Why field hockey players MUST do strength training?

There is no doubt that field hockey fitness is vital to your success as a player. People often ask me for advice on how to get fitter and stronger for hockey but are generally concerned with the effectiveness and the risk of injury. My reply is that if you are a field hockey player and you want to improve your game then you should be doing strength training whether you are 40 or 14 years old.

Many kids who are always chosen for their age groups do not realise this until they are in the senior years and find they are getting pushed off the ball too easily or no longer a starting player. People say that hockey is not a contact sport but believe me you can be shoved off the ball without it being a foul, particularly as you play at the higher levels. You can be the most skilful player but if you don’t have strength to hold your own then you will be dispossessed time and time again.

I learnt this when I started playing in in the English Premier League for the first time and then a whole other level when I started playing at international level, playing against some of the best defenders in the world.

Studies have suggested that those who play sport (including kids) can really benefit from strength development as long as they learn the correct technique and allow enough time for their body to adapt. 

I have trained many adults who seem to have incorrect movements patterns, knee injuries, back pain and poor hip and ankle mobility. This is mainly due to the lack of any fitness and strength related training as a kid and never been taught how to move properly. Kids who are given the correct guidance become more confident and comfortable with their bodies and are more likely to continue exercising later on in life which has shown many health benefits, apart from hockey related benefits.

Some of the benefits of strength training for hockey include:

  •  Increased bone density
  •  Improved body image
  •  Lower risk of injuries
  •  Being stronger on the ball
  •  Hit the ball harder
  •  Improve performance

For many hockey players, the social aspects of sport are vital to maintaining their interest and enthusiasm for the game. If you are strong you are more likely to help your team and can offer more value to their team, which in turn increases your self worth and self respect.

It is essential that players looking to improve their performance with strength training get correct advice from a qualified professional on what they should be doing based on their age, ability level, position, goals and consideration is given to past training history including injuries.

The Hockey Performance Academy can help you to improve your hockey performance and strength training is just one element of that. If you are looking to learn more about get stronger as a hockey player, click here to find out about our training program which includes a detailed 16 week training plan plus advice throughout the season.

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.