There are many different types of field hockey balls available for all of your practice and game day needs. Which ones you choose depend upon a number of factors, including league regulations, playing surface, and field conditions. You will be spending a lot of different time using each type of ball, so here is a guide to help you choose the right one for your next practice session or game day.
Field hockey balls for practice are made from plastic and are hollow inside. They can often be purchased for less than official game balls. Because they don’t have to meet exact standards for game play, they can be made in more vibrant and fun colors to make your practice time a bit more exciting. Even though they aren’t certified for play, they are usually about the same weight and size as the ball you will use on game day.
Practice balls can be used on a number of different surfaces, and are generally smooth. The smoothness can be an added challenge, because on a wet outdoor surface, it may not roll uniformly or predictably, giving you the advantage of being more quick to adapt to changing conditions.
On game day, you want a standard ball of a predictable size and weight. You can rely on an official certification process to make sure that each and every ball conforms to standards of national or international play. Depending upon the league and level of play, there still can be some differences in ball size and weight.
For high school play, any ball used in play must have an official NFHS stamp to certify its size and weight. The ball is hollow inside and smooth on the outside. On game day, the umpire may choose a white or orange ball or another solid color depending upon lighting and field conditions. Whichever color is more likely to help the players and umpire see the ball most clearly is chosen.
Indoor field hockey is played on a smaller playing surface, and the ball is also generally smaller and lighter than the ball used for outdoor play. It is also hollow and smooth, making it best suited to indoor play.
The standard ball for elite level play is the Kookaburra ball. Its funny name comes from being a product of Australia, and over time it has become known by the nickname “kooks.” The ball has dimples on its surface, which helps it to roll true and predictably on wet surfaces. This makes it perfect for most natural turf conditions that you will play on during outdoor play. Another advantage of this ball is that it has a molded rubber and cork core, giving it a very soft touch for improved play.
Regardless of the conditions that you play and practice in, you need to be prepared to adapt your game and perform at your best. Having a selection of practice and official game balls available to you gives you this ability to adapt. You also need to make sure that the stick you choose is right for your game. No matter what your needs, visit Longstreth for field hockey equipment that you need to enjoy the game and play at your best.