Indoor Hockey Strategies

Indoor Hockey team at a short corner

Indoor field hockey, or indoor hockey, is an indoor variant of “traditional” outdoor field hockey.

It is traditionally and mainly played as a pastime by outdoor field hockey players during the off-season, when the outdoor pitches are either frozen, or alternatively conditions are too hot for outdoor play. Indoor field hockey is played in regular national and international championships. The first Indoor Field Hockey World Cup was organized in 2003. It included countries which do not compete at the highest level of the outdoor game.

The small field and sideboards make indoor field hockey a quick, technical and physical game. Some of the original rules eventually influenced outdoor hockey, such as unrestricted substitution. It is often an ideal game for field hockey players to develop vision on and off the ball, developing a better understanding of tactics and set plays.

Defending Principles: Three players (the two wings and the centre-mid) will form an inverted triangle that is called a press/funnel and is designed to prevent the other team from passing the ball or give as little space as possible. They should all move together in case a gap opens and the ball is passed through to an attacking team mate behind the press.

Another important thing to remember is that defenders do not mark their man initially but rather hold a defensive formation which is more zonal in nature. There is no point for the defenders to follow their man. Man marking would create a “no man’s land” in the centre of the pitch and would allow any good attacking player the opportunity to score as the defenders that should have been there, where drawn out of position.
If the first wall acting as a funnel fails to get the ball, the fact that the players at the back are not marking their man gives them a better chance to get the ball more easily and counter attack.
Attacking Principles: The aim of the attacking team will be to move the defence. The best way to do this is to play the ball around the back between the two half players. As the defending team in their press/funnel follow the ball back and forth, gaps will open up and the attack can be launched.
The forwards at this point should be making leads/runs inside outside in order to receive the ball in space (Start from the centre of the goal and move towards the left or right sideboards).
High Low forward rotation for Indoor Hockey

Remember that even though at the beginning of the move each player has a set position, it is more than likely that by rotating around, drawing defenders out and making inside/outside leads, attackers will finish in a completely different positions. It is vital to work on deflections and short passes with little time of execution.

indoor hockey player rotation on attack

Update: As per the rule changes where there are only 5 field players (previously 6), this type of rotation is even more vital. However it now includes transitions between different formations and both defenders and forwards must be able to play at the back and up front.