Players should be aware of the circumstances around them at all times in games. Examples are the location of team mates and opponents when you come into possession of the ball, or the exact position of certain boundaries on the field (the location of the circle, the 23m line, etc.). Not knowing the circumstances around them results from players “ball watching”.
There are always players who have an exceptional awareness of position, e.g., the midfield general, and most of us accept that these players have a “natural gift” that the rest of the players don’t have. Awareness of position on the field is done by “Watching Off the Ball” and it is a skill that can be learnt by every player at any stage in their development. Watching Off the Ball can be continually improved.
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Peter D’Cruz is the founder of the Hockey Curriculum for Players & Coaches.