team recently defeated Pakistan in the Asian Champion Trophy Tournaments, winning the Maiden Title of ’Champion of Hockey in Asia’.

But India’s winning streak in Hockey has been plagued by a number of challenges.

Indian Hockey and its Challenges

Stakeholders of the sport complain that even though the government has always parroted the view that hockey is India’s national sport, the government hasn’t done much in extending it’s financial support to the sport.

The media is awash with sad exposés on hockey coaches getting paid peanuts. This pitiful remuneration packages dampens the excitement of both players and coaches and the sport is suffering as a result.

Another challenge plaguing Hockey in India is the absence of a well structured coaching programme at the local level.

It’s beyond argument that India won’t preserve its reputation for excellence in hockey if something isn’t done to improve coaching.

The changing demands of modern day, international hockey has to be reflected in the coaching of players across the board. That way talent can be attracted and nurtured.

This article is our little contribution to an ongoing drive to introduce hockey to new audiences.

Field hockey remains a popular sport in india even with all the problems besetting the game.

This is a game that requires fitness, psychological strength, both tactical and technical awareness, to mention a few things, from the players. Physical strength isn’t a major factor in Hockey, a successful player only needs speed and skills to execute essential moves and function within a team during a game.

What do you need to play hockey?

The gears and equipment you need for a game of hockey aren’t much. All players are obliged to adorn clothing that won’t hurt other players during a game. Hockey players use protective equipment like shin and ankle guards, mouth protection to protect themselves from injuries. You can’t play a game of hockey without a field hockey stick. The hockey stick has to be smooth without sharp points.

One can make a hockey stick out of any material provided it’s not metallic or toxic.

A ball is also needed to play a game of hockey. The ball has to be hard and spherical. Its outer surface can either be dimpled like a golf ball or smooth like a pearl.

In international hockey games, a white ball is preferred but at other levels, team captains can agree to make use of a different colour of ball, as far as it contrasts with the colour of the field.

The dimensions of an hockey field

The Field hockey field is rectangular with a length of 91.40 metres and a width of 55 metres. Before any game, an umpire must examine the field for proper field lines, markings and overall good condition.

Team make-up

Two teams comprising 11 players are needed for a game of hockey. A team may decide to play with a fully protected goal keeper or use a designated field player who has goal keeping privileges only within her defensive shooting circle.

While a goalkeeper may wear full head and body protective gear, a designated player with goalkeeping privileges can only wear a protective head gear.

Officiating a field hockey game

The umpires in a game of hockey, two of them, administer the rules of the game to achieve a fast and fair game.

Ultimately, hockey players are bound by a strict but reasonable code of conduct. They are, essentially, expected to play smartly, embrace good sportsmanship and abide by the rules of the game.

Skillsets of a successful hockey player

You need successful hockey players to build a successful hockey team. Let’s examine the skills that go into the making a successful hockey player. A successful hockey player must understand that he or she has to be on top of his or her game as far as executing crucial moves are concerned, if the team is to demonstrate a successful rythmn.

Here is a concise summary of the essential skills needed to play a smooth game of attack and defence in field hockey.

You have to be able to receive, hit, push, control the ball and execute one-on-one defence like clockwork.

Experts maintain that your present level of play aside, you need to master correct balance and footwork before you can acquire the essential hockey skills that make team play successful.

To be adept at field hockey, speed is not the only thing you need. A quick feet, stamina and agility also rank high on the list of physical attributes important to the game.

There’s a limit to what one can do with his or her speed level but the remaining essential physical attributes can be honed.

How do you achieve a sturdy body balance?

You need your head, feet, and hands with the stick.

Immediately a proper body balance is achieved, your body is ready to move with speed and grace.

Before you attempt skills in a game of hockey, be in control of your body, your feet and your stick. If you’re not in control of these things, mistakes will be promoted, leading to imbalance in the team.

As an hockey player, it doesn’t matter whether you’re passing, receiving, dribbling, or tackling, your body must be under your control before you can successfully execute a skill.

However, speed is essential to this transaction. You must be able to execute swiftly and to do that, you must practice often so that executing a skill becomes second nature and almost intuitive.

Effective footwork is another crucial factor to train for. Footwork shares some semblance with balance, a skill that goes to the root of all essential hockey skills.

Here’s what effective footwork will do for you; it will allow you to start, stop, and change direction with quickness and balance. It will also train your body to execute essential skills.

You can’t effectively play attack or defence roles in a team without good footwork.

Good footwork enhances the element of surprise in a game of Hockey. An attack player worth his salt, will know his next move even before he gets possession of the ball if he can boast of effective footwork.

Good footwork will allow an Attack Player shoot and dribble in a manner the opposition can’t comprehend.

Final word

This is in no way an exhaustive article on the game of hockey; it’s only an introduction. Enjoy