Discovering The Most Efficient Field Hockey Dribbling Drills
Dribbling is the most spectacular skill in field hockey. It is one of the must have drills for attackers, yet midfielders will also need it for those times they swipe up. Even as a defender, knowing how to dribble can come in handy at times, although most of your job will be to take the ball out of your area.
Some say that dribbling is an innate skill – you are born with it. Some others claim that you can train it. The truth is that every skill can be taught, yet it takes lots of work and dedication. Dribbling makes no exception either – you might have it in your blood, but you still have to train it anyway.
There are quite a few field hockey dribbling drills you can try on in order to strengthen such skills. At the same time, some dribbling types are more popular than others. Once you get to understand how they work, becoming a top player is only a matter of time.
So, what are the most popular field hockey dribbling drills to try?
The Indian dribbling
The Indian dribbling was initially brought in by Indians. It brought them world dominance due to this unusual type of dribbling that everyone was surprised by. In fact, it was almost impossible for defenders to keep up with an attacker who could perform this dribbling. It almost looked like the ball was stuck to the stick. For this reason, Indians managed to win plenty of trophies and tournaments – lots of Olympic gold medals too.
The Indian dribbling was taken to another level by Major Dhyan Chand. During his peak years, tournament officials used to cut his stick open, only to ensure that it had no magnets or similar enhancements to help him cheat – he was that good.
In theory, the Indian dribbling is easy to perform. You need to keep the dominant hand at the bottom of the handle and the other one at the top. The dominant hand will face the opponent player, while the other one will face your body. You will use the dominant hand to support the stick and the other one to rotate the stick. It sounds easy, right?
As you move the ball from one side to another, you also rotate the stick, only to ensure that you have perfect control. Move the ball to the right and your hands should slightly face the other way around. As you move the ball, you gently move the stick on top of it and move it on the other side, so you can stop it.
After many years of studying this type of drilling, many coaches have reached a common conclusion – the secret stays in how you rotate the stick. It is in your natural instinct to rotate both hands around the ball. The dominant one will slightly move. As for the other hand, it will be exclusively used to perform the rotation.
Other than that, you do not need to focus on turning the ball only. Instead, you must keep an eye on control too. You have to feel the ball. From this point of view, training will target more aspects simultaneously.
To perform this drill by the book, start without moving. Focus on the rotation of your hand and keeping the ball there. Move it slightly from right to left and left to right in front of you. As you get used to it, you can implement slight movements in and go on from there.
One versus one move through channels
This is one of the simplest dribbling drills out there. There are no sophisticated moves or fancy dribbling ideas, but just the basics. In fact, despite the Indian dribbling being the most popular type of dribbling out there, this is the basic one that every attacker or midfielder should master first.
For this drill, you will need a partner. You can both train on chasing and dribbling skills simultaneously. The setup is relatively simple – put cones across or down the field and create a few different lanes – minimum three of them. Each lane should be around six foot wide.
The player who has the ball needs to move up a lane and try to reach the other side of the lane. The other player will be at the other end waiting – playing as a defender. Whenever the defender is in the same lane as the attacker, the attacker will need to change lanes. You can run in any direction, as long as you do not run backwards. The defender must try to always be in the same lane in order to prevent the attack.
When the attacker reaches the end, the pair can start the drill again, but not without changing positions.
This drill is mostly about keeping an eye on the opponent and their moves while moving from one lane to another between cones. In an ideal case, as an attacker, you should change direction as soon as the defender ends up in your lane. Even better – try to anticipate their moves and keep changing continuously.
At this point, other tricks and skills become irrelevant, so do not waste time with unnecessary Indian dribbling or other tricks.
Cone dribbling is one of the most popular field hockey dribbling drills. In fact, it is so efficient and simple that it is applied to pretty much any sport that involves a ball, including football. The best part about it? You can train by yourself. You do not need anyone to help you out or team up with, just like you do not need any machines to pass you the ball.
As a general rule of thumb, you should go with at least 10 cones. More is not necessarily better, yet 20 cones would be a good idea too. There should be about a foot between two consecutive cones. If you are completely new to field hockey, you can start with a longer distance – two feet. As you gain experience, you can reduce it to one foot only.
All you have to do is go between the cones – first one to the left, second one to the right and so on. Feel free to use both sides of the stick. At the same time, it is imperative to do it as quickly as you can. Besides, you must keep the ball under control while dribbling or the whole thing is in vain.
While this move makes one of the best dribbling drills, many players use it to warm up as well. If you arrive too early, you can do it while warming up and getting ready. You may also see players practicing with imaginary cones while waiting to get on the pitch.
Teasing the cone
When it comes to teasing the cone, you practically tease a defender from the opposite team. This is a common drill to train speed, agility and drilling and it involves a few simple steps. Practically, you move the ball close to the cone, but you cut it back quickly. If the cone would be a defender, you could trick them into challenging you while moving around them.
What do you have to aim for? Speed. This is the element that makes all the difference in the world. It might look like you are fast, but you are not. It takes time to get there. Besides, you must be in control at all times, so do not let the ball go away.
To get even better, learn to do this while keeping your head up. If you can feel and control the ball without looking at it, you are a winner. On a second note, most experts recommend using quick feet. This way, you will be able to change direction in no time should you get under pressure.
Other Indian dribbling variations
The Indian dribbling is a classic move, but there are more variations of it. Two of them are more important though.
The forehand drag involves performing the Indian dribble outside of the foot corresponding to the dominant hand. The drill is even better if you also focus on keeping the head high to see what happens in front of you. Moreover, large drags can successfully take a defender out, hence their importance.
The body switch also relates to the Indian dribble and involves doing it while moving your body to the other side of a cone. You need quick feet to do it right – after all, you must switch the ball and move the body at the same time. There is nothing more confusing for a defender.
In the end, these are by far the most efficient field hockey dribbling drills out there. Take them one at a time and learn to master them. Begin with small and simple movements and advance as you gain experience – you will not be able to nail them from your first attempt, so do not even try.