A lot is made of the differences between field and ice hockey. Due to the surfaces that the games are played on, the games are incredibly different. But, they are both hockey, with the same basic game at the core. So, can any skills developed on either side of the game be transferred to the other?
While movement with the ball or puck is very different between the two sports, the use of the stick and the skills required to control the ball or puck are rather similar.
In field hockey, ball control is one of the most important skills to have. A field hockey player needs to be able to keep the ball on their stick when running with it, play passes that are tempered well for the receiving player, and they need to learn how to perform a good first touch so that the ball doesn’t just bounce off of the solid wooden stick when passed to them. As you can see in the video below, strong ball control when dribbling, and even performing chips can make all of the difference.
In ice hockey, the skills are very much the same but performed slightly differently. Keeping the puck on the stick while skating is no easy feat, but the flexibility of the ice hockey stick, and it being flat on both sides, makes puck control a little easier than ball control. In ice hockey, Sidney Crosby is seen as the best player in the world. His skill on the puck is nearly unmatched; he can make goals happen in an instant. His stick skills make him such a force on the ice, and a huge reason as to why his team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, have had so much backing for them to win the Stanley Cup for the third time in a row, despite not being the favourites. This fact and his form have inspired many hockey fans to take advantage of Paddy Power’s risk-free bet through Oddschecker, in order to protect their gamble.
Ashley Jackson made the switch back
Ashley Jackson is a three-time Olympian with Great Britain and is their all-time top goalscorer. But, he gave up field hockey to give ice hockey another go. He first played ice hockey before field hockey but appeared to have picked up ice hockey again quite quickly, scoring 26 times with his local team, the Invicta Dynamos, when he dipped back into the sport.
His natural athleticism will have helped a lot, as having great stamina and an athletic physique will help a lot in both sports. But, despite finding success and signing for semi-professional team Basingstoke Bison, he says that his knowledge of field hockey “isn’t really relevant in [ice hockey].” He also cited that skating was the main area that he had to work on. Mobility is key to both sports, but obviously in very different ways.
Stickhandling is one of the core skills in both forms of hockey and could be transferred from one to the other – with some work to adjust to the new item – but overall, they are incredibly different sports. Athleticism and drive are what will get you far in both sports.