Discovering The Best Field Hockey Warm Up Drills For Any Team
Just like in any other sport, warming up is essential in field hockey. It makes no difference if you are getting ready for a training session or an actual game – warming up will keep your muscles and joints ready for some action.
Warming up is important during a game too. Sure, all players will do it prior to the game. But then, if there are players who will take a break or spend some time sidelined, chances are they must keep warm for unexpected situations when they need to get in.
Warming up can be done in a few different ways. Some players choose some basic fitness exercises, such as jogging or stretching. It does help and it does keep the joints warm. But on another hand, warming up specifically for field hockey is even better.
So, what are the best field hockey warm up drills?
Warming up circuit
This warming up circuit is the type of exercise you perform prior to a game or a training session. It is more comprehensive and not suitable for sideline warming up. It involves a more sophisticated setup, lots of space and an intense workout.
You will need some sticks and cones for the entire setup. First, lay out about eight sticks about three feet one from another in a straight line. Second, come up with a second straight line with six sticks. Then, get five cones and arrange them in a zigzag formation. You will also need ladders or pair of cones – six pairs of two cones close together. There should be a foot between each pair. Finally, get another 12 cones in pairs – three feet between each pair. Place a stick on each pair.
Now that the setup is ready, players must go through each of the six scenarios and perform a particular type of exercise. On the first one, players need to run in and out of those sticks. On the second one, players have to jump over sticks. They must keep their feet together and do it from one side to another – left to right, then right to left and so on.
On the third scenario, players must run around the cones in the zigzag formation. They have to touch the cone with the inside hand. On the fourth one, they have to touch the pitch with a foot between every space. As for the last scenario, they need to run between the pairs while jumping over the sticks.
When the entire circuit is over, players must run back to the first scenario and do it again. Repeat the circuit about five times and everyone should be ready for the game or training session. This is one of the most complete field hockey warm up drills because it warms everyone up and gets the body ready.
Vision and talking
Once the bodies are warm and ready to go, you also need to get ready for the actual game – sticks and balls. The above mentioned circuit works for pretty much any sport – it is just as handy before gym. However, when it comes to field hockey, you must do specific warm up drills too.
When it comes to vision, talking and quick decisions, this drill will get your players ready for a good game. Spread the entire team inside one half of the pitch. Throw three or four balls in, depending on how big your team is. If you get ready for a weekend game with friends and your team is small, you might as well opt for two balls. There have to be at least two games.
Pass the balls one at a time to random players. Throw all the balls in and have your players pass balls to anyone. Balls will come to and from all directions, so they must pay attention to multiple aspects simultaneously. This kind of drill will create lots of activity, talking and fun.
It is not just a game of fun. Players must keep talking to each other, move off the ball and always get ready to receive the ball. They should get rid of it straight away – no time wasting. Preferably, it should be a classic one touch game. The exercise should go on for about five minutes.
If you want to stimulate decision making too, move the entire team inside the circle. Space is limited, so they will have to be more active and careful.
The train line is a general warm up drill. It can be performed for every sport. At the same time, it can be done on the side of the field too, while players are sidelined. Basically, you need a line of four or five players, one behind the other.
They go jogging in the line, yet the back player will have to move to the front of the line. They should not sprint to do it, but just jog a bit faster than the others. It is an ongoing run, so the back player will always be on the move. As for the first player, they decide how fast to run and where to do it.
Performing this drill for five to 10 minutes is more than enough to get your players warm and ready.
Full warm up session
Whether you take this as a full warm up session or a proper fitness workout, it will most likely get your players ready for a game. At the same time, it will not wear them out, so they can still perform at a high intensity.
This is one of the full field hockey warm up drills – as in you do not need anything else to get ready.
Start with a couple of field laps. You should do it at a slow run. Make sure you turn around and run sideways or backwards too. Lift the knees, kick your heels, just do it slowly to get into the mood.
Once you are done with the laps, stretch for around 10 minutes. Most stretches are static, but you can also implement some dynamic exercises. All in all, try to stretch every part of your body, including the upper part.
Go back to running and perform five short runs – not more than 75 feet. Start at 50% effort and move towards a speedy sprint. The exercise will take a couple of minutes. Do the same distance in five runs, but in zigzag. You should run at 75% effort in zig zag – it gets your joints ready for more effort.
Warming up for goalkeepers
Goalkeepers have more specific drills. Sure, they can do the fitness part along with everyone else. They need to feel warm, stretched and ready for some action. After all, their fitness effort is limited during a game, hence the importance of warming up properly to keep their reflexes good.
But then, when it comes to specific training, they have more particular demands. Apart from the fitness elements, goalkeepers require flexibility and power. Flexibility is achieved with lots of stretching. Their explosive power is achieved with warming muscles.
Now, before an actual game, attackers and goalkeepers must team up and train each other up. Attackers can try their shooting skills, while goalkeepers will have to do full sessions in the goal to hone their skills and get their reflexes ready.
This is a classic, yet extremely efficient field hockey warm up drill. It is common in plenty of sports out there and it involves using up to 10 cones. Set them straight in a line or in a zigzag and have players run around them for up to 10 minutes. Once done, have them do it again while trying to keep close ball control.
Not only does it warm them up, but it also hones their ball control skills.
As a short final conclusion, field hockey warm up drills can be quite diversified. They vary from one coach to another. They vary from one team or individual to another. If you are not a coach but just training yourself and your friends, you can do anything that works for you – anything that will get you in good condition for a game.
As a general rule of thumb, a good warm up session will start at a low intensity. It requires a gradual progression from general fitness and warming up to more specific actions. These actions will initially be related to field hockey, but at some point, you need to specialize the warm up according to a player’s position.
Players who take some time off during a game or spend long periods of time on the sideline might need to perform even more warm up exercises every once in a while or a few minutes before going in. As for the above mentioned drills, they are general and can be successfully implemented into everyone’s training.