Are There Different Ways To Play To Help Cater For Large Numbers?

GB Women With Gold Medals Rio 2016
With the success of the Great Britain women’s hockey team winning gold at the Rio Olympics, clubs are likely to see an increase in both adults and young people wanting to play the sport as a result.
Are you looking to increase the number of people who can play hockey at your club? Players have fed back that they are increasing looking for a variety of different ways to play hockey to fit around increasingly busy lifestyles. 

Below is some information to help support vlubs to structure their learning environments most effectively to help inspire more, better and happier players.

How can small-sided hockey help your club?
  • Increase the numbers: Splitting your pitch into thirds as opposed to two halves means that you can increase the number of players playing at any one time by circa 50%
  • Flexible rules: Although we are suggesting playing six-a-side, you can play the game with the number of players available. The game can be played with or without goalkeepers and the rules can be adapted depending on the audience
  • Great for training: People fundamentally love playing games! The culture of hockey is moving towards one which has an emphasis on ‘games not drills’.  If your club is struggling with sourcing a coach to lead a session then organising small sided games could be the perfect way to keep people playing
  • Increased time on the ball: Reducing the amount of players per side increases the average amount of time players have on the ball compared to the 11-a-side version of the game which players have fed back helps to develop their abilities
  • Feels like hockey: 93% of current hockey players have fed back that the 6-a-side version of the game feels like an authentic hockey experience
5 aside Infographic

How can you cater for additional players?
Clubs have fed back that they want to be able to quickly and cheaply split their pitch up and cater for more player. Here are some ideas as to how to do so: 
  • Use throw down lines to mark out scoring zones.  They are low cost, can be used for wider hockey coaching and can but put down and taken up very quickly!
  • Cable ducting can be a low cost way of adding barriers between pitches which can be easily stored at the side of the pitch when not in use
  • Think about how much space your players require, could Back to Hockey or junior sessions take place on a quarter of a pitch?
Small Sided Image
How can you get started? 
  • Players want to ultimately play the game they love and recognise. Look to keep the authenticity of the rules and adapt them according to the audience playing, i.e. shorter games for novice players and fewer rules/players-a-side for younger people
  • Using a rectangular scoring zone measuring from the injection spots means you can quickly set them up and they are a similar distance surface area wise to a ‘D’/ Circle
  • Maximise the pitch time you have by playing in short sharp bursts (10 minute quarters), players will get a more intense work out with small sided games 
  • ‘Challenges’ are a great way to keep the game flowing for any offence caused within the ‘scoring zone’ which would normally equate to a penalty corner, for example:
    • One attacking player starts with the ball around 5 meters outside the scoring zone.
    • If you have a goalkeeper they start on the goal line, if not start with a defending player around 3 meters inside the scoring zone.
    • Position all other players on the half way line, as soon as the attacking player moves with the ball these players can re-engage with the game.
Hockey Hub
For more support on how to structure your learning environments to reflect the Golden Thread and inspire more, better and happier players register on the Hockey Hub.

As a club, you can speak to your local Relationship Manager who can help you develop and inspire your coaches and volunteers.