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June 19, 2018
I Hate Pre-Season TrainingThis is often the thought of players who are forced to undergo various fitness tests and long slow runs as part of a pre-season fitness programme.Doing repeated doggies, shuttle runs and various circuits, with barely a ball in sight is enough to put most players off.It doesn't have to be this way.

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Fitness training for Field Hockey: Part 2

How to get fit for Hockey

Last week we looked at the fitness demands of hockey, now some tips on how to get fit for hockey.


fit for hockey

Anne Panter

Strength training should be incorporated into programmes for all ages, this should be appropriate to the athlete and progressive

Initially this should work on movement skills and injury prevention progressing to work capacity.

Movement skills and Injury prevention can be worked on together, a system we use at Excelsior is the 5×5’s.

These 5 exercises are performed for 1 minute a day with a different set of exercises each day.

As discussed when looking at common injuries we need to work on back mobility & strength, hamstring strength, pelvic and knee stability. These are worked on during the 5×5’s but extra attention may be required, example exercises are below:

Common InjuryExercise 1Exercise 2 (progression)
KneeSingle leg squatSingle leg hop & hold
PelvisHip Series 1Hip Series 2
Back StrengthBent over rowPull ups
Hamstring StrengthHip Series 3Hip Hinge


hockey warm upThese weaknesses can also be affected by everyday activities for example sitting for prolonged periods at work or commuting, so this needs to be managed with effective warm ups prior to games and training sessions.

(Picture of James Marshall leading a hockey warm up).

Work Capacity

Due to the variety of speeds and distances covered (as shown last week) we coaches need to work the players across the spectrum of intensity levels.

Due to the shortage of time with athletes it is good to work with hockey coaches and utilise time effectively. One example is shown in this video of Maddie Hinch training.

We can do this using small sided games. Within these games we must make sure we are working on the correct energy systems which can be done through medium, high and maximal intensity games.

One problem that can occur is that we don’t allow enough rest in these games which can lead to players working through fatigue and injuries occurring.

Type of Game Percent of Maximum Heart Rate

Type of game% max heart rateSingle game durationWork: rest ratio
Medium intensity85%5-10 minutes1: 0.5-1
High Intensity85-95%5 minutes1: 1-1.5
Maximal intensity95+%Upto 2 minutes1: 1.5-3

 Speed & Agility

maddie hinchWith the high intensities of the current game speed and agility are extremely important for every position.

In the past this training has consisted of repeated sprints and drills involving lots of equipment possibly without thought of if it is actually working and why not if it isn’t.

When looking to improve speed and agility we first need to look at what areas contribute towards them. Other than technique which is essential we can also work on:

We must first make sure the athlete is able to withstand the forces that are applied during training, they should be able to brake before accelerating


With the speed of the game increasing due to rule and tactical changes players need to be able to cope with the new demands of what is now almost a professional sport.

As athletic development coaches we need to look at a long term pathway for our athletes which incorporates working on all the demands of the sport.

Want to get fit for Hockey?

  • See our training programmes here 
  • or our guide to pre-season here.

Duncan Buckmaster    


Conditioning for field hockey, Ian Jeffreys, NSCA Performance Journal October 2005


  1. […] Fitness training for field hockey pt1, what the fitness demands of hockey are. Hockey fitness training pt2. Practical fitness training […]

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David Ardley- triathlete
I had the pleasure (I think !) of working with James for a year or so focused on getting my Triathlon times down. Its amazing what was achieved in the space of an hour before work. What stood out for me is the constant variation of exercises and his ability to set the difficulties levels just right. His sense of humour and competitive spirit always helped when my energy levels were not quite there. I can attribute his structured training to my eventual success competing in the World Triathlon championships (age group) in Hamburg.

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Speed Training for Sports Coaches: Paddington, Fully Booked
07 Jul 2018

One day speed seminar for sports coaches This one day seminar will help you understand basic speed training principles and give you practical coaching ideas that you can implement with your sports team and players. Athletic Development Coach James Marshall will introduce coaches to fundamental movements and exercises that will translate from track to field/court […]