It’s Never Too Early to Start Field Hockey (Part II)

When Is the Prime Time for Playing Field Hockey?

In an article about girl’s field hockey in the state of Pennsylvania, it stated that a big problem with drumming up interest in the sport is that the girls begin playing later in life at age 12 or 13.

In other sports, they start at a much earlier age. For example, girls kick a soccer ball around in the back yard at age 3 or 4.

Because of this, they have an interest in other sports and want to focus on those as they get older. If they begin picking up field hockey at a younger age, then they are more likely to want to continue playing as they get older.

Even before a child is old enough to play field hockey, they can start learning. Even a baby can gain an appreciation for the sport by watching a game with their parents.

While it is more common to begin playing field hockey in the pre-teen to early teen ages, it could be valuable to begin learning much earlier than that. The Field Hockey Forum has an article on how old players were when they started. While there were several older responses, you will see many folks in the 4-7 age range.

In fact, Sports NGIN has a training manual for coaches with practice and drill methods. In it, there are complete sections of drills that are geared towards beginning, young level players.

The point here is that while there is no formal peak age for starting field hockey, the earlier you begin, the more likely you are to stick with it and the better you are going to be, which also means your chances of getting on a college team (and a scholarship) are also increased.

To put it another way, begin as early as you can.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Field Hockey (Part I)

When should you start playing field hockey? That’s a simple question. You should start playing whenever you want to start learning. If you are young when that happens, good. If you are just about to graduate, then that is good too. Even if you want to learn as an adult, you can. It is never too late to begin playing.

Though, this is not a post on it never being too late to start playing. It is about how it is never too early to begin learning. So, while this is going to be about young players, do not be disheartened. You can just as easily play, and be good at it, if you begin learning later.

Field Hockey Players Begin Early

Kids playing hard

You learned that if you want to play in college, you should start playing early. By the time you are in high school, you are already at the place where you want to be making contact with recruiters. But in order to be ready to begin connecting with colleges, you have to be good enough to stand out to the recruiters, meaning you have to begin playing way before that.

By the time the child is old enough to begin taking lessons, she or he will with any luck have a love of the game and some basic understanding of the necessary skills and rule.

Even before your child is old enough to be playing on teams, they can start taking lessons. If you (the parent/guardian) know enough about the sport, there can be simple lessons in the back yard with a few drills.

Afterwards, the child can go to a camp or get a trainer in order to deepen the lessons and really focus on developing and learning as a player. Field hockey camps let players as early as 8 years-old to join and play.

Don’t forget, the main thing is to make it fun. If it’s not fun, then your child won’t want to play.

To Every Annoying Hockey Player Parent

You know who you are. You’re the one who knows everything, yet adds nothing.  You are the one who finds something wrong with everything, the coach, the players, the team as a whole. I am embarrassed that you wear the same logo as my son because your actions aren’t what I want being part of a sports team to teach him.

You probably don’t know this, but I stand off to the side for a reason. When the season is in full swing, the coach, who happens to be my husband, has to make decisions to give the team an advantage. It makes you mad when your son isn’t the center of attention. You need to ask yourself: are you here so your son can be a team member or you want personal glory?

I just want to know because we (parents and players) are here to play on a sports team. If personal glory is your goal, you might want to play tennis or golf?

The coach is the individual who makes decisions about this group, creating the best combinations of players. He isn’t here to put you and your son on display. Yes, your son is talented, but so is ever other child on the team, in one way or another.

My husband, the coach, spends his night coming up with exercises to help the weakest link on the team build up the self-confidence needed to contribute to the team. If I were a guessing woman, I would say that it’s the same child you bad mouth on your way home in your car.

And oh by the way, that child can hear what you are yelling out about him from the stands. With every negative, condescending thing you say, the coach (my husband) has to work a little harder to build back up the child’s confidence so he can play the game.

It’s sad that I need to remind you that these are children we are talking about.

Raising A Girl Hockey Player

My son was playing hockey at 5. Sometimes, he has a girl on his team.  In one instance during a game, he got hit by a girl hockey player so hard he grew a whole new perspective on what playing like a girl signifies. Now with a daughter who plays hockey, I feel like I am floating in muddy waters.

My daughter, who is 4, eagerly straps on her skates so she can begin playing. I don’t worry one bit.

However, every since she began hockey, it is clear that having a daughter who plays hockey is quite different than a son. But over the past two years, I’ve noticed that having a girl who plays hockey is a lot different than having a boy.

What is a Jill? I believed a jock strap had a specific job.  I didn’t know a girl needed a Jill.  And, that’s just for starters. Trying to get a pony tail in a helmet accurately is a work of art. The more my daughter’s love for hockey grows, the more I’m confused. I needed some guidance and got some from a fellow daughter hockey playing mother. I had a talk with her daughter and this is what she told me:

The biggest thing about playing hockey that made me who I am today is that hockey made me be physically and mentally tough. The difference between girls’ and guys’ hockey is when you watch a guys’ game, it seems like you’re watching boxing. Girl hockey games are more skillful. It’s about commanding the puck instead of fighting. But don’t be fooled. Just because girls aren’t supposed to check, doesn’t mean they won’t. They just make it difficult caught. One of the best things about hockey is to let your anger go while getting a good workout in. Girls can be just as physical as boys.