Welcome to our section for Coaches and Players.  This contains all the information you need to know about the new courses within the England Hockey Coaching Pathway and how the Club can assist you financially and more generally with undertaking these.  It also explains the TBBHC Coaching Framework which incentivises coaches to gain higher qualifications.  Finally, it explains a bit about the Team Bath Buccaneers playing style and coaching philosophy.

This section should be used together with

– The GB Hockey Coaches Guide with embedded videos – for Junior, Club and Talent coaches.

– The GB Talent Development Framework is also excellent for advanced coaching principles.

– The England Hockey sponsored Hockey hub.  This is a great resource which supports coaches, players and umpires.  Anyone can sign up to register and its free.

– The Club’s own Youtube Channel TBB TV where all of our training and coaching videos are located.  There is plenty on the Channel to help you to run a good training session and to help if you want to focus on the technical side of up-skilling.


The England Hockey ‘Player Pathway‘ is the guiding document which describes what good looks like for young players, in fact all players.  It describes the 7 Overarching Principles that England Hockey is looking for.  Players who are:

  • Highly skilled.
  • Effective decision makers.
  • Effective under pressure.
  • Self organising and adaptable.
  • Fast and execute skill under the constant high intensity of a match.
  • Creative.
  • Right attitude, right time.

The Player Pathway also explains the National Development Themes (NDTs) that it wishes to see developed in the game in the UK.  These are:

  • Move the Ball to go forward.
  • Carry the Ball to go forward.
  • Apply Pressure on Receiving.
  • Goal Scoring.
  • Win the Ball back.
  • Defensive skills on the move.

Finally, it goes on the explain the Feedback system for outfield players and goalkeepers.  For outfield players, the areas to be assessed, which underpin the NDTs, are:

  • Stick on Ball (protect the ball).
  • 1 o’clock carry.
  • ​Carrying and Elimination skills.
  • Receiving and Retention of ball under pressure.
  • Forward facing receives, receives across the body and posting up.
  • Dynamic leading skills.
  • Passing and pre-scanning.
  • Goal scoring ability.
  • Defence and marking skills and split stance.
  • Small unit play.
  • Speed and Endurance.
  • Attitude and Adaptability.
  • Potential.

To find out more about how GB wants to play hockey watch this great video:


You can also view more videos and tips on the core themes at the excellent video section of the Hampshire Hockey Association Single System website.

The attached document England Hockey Coaching Principles adds some further detail on some of the guiding playing principles that England Hockey wishes to employ.


As a player, there are four core areas of your game that you need to work on and develop over time.  Remember, individual improvement = team improvement.

The 4 areas are:

1.  Technical.

2.  Tactical.

3.  Physical.

4.  Mental.

As a Club, we aim to help you develop across all of these areas, although in all cases it needs you also to take responsibility for your own development.  We outline the key element across these 4 areas below in reverse order.



The mental side of the game is a critical element but one which can be harder to coach and train.  At TBBHC, we believe that by adopting the right mental approach players will can train their brains and harness their emotions to cope with the challenges and pressure of game play and to remain controlled and mentally alert (think Sir Clive Woodward’s and his ‘TCUP’ philosophy – Thinking Correctly Under Pressure).  We want our players to thrive on pressure and play in the moment without fear of failure and be able to make quick and good decisions at key points in the game; this is where the motto Fast, Fearless, Fun comes from.  The ‘Fast’ is as much about quick, clear thinking as physical speed.

All of this takes practice and effort, and we all sometimes fail in our mental approach and discipline; but this is a progression in our games and we ask that players prioritise this element.

Players are reminded to follow the Club Code and to consider the following mental disciplines:

  • Play without fear.
  • Play with intensity, respect and composure.
  • Support your team mates.
  • Enjoy the game!


With limited training time available, the Club needs players to maintain and improve their own fitness levels – fitness is often the key defining difference between 2 skillsful, well matches sides.  The TBB TV playlist ‘Fitness’ contains some ideas about how to work on this individually.  Particular areas to work on include burst speed (interval training), core stability and glutes especially, plus an element of overall physicality and strength to ensure you can physically dominate your opposite number!  Why not check out the videos about fitness on TBBTV.


