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I am a relative hockey beginner, I only started playing seriously in September last year. Since then it has grown into my favourite sport to play, I simply love it, you can't not.
I began hockey when I was still in school, I played it for P.E and was in the school mixed-hockey team. But after a while, after relentless taunts aimed at me that hockey is for girls, I decided to quit playing. I never really understood those comments, hockey is in fact one of the most competitive sports around.
I soon joined college and still had not picked up a stick since Year 10. Then I discovered that some of friends played, I now wouldn't be mocked. It didn't take much convincing for me to join the local hockey club, which people I knew and liked were part of. Soon I was once again a hockey player!
Hockey is a relatively simple game to play rules-wise. What few rules there are can be easily learnt and will soon become natural as they make sense. For instance, there is a rule known as "third party". This is where there must not be two players of an opposing team attempting to tackle one. At first this can be very frustrating but you will rarely even notice it if playing with other hockey enthusiasts.
The positions that can be played are a hybrid between netball and football really. In a standard game there should be four attackers: left and right wings, two centre forwards. There will usually be three midfielders: left and right inners and a centre. Defence usually has three: left, right and centre back. As well as of course, the goalkeeper. These postions can differ, depending how your club coach/trainer prefers a team to play, but those are the positions on my team.
My position is right wing, an attacker. It has always been my position and now find it quite difficult to play well in any other position. Both wings are the perfect positions for a player who has natural pace, and is good at handling the ball at speed. You will get goals from this position and it is generally very flexible in what and where you can do and go on the pitch.
As mentioned earlier, hockey is by no means a gentle sport. It is meant to be a non-contact sport, and to a great extent it is. But you will pick up a lot of injuries by playing hockey and will experience a lot of barging etc. This is not allowed, but to keep the pace of the game up (hockey is a very fast paced game) most referees are quite lenient about physical contact. You will come across some reckless players when playing hockey, and these are extremely dangerous indeed. You should never approach a player from his/her's blindside as there is always the danger that they will lift their stick behind them, hitting you in the process. This can cause great damage and there was one case in my league where somebody actually died after inadvertantly being hit with a stick. If an opposing player does not inflict a few bruises or worse, then the actual hockey ball certainly will. In football, there is a limited amount of damage the actual ball can do as it is leather.
Shin pads are an absolute necessity when playing hockey, at any level. In matches, the ball is struck with great power and if it comes shooting towards your shin or ankle at a fast pace, then you will by all means know about it. If you are lucky then you will escape with just a bruised shin, but it can, and usually is worse. Some players also wear other protective gear when playing competitive matches, the most common apart from the customary shin pads, are the protective gloves. Your hand is a target whilst playing hockey, it will occasionaly get hit by a loose stick, but the main reason for these type of gloves is for when your stick vibrates. This may not sound painful, but believe me, it can be very. To help soften the vibrations without a glove then you should wrap the stick end with a protective padding, known as grip. This small prevention method is very effective and is used by most serious players.
I hope that I have not put you off in any way with this opinion, on the contrary, I hope that this will encourage you to start playing, you will certainly not regret it as hockey is one of the most fun sports around.
Whether you are just playing for fun with freinds or actually playing for a local team (or beyond) you will always have a good time. Do not play hockey if you are afraid of exercise however, it is a very fast paced game that requires you to do a lot of running to help out your team.
My advice to any prospective players...play, and don't look back. Hockey is not a sport "just for girls", if someone tells you that it is, give them a stick, put them in a game and let them find out how "girly" hokcey really is.
a wonderful first opinion:o) l would like to see certain people get on a pitch and play hockey as well...bet they couldn't control the ball and the only dribble they would understand is the dribble they find down the fronts of their shirts :o)
Collingwood21 02.06.2001 18:41
Hello, welcome to ciao. I loved your first op, it was very impressive! I too used to play hockey, but it is not as much fun when you are the goalkeeper. :-( Probably would have been better if I had been given a helmet actually...
Michael-S 02.06.2001 16:08
Great first op. Welcome to Ciao. Take care, Michael.