Jolly Hockey Sticks

A damp, grey, miserable Tuesday afternoon in January, finger freezingly cold; so cold that the Form 3 and 4 footballers had taken refuge in the centrally heated JSB. But hockey players are brave and tough, and so are their teachers! Warmly wrapped up, Mrs Buxton’s Form 4 Hockey group enjoyed honing their skills in readiness for their first competitive match.

Hockey is a new sport for Form 4 this term, although a few children have already had some experience of playing outside school. There is a great deal to learn, and different body muscles are being worked. In Hockey, as the player needs to adopt a partially bent stance when on the ball, back muscles tire easily in the early stages.

This Tuesday was the group’s second lesson, and already great progress has been made. Having mastered the basic method of holding a hockey stick, the children went on to learn that the ability to adjust your grip results in better ball control. The first task of this lesson was to manipulate the ball successfully around small circular discs, moving first in an anticlockwise direction and then changing very quickly to clockwise. This change in direction calls for a slight but rapid alteration to the grip but is important because, in a competitive situation, it could allow the player to keep the ball for longer. Mrs Buxton insisted that the technique should be practised, at least initially, at a slow speed. Joseph D and Rosa, however, really enjoyed accomplishing it as quickly as they could.

Games lessons are fast paced and, once a skill has been practised for a few minutes, the children are called back together briefly for further instruction, so that their learning can be developed. Today, the second challenge for the children was to take the hockey ball part way across the pitch but, in order to maintain complete control of it, the ball had to remain in contact with the stick at all times. Easier said than done, of course, so once again Mrs Buxton insisted on walking pace to start with, before a very sedate jog could be attempted. The children were impressively accurate, even though they didn’t all resist the temptation to run, as you can see from the slightly blurry photographs of the session!

Looking back on what they had done, the children were positive and enthusiastic. Seth is excited by the challenge of staying in control of the ball when moving fast, and Mikyle likes striking it. Hopefully this will mean that he scores plenty of goals when the Eversfield U9s play their first competitive matches in the weeks to come.