Tactics concerns the essentials of teamwork, the way in which a team organises itself to get the best out of its players and overcome the tactics of the opposition.  It comprises a number of main element which are listed below:

  • Formation (4-4-2 / 3-1-3-3 / 2-3-2-3 / 4-2-3-1 etc).
  • Playing Philosophy (structured / fluid, high press aggressive / patient / counter attacking / defensive etc).
  • Outletting – the process of manipulating the ball out from the back into opposition territory in areas and ways that are dangerous to them.
  • Pressing – the process and approach to recovering the ball by placing pressure on the opposition when in possession.
  • Small Unit plays – the execution of combination and individual moves in open play or from free hits designed to open up the opposition.
  • Set Pieces – attacking and defending short corners, penalty strokes and long corners.


Organisational Tactics – Fall Away Press

Some of the core team principles England Hockey wish to employ are covered here:

England Hockey Coaching Principles

At Team Bath Buccaneers, all players are asked to subscribe to the ethos enshrined in the motto Fast, Fearless, Fun with its emphasis on a game which is fast, exciting and attractive to watch.  We want to grow more technically creative and self motivated players who enjoy developing their skills and knowledge in a match context and who can problem solve for themselves.  Within this overall approach to the game, we also have a set of Core Principles for coaching and playing in which the following are essential:


 Motivational Tactics – Aggressive Pressing

For more tactical ideas on formations, presses, set plays and outlets please take a look at TBB TV, especially the following playlists:

  • Team Systems
  • Team Training Skills
  • Set Plays



The following is a list of considerations for players and coaches to work on in relation to the technical aspects of the game and is aimed to be in keeping with the TBBHC Core Principles and National Development Themes described above.  It is by no means exhaustive but is designed to assist with prompting thinking about areas of improvement to develop or introduce from a technical perspective.

Move the Ball to Go Forward – player with the ball

  • Scan, pass and move.
  • Think about executing the pass at a different angle to the direction youve been running in (easier to do if you run at angles).
  • Employ a wide range of passes – push, slap, sweep, drag, hit, clip hit, lifted pass, overhead pass, reverse pass, tomahawk, upright reverse hit, wall pass, drop ball pass.  Etc
  • Employ deception in your passes eg:
    • Pass in a different direction to which youre looking
    • Pass the ball at different angles eg. sweep pass by pushing wrists forward (to go right) or holding them back (to go left) and / or opening up your stance / left leg (to go right).
    • Employing a couple of inches of lift on the pass – this makes the pass faster and harder to intercept.
    • Employ Run-Off moves / outlets – where the player over the ball runs off the ball to be replaced by another and creates and overload in doing so.
  • Pass direct to players who are posting up.
  • Pass into space for players who are making leading runs.
  • Attack the Circle Entry (ACE)
  • Employ drop passes from attacking areas for a second wave attacker to drive / pass the ball forward while the original ball carrier makes a leading run.  From open play or free hit.
  • Unless there is a clear pass on, avoid striking a hopeful ball straight towards the opposition D into traffic. But if you have worked a position, go for it!
  • Use width to stretch the opposition – usually long passes are better made after the team has manoeuvred the Defence out of position through shifting the point of attack or when a counter attack is on. You need to earn the right to go long.
  • Either make an early pass or re-cycle the ball.
  • And when there is no clear outlet, why not make time by slowing down / stopping and assessing options.
  • Become adept at using aerial balls to release pressure and place pressure on the opposition.

Move the Ball to Go Forward – player receiving the ball

  • Pre-scan for pass options before receiving.
  • Move and receive.
  • Make ‘2 part leads’, ‘S shaped runs’ and exploit the defender’s blind spots.
  • Try to face and threaten forward when possible – shoulder position.
  • Never receive the ball in a static position, be dynamic and receive across the body / on the reverse / posting up / on the move.
  • Use your stick and body language to indicate where you want to receive the ball.
  • Post up when you want to receive a direct pass and employ the V-cut (move towards the defender / goal and then cut back to the passer).
  • Keep making leading runs and posting up even if you dont receive the ball first time round – you will be making space for someone else.

