Field hockey became a popular sport somewhere in the 19th century. Its popularity reached a certain point by the 20th century. You can find field hockey enthusiasts on pretty much any continent these days, yet the sport ceased to gain notoriety after a while.
Although it is not one of the top sports in the world, it makes a good activity every once in a while, whether you join a club, play it with friends or perhaps your family. It gives you a good workout, but it also boosts your competitive spirit.
We play field hockey in a group of 10. Well, basically, we are two families and a few couples joining us every once in a while. We are not professionals, but we do have some experience and we like to push our limits every once in a while.
It is not our main sport, as we also play tennis, football or volleyball, but overall, it is a great activity when the group is big enough. For this reason, we try to do it by the book – the right clubs, the best balls and so on.
While everyone focuses on the club, I believe choosing the best field hockey balls is just as important. Balls are often overlooked – terrible mistake though. Now, what are the best balls on the market and what makes them so special?
What to look for in field hockey balls
Choosing the best field hockey balls is not easy. Sure, they all look the same. Materials are similar, while colours are irrelevant. However, small details often make the difference when you buy something and field hockey balls make no exception.
At the same time, if you are not entirely convinced about their importance, research the market a little. You will find products rated two stars out of five, as well as products with a maximum rating. In other words, there are actual differences between balls and some of them can stand out in the crowd.
There are more types of balls out there. The dimple training ball is the most common one. Although it does not react as well as the smooth ball on Astro and sand pitches, it is the more common option. It was originally created to run smoothly on water-based pitches.
When it comes to colours, you have more options – orange, yellow, pink and white dominating the market. In my opinion, white is the best colour because you can see it in all lighting conditions. If you end up playing in competitions, you might have to use particular colours.
Training balls represent a different category. Their core is hollow, so they require certain care in really cold weather conditions. Match balls, on the other hand, tend to have cores. The core affects the overall weight. The lightest balls are the size of standard balls – even lighter. They are designed for newbies and children.
Unlike dimple balls, the smooth ones are great for sandy patches. They are smooth and to be honest, I find them to work perfectly on all kinds of pitches because they run with no issues at all. They add to the speed, as well as your strength.
We use smooth balls when we play indoors too, as they are suitable for floors.
All in all, with so many options out there, deciding on the best field hockey balls can be tricky. I recommend starting with newbie balls and getting more types as you gain experience. Choose the balls according to the pitch, not to mention your level of experience.
Now that you are aware of how to buy field hockey balls, what are the top-rated products out there?
Top 4 Field Hockey Balls
Coast Athletic Field Hockey Ball
Coast Athletic’s best field hockey balls might be the best option on the market. We found them to be efficient, smooth, fast and durable. They are available in two different colours – white and yellow. We have them both – we use the yellow one for really dark places or fields, such as when we play in the evening.
The ball is made of cork composite. It is lightweight – 160 grams, the official weight – and comes in the optimal size – 9 centimetres in circumference, the official size. Both white and yellow are competition in approved colours.
We use Coast Athletic’s balls for both practice and competitions – unofficial competitions, as we are not really experts. Given the smooth surface, these balls are not recommended for water-based pitches, as they lack direction.
- Official size and weight
- Suitable for training purposes and official competitions
- Available in a few different colours
- Made from durable materials
- You only get one ball in the package, no spares
Harrow Blister Pack Smooth Field Hockey Ball
Harrow is a front runner when it comes to field hockey accessories and its balls make no exception either. It creates some of the best field hockey balls out there. Its balls also meet FIH and NFHS specifications, so they are excellent for competitions and professional training.
Harrow provides great quality for money. While similar in prices to other brands, you get two different balls for the same money, so the actual cost for a ball is about 50% smaller. Both balls are smooth – excellent for sand-based pitches, as they can glide with no issues at all.
One of the balls is white, while the other one is a mix of various colours. The colourful one is alright for sandy areas, as you can spot it quite easily. I also liked the cork centre, which adds to the durability without adding too much extra weight. The ball is so good that even our kids love it.
- Excellent for training, amateurs and official competitions
- Great value for money – two balls in the package
- Cork core for durability
- Meets FIH and NFHS official requirements
- The colourful ball is not suitable for any kind of terrain, as it depends on field colours and lighting conditions
Champion Sports Field Hockey Practice Balls
We found Champion Sports in an attempt to boost our value for money. We kept losing balls, so we needed to cut our costs a little. Champion Sports has the best field hockey balls if you want to reduce your expenses, but without sacrificing quality standards and playability.
Believe it or not, there are not less than 12 different balls in a package that will not cost you too much. They come in different vibrant colours, so no matter where we play, we can find one that everyone can see. Even if one of them gets lost or hit out of bounds, we can get a replacement straight away.
Balls are made according to competition standards – official size. They also come with premium construction, so they are less likely to fail on you. They have light plastic shells and hollowed centres. I find them quite helpful, as I only need a good aim. The ball does everything else for me.
- Great value for money
- A ball for any kind of lighting conditions or field
- Superior design for durability and direction
- Multiple colours
- Not all colours are competition approved
Champion Sports NFHS Approved Official Field Hockey Game Balls
After browsing some of the best field hockey balls from Champion Sports, I think I know why they are so popular. You got quality balls, official specifications and big packs for little to no money – much better than buying one or two balls at a time.
This set has 12 balls in the pack – NFHS certified, hence their popularity among professional players too. Their centre is hollowed, while the shell is made of solid, yet lightweight plastic. They have great direction and power, so they do half the work for you.
Unlike other similar sets, this one comes in four colours only – three balls in each colour. They are, however, official, so you might as well take them on the field for competition. Besides, having a pack ensures that you never have to stop the game if one ball gets hit and lost.
- Balls are NFHS certified and come in the official size and weight
- Available in more official colours
- Durable construction with a boost in direction and trajectory
- Great value for money
- No dimple balls in the package
Bottom line, choosing the best field hockey balls is entirely up to you. Most people – including us – do it with value for money in mind. To me, what really matters is to have fun, so I choose quality, good construction and the optimal weight. I also want to keep my expenses low, as we tend to lose these balls.
As a side benefit, quality balls are also certified and approved for official competitions, which makes them even better for professional players.
Now that you are aware of what to look for and you know the top-rated products on the market, choosing the right set depends on you only.