7 Common Field Hockey Mistakes That Everyone Does

Field hockey is a favoured athletic sport that requires expertise and collaborative effort. Even those who have considerable experience may succumb to the common errors that can affect their athletic performance.

In this article, we will expand upon 7 common field hockey mistakes. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran, being aware of these common mistakes will help you avoid them… which will improve your performance on the field!

1: Over Thinking Everything

Before a game, have you ever found yourself over-analyzing your competitors and their abilities?

For example… “they’ve won more games than us, their goalkeeper is really good, or they’re so much bigger than us” 

…this can leave you feeling inadequate and unworthy of victory. So, it’s crucial to concentrate on your own mental skills and capabilities.

Great Britain players not over thinking the common field hockey mistake of overthinking.

Instead of dwelling on your competitors’ strengths focus on your own mental skills and abilities. Remember that you have trained just as hard as they have and that you have what it takes to succeed. Trust in your preparation and focus on executing your game plan, as a team!

2: Putting Unnecessary Pressure on Yourself

Having excessively high expectations can hinder athletic performance and cause unnecessary stress. 

When an athlete sets unrealistic goals such as…

“I must perform perfectly” or “we have to win,” 

…they’re creating a scenario where they can only succeed or fail. Failure to meet these expectations can lead to doubts about one’s abilities and negatively impact performance. 

So it’s important to recognize that not everything is within your control, and simply wanting something doesn’t guarantee its outcome.

Field hockey players putting pressure on themselves. A common mistake.

To achieve your best athletic performance, it’s crucial to set reasonable and attainable goals. Putting excessive pressure on oneself to perform flawlessly can backfire and lead to disappointment.

3: Not Being Patient in The Tackle

Diving in for tackles is never the best approach when playing the best sport in the world. In hockey, it can be tempting to rush in and tackle skilled players, but this can lead to chaos at the back. 

So…the key is to be aware of what’s happening around you and to make the best decision based on the situation.

…for example, in a 2 v 1 situation in defence – here you would be patient and channel the ball-carrying striker whilst holding the line to the other striker.

The picture shows a classic example of a defender diving into a tackle... and getting beaten of course... A classic field hockey mistake.

The picture shows a classic example of a defender diving into a tackle… and getting beaten of course…

The best defenders in the best sport in the world don’t rely on making tackles. Instead, they focus on channelling strikers to force them in a direction they don’t want to go to force them to make mistakes. 

While a desperate tackle may sometimes be necessary, patience is usually the best approach – this means that defenders can effectively control the game!

4: Arguing With the Umpires

Every team and player around the world can relate to the frustration of bad umpiring. However, we must remember that we cannot control the umpire’s decisions and blaming them for one mistake is unfair, especially when we may have made several mistakes ourselves. 

When we argue we get into the red head state of the ‘red head, blue head’ theory.

Feeling red-headed is associated with tightness and anxiety, whereas feeling blue-headed is associated with a sense of calmness and clarity. People find it very hard to make the right decision while they’re in the red head state. 

Check out this article for more information about red head blue head.

A field hockey player getting sent off because she argued with the umpire. A common field hockey mistake

You will never get a call reversed by arguing with the umpires so just let it go…

It’s a mental battle that every player must face and overcome in order to perform their best on the field.

5: Not Re-leading

The most frustrating thing in hockey is when you repeatedly make leads but fail to receive the ball. However, it’s important to maintain your speed and continue making explosive leads, even if you don’t receive the ball. 

If you don’t receive the ball you should quickly re-lead to keep the opposition on their toes and create space for your teammates.

It is frustrating for your midfield not to have any passing options available.

A field hockey player gets knocked down because she didn't re-lead. A common mistake for a field hockey player.

It’s crucial to remember that just because you make a lead, doesn’t mean you’re the best option to pass to. Trust your teammates to make the best decision and always keep in mind that hockey is a team game where leads can also benefit other players by creating more space.

6: Not Pre-Scanning

It’s important for field hockey players, to pre-scan before receiving the ball. If you keep your heads down, you risk being closed down quickly

…but pre-scanning gives you more time and information about what’s happening – and what will happen!

It is just as important for the goalkeeper. Knowing where those pesky strikers are will mean you make quick decisions!

Goalkeeper has pre-scanned the pitch.

By pre-scanning, players can gather their defender’s position, where the open space is, and the location of their teammates. 

This allows them to make better decisions, such as whether to pass, move into open space, or create a numerical advantage against an opponent. Despite its simplicity, pre-scanning is often overlooked and neglected by many players.

7: Not Treating Every Game the Same

To maintain consistency in your approach towards games, it’s best to treat each game equally important. Avoid considering any particular game as “special,” because it adds unnecessary pressure. 

If you want to achieve your long-term objectives in sports, learn how to set goals and focus on the process rather than getting distracted by the hype of a single event.

Olympic stadium, field hockey. Common mistakes made

Remember, every game is an opportunity to improve yourself and work towards your goals. 

By adopting a consistent mindset and keeping your focus on the bigger picture, you can avoid getting overwhelmed or demotivated by individual results.

To conclude this list, regardless of experience level, field hockey players are susceptible to making common mistakes that can hinder their performance. By being aware of these mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, players can improve their game and elevate their performance on the field.

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