How to turn your sports venue into a 5 star outdoor hockey facility
Whether you’re looking to offer basic training provisions at your school or leisure centre, or you want to accommodate higher performance levels and competitive play, Universal Services can help.
We stock all manner of outdoor hockey equipment and can provide you with everything you need to cater for both beginners and more advanced players.
With more than 40 years’ experience in our field, you can trust us to deliver sound advice when it comes to stocking up on all the essentials. Here’s what you need to consider when you’re kitting out your space and designing your new setup.
Firstly, why should you consider offering outdoor hockey at your sports facility?
Hockey – or field hockey, as it’s sometimes referred to – is a moderately rigorous sport that will certainly get the blood pumping and keep the mind active.
As well as supporting fantastic cardio fitness, hockey can help to improve strength, agility, coordination and balance, making it a great all-round option, even for those who are not particularly athletic.
The competitive nature of hockey also encourages fast problem solving and decision making, which can help with brain development at any stage of life. As with any sport, the endorphin release players will get from engaging with the game will help to reduce stress and anxiety, and there’s lots of evidence that the sport encourages better communication and team collaboration, too.
The standard field of play for a hockey pitch is 91.4m long and 55m wide.
Here is how your pitch needs to be laid out, and the standard dimensions for each section.
What outdoor hockey equipment do you need?
As long as you have enough space at your premises, you can get up and running with very little investment. However, if you have a slightly higher budget, there are some accessories that will enhance your players’ experience and improve the effectiveness of their training. Lets run through the non-negotiables and some nice-to-haves:
Today’s hockey sticks look more or less the same as they did when the sport was first introduced in the late 19th century. However, there are a range of bows and head shapes on the market that are designed to suit certain styles and positions.
The different elements of the stick can be tailored to give the player more power and control, and to match their own playing style. For example, sticks with a Shorti head have a shorter head curve and as little surface area on the reverse side of the stick. This traditional stick is fantastic for dribbling.
Midi sticks, on the other hand, are favoured by midfielders who need to move fast but take advantage of a larger control surface. We stock the Slazenger Panther midi variety, which is always a favourite with our customers and their end users.
Whichever type you choose, the diameter of the handle on an adult sized hockey stick will generally be between 25mm and 30mm; you can, of course, reduce this proportionally to suit the requirements of junior players.
There are several options to choose from when selecting the right outdoor hockey goals for your facility. First of all, you’ll need to consider whether a steel goal or an aluminium goal is better suited to your venue. Both materials are hardwearing, so all these products are built to last – but many of our customers prefer to opt for aluminium products as they are lighter and require less maintenance.
Counter-balance weights are essential for ensuring your hockey goals are firmly fixed in place and do not present a hazard to your players and spectators if anchoring them down is not an option. Our weights are suitable for use with both steel and aluminium products (each pack comes with a nut and square head bolt to facilitate aluminium goals). PST1001 is suitable for backbars up to 43mm in diameter, while PST1002 caters for larger backbars.
Crazy catch nets
Aiding in the development of players’ control, accuracy, and deflection skills, Crazy Catch nets are a small but important addition to any outdoor hockey setup. This training aid ensures warmups are as effective as possible and helps to develop players’ reactions to the unpredictability of the sport.
Hockey pitch divider pads
Separate teams during training or divide your pitch into half for smaller practice games with our hockey pitch divider pads. You can buy as many pads as you need to fulfil your requirements; as well as being used to divide your space, you can place these pads inside the goal backboard to protect it from repeated low shots, or on the outside of each post.
Hockey backboard protection pads
Hockey goals will take a beating when they’re in regular use – so keep wear and tear to a minimum with these backboard protection pads. They are manufactured from PVC covered foam and supplied in four transportable sections.
Keep your hockey sticks stored away safely and neatly with this freestanding unit, which will hold up to 35 items.
Further advice for your players
At Universal Services, we specialise in supplying outdoor hockey equipment for sports environments – but we want to reiterate the importance of ensuring all players invest in adequate protection for the game. As a facility, you will not usually be responsible for providing suitable shoes, grip gloves, shin guards and mouth guards for your end users, but you should be advising that everyone purchases these additional accessories so they can enjoy a safe, comfortable experience, every time.
For more information on any of the outdoor hockey equipment mentioned here, or to get tailored recommendations for your setup, please contact the sales department at Universal Services today.