Field Hockey Conditioning: EP Wellness and Functional Medicine
Field hockey is one of the world’s oldest team sports, dating back to the classical Greek era. It also is recognized as one of the oldest college sports in America. It is a game where teams composed of 11 players, including one goalkeeper, come together on a field and use hockey sticks to drive a ball into a net to score points. The winner is determined by whoever has the most points at the end of the game. The sport requires high aerobic and anaerobic fitness to provide endurance, strength to position, trap, pass, and hit the ball, push and flick the ball, and acceleration/speed and agility. Here we look at the basic fitness components and chiropractic care benefits.
Field hockey players need to have high levels of endurance to perform. The game consists of 2 35 – minute halves, with a 10-minute break, plus stoppages. This consistent use of energy and muscular strength requires the cardiovascular system to supply oxygen through the blood.
- A conditioning workout should include long-distance and interval training.
- Long-distance running or biking is a great way to build up the endurance to run back and forth on the field.
- To keep workouts fun, alternate between long-distance and interval.
Strength and Power
Players need to be physically strong to power through an opponent, drive the ball, or push the ball out from another player’s stick. Incorporating exercises that strengthen the entire body will help.
- Body-weight workouts will work if you don’t have access to a gym or weights.
- Squats, glute bridges, and lunges can help build a strong lower body.
- Push-ups and tricep dips are great for the upper body.
Lower body injuries are common. The risk can be reduced by 50% through regular participation in a strength training program with a resistance component, such as neuromuscular training.
- The ability to change direction quickly is important, as players will change direction at least every 5 seconds during a game.
- Players should include interval training to increase quickness and agility.
- Common agility drills are ladder drills, lateral sprints, and hill climbs.
- Healthy hamstring and lower back flexibility maintain stability and balance, which is also important for injury prevention.
- Yoga and simple stretches increase flexibility.
Field hockey fitness is about perfecting moves to become an automatic reaction.
After putting their body through intense training, players can benefit from sports massage and chiropractic. Benefits include:
Increased Range of Motion
The sport requires a wide range of motion. A misaligned area like the spine and hips causes weakness in the muscles and tendons near the joints causing the player to take on awkward positioning that can lead to various neuromusculoskeletal issues and injuries. Chiropractic reset and realignment maintain body flexibility, muscle relaxation, optimal circulation and strengthen the areas causing weakness.
Enhanced Balance and Coordination
Balance and coordination are critical as the players sprint, shift, twist, and turn. The eyes and ears are the main balance components, but the nervous system plays a role. Chiropractic spinal alignment increases the nervous system’s function of sending signals to the rest of the body.
Speeds up Recovery From Injury
Chiropractic helps heal injury quicker because fluids and nutrients released after an adjustment will move toward the damage expediting healing. Chiropractic breaks up scar tissue and trigger points to rebuild that strength and stamina without the risk of worsening or further injury.
Chiropractic care will improve how the central nervous system communicates with the rest of the body.
Espí-López, Gemma V et al. “Effect of manual therapy versus proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation in dynamic balance, mobility and flexibility in field hockey players. A randomized controlled trial.” Physical therapy in sport: official journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine vol. 32 (2018): 173-179. doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2018.04.017
Krzykała, M et al. “Does field hockey increase morphofunctional asymmetry? A pilot study.” Homo : internationale Zeitschrift fur die vergleichende Forschung am Menschen vol. 69,1-2 (2018): 43-49. doi:10.1016/j.jchb.2018.03.003
Reilly, T, and A Borrie. “Physiology applied to field hockey.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 14,1 (1992): 10-26. doi:10.2165/00007256-199214010-00002
Tapsell, Liam C et al. “Validity and Reliability of a Field Hockey-Specific Dribbling Speed Test.” Journal of strength and conditioning research vol. 36,6 (2022): 1720-1725. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003700
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The information herein on "Field Hockey Conditioning: EP Wellness and Functional Medicine" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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