Field hockey is a fast-paced sport that provides great exercise, life lessons and team building for young athletes. Beginners’ field hockey equipment requirements do not have to bust the family budget, either, if parents keep in mind the difference between must-haves, should-haves and nice-to-haves.
Must-Have Field Hockey Equipment
For both boys and girls beginning in field hockey, every athlete must have three essential pieces of field hockey equipment: the hockey stick, mouthguard, and shinguards.
For what some parents may dismiss as a simple piece of wood, the stick has many variations:
- Indoor sticks
- Goalie sticks
- Composite sticks
- Wood sticks
- Hook, maxi, midi and shorti heads
Starting out, players may not know what advantage a particular head shape has, so encourage your beginning athlete to keep her ears open, ask questions, and take the advice of more experienced players she trusts. Stick length is often more crucial for beginning players than the head shape. Height charts can help, but a player gets to feel comfortable with a specific length of field hockey stick, so you may not want to invest in a high-end stick as the first purchase.
The mouthguard is a requirement for player protection. Mouthguards and mouthguard cases are available in many styles. Common these days are mouthguards for wearers of braces, flavored mouthguards, and bulk-purchased disposable mouthguards to minimize germs.
Shinguards are the only other piece of required equipment in most regions. Protect your child and keep her enthusiasm for the game by preventing painful injuries to the shin bones. Just as with the mouthguard, this is not a place to skimp, since the shinguard may be the difference between a little discomfort during an intense game and sitting out the season with a broken shin.
Should-Have Field Hockey Equipment
Goggles are an optional piece of equipment that could save your child’s sight in the event of a bad encounter with an opponent’s stick. In addition to goggles, nose guards and full face masks are available, often in a selection of colors. Have your budding field hockey star try the goggles or masks on for a snug but comfortable fit, and to test forward and peripheral vision.
Remember not to over-equip your athlete with safety precautions that themselves pose a threat to other players. Some regulations in some regions permit only smooth face masks or tight-fitting plastic goggles, for example, to prevent the wire of a framed goggle or mask from injuring others.
Nice-to-Have Field Hockey Equipment
Two items are good for your new player to have, for increased field control and for comfort:
- Turf shoes or cleats
- Shin guard socks or rash guards
Turf shoes or molded cleats give your child a firm grip on the field, allowing for quick turns, stops and starts.
Shin guard socks are oversized, tall socks worn under the shin guards to prevent chaffing. Rash guards prevent shin guard rash from developing. Shin guard rash may be an allergic reaction to the material in shin guards, or it may be a natural result of heat, sweat and the friction your child’s skin encounters during an exciting field hockey game. The simple remedy is to prevent the opportunity for a shin guard to rub, by having your child wear rash guards.
For parents new to the game, Longstreth is here to help. Contact us today for answers to your questions regarding the right field hockey equipment or the right kind of balls to purchase to support your son or daughter in his or her dreams of field hockey glory. After all, every great player was a beginner at one time.