It’s Never Too Early to Start Playing Field Hockey
When should you start playing field hockey? That’s an easy question. You should start playing whenever you want to begin learning. If you are young when that happens, great. If you are just about to graduate, then that is fine too. Even if you want to learn as an adult, you can. It is never too late to start playing.
However, this is not a post on it never being too late to start playing. It is about how it is never too early to start learning. So while this is going to focus on young players, do not be discouraged. You can just as easily play – and be good – if you start learning later.
Field Hockey Players Start Early
In another post, you learned that if you want to play in college, you almost have to start playing early. By the time you are a freshman in high school, you are already at the point where you want to start making contact with recruiters. But in order to be ready to start connecting with colleges, you have to actually be good enough to stand out to the recruiters. Which means you have to start playing way before that.
Even before a child is old enough to actually play field hockey, they can start learning. Even a baby can begin gaining an appreciation from the sport by watching with their parents when a game is on TV or even a live game.
By the time the child is old enough to start taking lessons, he or she will hopefully already have a love of the sport and at least a basic understanding of the rules and skills needed in order to play.
Even before the child is old enough to start playing on teams, they can begin to start taking lessons. If their parents know enough about the sport, this can be simple lessons in the back yard with a few friendly drills.
Later, the child may be able to go to a camp or get a trainer in order to intensify the lessons and really focus on learning and developing as a player. Field hockey camps allow players as early as eight-years-old to join and play.
Just remember, the important thing is to make it fun. If it is not fun, then your child will not want to play.
When Is the Prime Time for Playing Field Hockey?
David Bohr wrote an article for PennLive on the state of girl’s field hockey in the state of Pennsylvania. In it, he points out that a big problem with drumming up interest in the sport is that the girls start playing later in life – when they are around 12 to 13. Whereas they start participating in other sports at a much earlier age. They can kick a soccer ball around in the back yard when they are only three or four.
Because of this, they develop an interest in other sports and want to focus on those as they get older. If they started picking up field hockey at a younger age, then they are more likely to want to continue playing as they age.
While it is more common to start playing this sport in the pre-teen to early teen ages, it could be beneficial to start learning much earlier than that. The Field Hockey Forum has a thread on how old players were when they started. While there were many older responses, you will see many people in the 4-7 range.
In fact, Sports NGIN has a training manual for coaches with drills and practice methods. In it, there are entire sections of drills that are designed for young, beginning level players.
The point here is that while there is no official peak age for starting field hockey, the earlier you start, the more likely you are to stick to it (assuming you are not being forced into playing) and the better you are going to get, which also means your chances of getting on a college team are also increased.
In other words, start as early as you can.
Young Players Who Are Making Waves
To prove the point that young players are big in the world of field hockey, take a look at the profile of these three players, all very young.
Before the beginning of field hockey season, you can easily find lists of “field hockey players to watch” from many different sources, such as colleges, high school associations, and field hockey organizations.
The Big Ten did one such list at the beginning of the 2014 season, where they listed top players to watch. Two sophomores made the list.
· Stephanie Norlander, a player for Iowa
· Alyssa Bull, a player from Rutgers
However, in addition to the young players at the college level is the great players at the high school level. According to Max Sports Top 10 High School Players to Watch list of 2014, Madison Morano, from Voorhees, NJ, a junior, was the only non-senior to make the list, which included players from all over the country.
In order to get to this level of play and recognition, these players had to work hard for years. However, all the hard work pays off when you not only get to help your team reach its playing goals, but you get recognized for your achievements as well.
The Next Steps
Have you been convinced that you or your child can start playing field hockey? Great! Get out there and start learning. You can take lessons, try out for teams, go to camps, participate in futures, and try out for teams. Remember, no matter how old you or your child is, it is never too early to start playing this amazing sport.