Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why I Like Original (Field) Hockey

At its core, field hockey  is really about the joy of being alive and sharing the
thrill of moving through space and time with others.
It is about the benefits of teamwork and friendship, without losing our individuality.

Much of what we humans do places us in an insular situation.  I, at this moment am sitting at my laptop.  Perhaps you were just texting a distant friend. We are individuals.  

Yet, we humans are a social species.  We form social groups and find strength in our associations.   Each person is as individual and unique as a snowflake.  Alone we are a flake; together we are a ski slope, a glacier, or a snowman. Together you and I make field hockey happen!

Field hockey is a physical activity played around the planet Earth.  It brings individuals together for the benefits of exercise, goodwill, camaraderie, competition, friendship, all in a mode of human teamwork. We need a society, a group of people with sticks in their hands, to play.  I like the word play.  We, humans, need to play to refresh ourselves, to remember that life is to be enjoyed.      

Field hockey, as a community, is like a small town.  It almost seems possible to know and appreciate everyone.  In reality, we might not know each other, but each unique individual who is part of field hockey makes a valuable contribution to our small town.   I love being a shopkeeper on the main street of Field Hockey, USA.

Happy Hockey, neighbor!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Don't Shorten Your Field Hockey Stick

Let me talk you out of cutting your stick down.

Dutch players almost all use 36.5" sticks.

Watch an elite, international player and you will notice they tend to move their left hand according to the action they are involved with at any given moment.
When you use the Dutch Sizing Method, you should do what the Dutch do with this information.
They mark the stick at the ideal length, i.e., where their left hand should grasp the handle for most effective hitting and dribbling. Perhaps that measurement is at 36" or 35". That means they have a little extra length on their handle, above where they grasp the stick.

What do elite players do with the extra length? They use it when they need it to tackle or intercept or receive passes.

If you cut a stick down you will lose the extra length that you have removed.
This might mean that the one inch you have thrown away won’t be there when you need to
intercept a pass or make a tackle. Think of it this way: if you have the length, you get the ball.
If you don’t have the ball, the other team scores! Your missing inch could be the difference between winning and not.
How do they know when their left hand is in the right place for dribbling or hitting?
The player has used the Dutch Sizing Method and has marked the handle one inch below his or her knee cap. Elite players then make that point on the stick obvious, often using a ring of tape or a rubberband, secured in place with some tape. Even without looking, the player learns the feel of where the left hand should be positioned for the best stick skills.

In other words, the only reason for cutting a stick down is if you are certain you will never need that extra inch or half inch to save the game.