How to get involved in playing hockey
Useful advice on getting started in hockey
Hockey is a fast-paced sport that offers a fun and competitive way of keeping your body fit and healthy. There are hundreds of hockey clubs popping up every year and these cater for all levels, from hockey beginners through to serious professionals. It may be daunting to find the right kit to buy and the right club for you, so here’s the realbuzz.com guide on how to get started in the world of hockey.
There are plenty of clubs out there able to accommodate newcomers to the sport of hockey and many of these can be found by surfing the internet or contacting the governing bodies for the area in which you live. The heart of the game in the UK is found within the thriving club structure and there are more than 1,050 clubs in England alone, of varying size and ability.
Many of these clubs operate smaller versions of hockey such as mini-hockey, for beginners, or indoor hockey to build up players’ skills and fitness. Then, once you’ve mastered the basics you can move onto the full scale version of the game by joining a fully-fledged hockey team.
UK hockey team contacts
The England Hockey website has a list of useful contacts for finding a hockey club in your area. They can be contacted by writing to the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, Near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1RR (tel: 01628 897500).
In Scotland, contact the Scottish Hockey Union at: Scottish Hockey, 589 Lanark Road, Edinburgh, EH14 5DA (tel: 0131 453 9070).
In Northern Ireland, contact the Ulster branch of the Irish Hockey Association at I.H.A. OFFICE, Newstead, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin(tel: 01 716 3261).
In Wales, contact the Welsh Hockey Union, which can be found at Sport Wales National Centre, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, CF11 9SW (tel: 029 2078 0730).
Finding the right hockey kit
Getting started in field hockey is relatively inexpensive with players requiring only a few essential items of kit.
- The hockey stick. Clearly, different lengths of stick are required for male and female hockey players. It’s best to try a few out before buying the one that best suits your personal height. One side of the head of the hockey stick is always entirely flat and the other side is rounded.
- The hockey ball. Hockey balls are easy to buy and are generally reasonably priced, made of cork and twine and covered with strong plastic. It might be an idea to get one for practising your skills on the lawn in the early days of your training.
- Protective gear. Hockey can be a fast-paced and occasionally dangerous sport, with a hard ball often being hit with ferocious speed. It’s therefore a good idea to play safe and buy some protective gear such as shin pads and a mouth guard. They might just save your shins and teeth one day …
- If you’re planning on becoming a hockey goalkeeper, extra kit is required such as a strong helmet and — for safety purposes — knee and shin pads, ankle pads, thick goalie gloves and stoutly protected footwear.