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Field Hockey Coach's Corner

Field Hockey Tip

Presented by Vianney Yamada (Campos), Camp Director
Nike Field Hockey Camp at University of San Diego

Field Hockey tips on Long Grip drives

Long grip drives

The long grip drive is one of field hockey’s most technical skills yet most useful and fun! This is the most common way to take a shot on the cage or pass the ball around the field. This style of hit will focus on control, accuracy & speed. Preferably in that order. For this skill to be useful, you must master the fundamentals of the movement and over time add complexities like more power, deceptiveness, etc.

The Skill:

  • The Long Grip Hit starts with the hands together at the top of the stick.
  • A firm grip on the stick will allow you to break through the wrist for control without rotating in the hands.
  • The ball position will be about stick length away from your reach and the ball closer to the mid to front foot.
  • Set up with the flat part of the stick lined up to the ball, bring the stick back to no higher than shoulder height and swing the stick back making contact with the flat part of the stick. Avoid hitting the ball with the edges of the stick.
  • When making contact, you still want there to be balanced in your body so bend your front leg. At impact, the ball position should be mid to front foot so don’t let the ball get away in front of your front leg.
  • After impact, follow-through shifting your weight slightly towards your target and staying low with the toe of the stick pointing up towards the sky. This will prevent you from opening up at contact and chipping the ball into the air.
  • Keep your eyes on the ball at all times to improve your accuracy and control.
  • Keep in mind that passing often requires more control and accuracy meaning your power/speed will need to suffer but shooting on the cage is when you can hone in on hitting the ball hard. Good players understand and practice the difference.

When to use it:

  • This hit can be useful in many scenarios but most importantly should be used when you don’t have an opponent too close. The backswing requires you to lose the protection of the ball, therefore, allowing space for someone to jab or defend the ball. In addition, the hit can be considered dangerous when an opponent is directly around you.
  • Medium to long-distance passes that require speed on the ball.
  • Shots on the cage that require power.
  • Clearing the ball out of the circle quickly and powerfully.

When not to use it:

  • For short-distance passes to other players.
  • When your opponent is within proximity.
  • When you are off-balance.

Learn more tips and tricks this summer at our Nike Field Hockey Camp in California!

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