Why Should I Play Field Hockey?


Kayli Watson (9th Grade), Staff Writer


What is so special about field hockey compared to other sports? Out of every sport why should I play field hockey? Determining “the greatest sport” is obviously opinion-based and mostly impossible to agree upon, but, in my opinion, it is field hockey. But why?

I asked these questions years ago before I played, and I can finally answer them. It is the pure joy of overcoming the obstacles and defeating the opposing team, all the while exerting all you have in the game to rise to the top. It is difficult and always will be, but when you are in the moment, it is the only thing that matters and can be an escape from school and personal troubles. If you want to get technical, it improves balance, endurance, coordination, strength, breathing, and your mind but it is more than that. It is a way to get out aggression, push your limits, build confidence, and make friends in the process. Although it is one of the most physically demanding sports, you will be glad you did it.

What even is it?

I could say it is racing up and down a field at full speed multi-tasking your way through the game to have a sweet victory with your team – but that is not the best way to explain all the elements of the game. Field hockey is a sport where you have a curved stick that you can only hit the small, hard but light ball with one side. You can hit it many ways such as drives, slaps, flicks, pushes, and scoops. There are positions such as defense, who is guarding the goal and tries to prevent the opposition near it; goalie, who blocks balls from the goal; forwards, who try to score on the opposite goal; and midfielders, who focus on offense and defense.

The numbers can change depending on circumstances, but you need at least 10 players to play outdoors in high school – including a goalie. You pass the ball from one to another to try to score on the other team. There is also air dribbling where you can balance the ball on the stick in the air while running, but once someone is in marking distance, they must drop the ball or else it will be a foul on dangerous play. You cannot hit the ball with your foot, neither can your foot hit the ball in any way; this will be considered a foul. In outdoor, we wear special goggles, a mouth guard, shin guards, and cleats.

The sport originally comes from a mixture of similar ancient games in England and is usually an all-girl’s sport. The objective of the game is remarkably like other sports and is quite simple in terms of trying to score more points them the opposing team, but it is a lot harder than it sounds.

Messed-Up Morals

Field hockey ethics are unique, for they say the biggest traits you need in the game are passion, grit, confidence, and optimism –  but the funny fact is that you also receive most of these traits while playing. You cannot build grit and passion much but others you will, over time. At first it feels like everyone is watching but, trust me, just keep your head up and focus on the game and your worries will disappear and through hard work your confidence will increase, not to mention the victories and improvements that will fill you with happiness that will seem like a shield from those monstrous troubles.

So, what should I go into field hockey with and how much of it? Here is where it gets tricky because if you go into field hockey with so much confidence, thinking that you will win every game and be the best, you will get disappointed when things go wrong and that can drive you downhill – but also it can help you get back up. Although you can decide not to do that, if you go into it with the worst attitude like things will fail you will not try, expecting failure, then you will receive failure in return. You need a balance. In the end, all you really need for field hockey is your equipment, confidence in yourself and your skills, patience, and a bit of passion, and that is the real recipe for success.

My Journey

Honestly, I joined field hockey, so I did not have to do cross country, but I found a love in that. Starting a new sport, you do not know is scary, and it is hard to choose which one. I have grown up in a family of runners. All my siblings did cross country and were great at it – except for me. Due to not wanting this badly I decided to look at other sports. I had never heard of field hockey for most of my life and almost forgot it existed, until 8th grade when I thought it would be fun and joined as a forward. During practices, I got in my head about who was watching me and that I was going to fail so much that I self-sabotaged myself – and sometimes I still do. I was always terrified of what other people thought, but once I stepped on the field during a game and the whistle blew, I used it. It started to be an escape from the outside world. After the season I did indoor, but I was worse than terrible. I did not understand the game anymore and everything was sped up.

We did not have a goalie. I think you can tell where this is going but during tournaments, we swapped people for goalie even though none of us had done it before. I did it although I did not want to. The game changed again. It was not about being aggressive and the way you hit the ball. Everything became strategy. I was surprisingly not bad at goalie and decided to do that for about 2 tournaments – 6 or 7 games. When I went back to outdoor field hockey, my focus stayed. I had a different view then I did the last outdoor year. That is when I became defense. I have been defense ever since – but who knows, maybe I could go back to goalie or try midfield in the future. What I am trying to say is the game is not just straightforward; you must do this and be this to be good. Of course not. There are many opportunities for who you are that can always change. You do not have to stick to the same thing, and it can be hard sometimes, but it is worth it.

Kate’s Journey

“My journey through field hockey started when my Mom mentioned that there was going to be a CCPS league for girls ages 9-13. I was not as interested in it at first until I realized that my friend Kayli was going to do it, then that made me want to do it since I would have a friend. Let me tell you, after the first practice, I was in love. I felt as if field hockey was the sport for me. It was an extremely enjoyable sport that I loved playing. Once the coach introduced positions, I was interested in playing offense, therefore I chose to play forward. I enjoy playing forward a lot because I like to move quickly around the field. My feet move quickly, too, so it helps. I am good at offense in field hockey and when I am good at something I tend to enjoy it. I like to overcome my barriers and find ways to get the ball down the field, so forward was a good fit for me anyway. I really enjoyed doing it in middle school, so I decided to try out for the Huntingtown High School field hockey team. Luckily, I ended up making the team and have been enjoying every practice and game ever since. Overall field hockey is extremely enjoyable, and the team is amazingly nice and fun to play with.”

What’s to love?

As you can see, both of us love the game, but we also have varied reasons to love it.  Most others started playing because of their sisters, parents, or friends, like me but most do not have the same view of why they like it. One teammate even said, “I play and love this sport because it’s a major source of exercise, but it’s also a social outlet and helps people get out of their shells and practice social skills.” She likes the social aspect while others only come to play and/or started to follow in the legacy of sister or mom and some came for new skills. She also liked the fact of using our muscles for an objective as a source of exercise. Everyone has different views of why they like the game. So, what will make you like the game?

Field Hockey vs. Soccer

One question I get a lot is “Why should I play it compared to other sports?” or even “How hard is compared to other sports?” Well, it is not too hard, but I am here to compare it to one of the most well-known sports. Soccer. Now the age-old question is “which is harder soccer or field hockey?” More people know of soccer and it’s more appealing because they have played when they were younger – so why not play that instead? Although many would answer “soccer” it’s very controversial. Skill wise, soccer is might be easier. That would be why children play it from such an early age. Stamina wise, however, they should be about the same, though a soccer field is slightly larger. Soccer is a longer timed game, almost double to a field hockey game but bending down and the movements of field hockey can make it harder to play for extended periods of time. Field hockey has different hits, skills such as air dibbling, maneuvers, and more – so for the winner for skill most would say field hockey. Another great reason you should play is because due to the smaller pool of players, there are a lot more opportunities in college and beyond then most other sports, including soccer.

Now, what do you think? Field hockey or soccer, which will you choose?