PUSH Hockey Magazine Hitting article part 2


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Common hitting faults.
Hitting drills.

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PUSH Hockey Magazine Hitting article part 2

  1. 1. llllllllllllllllllllll iMPROVe hit me with your best shot! in the first article part 2 correcting and improving hits of this series Derek or is coached not to use, the skill? This is introduction a real problem in leagues where hitting Pappas explained In the previous article the fundamentals is weak or viewed as an unsafe skill not of hitting in hockey were discussed. If you from a safety perspective but from a the fundamental are a coach and have players that lift the passing percentage viewpoint. ball when they hit, hit with no power, or * Are the players on the team to have fun, biomechanics hit the ball off target, then drills are one or to move up to a higher level of skill way to change the way the players hit. The and competition? If it is the former and of the hockey hit, repetitive motion of effective drills retrains you are dealing with youth players do the muscle memory in athletic movements. not attempt to change their skills unless now it is time to But be aware that players with faulty you have the backing of the parents. swings or bad fundamentals may resist * Does the player trust the coach’s put some of that making changes in their hit for a variety of knowledge enough to allow the coach reasons. to change their style of hitting? knowlege into * Does the player have bad OVERCOMING RESISTANCE fundamentals but believe that they are practice. Here we When a change is to be made in executing the skill correctly? fundamentals, the coach’s first job is often The bottom line is that the coach has to look at common to deal with players’ resistance to change. overcome the resistance the player may Consider why players may be reluctant to have to changing their fundamentals. faults in hitting and change: The list of possible reasons is a mile long * Is the player comfortable with their and it is the job of the coach to get past how to diagnose swing and do they feel it is “good the psychological resistance point of the enough”? player in order to work with them to make and correct them * Does the player not understand the changes and improve their game. fundamentals and not understand that common faults they are limiting their personal and the team’s upside potential? * Does the player not really care about, Faults in player’s fundamentals result Andy Smith in incorrect stick-to-ball contact. As a consequence the ball may be lifted, not travel in the correct direction, or have an unwanted spin. OBSERVED FAULTS IN HOCKEY SWINGS There are several common faults in hockey swings: * Bad setup, grip, and ball position. * The loop or helicopter swing or other bad back swing. * Hand rotation or changing the grip on the back swing. * Flying elbow. * Early release of the stick at the top of the swing (fishing). * Hitting the ball with the upper body llllllllllllllllllllll PUSH PAGE 53 instead of the hips and legs. * Collapse at impact * Twisting follow through.Germany’s Florian Fuchs hits on the run under extreme pressure. Note his technique hasheld up reasonably well – the right wrist is cupped (limited release), the stick head is vertical, the >>stick is pointed at the target, and the follow through is controlled. As a result the ball is glued tothe ground Article and illustrations © 2012 Derek Pappas except where stated
  2. 2. llllllllllllllllllllll iMPROVe Some common hitting faults assessing hitting skills NARROWING THE ANGLE One of the ways that the coach can demonstrate to the player that their hit is not accurate enough is to have the player stand 10 yards from the goal one yard from the baseline. Place a ball on the ground (a stick length is a yard) and instruct the player to shoot at the far sideboard in the goal. Most players can hit the ball in the goal from this position. Now place a ball one foot from the baseline. Most players cannot hit the far backboard inside of the goal. Why? The additional mental pressure or the smaller space causes them to tighten up and their fundamentals break down during the swing. Or it could be their fundamentals are not good enough to hit the ball on target. Video the player – a mobile phone can be used – while they are hitting the ball from different angles and play the tape back to them while they are on the field. Talk to them about the results that they are getting when they hit the ball and how the results are related to the swing that the player sees on the screen. Narrowing the angle to assess accuracy MIND THE GAP Next place a line of cones or boards across the goal and leave a one yard gap. Have the players stand at the top of D in a 45 degree arc and hit the ball into the gap from the top of the circle. How many can hit the ball in the gap standing still? How many can they hit in a row into the gap. Make the gap smaller. Now what happens? If they cannot hit the ball into the gap while stationary and under no pressure they certainly will not be able to score when they are on the field. Hitting into a gap in the goal from the top of the circle will test players’ swings – try stationary first, then hits on the move llllllllllllllllllllll PUSH PAGE 54 Derek Pappas has played hockey on three continents and in 10 different countries. He was on the US international training squad in the 1980s and now coaches skills, patterns of play,game tactics, and various teams. He is CEO of GroupAngle http://groupangle.com
