6 min read
Not too long ago, learning about the roles of the various field hockey positions was pretty simple. Because there hadn't been any significant changes to the rules of hockey for such a long time, the way the game was played had not adapted much either which also meant the positions and their roles stayed more or less the same.
Things were so stagnant you could buy a musty old book on field hockey from a second hand book store and you would be very close up to date with the latest in hockey rules, skills and positioning.
Then came the development of composite hockey sticks, as well as changes to the rules to the 11 a side game to make the game faster, and the increased popularity of artificial field hockey fields. These factors all changed the way the game is played there are now many different formations for teams to adopt and adapt to their needs.
The good news is that even though the outdoor hockey game has undergone significant changes, the basic traditional positions (which we will discuss below) remain as relevant as ever.
Within each of the above three groups are distinct player positions, each of which play similar but different roles within their playing group.
Since the advent of composite stick technology, artificial turf and changes to the rules of hockey which have dramatically increased the speed of the game, there are so many different formations and variations on how you arrive at the mix of strikers, midfielders and defenders. For illustrative purposes we will look at the more traditional formations and the one you will find in the musty old hockey textbooks, the 3-5-2, which consists of three strikers, five midfielders and two defenders.
The 3-5-2 formation splits up the 10 field players into two defenders (Fullbacks x 2), five midfielders (Left Half, Right Half, Centre Half, Inside Right and Inside Left), and three strikers (Centre Forward, Right Wing and Left Wing).
The central point in attack for the team, the centre forward makes his or her home in their teams attacking half of the field and is a goal scoring machine.
The centre forward also plays an important role defensively. It is their job to put pressure on the fullbacks and centre half of the opposing team and to stop them from moving the ball up the field.
Similar to a centre forward in almost every way except they are positioned out wide on each sideline of the field hockey field. The come in from the sideline toward the goal as they get into the opposing team's 25 yard line. Defensively the wingers are responsible for marking their opposing outside half and to make it difficult for the opposing team to progress the ball up the field.
Inside forwards are the absolute engine room of the team and often occupied by the most physically active players. Often referred to as "link" players, the inside forwards are expected to work equally hard in both attack and defence. Inside forwards are a vital link in getting the ball from the defence and midfield to their strikers. They also are expected to work hard in defence and win turnovers from the opposing midfield. For these reasons inside forwards and other midfielders are often the players who have all-round skills for attack and defence.
The centre half is the conductor of the team. They are the centre point that links the two sides of the field together, allowing the ball to be transferred from the right to the left and vice versa. The centre half also links defensive players to the attacking players, and distributes the ball from defence to the forwards at the opportune moments. Defensively, the centre half holds the middle of the field and is responsible for preventing the opposing team from progressing through.
The left half and right half positions play a similar defensive role to the fullbacks, except they are tasked with defending primarily against the opposing teams wingers. The "outside halves", as they are often called, have an important role in attack and often push forward well into the attacking half to provide a key link in getting the ball from the centre half and to the inside forwards and wingers on their side of the field.
The two fullbacks can either position themselves on the left and right side of the field, or can play as high fullback and a sweeper. The fullbacks are tasked defensively with marking the opposing teams high strikers. In attack, their role is to get the ball out of their defensive half as effortlessly as possible and to support teammates in attack by providing an outlet to transfer the ball from one side to the other.
The 3-4-3 formation splits up the 10 field players into three defenders (Centre Back, Right Back and Left Back), four midfielders (Defensive Midfielders x 2 and Attacking Midfielders x 2), and three strikers (Centre Forward, Right Wing and Left Wing).
The 3-4-3 is a more modern twist on the 3-5-2 formation which has come into popularity since the changes to the rules of hockey suited teams with a more attacking style.
The 3-3-4 formation splits up the 10 field players into four defenders (Two fullbacks, Right Halfback and Left Halfback), three midfielders (Centre Midfielder, Left and Right Midfielders), and three strikers (Centre Forward, Right Wing and Left Wing).
Much like the 3-4-3 formation, the 3-3-4 formation is fairly similar to the traditional 3-5-2 formation with some minor tweaks. The key difference is the centre half in the traditional formation gets pushed up higher in the midfield, with the left and right halves pushed back with the fullbacks.
As you have seen, the best position for you may depend on the formation your team plays with. That being said, most players have some distinct skills or physiological characteristics which lend themselves more to being an attacker, midfielder, or defender.
For example, if you prefer being able to see your team mates in front of you and see the game unfold, and you like organising and communicating with those players in front of you, you may be more suited to a defensive position.
If you are the type of player who needs a lot of touches of the ball on their stick to feel effective, you would be suited more towards a midfielder or defender.
You might not need to get a heap of touches of the ball, or you might have deadly shot on goal. If either of these is the case you may be more suited to an attacking position.
As you explore the various positions on the field and understand the dynamics of different team formations, remember the importance of having the right equipment. Your hockey stick is more than just a tool; it's an extension of your skill and passion for the game.
Whether you're a forward charging towards the goal, a midfielder controlling the game's pace, or a defender keeping the opposition at bay, we have the perfect stick for your role and style. Our range of hockey sticks is designed to enhance your performance, ensuring that every pass, shot, and defensive move counts.
Get an exclusive discount on your first purchase! Elevate your game today and feel the difference with our top-tier hockey sticks, trusted by beginners and internationals alike.
5 min read
Choosing the right type of hockey stick for the position you play in can have a significant impact on your performance, whether you’re a striker, midfielder or a defender. While many hockey players seem to believe that picking the right stick for a defender is a basic choice as they do not have the need for “advanced” skills midfielders and strikers often need, carrying the right stick for your needs and skill level may change the way you play in many different ways.
However, using a wrong type of stick can also cause a whole host of problems, especially if you are a beginner and especially if you are a defender. This is why we’ve prepared a set of tips and tricks that will help you choose the best hockey sticks for defenders, as well as the top sticks for midfielders and strikers. Read on!
2 min read
This is a question that comes up all the time. Luckily, I have done a tonne of testing with different hockey sticks of all brands and types with their actual weight and their balance. The balance is how the weight is distributed throughout the stick and is better defined as how a stick feels.
When designing a hockey stick we use balance as a key factor to guide our design process in terms of how we want a stick to perform and how we want the hockey stick to feel.
To answer the question directly, can a hockey stick be too light?
Since composite technology has advances over the last few years, sticks have started to get "lighter" and I remember being stoked to see how I could hit a ball harder and do skills quicker with an ultralight hockey stick. But to my surprise it didn't work out that way, the hockey stick didn't let me smash the ball anywhere near as hard or do skills as quick as I can with the Iceman Pro Bow.
The reason why I didn't like the ultralight stick was because the balance was too light. When we design a hockey stick we work on a heavier weight with a balance more towards the head of the hockey stick, which typically has delivered the best results for our hockey stick design.
If the stick is too light, or the balance is more towards the grip of the stick, when you swing the stick and it makes contact with the ball you will not have the same amount of force behind the stick, but also the stick will feel extremely light. This means is you won't be able to feel where the head is and will likely feel like the stick is swinging in the air and out of control.
For our hockey sticks we want a weight of around 520-560 grams.
On the flipside, a hockey stick can be too heavy. If all the weight is distributed at the head of the stick, it can result in a loss of power due to the slower swing speed of your stick. The other disadvantage of a stick that is too heavy is that your stick won't be as maneuverable to perform quick dribbling, trapping and tackling skills.
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