How Fast Does A Field Hockey Ball Travel?


Field hockey is an internationally popular sport with millions of fans across the world. In order to excel at field hockey, players must master a wide variety of complex skills. One of these skills is striking the ball with power and great accuracy. The faster you can move a field hockey ball, the greater advantage you will have in outplaying your opponents. With that being the case, you may be curious about how fast a field hockey ball can travel and how you can hit harder in play. 

For field hockey players, swing speed is incredibly important. The swing speed of a professional men’s field hockey player may reach as high as 103 miles per hour. That’s fast! Compared to other sports, like baseball and cricket, this is much faster. In fact, field hockey is said to have one of the fastest swing speeds of any sport.  

Field hockey has significant following in Western Europe, Oceania, South America, and Asia. Although it is not popular outside of these areas, there are many people around the world who hope to improve their field hockey skills. In order to do so, they should understand the importance of moving the ball fast. 

Field Hockey Ball Speed

Swing speed and ball speed are correlated, but not the same. The speed that the hockey stick is moving will determine how fast it will move, but there are other factors that contribute to ball speed as well. For example, the style of swing that someone uses will determine how well they are able to transfer power into their shot. Likewise, the area of the stick that makes contact with the ball this as well. 

The material that the field is made of can have an effect as well, because fields that consist of grass may offer more friction than synthetic fields, meaning the ball would move slower on the former. For field hockey players, it is important to take into account the type of field you are playing on if you want to achieve high ball speed. 

Swing Speeds In Hockey

Swing speed is an important aspect of both forms of hockey, because it will determine the distance a player can move the ball or puck and how fast they can do so. According to ESPN Sport Science, in ice hockey, the top swing speed is about 60 mph. This is likely because ice hockey players are not standing directly on the ground; therefore, they do not have a strong base to draw power from. In field hockey, swing speeds can reach as high as 103 mph on a powerful drive. 

Different Field Hockey Swing Styles To Achieve Maximum Ball Speed

There are many different ball-handling skills that are imperative to field hockey play. There are also a variety of ways to strike the ball, each with a different intended result. These are some of the most common field hockey swing styles used in play today. 

Drives

Drives are the most common of all shots used in field hockey. This is because it is the most powerful. Drive shots are useful for long passes, free hits, and shooting toward the goal. In order to perform a drive shot, a field hockey player will grip the top of their stick tightly, swiftly swing it back then swing it forward with great force directed at the ball. Although this shot isn’t always appropriate, players looking to move the ball quickly will likely use this swinging style.

Slap Shots

Slap shots are considered to be incredibly versatile, as they allow players more control over where the ball ends up. This additional control allows players to outmaneuver their opponents, potentially giving them an advantage. 

Slap shots are typically used to pass or shoot toward the goal. In order to perform a slap shot, players must hold near the top of their stick with their hands gripped eight inches apart from each other. With the appropriate grip in place, they swing back about half of their range and swing forward to hit the ball.

Flick Shots

A flick shot is a popular style that field hockey players use when they are making an attempt to score a goal. The purpose of a flick is to force the ball into the air, making it difficult for other players to stop the ball before it lands. Using this style, players can also avoid defenders, as flick shots can be used to bounce the ball right over their opponents’ sticks. Flick shots are considered to be difficult for goalies to stop. 

To perform a flick shot, players tilt the head of their stick at an angle so that they can wedge it underneath the ball; then, they flick it upwards using their wrist. The flick is a difficult move to perform, but once mastered, field hockey players can use it to gain a competitive advantage. 

Push Passes

Push passes are deemed the most accurate way to pass in field hockey. This is because this striking style doesn’t feature a backswing and relies entirely on the player’s body strength to move the ball. The push pass is also the most common way that players pass the ball to one another because it offers a great balance between speed and control. To perform a push pass, players simply flick their wrist and push their stick towards the ball. 

How To Improve Your Swing Speed

Improving your swing speed takes commitment to learning the aforementioned swing styles. Understanding how to manipulate a field hockey stick perfectly will allow players to maximize their swinging speed. By practicing each stroke repetitively, you will allow your body to memorize the finest details of the motion. When you go to strike the ball during games, you will be more likely to hit the ball more effectively if you’ve practiced frequently. 

Players can also do additional physical training to enhance their strength. The stronger your body is, the more force you will be able to apply when striking the ball. Mental preparedness is important too. If you train your mind to remain composed during games, you will be able to make decisions more quickly and focus more effectively on your swing. The more focused you are, the more accurate and powerful your shots can be. 

Swing Speeds In Other Sports

Swing speeds are a critical metric in many sports, like golf, tennis, cricket, and baseball. This is for obvious reasons, as in all of these sports, the ability to produce an above-average swing speed can set you ahead of your competitors. These are some of the recorded swing speeds in various sports. 

  • Baseball: Average swing speed between 65 and 86 miles per hour
  • Golf: Average swing speed 93.4 miles per hour
  • Tennis: Average tennis serve speed is around 114 miles per hour
  • Cricket: Average swing speed between 70 and 90 miles per hour 

Final Thoughts

In field hockey, moving the ball accurately and effectively is central to success. If you are able to hit the ball fast, you may have an advantage, especially because a fast shot is hard for goalies to defend against. Anyone can hit a ball with a stick, but it takes a lot of practice to master a field hockey swing. Yet with enough practice, field hockey players are able to swing the stick fast enough to propel the ball more than 100 mph! 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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