  3. 3. llllllllllllllllllllll iMPROVebuilding a normal backswing (keeping the angle of the stick) so they can feel what therepetitive swing swing should be like instead of the fishing/casting motion that most use Watch an international team warming which releases the angle betweenup before the game and look at their the arm/wrist prematurely.fundamentals. The players with good * 10-20 balls are placed on the groundfundamentals hit the ball on target from in a line one foot apart, the player hitsthe top of the D – the other players hit one ball after another at a target 20the ball all over the place because they yards away (see below). Dependingdo not have a repetitive swing. Drills are a on their fitness level and age theway to build a repetitive swing. player will typically fatigue after about 5-15 balls and faults under pressure HITTING THE WALL become evident. A concrete wall is the best partner for Hitting against a wall an accurate hit intoa player that needs to understand they the green zone will see the ball return to thecannot hit the ball correctly. Have the striker (top). Even small inaccuracies will see the returning ball missing the hitter – instantplayer stand 10-15 yards away from the Watch the grip, ball position, back feedbackwall. The player should hit the ball at swing and follow through. After theythe wall so that the ball strikes the wall MORE DRILLS master this drill have them stand toperpendicular to the line of flight and the Drills must be used to relate the the left or right of the ball and pullball returns to the spot where the player fundamentals to performing the skill. it into a hitting position and thenhit the ball from. This drill builds up spacial Drills must also reinforce the skill. Some hit it. After that have them run fiveawareness in the player. The player has to of the following drills can be done as a yards with the ball and hit it. Vary thefigure out what the 90 degree line is to group and some are best done one-on- types of runs-right, left, backwards,the wall and has to correctly hit the ball one with a player and a coach. forwards.along that line to get the ball to return to * The player holds the stick out in * Players shoot on goal stationary/the same spot that the ball was hit from. front of them, waist high with the moving seven yards from the goal/Hitting the ball back and forth between toe pointing up. The coach then one foot from the base line (thistwo players does not build this type of grabs the end of the stick and moves also tests the player psychologicallyawareness – until the player can hit the the stick around the players waist because the goal mouth is only oneball exactly where they want. The reason through the back swing and follow foot wide at that angle)is that the receiving player moves to through while keeping the toe up. * Hit with the right foot in front of thewhere the ball is hit and the player hitting The objective is to get the player to left (stationary)the ball does not get any feedback about understand that they should not * Hit the ball with the right armthe direction of the ball that they just hit. rotate the stick around the handle, only, swinging the stick back slowly, The second thing that the wall drill that the stick should point away from cocking the wrist, and then downteaches the player is to hit the ball on the the target on the back swing and at and through the ball, careful not toground. When you are standing 10-15 the target on the follow through. roll the stick over the top of the ball.yards away from the wall the ball returns * The player swings the stick back and * Hit the ball with the left arm only.to the player very quickly. If the player forth touching the same spot (from Focus on hitting the back of the ball.hits a bouncing ball at the wall the ball Balbir Singh three-time Olympic gold Hit the ball with the left shoulderwill bounce back to the player and be medal winner) in each direction. The and tricept. Imagine that the left arm,much harder to trap. The player should arc at the bottom should be shallow shoulder, and stick form a wall atlearn to “glue” the ball to the ground. For and not steep. impact. Follow through is limited tomore advanced hitting such as the skip * The player swings the stick back and one foot.hit, “tomahawk”, or undercut the player freezes their position, the coach then * Hit the ball off the right and left feetshould back up and make sure that these checks their alignment, grabs the end on the run.types of hit pose no danger to the other of the stick and tells the player to pull * Hit the ball as hard as you can andpeople using the field. the stick down like they would in their stop the stick follow through two feet hockeyimages.co.uk/Peter Savage after the ball. * Choke up on the stick 20 cm’s and get very low to hit the ball in a compact position. * Hit the ball 30 yards along a line on the field. * Stand in the centre of the field and alternate hitting the ball at targets which are 30 yards way on the left and right sidelines(below). This is not a comprehensive list of drills or llllllllllllllllllllll PUSH PAGE 55 tests. It is a starting point and does not include foot work drills or the different types of hits. pGreat Britain’s Ben Hawes prepares to hit – note the strong shoulder rotation and tucked-in right elbow