We encourage all young players to come out to one of our practice sessions regardless of whether you’ve played once or never played before.  Our club coaches have the skill, experience and energy to teach any player from beginner to advanced.  Below is a sampling of some of the skills development drills we use during our structured practice sessions.  Based on the age group of the players (U10, U14, U19 - boys, and girls), the drill intensity and level is matched to challenge and enhance each player’s current skill levels.

youth development

phoenix scorpions field hockey club

  • Ball control drills
  • Short taps/slap between two players as fast as possible.
  • Star drill - using five cones with one player at each cone.  Quick passing, solid stops, pulls, then passes and follow-hits.
  • Stick pulls - each player pulls the ball from left to right equal to the whole length of his or her stick while shifting his or her body weight from one foot to the other.
  • Passing.
  • Corners drill - 3 players stand at 3 of four cones that make a box.  Players pass to each other flat and through, never at a diagonal.  This teaches this field direction, quick and solid stops, accurate passing, and quick reaction.
  • Triangle passing - 3 players pass up and down the length of the field while constantly cutting and rotating so that the player with the ball always has a flat and a through pass.
  • Four Corners drill with a defensive player added in the middle.  When the defensive player steals the ball, they rotate into the position of the player whom they stole the ball from.
  • 1/3 field 3v2; full contact play where there are 3 offensive players and 2 defensive players.  Offensive players focus on using triangle passing and dodging to score on defense while defense uses the angle defensive positioning to keep the ball away from the goal.  Defense focuses on always being at an angle between the player with the ball and the goal.  If the defensive player is beaten, they recover behind the other defensive player while remaining at an angle between the ball and the goal.
  • League Play; for two months twice a year we run a league where the youth are divided up into 4 or more teams for structured team practice. Main focus, Game Skills and Understanding
  • Cone drills; several different setups where the players are dribbling in and out of several cones (Indian dribbling as well as regular dribbling) and then dodging mock defensive players.
  • Dodging drills; mock cones are set up to dodge; left, right, left and right spin, back then around, and flicks.  Also done while two players dribble at each other and then perform the same pull, as they are one and a half feet from each other.
  • Passing.
  • Receiving on the go – the ball is hit to the player one at a time while they run down field.  The player must receive the ball on their stick on either their right or their left.
  • 4v2 Passing - players must pass to each other in a set formation while avoiding the defense.
  • Shots on goal and follow-up - players (3) pass to goal in triangle formation until close to goal.  Two of the players run into the goal to take position as either post or pads to receive the pass and score.  If necessary, a receiving player will dive to ensure a goal.
  • Game Play.
  • Marking - 6v6 within a box.  Defensive players mark the offensive players to keep them from scoring and to obtain a free hit.  They must focus on marking each offensive players and preventing them from receiving the pass.
  • Corners - players set up in corner formation on defense and offense and practice different plays to ensure that a goal scoring opportunity is created.
  • Channeling - a one on one drill where one player (offense) dribbles the ball down field along the sideline while trying to dodge the other player (defense) in order to dribble to the middle of the field.  The defensive player uses jabbing and their speed to contain the offensive player to the sideline and then try to take the ball away.  The defensive player must stay on the balls of their feet for proper containment.  If the player is caught flat-footed, it is easy for the offensive player to dodge the defense.
  • Freeze Frame Game Play - players scrimmage until the whistle is blown (for a foul or for a poorly executed ply); the coach reviews the proper way to execute a play or describes the foul and then resumes game play.
  • Scrimmaging - most practices end with 30 minutes of scrimmaging where we focus on the skills that we learned during the entire practice.
  • Before starting any sports practice or game, we make sure to run a thorough warm-up routine that gets players both physically and mentally ready to play. A good warm-up routine includes both a cardiovascular component such as running and a series of stretches that highlight the muscles used most during the sport in question.
  • The following field hockey warm-up drills are an excellent addition to any warm-up routine since they emphasize the basic skills of the game while getting the joints moving and the blood flowing to avoid later injury.
  • During our field hockey practices, we’ve replaced running laps with a 5-minute long version of freeze tag. Tag is an excellent way to get players running around while keeping their minds more active than if they were simply running laps around the field.
  • Once the cardiovascular section of warm-up is completed, it is time for the stretching.  We start with head rolls and neck stretches and work our way down the body to ensure we stretch each of the main muscle groups most used in hockey.  It is imperative that these steps are carried out before each game and practice.  Doing so will eliminate any chance of injury due to muscle pulls.
  • Hits and Misses.

Once we’ve completed stretching, it is time to begin the field hockey warm-up drills. When selecting drills for warm-up, we start with simple drills that emphasize the basic skills of the game without pushing players too far.

The first warm-up drill usually starts with basic hitting drills, since the hit is hockey’s most basic and important skill. For this drill, we divide each group into partners and have each player stand facing each other 10 feet apart.  For these practices, the emphasis is on perfect form. For example, when hitting it is important to make sure the player’s hands are firmly together near the top of the stick. Use the hands and wrists to bring the stick backwards, and the goal should be to hit the lower half of the ball when the stick is brought back down. Most important is to follow through with the stick after the hit. Another thing to remember is to keep the feet parallel to the direction you want the ball to go.

The next field hockey warm-up drills focuses on the push-pass. Using the same partners as before, each player stands anywhere from 20 to 40 feet apart while pushing passes to each other.

The form of the push-pass differs slightly from that of the hit. For the push-pass, players are to place their left hand near the top of the stick with the right hand further down. Keeping their eye on the ball with their knees bent, players are to shift their weight from the back foot to the front as contact is made with the ball. As with the hit, it is important to follow through completely. The follow through is complete when the stick is pointing towards the direction of the pass.

Again, these are a sampling of some of the practices used in our skills development programs.  Each practice session is tailored to the age group and skill level of the players.