Hockey has increased in popularity significantly in Great Britain since 10 million people watched as we won gold at the Rio Olympics. Spectating for the sport has also risen in popularity and Women’s World Cup ticket sales have exceeded expectation with over 100,000 sold.
Following any high profile sporting event there is typically a rise in interest resulting in more people wanting to practice at amateur level. Ian Wilson, Executive Director of the governing body England Hockey, has stated: “Since 2012 we have seen an 80% increase in juniors playing hockey and adult hockey is growing too. We believe that many more will be inspired to pick up a stick after the Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup and we know our clubs will offer them a warm welcome.”
Hockey clubs should be extra vigilant to potential injuries, particularly if there are a lot of new players.
Wrist and ankle injuries are extremely common in hockey with ankle sprains making up 15% of all field hockey injuries.  These injuries can result from a number of things including pressure on the lower body from quick changes in the direction of play and being hit by the ball or stick.
Concussion is another injury seen amongst hockey players and can be difficult to spot. England Hockey has published medical advice, including concussion guidelines, which players and clubs should familiarise themselves with.
Small strains and sprains can cause long-term injury if not properly treated and players might be unable to play for a prolonged period of time. It is therefore extremely important to seek medical help if you think a member of your club is injured.
Precautions to prevent injuries include:
The appropriate clothing should be worn at all times to prevent injury. Although this is not a legal requirement, England Hockey strongly recommend that all players should wear shin pads and mouth guards, with additional headwear protection for goal keepers. Players should also remove all jewellery or anything that could injure another player. England Hockey also recommends that facemask are worn at penalty corners.
Protective clothing is available to purchase via the England Hockey online store.
Injuries can result from inaccurate aiming and aggressive behaviour on field. It is important for new players to develop basic skills before progressing to an actual game, as they are less likely to injure themselves or others. By learning how to properly control a stick, when to enter into a tackle and how to aim properly new players can engage in controlled risk taking without causing harm.
Likewise, coaches should encourage a good sportsmanship and a best-practice approach to playing hockey competitively.
Strength conditioning will not only make new players more successful at their game, it will also help to prevent injuries.
Hockey requires lots of quick movements and direction changes which can put pressure on hip and leg muscles. Different exercises that target these areas and build strength, such as lunges and squats, can improve movement and limit injuries during a game.
Exercises that target the upper body should not be overlooked either, including bench pressing and pull ups, which will help to improve upper arm strength, back strength and core strength.
Appropriate insurance cover
It is likely that clubs will see an increase in their membership as a result of the World Cup.
You do not need to let your insurance broker know if membership numbers have increased marginally during this time as annual premium is based on the total membership numbers known to you at renewal. However, if numbers increase dramatically please let your account handler know.
If hiring extra coaches at your club to support increased demand make sure they are appropriately insured and qualified, including safeguarding training. England Hockey strongly recommends that all coaches are insured as an individual or through a club. Insurance should reflect the activities coaches undertake within the guidance of their level of qualification or accreditation.