The origins of field hockey go back thousands of years, though the modern version was developed during the 18th century. If you have a little one who wants to be a field hockey athlete or aspire to be one yourself, there are quite a few items to help you be the best hockey player out there. This includes, but is not limited to, sticks, goggles, gloves, shin guards, etc. With that much time being associated with the sport, the amount of modern equipment that is now available can seem overwhelming.
To help you decide which equipment is right for you, here are five things to consider before making any purchases.
Rules and Requirements
If you or your child are playing in a league, the first source of guidance for all of your equipment decisions should be the rules and regulations in place. Certain points, like mandatory safety equipment and approved stick weights, might be controlled by the league in which you intend to play. Regardless of personal preferences, you have to make sure your choices are within the scope of the rules. Otherwise, you won’t be allowed to play with the equipment you have. That means you will be stuck buying more just to play with the field hockey group you already joined.
While most participants in the sport of field hockey use the same equipment, that isn’t always the case. If you or your child plan to play goalie, then you will need to purchase different kinds of equipment in comparison to other players.
For example, goalies need a helmet with proper face protection. Additionally, you will need to invest in additional padding, including arm and hand protection. The size of the pads may be dictated by the league, so make sure to refer to any associated rules and regulations before purchasing goalie equipment as well.
Traditionally, field hockey is an outdoor sport. That means your local weather may impact some of your purchasing decisions. For example, certain field hockey shoes may perform better on wet or muddy fields than others. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, choosing the right shoes can help prevent slips and falls.
Another weather consideration is the average temperature. Certain materials breathe better than others, making them better choices in warm or hot climates. Others are more insulating, which may be appropriate for cooler locations.
A point some parents fail to consider when purchasing equipment for their child is the likelihood that they will grow out of the equipment. While it is always critical to make sure that the equipment is accurate by basing your purchases on the player’s current size, you might not want to invest in more expensive options if you expect your child to have a growth spurt in the near future. In contrast, you might feel more comfortable investing in more expensive options if you don’t expect a dramatic change in size.
Even if you think you or your child might outgrow the equipment rather quickly, that doesn’t mean you should ignore quality entirely. However, you might want to consider when a replacement may be necessary in order to help determine a comfortable price point, that way you don’t over invest in an item that will no longer be usable after a single season.
No matter how fancy or expensive a piece of equipment may be, you don’t want to choose something that is uncomfortable to use. For example, field hockey sticks come in a number of lengths and weights. Sticks that are too short or too long will feel awkward to use. Similarly, a stick that is too heavy or light may not provide the power or control for which you are looking.
Goggles, gloves, shoes, shin guards, and mouth pieces all need to be the right size. Not only will this make you more comfortable, but it also ensures that everything is performing their function in the best way possible.