Transform your
team's season with
professionally
planned sessions

Use our expert plans or build your own using our library of over 1000+ drills, and easy-to-use tools.

Should we play differently on real grass?

Playing field hockey on real grass not turff. Any advice as to good tactics, more running with the ball rather than passing game?

I've scheduled more games this year on our turf, but have coached girls for years on grass and continue to practice on grass as well. The hardest thing to do on grass is receive the ball. There are many techniques and strategies for playing on grass, but here are just a couple of things to think about.

My girls know when they are on grass that they MUST receive the ball with the stick more verticle than horizontal. This way the ball will contact the stick if it hits a divot or tuft of grass and pops up.

The second thing to work on is getting players to move with the ball. Giving the ball time to settle down and become managable for reception is key in playing on grass.

Playing on grass still requires the same skill set as on turf, with some minor changes to positioning. I would practice on grass sometimes because full time junior turf players seem to find it hard to hit the ball in a golf swing style as opposed to flat sticking it.

Instill in the players that they need to position their body behind the ball to receive it and as Jason said with a more upright stick, also "soft hands". Make sure the playes are not poking at the ball as they recieve it, causing it to bounce forward and away from them. Get them to trap the ball by dragging the stick backwards so the ball comes to the stick- not the other way around. (ie imagine catching an egg, catch it firm it breaks, catch with your hands travelling  in the same direction and you catch without breakage).

Use their turf skills to enhance their grass play, passing/pushing/flatstick movement of the ball will still be faster than running with the ball. Get them to get more upright when tapping and their natural ability will come through

best of luck

I do a little bit of grass coaching still for a local school. My answer is to keep the ball moving - once it stops and becomes settled into the grass it is much harder for the younger players to get it going again and it descends into a hacking/hole digging event! I do lots of practises where they have to keep passing amongst a small group but they are not allowed to let the ball stop. There are several ways to enhance this - moving in and out of an area once they have made a pass, or giving one player the right to shoot at goal when they get the ball, adding one defender to intercept the passes, asking the group to travel through an area etc. I would also add that for young players, especially girls, on tufty grass a light ball is better as they can get much better distance on their passes and this helps to prevent them bunching close to the ball.

 

All sounds good - I somes choose to take a group of players to play on grass. Addsmore vaiety, can do some fun warm-ups and team awareness type games. Here's my view on some key points:

1. Vertical stop as above (but should also be on astro too)

2. More hitting versus pushing - careful on slap hits...

3. Use lots of 3D skills. Grass is perfect for this, i.e. a little chip and of course aerials

4. Players can also learn how to play a ball into space and also how to weight the pass, i.e. make the ball slow down for a player to run on to

Practicing on grass is very much a positive - good luck

Join now for free

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