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The growth of field hockey

Tess Howard

A number of sports across the United Kingdom have seen player numbers decrease. Cricket is one sport that has seen the number of teenage players competing for a drop-in in recent years. Even football, the favourite pastime of the UK is seeing fewer kids participate. Whether you play field hockey or just watch it, you will have noticed the game is continuing to grow. Not only have top competitions like the Olympics created interest to play, but people want to watch too. With the 2020 Olympics around the corner, fans can use the Casino.com bonus code to wager on the matches before and during the event.

In 2016, England’s women’s field hockey team won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro. Now, three years on from that historic win, has hockey’s growth in the UK continued?

Field hockey’s rise

In 2011-12, field hockey hit its highest point in adult participation in the sport. A reported 168,000 people took part in field hockey at least once a week. Although that figure declined to 132,600 people by the end of 2013, the numbers have been on the rise once more.

England’s women’s team won the Olympic gold medal in 2016 and over 142,000 people were reportedly playing the sport on a weekly basis by the year’s end.

The number of children playing field hockey may not be quite as promising as those adults enjoying the game. In 2017-18, a share of 9.8% of children aged 11 to 15 participated in field hockey over a four-week period. That is a large decline from 17.7% of children aged 11 to 15 who played in 2011-12.

Increase in hockey club size

Although Statista’s numbers for England may give some field hockey coaches and clubs concern, England Hockey doesn’t seem worried. In 2017, England Hockey stated the size of the average field hockey club in England had grown 54%. In addition, the organization claimed the number of under-16s playing field hockey had also increased.

With other sports around the UK facing the defection of teenagers, there is no doubt field hockey will too at some point. England Hockey has been actively training to build the next generation of hockey players. In 2018, the Women’s Hockey World Cup took place in England. During the year, Hockey England ran workshops and “trained over 100 coaches” to deliver training sessions to players.

The organization also offered other ways to participate in field hockey. This included walking hockey, which was inspired by walking football. The interest in hockey is apparent and England Hockey is working hard to increase the sport’s profile.

Hockey’s appeal to the UK

As the British University and College Sport’s second largest sport, hockey should continue to see growth in multiple areas. Currently, more than 550 men’s and women’s teams play in a league spanning seven tiers.

Hockey is one of the most popular sports in the UK but other games could infringe on that popularity. Sports such as ice hockey, basketball, and even American football have seen spikes in popularity in the last decade in the UK.

The 2020 Olympics could be another significant moment for field hockey. Another women’s gold medal and the number of participants – especially kids – could increase once more.

This article is a third party advertorial and not associated with The Hockey Paper editorial.