HOCKEY: FROM ANTIQUITY TO MODERN TIMES
Modern field hockey traces its origin from 19th-century England, but there were numerous ancient games that also showcased modern-day hockey speed and agility. What is even more amazing is that these games were played in places that were geographically distant.
When white settlers first set foot on the continent of Australia, they observed the local Aborigines played a game using a curved stick with dried sap as a ball. About a thousand years ago, “Beikou” was played by Chinese, Inner Mongolians, and the Daur tribe. Araucano Indians of Chile played a similar game called “chueca” even before Western colonizers arrived.
Ancient civilizations like Egypt and Greece also have their own version of this game played with a curved stick and a ball. The game is fully illustrated in 4,000-year old Egyptian carvings while ancient Greeks had their “kerhtizein” which was probably derived from the horn-like stick called “keras” that was used to play the game.
Whether all these versions of the game contributed to the development of modern hockey remains a mystery. Even the origin of the word “hockey” is uncertain. Historians associate the name to “hockie” which was found in edicts from the Middle Ages banning the game played with “hockie stickes”.
The Dawn of Modern Hockey
The 19th century was the epoch when organized hockey came into being. Several organization in England came together to define the sport and write down its rules and regulations. Since then, hockey gained popularity internationally. Pakistan and India even adopted the game as their countries’ national sports until India made a declaration in 2012 saying that there is no Indian national sport.
Today, international hockey is governed by the International Hockey Federation with 126 member-countries.
Much has changed about the game of hockey. The pitch (playing field) is now made of synthetic materials instead of grass, sticks are constructed out of carbon fiber, Kevlar, or fiber glass, but the speed and agility demands on hockey players remain the same if not even more.
With everything being equal, winning a game boils down to the speed and agility of hockey players. With a more advanced playing field and equipment, hockey players need to be in tiptop shape to compete. Their conditioning must be well beyond average because the tools of the game allow for faster movement and better ball control.
Speed and Agility in Hockey
Hockey is played in spurts. It is comparable to soccer as players are required to run up and down the pitch during the entire game. Although sprinting is the least of the activities in the field, it is the most crucial as it allows the players to position themselves to score.
The ability to burst into action is one crucial aspect of a player’s game that needs to be developed during hockey agility workouts. Maintaining balance and control is important as a player navigates the field to get into a scoring position.
Because players perform different roles, each one must have their own unique hockey speed and agility training. The striker must perform several hockey speed drills to enable him to outrun opponents and score a point. In the same manner, the center halfback must be versatile and agile because he is required to play both offense and defense while passing the ball in different directions.
Hockey speed and agility equipment is also necessary in enhancing the players’ skills during practice. Alongside traditional practice methods, using various equipment for hockey training can further develop a player’s lateral movement, court awareness, and maneuverability.
Hockey maybe considered an ancient sport, but it surely has its numerous followers and players in modern times. High school and college players have as much fun with it as professional and international players. The game of hockey is fast, competitive, and tiring. With proper hockey speed and agility training, any player can perform way beyond his limits.