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I'm a new Varsity head coach and don't know what I'm doing

Hi all- I am 37 years old. I played field hockey for 3 years only (in high school). As you can imagine, I'm not very good/experienced. I was a competitive soccer player which made me good enough athletically to play field hockey but anyway, the point is: I never played field hockey at a high level.I now find myself in a head coaching position. (Long story-I did coach some field hockey some years ago and had a blast but it was a while back). Anyway, I have three assistant coaches who aren't much more experienced than I am. Our high school program is VERY weak and so nobody really steps up to coach there.Basically, my question is: what do I do? I have some girls who have played but not much. Then I have girls who literally don't know how to hold their stick and are quite I athletic. We barely have enough girls to field a team. As for drills, I'm trying to use this site but if you were in my position, what specifically would you be doing with these girls so they don't lose 7-0 every game? Right now, I'm focusing on body control and comfort with the ball- (we are playing possession and they are so uncomfortable they just hit the ball away because they don't have the skills to hold). Any help you can give is greatly appreciated!Brooke
Asked using Sportplan Mobile App

Hi there,

It sounds like you've got quite the task on your hand! 

Firstly, I think you need to decide whether you are looking for a quick fix, or a long term solution. You can rather find ways to limit the scoreline (quick solution) or attempt to input good techniques and strategies that may come at an early cost (long term).

If you are looking to limit the scoreline from 7-0 to something less demoralising, and your team aren't very confident on the ball, then a possession strategy may not be the best way forward. Instilling confidence into new players enough that they will be comfortable on the ball when a player is rushing at them takes time, and needs to be nurtured at training. You may have to look to play your stronger players down the center of your team, who will look to channel the ball out wide when defending, and who can help link the play up when in possession.

If you feel that this could be a long term project, then looking to play a possession strategy could work. Since possession Hockey should look to limit the length of time a player is carrying (dribbling), improving passing and stopping techniques is key. If you can get to a point where your girls can play 3 touch Hockey, in which they are passing a MAXIMUM of 10 metres, you will be on to a real winner.

Regardless of which way you want to go, ensure your team know the importance of solid line to goal defending, and that they are all working towards one defensive press. 

There's a lot above, but one thing that will really help is surrounding yourself with Hockey - and with the Olympics on there's no better time. USA Women's are certainly one to watch, as there off the ball pressing is arguably the best in the world!

Let me know your thoughts on the above,


Hi there also,

I agree with Josh above, you need to consider what you want to do.  I coach the same sort of team as yourself, most of girls pick up a stick at 13 years old and then the school expects me to have them at high standards with no turf or facilities to do so (I'm a full time teacher that just loves Hockey).  I do have quite a few years playing at top grade and with players who played at top levels.

For this season - however long you have, I would concentrate on basics.  We have four weeks left in our season and my girls will tell you that I have basics in my team talk and at the start of each practise.  Give good ball (I had a coach who always said "Don't pass your crap on"), so decent passing, and trapping (soft hands).  Get them dribbling through cones nothing wrong with indian dribble through cones, and just getting them comfortable with stick on ball as well.  Just go right back to basics.  

When it comes to game time, set the girls goals to achieve, e.g. if/when on defence every opposition is marked goal side, and where they go, your player goes.  Protect the middle at all costs, and set the goal for the girls to make sure they force the opposition wide when entering your defensive circle.  Set little goals for the girls and make trainings fun, I often start with different types of games - mine enjoy five minutes warm up of football to get them into space.  Oh and Force Back.

Good luck with the team


Line to goal to defending is as follows:

Imagine you put a pole in the center of the goal line (indicated by the red cone) and tied a rope from one end of this pole to your defender. Your defender plays line to goal as long as they follow the ball in an arc shape i.e. if the ball was hit perfectly at this post, your defender would always have the opportunity to stop it.

By instilling this defensive approach, the opposition team can never take the most direct route to goal, and must use their skills to go around your defenders, giving you more opportunities to win the ball back!

Line to Goal Explanation

Ok, I think I've got it. I have been working on channeling the attack to the outside and avoid the middle of the field. 

Answered using Sportplan on Mobile

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  • search our library of 1000+ hockey drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans