Get Inspired: How to get into Hockey
|Why get into hockey?||You'll get a satisfying thrill when you unleash a meaty 'thwack' of the ball - and make a load of friends too.|
|Who is it for?||There are variations of the game for everyone, regardless of age, ability or gender.|
|Is there a cheap option?||Hockey clubs are supportive of beginners, and are likely to help out with equipment and advice.|
|What if I want a proper workout?||Stooping down, swishing a stick, stop-start running - it's demanding!|
|Can I take it to another level?||There are clubs all over looking for new members. From there you can join leagues and competitions at regional and national levels.|
|Is there a disability option?||People of most abilities and disabilities can play; there are a range of inclusive adaptations.|
|Is there a family option?||Some parents and their kids play for different teams at the same club.|
Whether you are new to the game or are interested in coming back to it after years away, there are schemes for any level of participation. Explore the England Hockey,Hockey Wales,Scottish Hockey, and Ulster Hockey websites for information about where you can find your local club. Or, from anywhere in the UK, try Hockey Nation.
Back to Hockey
Yes - the perpetual whirlwind of running and striking the ball mean that hockey is physically taxing and mentally stimulating. But its superb social benefits are notorious - once hooked, hockey players tend to make hockey friends for life. In England and Wales, Back To Hockey is a campaign offering women and men of all ages either a complete introduction to the game, or a return to hockey if you've had a break from it. Playing in a relaxed environment whilst making some friends is the goal. If you are keen to get back into the game in Scotland and Northern Ireland, contact the Hockey associations in your area who will be happy to help.
Kids love to mess around with sticks, so of course kids love hockey, and there are many schemes across the UK designed to introduce more young people to the game. For younger children matches can be smaller-sided (4-a-side), played on any surface, and use larger, lighter and - here's the key - safer balls. In England, Quicksticks is for ages seven to 11. For teenagers, there is also In2hockey.Scottish Hockey also runs a series of Youth Camps in school holidays, as does Ulster Hockey.
The hockey bug is hard to shake, as evidenced by a buoyant veterans' scene in the UK. The social element has much to do with it, and there are well-organised leagues in five-year categories from the age of 40 up to over 70s (Grand Masters!). There are even opportunities to play Masters hockey internationally. At each level, there are also opportunities for some underage players to participate with more senior team mates. Explore opportunities in England,Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland.
All of the hockey Associations across Britain are working hard to ensure that a growing number of clubs and organisations create opportunities for disabled players. England Hockey, for example, has set up a comprehensive range of specific sessions for the visually impaired or blind, those who are deaf or hearing impaired, people in wheelchairs, those with learning disabilities, and people with ADHD, Aspergers or Autism. All come under the umbrella of 'Flyerz' hockey.' There are also a range of options in Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Coaching can be an inspiring experience - for yourself, and those that you coach - and not only can you make a difference to individuals, you can contribute to the greater good of the game. There are a wealth of opportunities across the UK to coach hockey, and don't forget: you don't need to be a supremely skilled player to be a great coach! Enthusiasm and passion are what's important. Contact your national association to get involved, or try SportsCoachUK.
Volunteers make a critical contribution - hockey could not survive without them. But it's not a one-way street. By offering your services you can have fun, meet new people and learn new skills (and put them on your CV). National associations in Northern Ireland,Scotland and Wales greatly value the contribution of volunteers, while in England volunteers are now called 'Hockey Makers' - and recruitment is already underway for the 2015 Men's and Women's EuroHockey Championships.
Aspire to be like: Kate Richardson- Walsh
1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into hockey near you.
2. From anywhere in the UK, find your local club.
3. Share your story and inspire others!
Are you inspired to try hockey? Or maybe you are a expert sticksperson already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visiting us on Facebook or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.