7 Factors That Make A Great Field Hockey Midfielder

Want to know what it takes to be a great midfielder?

Rather than just share my own thoughts, I thought it would be better to ask a few trusted individuals who have reached the top level (i.e. international) either as a midfield player or as a coach.

Knowing each of them personally I can tell you that these people truly understand what it takes to be a great midfielder so listen up…

Based on their responses here is a breakdown of these 7 factors.

Other posts in this series:

What Makes A Great Field Hockey Midfielder?

#1: Ability To Change The Game

Former South African u21 Junior National Coach Andi Bernstein suggests the best way to change a game is to develop the ability to break through oppositions defensive line.

“This can be done by accelerating into space and carrying the ball in front so that you can look up and make better informed decisions.”

Former South African International Illse Davids adds that: “it’s the ability to connect with strikers and make defensive splitting passes.”


Illse Davids, former SA International has exceptional vision often splitting defensive lines

#2: Ball Protection

Former u21 National Coach, Andi Bernstein

Former u21 National Coach, Andi Bernstein

Andi believes that midfielders need to have the ability to protect the ball especially when being pocketed, while Illse says that keeping possession under pressure is a crucial part of playing in midfield.

There is often not much space for midfielders so they have to be strong and confident on the ball.

#3: Use of 3D skills

Aerial skills or what’s commonly known as 3D skills are also useful for midfielders to get out of  tight defensive zones under pressure and to complete a pass or even to change the line of attack.

#4: Having A Presence

According to Double Olympian, Shelley Russell it is a relentless work rate to have a big presence in both attack and also defence. She says that “having control and good decision making is what sets a great midfield apart from the rest.”

#5 – Speed in Attack

Shelley also spoke about the importance of midfielders using speed in attack to break away quickly. This is something Shelley does exceptionally well as a midfielder, often beating players around the outside with her speed.

Shelley Russell in action

Shelley Russell in action against GB using her speed

#6 – Organisation & Communication

This entails being able to setup a defensive press and the ability to get players around them to setup according to the teams game plan. A large part of this is about having clear communication and letting players know where they need to be.

#7 – Good Vision

Having good vision is important when it comes to making good decisions on the field. Great midfielders seem to have so much time and space on the ball because they get into good positions by identifying where the space is.

If you’re a midfielder, hopefully you’ve found this helpful.


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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.