Welcome to the sport of field hockey! Field hockey is a great sport, and more fun than you can imagine, but it's not well known. As a result, the required equipment can be a big question mark. So, if you are new to the sport, here is a list of the basics that you'll need. Important! This list of items are for the player who is trying the sport out and not ready to invest a lot of money into new equipment. These items are for younger players who are not playing at a highly dangerous level. If you are starting the sport at an older age, then go to my blog for new high school players. There, I alter our recommendations slightly to accommodate a faster, more skilled, more dangerous level of play.
I will provide links to recommended gear, and full transparency: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but there are many great options out there and you should purchase what you like best.
So, you're giving field hockey a try. What do you need?
A stick. Sticks can range from $20 - $1000. Since this list is directed towards a player just trying the sport for the first time, we are going to give you the information on the basic stick that you can purchases, but as your skills and experience grow, expect to advance to a different, more expensive stick.
NOTE: We will bring extra sticks to camp for players that need them, but we can't guarantee that we will have your size.
First, you don't need to buy an expensive stick.
Second, you need to choose the right size. You will need to physically try out the stick. A common method of determining the right size is to hold the stick next to you and see if it comes to your hip bone. It's ok to be a little shorter, but it should NOT be a little higher. You are better off getting a shorter stick than a longer one.
One year at Coach Sully's Camp, we had a player whose father was an NHL ice hockey player (Go Caps!). His daughter came to camp with a beautiful, expensive stick that was way too long for her. She just wouldn't accept that the stick had to be short, and she struggled trying to learn the basic skills. Finally, we made her try a small stick and when her dribbling started to click, she understood. I can't say if her dad ever did.
Below are links to some basic sticks, if you want to order online and try some out. You can return the ones that don't fit. I recommend going to Dick's Sporting Goods or to PJ's sporting goods store in Falls Church: https://www.pjsoccerlacrosse.com/ (PJ Soccer and Lacrosse. That's an unfortunate name. Where's "field hockey"?). These local stores can give you the chance to determine the size you need.
Again, it's more important to get the length right and give the sport a try before spending a lot on a stick. You don't need a high carbon stick. You want a "standard bow. No "low bow", no "late bow." Your player is not there yet. Trust me. Once you get the feel for the sport, then you can start worrying about all the other details in a fancy stick.
For now, stay with the simple stick that fits you, and doesn't break the bank. The links below to amazon will say things like "ultra bow" "full composite" - ignore that. To put it simply, they don't know what they are talking about. If the stick says "junior" or it's under $50, then that's what you are looking. for.
Finally, make sure it says "outdoor stick." Unless your first try at the sport is playing indoor field hockey, then you need an "indoor stick," but for most people trying field hockey in a rec. club, a school team, a camp, you'll need an "outdoor stick."
A full kit. Another option, you can buy a pre-packed field hockey kit with shin guards, ball, and stick here. I recommend these packages for new players. It's an all-in-one shopping package and will make your life easier, and we all need that
2. Mouth Guard. There is really only one kind of mouth guard that the kids like and that's the SISU brand. They are incredibly thin, easy to mold, and also have options for braces. While I am not a dentist, orthodontist, or an oral surgeon, I've been told that despite the narrow depth of the mouth guard they still perform the basic duty of the mouth guard.
A) helping prevent concussions when biting down forcibly, and
B) helping prevent the shattering of teeth if a player is directly hit with the ball.
Parents, I've seen it happen. That ball is hard. It will shatter teeth and bones, and a mouth guard will hopefully, at the very least, keep the teeth in tact. (I'm sorry. I'm not kidding)
3. Shin Guards. If your player is young (under the age of 12) and beginning the sport. The easiest option when it comes to shin guards is the STX soft, reversible shin guards.
A) They can reverse the shin guards to work with any uniform color.
B) They are washable. Trust me! You want to wash the shin guards... a lot.
C) At this younger level of player, they will provide enough protection for your player.
As they progress in the sport, your player will likely need tougher shin guards, and you can go to my blog on shin guards to learn more about that.
I should mention that new field hockey players use these or they use soccer shin guards (also acceptable for young, new players), but you will be seen as a "new" player. Some kids don't care about that. Some kids care a lot about looking the part. If that's the case. See my blog on shin guards.
4. Shoes. Field hockey at the beginning level is mostly played on turf. So, sneakers or "turf shoes" work fine. As a beginner, my advice is: stick with the sneakers you have. Don't worry about buying anything different. If your player is determined to have "turf shoes" here are some basic recommendations. To all of you lacrosse parents out there, NO CLEATS. Lacrosse cleats or baseball cleats or even soccer cleats with hard plastic spikes do not work. You will slip on the turf.
5. Water Bottle. If you look at the image below, this is all you need to know. This is where your kid's water bottle will end up. In the left-behind graveyard of forgotten water bottles. My advice: it doesn't matter. Your kid is going to lose it. So, just buy multiple water bottles.
6. (optional) Balls
It's good to have your own ball or balls when you come to camp, or go to practice. I promise you, like the matching sock in the drier, field hockey balls magically disappear. Coaches are always grateful for the player who has their own ball.
Be careful not to buy an indoor ball or an ice hockey street ball.
Standard practice balls: Pretty glitter ball (warning: you will lose it.)