Starting in Ball Hockey
So I've never really played any form of hockey before, and I am starting in my first ball hockey league this weekend. I'm fairly nervous that I am going to get physically dissected in this league, as I stopped by to check out some of the games tonight and these gentlemen are frightening and doing frightening things with the rubbery orange ball.
Like I said, I've never really played organized hockey before, and while I know the general hockey rules and the fundamentals, I'm more worried about screwing up with the details. I've played baseball most of my life, but I'm sure this is going to be very different.
Any advice? Other than, you know: "Stay in position, no dumb mistakes, head up..."...
Anything that I should absolutely know which I may forget or not think about at first?
Am I going to be annihilated?
What is ball hockey?
Just try to stay calm, communicate with your teammates. That's number 1. Let them know if you're open for a pass verbally. Things like that. Go hard to the net, no matter how new you are, if you know hockey and basic athleticism, you may be able to pick up rebounds or cause some deflections / screens on the goalie.
Keep your feet moving, and dont let yourself get caught tired. Go off for a change when you lose your energy, or just sense that you've been out there too long. (depending on how many subs you have...assuming it's 4 on 4 which it should be, and you have 8 total for two lines, in either three 15 minute running time periods or two 25 minutes running time...2 minutes maybe. Much less if you have more.)
Keep in mind the ball does strange things, often not what you see on TV with a puck. If someone rips a slapshot from half rink (which they will do), the ball is going to curve and dip just like it was baseball. Make sure you give the goalie room to see the shot in a case like this. If you play outdoor ball hockey, then chances are you have a fence above the boards and not glass. If you try to clear the ball on the fence it's going to drop right down where it hit...so keep it on the boards.
No icings or offsides, remember that too =p
Keep looking for teammates, stay spread out. When in doubt with the ball, dump it into the opponents corner. Try to avoid blind passes. Keep looking for the open man. And if you find yourself in position to shoot, take it. (unless you're the last man back..be 100% positive the shot wont get blocked up high...if the ball gets blocked its coming back and it's coming back fast for a breakaway). Don't pass up too many shots though.
Stick on ground, head up, stay spread out, get it deep, take your shots, back check, manage your time carefully. Just some things I notice from newer players. They often end up looking lost, and when they're in a position to shoot they try to force a pass due to lack of confidence. Know where you are and stay spread out from your teammates. If you're skating next to them then you're doing no good.
I just gave you a lot of information but really just try to relax. In ball hockey a lot of people think they're hot **** for some reason. The ego jumps up from ice hockey players in my experience. I've honestly seen people slow down on breakaways and wait for the backchecker so they can try to deek him and make him look like an idiot. And when they do that, I take a very very bad penalty =). Some people aren't nearly as good as their spin-o-rama's and toe drags make them look. Pull more than one move on a ball hockey rink and you're out of shooting position. I don't know if you know anything about paintball but, ball hockey is to hockey as speed ball is to paintball. It gets right down to business, so...shoot ! and then follow your shot and shoot again!
Sport court with a good puck is pretty damn fun too.
just work hard... new teammates will appreciate that... i always hated the new guys showing up, staying on too long and not backchecking.
aaaand if it's outdoors, you've gotta work twice as hard to get half as far as you would on ice... soo yea, hustle. :sarcasm:
aand, when on the boards, go ahead and take the body a little. if it's in an actual league, most refs won't call some physical play on the boards. And a lot of the ballhockey players who think they're hot Sh** will cough up the ball that way...
aaand don't try to get a slapshot off. most of the time it's incredibly hard to get a slapshot on net seeing as the rinks are smaller and it's crowded. WRISTSHOTS. from anywhere in the rink.
Thanks for tips, guys.
I learned some things at the game today. First of all, they put me on a team that seems pretty patient, which is good, because I had to go through explaining to half of them that this was literally the first time I've ever played any kind of organized hockey before.
Secondly, I learned three vital things:
1) Hockey is harder than baseball.
2 ) I suck at hockey.
3) I have the lung capacity of a 135 year old man.
And a 4th thing: Teammates are much more patient when you are winning 4-3 with a minute to go in the third then when you are losing 3-0 with 15 to play in regulation.
I whiffed on a one timer from the slot which was my only scoring chance. I was offside on one occasion, and I gave up a pretty ******** turnover. But in 3, 18 minute periods, rotating only 8 guys, that isn't that bad... I wasn't on the floor for any of the goals, which means that none of my mistakes led to anything major. I consider this a personal victory.
#35 M. Stewart 0 0 0 0 0
So there's my line on the league web-site. One of those is penalty minutes though, so that's undeniably a good thing.
THE MOST important thing in ball hockey is composure...hitting a ball isnt hard, unless you have the wrong mindset. Keep calm and composed when youre playing, thats the #1 thing in ball hockey. Youd be surprised how much time you have when youre relaxed. Dont panic, if nothing else dump the ball or just keep it out of scoring areas.
And remember...it doesnt get much more fun than playing a good game of ball hockey...its not life and death, so remember to enjoy it more than anything.
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