10 Things That Selectors & Coaches Look For In Field Hockey Players

I am often asked what selectors and coaches look for in field hockey players in order to get selected into a team. In this post I answer this question by providing a range of qualities that most coaches look for.

These can vary from coach to coach but here are some of the most common things that I have come across in my own personal experience, not just as a player but also having worked with many coaches.

And it’s what I look for in players too.

10 Things That Coaches & Selectors Look For in Field Hockey Players

1. Good basics

This is an absolute essential in any sport. I am not talking about having the fanciest or latest and greatest skills, I am talking about being able to receive the ball under control and being able to pass the ball accurately and timely.

Those are the two most basic skills in field hockey and you will be surprised how far you can go with just those two under your belt. Master these before adding fancy stuff.

2. Great communicators

As you know hockey is a team game which means it requires a good level of communication. Too many players either don’t talk enough or the ones that do tend to be overly critical or negative and are not effective in getting their message (with good intentions) across.

If you want to get more from the coach or players on your team, you have to learn not just what to say but how to say things to get the response or outcome you want. Likewise, you also have to be willing to learn, listen (most important part of communication) and you have to be coachable

3. Team player

Every team has at least one player that thinks they need to hold onto the ball or dribble through the whole team. Yes they might get through 5 players 1 time out of 10 but it is a team game and other people also want to play.

You have to have trust in your team mates and work together to achieve success. If you want an individual sport go and do a marathon or swim. Teams achieve more than individuals.

4. Mental Toughness

Having skills and natural ability is only one piece of the puzzle BUT it’s not enough on it’s own. Too many people don’t work on their mental toughness and struggle to deliver in the games that count. This can be due to things such as fear of failure, panicking under pressure, frustration or anger getting in the way, etc.

Mental toughness is being committed, persistent and staying motivated when things don’t go your way. This is tested when things are against you, not when things are going well. How do you react to setbacks like injury, getting dropped, not being selected, negative feedback, etc?

Just like all of these skills, mental toughness can also be developed.

5. Confidence

I have seen some of the best players with a great range of skills and excellent technical ability but have missed out because they doubted their ability, lacked confidence and didn’t believe in themselves.

This is one of the most important aspects of excelling in sport. If you’re not as confident as you should be then understand that it can be taught. This is the area that I specialise in so if you need help with your confidence then you can reach out to me here

6. Decision Making

In sport we make instinctive decisions in the unconscious part of the brain (or we should anyway) and this is largely affected by our state of mind. If you feel under pressure or fear making mistakes you will more likely make the wrong decision.

You have to learn how to manage emotions and have a calm and in control state of mind. When you are in the zone, things slow down and seem to be so easy, that is what you want to be able to do on command. And I can teach you how to do that.

7. Consistency

One of the key components to success is the ability to deliver consistent performances from game to game. How many games out of 10 are you happy with your performance?

Consistency is down to several factors but a large part of consistency comes from both mental and physical preparation. What do you do to ensure you deliver your A game?

8. Good Fitness Levels

As I’ve mentioned so many times before, fitness is such a huge part of field hockey. It is a demanding game on your body so you have to have a physically sound and durable body to keep up with the game. Get tired and your opposition could get one over you.

Most teams lose the game in the last 5-10 minutes through fatigue so coaches want fit players that can see through the whole game and keep working right until the end.

9. Speed

This is especially true for attacking players, but is also very useful for defensive players too, especially as they need to keep up with forwards who are generally the quicker players in teams. Speed can create dangerous attacks and leave the opposition wondering how you scored that goal.

10. Good Vision

The ability to see a through pass, read the game and anticipate what will happen next is such an important one but it is not easy to teach. Fortunately you can develop the ability to improve your vision by training your eyes with visual exercises.

Sports Vision Expert, Dr Zoe Wimshurst has helped us put together this part of our training program


Understand that being a great hockey player is not just about having great skills, beating players and possessing technical ability, that is one ONE part of the game.

If you would like to develop into an all round great hockey player then you need to be working on these other factors too.

The next step is to get access to our “8 Steps To Reach The Next Level in Hockey” FREE EBOOK and VIDEO below

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About The Author

Lauren Penny

Lauren is a former International Hockey Player, Performance Coach & Mentor specialising in helping hockey players to be more confident, improve their fitness and perform more consistently to get noticed and reach higher teams.