• Playing Mini Hockey

    by  • May 6, 2009 • Monthly Articles • 0 Comments

    Playing Mini Hockey PDF Print E-mail
    Written by Coach Shiv

    How to play mini hockey, to develop the game sense, of a young athlete

    In the previous – April – coaching article we discussed, the role of mini hockey in developing the game sense of a young athlete. In the May article, we will focus upon “How to play mini hockey in order to develop the game sense of a young athlete?

    In other words, covering some basic concepts, moves, leads and passes, the coaches / athletes should consider and employ, while playing mini hockey, to make their mini or whole team play highly effective. Every pass, move or lead made, has a direct or indirect effect on the main objective and outcome of the play. On the surface, sometimes a pass made may look unnecessary or even of not much importance, especially while building an attack. When dissected under a microscopic eye, – correlating the small picture with the big picture – one can see its importance and its effect on the final outcome. It is vital that we coaches educate our young athletes to understand these concepts clearly, as this is what separates a good player from a great one!

    Where to start?

    The first step is to work on the technique of passing and receiving, in a semi static situation, leading to doing it, on the run. Please see photographs 1 and 2. While passing and receiving on the run, it is strongly recommended that the players are guided to position themselves, in such a way that they correlate and simulate the given position on the field. For Example, Center half and Right Inner. Further, while the players are passing / receiving and running up and down the field, it is of paramount importance that they understand the techniques involved in passing / receiving the pass, coming from a center half to the Right inner or the pass coming from the center half to the left inner. In other words, how to receive a pass on a open stick and a reverse stick. Later on combine these three players, to form a triangle, and pass the ball, as would have been passed by the midfield Triangle.

    Please refer to the diagram # 1 – from the April article – for the triangle play..

    Photograph # 1 Demonstrates passing and receiving the ball in a semi static situation

    Photograph # 2 demonstrates the midfield triangle players receiving and passing the ball on the run. Please note the 45 degree angle of the centre half and his inners..

    How to build upon the midfield triangle?

    Center half passes the ball to left inner and gets it back and than passes it to the right inner and gets it back to pass this to the left inner and keeps repeating., while running up and down, the field for 50 meters. Later, one can add right winger and left winger – even the center forward – to form more triangles to the equation. Please refer to the diagram 2 from the April article

    Path of the ball:

    What skills to teach and focus upon, while receiving the ball on the run, is completely a topic for another article or DVD. It is too vast a field to describe here. We will just focus upon the tactical aspect of, where to pass and why, as this will compliment some of the 7 laws of the game – when the ball comes from the left, pass it to the right and vice versa. This will also facilitate the young players to understand the path, the ball travels to accomplish the various tactical maneuvers of the game.

    Mini hockey and the application of the laws of field hockey

    Please remember to apply the following two laws of field hockey, while conducting the mini hockey coaching sessions, as they are critical in developing the style and. effectiveness of the young athletes.

    * Change of focus:

    When the ball comes from the left, pass it to the right and vice versa

    * Play first time:

    Encourage the players to play first time. Enforcing 3 – 5, touches for the beginners and 1 – 2 touches, for the experienced players.

    * Simulation approach:

    Players must play the role and responsibility (R & R) of a specific position, being played and thinking and simulating that very specific position. Further, imagining that they are playing on the whole – big – field, and have only shrunken the field. This will facilitate their game tremendously, as they will be able to translate their game from mini to maxi hockey smoothly, in order to perform in the peak performance zone. At the same time, be aware of when the players are changing their positions, and how they are switching their tactical thinking, R & R, relating to the new position and zone of the field. For example, when the right inner becomes a right winger, does he play like a right winger or is he still playing as a right inner.

    This is one of the hardest things to coach and employ. There are not very many players even at the highest level – 2008 Beijing Olympics - who are efficient and effective, to the optimum degree, in employing this concept .Shabaz Ahmed, was one forward who could employ this concept, with ease, while playing in the forward line, and shifting from one position to the other, with switching his mental gears and adjusting his technical / tactical skills accordingly. With all due respect, I feel that even Jamie Dwyer or Teun de Noojer don’t employ this concept , to the same degree of clarity and success, of that of Shabaz Ahmed

    Coaching tip:

    Coach should – must – freeze the game and explain the players, about their new changing role, explaining them what they are doing good and what needs to be improved, this way instantly providing feedback even to the smallest details.

    Size of the mini hockey field

    Design the mini hockey fields according to the number of players, their skill level and the objective of the mini game. Following are some guidelines

    Field of size Number of players

    10 x .7 meters 2 on 1

    15 x 10 3 on 1

    30 x 25 5 on 2

    Steps to play 3 on 1 mini hockey, while passing / receiving the ball and leading

    Step # 1. Players are in their respective positions, center half, right inner, left inner, all in yellow circles and a defender in the red triangle. Guide the forwards to start in a close triangle and than making the triangle wider

    Step # 2 Center half passes the ball to the right inner and gets it back Now he passes it to the left inner.

    Step # 3 Please note how the right inner and left inner have floated wide to use the width of the field. This makes it harder for the opponent defender to cover them both, at the same time.. This forces the defender to make a decision, to which forward does he go?

    Step # 4 In this situation the defender goes to the left inner. As soon as the left inner makes a return pass to the centre half, the center half makes a quick first time pass to the leading right inner. He follows his pass, to support the right inner for a give and go, while the right inner enters the circle to take a shot, while the defender is retreating. It is highly recommended that the 3 attacking forwards at least make 5 – 6 passes among themselves before taking a shot on goal

    Following is the players position for a 5 on 2 mini hockey. Guidelines to move the ball and passing to follow in the near future.


    I like to conclude this article with the following quote from a German soccer coach, who has developed players like Berti Vogts, who are no strangers to the world of soccer.


    “In the beginning of the training session I like to start with a practice 5 on 2. This is designed to improve team – work which is not so difficult against only two opponents, but at the start of the session I use it to bring a good spirit to the training.

    In these 5 on 2 we start with the two touches per player, and than after a few minutes I switch to one touch.. I saw this practice, 5 on 2, played by Brazil during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico and we call it “Ole”

    Hennes Weiweiler, Germany

    Success stories:

    When talking of mini hockey it is hard to not think of the Brazilian soccer players and their teams, they are the masters of forming mini teams, on the various zones of the field, during the run of play, to create numerical advantage and dominate the game, taking one mini step at a time. No wonder, they have influenced the soccer world, immensely directly and indirectly to play a certain style of soccer.


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