Most people have heard of hockey, played it, or at least tried it once in their life. It may surprise you that there are approximately 1050 hockey clubs across the UK, encouraging people to continue or take up the sport. There are a world of benefits from playing hockey if you stick at it.
Hockey players are surprisingly among the fittest athletes out there. Anyone who has watched or played a hockey game at a reasonable level will know how much effort goes into one match. The debate of which sport has the fittest athletes has been hotly debated, Ieading Loughborough University to compile a study to find out. They combined the distance an athlete runs with the intensity of their running and found that hockey players are even fitter than footballers or rugby players. Hockey players need to be extremely nimble on their feet. Whether it is sprinting to attack or running back to defend, they are nearly always travelling great distances at speed. On average, a hockey player will run up to 8 or 9 kilometres in a 60 minute match, compared to 10 kilometres in a 90 minute football match. This statistic demonstrates how hockey is a much higher intensity sport at a high level. Hockey players stay in great shape all year. Even playing at school or at a club gets your heart-rate up, burning off some of that cake you ate the night before training!
England Hockey has been extremely successful over the past few years, which may have gone unnoticed. The women’s team have done phenomenally well since their performance at the London Olympics. After a bronze medal in 2012, they went on to win silver at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and a gold on home turf in the European Championships in 2015. In the final, England’s women faced the Netherlands, an exceptional team who had won the tournament 8 times, previously. It was a dramatic finale, which ended in a 2-2 draw and a penalty shootout. England’s goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch, gave an outstanding performance, and England beat the Orange Shirts 3-1 in the shootout. Hinch’s spectacular performance led to her nomination for Goalkeeper of the Year and there was a nomination for BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year for the whole side.
Everyone enjoys a good social life; hockey gives you just that! Within hockey teams and sports clubs everybody has the same passion. As soon as you join a club, you automatically have a common interest. It is a great way of making friends and getting to know people. Sport is a fantastic way of bringing people together, allowing friends and family to enjoy themselves, whilst giving you a much-needed escape from school or work. Most hockey clubs have various social events throughout the year and can be the social hub for the nearby area, whilst helping the team gel off the pitch. Hockey always has a great community around it with like-minded people who essentially want to have fun and play sport.
Indeed, hockey has it all. You can keep fit, make friends and have inspiration from incredible athletes. It is also important to say that it is not just for young people - many people of all ages enjoy playing hockey. Clubs throughout the UK accommodate complete beginners through to more experienced players, so now there is no reason for you not to try it! Why not give it a go?
Original image by Mr Evers