Field Hockey Strength Training
Field hockey players need to be strong, stable and powerful so they can handle the complex demands of their sport. Here are a few areas they should focus on in their workouts.
Above all, the main focus should be on core stability. Your next greatest area of need is hip and leg strength. Combined, they will help you play faster, add power to their shots, and stay as injury-free as possible.
Building muscle mass is usually not a priority, unless there is a targeted need for a specific player. Programs should be set up to maximize strength and power at every opportunity, as opposed to training for adding muscle and bulk (which may slow you down if done similar to bodybuilding).
Upper body strength is often a need for female athletes, and it should be another main goal of training for most field hockey players. Grip work can further stabilize the shoulder joint and add snap power to your shots, so it would be wise to include drills that emphasize grip strength into your upper body training.
Hand-eye coordination and other vision training concepts would also improve game performance, as it would be with any other racquet or stick sport. An additional focus on balance training would also help with injury concerns, and for improved cutting skills.
Field Hockey Speed & Agility Training
Being a fast-paced sport, field hockey players need to develop superior speed, agility and quickness in order to excel at the highest levels.
Enhanced sprinting technique is important for open field running, but cutting ability is also key to react to changes in real time. Quick reaction skills are vitally important, too, as most of the time players will accelerate from a stationary stance or a slow jog up to full speed immediately. Any hesitation or delay can mean the difference between making the play, or not.
Once movement fundamentals are perfected, athletes should begin doing their speed and conditioning work carrying their stick to adapt to their sport environment. Holding a stick will alter the mechanics of the upper body, but these adjustments must be made to transition their basic movement skills over to playing conditions.
Conditioning For Field Hockey
Field hockey demands a high level of stamina, as well. Specifically, though, they need high repetitions of short burst movement with little rest in between. Long distance running and other forms of aerobic conditioning are nice to sprinkle in sometimes, but definitely should not be the only focus of conditioning to achieve maximum results.
Aerobic development comes from steady-state activities done over a long period of time. This is where long distance running, biking, swimming, and any other event that keeps your heart rate up to around 60-70% of your maximum HR will do the trick. This serves as a great base for the harder anaerobic training.
Anaerobic training is interval work, the stuff you can’t sustain without rest for very long. As a field hockey player, you’re looking at a 5-10 second burst of work followed by active rest (jog/walk) as an ideal format for field hockey conditioning.
Work these intervals up to the number of sprints you’d run in a typical game for your age and you have the outline for a strong field hockey conditioning program.
Injury Prevention for Field Hockey
Ankle sprains are the most common injury, but can be prevented through good training programs. Lower body stability and balance work are the best defenses.
Hip mobility and strength will help to prevent knee problems, another common problem for field hockey players. With ACL, MCL, LCL and meniscus tears plus patellofemoral pain becoming increasingly common issues, flexible and powerful hip muscles have become even more important to take stress off the knee.. Female athletes, particularly at the high school level, are most susceptible to these problems.
Any time you are bending over and rotating your upper body at the same time, you are going to eventually run into lower back problems. With shooting posture often combining these two movements, building core stability in all 3 planes of motion becomes critical to minimizing pain in this region.
Facial injuries and cuts that come from being hit by the ball are seen quite a bit, as well. Other than improving your quickness to get out of the way, these are injuries that training can do little to avoid.
Youth Field Hockey Training Considerations
Girls who are just getting into the sport should consider supplementing their practices with a targeted sports training program that best fits their future needs.
Balance, coordination, and moderate core training will supply a great foundation to enhance performance while protecting the knees and back from future concerns.
Footwork is always best build at earlier ages, so any movement trainng done in a fun, game-based format would be an asset to youth field hockey players. Staying active will also help to build stamina and a passion for being active later in life.
Finally, simple drills to enhance hand-eye coordination will help their ability to strike the ball accurately and with maximum power.
Field Hockey Training at Power Source
Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire field hockey players can train with us in any of our elite programs. We’ll tailor your training specifically to target your greatest areas of strength and power needs, as well as help protect you from any potential injury risks, in our Group Personal Training Program.
Our Speed & Agility Classes are designed to enhance the sprint and agility technique through expert coaching, video analysis, sprint treadmills, and a handful of other tools.
At certain times of year we also run week-long Speed Clinics, and are open to working with teams and organizations to set up a private clinic just for your players. Feel free to contact us at any time to inquire about training for an individual athlete, or private clinic/team training options.