The offensive field hockey penalty corner is one of the best opportunities to score during a game. However, it is also the moment when a player is most likely to get hurt. A referee will call a corner when the defending team commits a foul such as advancing or obstruction within the shooting circle. Four defensive players and the goalie will line up inside the goal while 5-7 offensive players will line up around the circle with one offensive inserter on the end line. After the whistle blows, the inserter pushes the ball to his or her teammate for a shot on goal. The offense usually creates a shooting play to elude the defense and score a goal. The danger presents itself when players shoot too high and strike another player in the crowded circle. However, injury during a field hockey corner is easily prevented if you follow these three tips:

1. Use the proper field hockey safety equipment:

Basic equipment includes a colored mouth guard, shin guards, and for high school players, wire cage or plastic safety goggles. Many players also chose to wear padded gloves to prevent hand injuries from the ball or another stick. Finally, there is an increasing trend for defenders to wear clear plastic masks to protect their whole face from flying balls and high swinging sticks.


2. Take a controlled shot: It is incredibly important to take a controlled shot during a corner because the play is focused in the small, crowded space of the circle. With the exception of precise drags and flicks, an airborne shot that hits the goal above the wooden backboard does not count for a goal and has the potential to hit a defender or fellow teammate. A blow from a field hockey ball can cause injuries like bruising, broken bones, and concussions. With proper form and a stick that fits, you will prevent inaccurate shots.


3. Use smart defensive positioning: Defensive positioning in a field hockey corner can be difficult because your team is outnumbered by the offense. It is important to mark the offensive players while preventing the ball from going in the goal. The most important thing to remember is that you are NOT the goalie; they wear an extensive amount of padding for a reason. Players often get struck by a ball when they line up in front of the goal next to the goalie to prevent a shot. Defensive players should instead focus on marking the offensive players and cutting off passes to thwart the opposition’s momentum.


A thorough knowledge of corner rules is essential for preventing injury. Field hockey camps teach proper positioning in a group setting, which is helpful for conceptualizing the form and flow of the corner. In addition, a personal field hockey coach is a great resource for getting individual attention on your shooting form. Check out the CoachUp website to find field hockey trainers in your area!


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