Carry the Ball to Go Forward

  • Apply pressure on receiving the ball.
  • Keep Stick on Ball – keeps the ball protected and increases options and speed of passing.
  • Scan and move.
  • Use pace and change of pace.
  • Think about running at angles not just in straight lines.
  • Employ individual and combination Elimination skills.
  • Keep the ball moving off and across the centre point.
  • Employ 3D skills, jinks and lifts.
  • Employ ‘Air Dribbling’ and ‘Lift Carries‘.
  • Make use of Deception and ‘V drag’ skills (both directions ie to pass the open and reverse sides of defenders).
  • Carry the ball forward from the re-start – and then drop pass to another player running in a different direction.

Goal Scoring

  • Employ a range of shooting techniques including Slap, First Touch Slap/Sweep3D Volleys and Half VolleysOverhead shotsTomahawk shotUpright Reverse shot / chipSqueeze and Swivel shots, Hack (ice hockety style) etc.
  • When shooting, think about your first touch and space creation.
  • Use the ‘Box Out‘ concept where you hold outside a space that you intend to move into, thus keeping the defender out of that space too.
  • Move numbers into the D late – to allow Defence minimal time to organise themselves.
  • Shoot off both right and left feet – right foot shot gets the ball away quicker.
  • Remember, its not how hard you shoot but how quickly you can get the shot away thats important.
  • Work on your particular contribution to Set Plays whether it be: Drag Flick, Injection, Reverse Stick Stop, or positioning for goalscoring etc.
  • When positioning on the far post (left in particular), ensure you are perpendicular to / forward of the line along which the ball will come to you – never be behind that line.

Defensive Skills on the Move / Winning the Ball Back

  • Work / hunt as a team / units to apply ‘forcing pressure‘ or ‘Pressure on the Ball Carrier (POBC).’  Aim for: 3 players v 1 ball carrier.
  • Avoid ball watching – keep an eye on whats behind you and what the player you are marking is doing.
  • If in doubt, line yourself up between the opposition ball carrier and your own goal – known as the ‘Line to Goal’.  Centre Halves and Sweepers should control this LTG.
  • Defend the inside against the Opposition – forcing them to play wide and then push out as a team.  Then be ready to react to what the opposition does next.
  • REACT to turnover ball, individually and as a team –
    • Individuals roll yourself infield and work hard to get yourself goalside  on the LTG as soon as possible while another team mate slows the opposition down.
    • Team look to slow play down / channel the ball carrier wide while others re-position – dont over commit to the tackle.
  • Channel ball carriers – avoid diving in for one on one tacklers, your job is to slow the attackers down by channelling them away from goal or into other defenders.
  • Defend in depth – this is connected to channeling.  One player puts some pressure on the ball carrier (without diving in) to get his head down while on or two others are waiting to pick up the mistake.
  • Marking Positions – establish a man-marking position (‘touch-tight marking’) which allows the defender to be able to see the player and ball and to physically dominate the space the attacker wants to use.
    • Think about side and front marking and when to use them.
    • Think about angles and distances – you dont always need to mark the player if the ball is far away from where he is and you can intercept / cut out the ball.

Defensive Skills on the Move – Tackling

  • Follow the principle: ‘Engage but dont commit‘.
  • Use the jab tackle / feint to get the player’s head down and force him / her into a mistake before employing the block tackle.
  • Work in combinations (2s / 3s) as a unit to place ‘Pressure on the Ball Carrier’ (POBC).
  • As a general rule, place your right shoulder in line with the attacker’s right shoulder and with your left shoulder facing forward.
  • Specific techniques when tackling:
    • Avoid getting feet caught square (this makes the defender static and 2 targets for attacker to aim at.  Instead, keep mobile and bend knees).
    • Dont rush forward in a straight line (instead channel the attacker).
    • Get the engaging distance right – best position is close enough to force ball carriers head down and be within striking distance but far enough to allow time to react.
    • Position stick in the the midline of the body (keeps options open and protects feet).
    • Keep both hands on stick (allows control and protects feet).
    • Keep stick head low when engaging (puts you in position to strike and protects the feet).
  • Employ other tackling and stealing techniques: shave tacklejink steal (when you place your stick in front of the receiver’s stick and lift the ball over it), and drag backs (pull the ball back from the defender rather than enter a fight for the ball).
  • The aim is to place Pressure on the Ball Carrier (POBC) and achieve ‘Full Stick Pressure’ (FSP).