With everyone carrying wooden sticks and hitting a hard plastic ball, you can see
why field hockey players face a risk of getting hurt.
To keep things as safe as possible while playing field hockey, follow these tips.
Safe Field Hockey Gear
The right protective gear is important for field hockey, including:
Cleats. Choose a pair of shoes with molded cleats or ribbed soles.
Shoes with screw-in cleats may carry a higher risk of injury, so only use them when
you need extra traction, such as on a wet field. Make sure your cleats fit properly
and lace them tightly every time you practice or play.
Shin guards. Field hockey shin guards, which are made of plastic
and foam, wrap farther around the lower leg and offer more ankle protection than soccer
shin guards. Some players like to wear thin socks under their shin guards to make
them more comfortable.
Goggles. Since 2011, U.S. high school field hockey players have
been required to wear eye protection. Most goggles are made of steel cages that protect
the eyes, but some players choose plastic goggles for better peripheral vision.
Mouthguards. Mouthguards are a good way to protect your teeth,
lips, cheeks, and tongue. Many leagues require players to wear them.
Gloves. Field hockey gloves can reduce the risk of broken fingers
and help keep hands warm in cold weather.
Masks. During short corner plays, defenders may choose to wear
protective masks to reduce their risk of facial injuries. Rules governing the use
of masks vary from league to league.
At the highest levels of field hockey, players can shoot the ball at nearly 100
mph. Even when it's not moving that fast, a field hockey ball is very hard. Besides
courage, goalies need:
Head protection. Helmets are required for all goalies and should
have a cage or mask that fully covers the face. Mouthguards and throat protectors
usually are required too.
Leg and foot protection. Goalies should wear padded goalie pants,
pelvic protectors, leg guards that fully cover the lower legs and allow freedom of
movement, and the correct size kickers (foam guards that go over the cleats).
Upper body and arm protection. Goalies should wear chest pads,
arm guards, and elbow protectors, which usually are connected. They should be the
correct sizes to prevent them from slipping or not offering enough protection.
Hand protection. Right- and left-hand protectors should be the
correct size and offer plenty of padding to stop hard shots.
To prevent injuries during practice, players should: