Hit Hit Hooray for Hockey!
Explore the fascinating local historical link with the sport with our Hockey special feature
Many of us will have memories of playing hockey during our school-days. Let’s face it - playing this sport as a kid, what’s not to love? It’s fast pace, the skill required and the satisfying thwack of the ball against the hockey stick. It can also be a lot of fun to play with your friends! Many hockey fans get the hockey bug from those nostalgic school days and continue to play the sport into adulthood.
As an Olympic Sport since it’s arrival on the programme in 1908 Team GB have enjoyed a number of amazing achievements in both the Men’s and Women’s game. In 1908 Great Britain won one Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals when competing as four separate Home Nations. Hockey had a brief pause from the Games until it returned in 1920 and has been in the Olympic Programme ever since. The last Gold game was won by the Team GB Men’s Hockey team in Seoul in 1988, whilst the Team GB Women’s team achieved Gold in Rio in 2016. (1)
The nation’s love of the sport will be extended when for the first time in history, the UK host the Hockey’s Women’s World Cup during the summer of 2018. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for everyone to see the world’s best teams and players take on the race for the title of World Champions. Excitement for the tournament will build across the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. (2)
In this special feature we take a look at the national love for the sport. We highlight the benefits for children and young people of taking part in Hockey as well as giving a bit of a local history lesson. Finally we give you more information on some local Hockey clubs so your child or children can give it a try for themselves.
Did you know…
There is evidence of people playing a hockey-like activity dating back 4000 years. (3)
Hockey is played by over three million people across over a hundred different countries. (4)
Famous celebrity Hockey players include Emma Watson, Kate Middleton and Heath Ledger. (4)
Hockey - An Overview
Hockey is one of the world’s oldest competitive team sports. The modern game as we know it evolved in England in the 19th Century. In fact, Hockey has its roots firmly placed locally in Teddington and the surrounding areas. Back in 1871 the members of Teddington cricket club were looking for an activity to play during the winter months. According to the Teddington Hockey Club’s fascinating history, it was then that they “experimented with a ‘stick’ game, based loosely on the rules of association football”. (5)
Although other London based hockey clubs existed before Teddington, they used different equipment and based their game on a different structure and rules. Teddington Hockey Club called for the eleven players on each team, they also preferred to play with old cricket balls unlike their predecessors. It was also in Teddington where the striking circle or ‘The D’ was introduced.
By defining the rules at this time, Teddington Hockey Club were the first to play a game that eventually became known as modern hockey.
As word spread locally about the game, hockey clubs also sprung up in Richmond and Surbiton in 1874 and inter-club matches were regularly played. It wasn’t until January 1886 at a dinner at the Holborn Restaurant in London, that the Hockey Association was born. Clubs in attendance at the dinner that evening were Teddington, Surbiton, Wimbledon, Trinity College Cambridge, Molesey and Ealing. The All England Women’s Hockey Association followed some ten years afterwards.
As well as its fascinating local history and link to the game, Hockey is a fantastic after school activity for children of all ages and abilities. It is an exciting, fast-paced sport that requires teamwork, speed, strategic thinking as well as determination. But that’s not all - as we take a look at the other benefits that Hockey has to offer.
Hockey - The Benefits
Hockey for Health
Hockey provides a fantastic all-round cardiovascular workout from all the running around required. The pace needed helps with balance, agility as well as adaptability, helping your child to build stamina as they progress in the sport. It is therefore an activity that is excellent for overall strengthening. Having to keep an eye on the ball as well as having full control on the hockey stick also improves hand-eye coordination.
Hurrah for Hockey!
One of the brilliant benefits of Hockey is that there are several variations of the game, so everyone can enjoy and get involved in the sport. It gives all children the opportunity to have access and excel at Hockey regardless of age, ability or gender. For example for younger children, Hockey can be player smaller-sided, played on an alternative surface and with larger, lighter and therefore safer balls. (6) Hockey is also a game that can be played all year round, so there is no seasonality to the activity.
Join the Club
Hockey is heavily based on close teamwork, where communication and strategy are key. Many Hockey clubs also have active social calendars, giving kids the option to socialise both on and off the Hockey pitch. It is a real sociable sport and is a great way for children to make new friends and have fun.
Hockey - The Kit
As with most sport it’s important that you child has the correct kit to play. Hockey is no exception. It is recommended that players wear shin, ankle and mouth protection when playing Hockey. Goalkeepers should also wear the correct protective clothing. This is something your activity provider can advise on, so speak to them first before making those all important purchases.
Hockey Sticks at the Ready
If your child wants to commit to Hockey as a regular after school activity, it is a good idea to buy them their own Hockey stick. It’s important that your child feels comfortable with the kit whilst out of the field. It is also useful to have for practising at home or away from the pitch.
All the Gear...
If your child is joining a Hockey Club speak to the activity provider about any uniform or special clothing kit your child may need. It’s also important that your child wears the correct shoes, this can depend on the type of surface they are going to play on. Hockey can be played on either grass, artificial turf or indoors. So ensure you fully understand what type of shoes your child will need for the activity.
Local Activity Providers
Teddington Hockey Club
Based in TW11, Teddington Hockey Club is the oldest Hockey club in the world. It has an active junior membership with over 450 members aged from 5 to 18 playing and training every week of the season. Their aim is to develop every player to the best of their ability, ensuring a life-long love of the game, and learning that playing should always be fun and winning even better.
Surbiton Hockey Club
Surbiton Hockey Club are the largest and most successful junior section in the UK with close to 900 children aged from 6 to 18 playing each week. Their Junior Academy (ages 6 to 9) takes place on Sunday mornings at Sugden Road, where sessions are led in U7, U8 and U9 age groups. From 5 to 13 (ages 9-18) they provide a midweek professionally lead coaching session, with games on Sundays.
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