When most people think of field hockey, they would assume that you just hit a ball and then chase it across the field. Field hockey is actually way more difficult than it is made out to be. The girls are ten times more aggressive than you would ever expect that they would be. Sometimes I would catch a few elbows here and there, and at times receive some surprise hits to the chest.
Trying to control the ball with the field hockey stick is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Since one major rule of the game is that you have to control the ball with the smooth side of the stick, and not the round part, you have to sometimes turn the stick in multiple directions to dribble the ball down the field without losing control. Also, if you hit the ball too far, it will most likely get stolen because all the girls are quick to move to the ball.
Another one of the more difficult parts of playing field hockey is passing the ball. Since all the girls are fast and aggressive, you have to pass it quickly and accurately. During practice, one of the worst decisions I made was passing it across the field diagonally. As soon as I released the ball, two girls came across the field and swept the ball away. The rest of my team told me that is the worst thing I could have done, and that I need to pass it vertically or horizontally, but only if a teammate is nearby.
My favorite part of playing field hockey was playing defense because, like in football, I can charge the offensive player and try to take the ball away from them before they score. Although I was not allowed to actually tackle the girls like I usually do in football, I still had a great time.
When I first got to the field, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how the game was played or how the rules were applied. The field hockey team gave me a stick and a pair of goggles. We started off practice as any practice should: warming up and stretching. After, we started to pass around the field hockey ball, and I had a very tough time trying to stop the ball on my stick and get it in front of me. There was a rule that made it more complicated for me to stop the ball: you only could use the right side of the stick. I was very confused why, but that is how the game is played. On top of that, the girls taught me that there are many ways to pass the ball, depending on where you are located on the field.
I play football for the school, and football is a very aggressive sport. I didn’t think there would be much contact in field hockey, but I was very wrong. The team was very aggressive with how they played, which was a good thing. At points in practice when I was playing defense, I would run up to steal the ball from an offensive player, but then got scared because they would hit the ball so hard. It actually made me jump out of the way a few times.
Field hockey was an exhilarating experience for me. I learned a lot of new things about the sport. I still don’t think I got any better, but I learned how to play. I would have to say my favorite thing about playing field hockey was playing offense, because I liked the way the girls and I went down the field, moving quickly, passing to each other and trying to get the ball in the goal.
Field hockey has always been something that has caught my eye because of how aggressive the girls play, but I never knew how difficult of a sport it really is. Many times I would see girls running towards me like they were a lineman trying to knock me on my tail or with their sticks swinging in the air like they were going to break my legs. It was a rough day and a completely new experience. I would even say I was manhandled out there.
When I first arrived at the field, I thought it would be a walk in the park, but I was very wrong. We started off with the basics, which I was already struggling with, and it definitely didn’t help that my field hockey skills were horrendous. There was a specific pass that you are supposed to hit with a lot of force; however, I was unsuccessful with that and just ended up embarrassing myself by missing the ball on every swing.
It was time to see what we had. Nico, Matt and I were able to see what it’s like to play both offense and defense. I for sure wasn’t a fan of offense. I had to get used to passing and stopping the ball with the correct side of the stick. Then, I had to deal with someone running at me and stopping me in my place, eventually being swarmed by other girls. This may sound like a great time, but not when they’re trying to take a ball away from you at full force.
Defense was my favorite part of field hockey because that wasn’t too different from playing defense on the football team. Finding the person with the ball and containing your area was the message for defense, and if you did your job right, no one would score. Overall, I speak for the boys when I say that it was a fun experience and a great way to stay active. We are thankful that we were given the opportunity to practice with the field hockey team.