Koa Sports

Penalty Strokes

Hello, and I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Today’s field hockey topic is the exciting penalty stroke!

What is a stroke?

A penalty stroke occurs when an intentional foul happens in the penalty circle (the circle around the goal), the foul prevents a scoring of a opportunity.  A penalty stroke also is called if the goalie traps (at anytime) the ball with her equipment.

Here’s how the penalty awarded, the head referee makes the call, and the clock is stopped.  A penalty stroke is taken by one offensive player against the other goalie. The goalie must stand with two feet on the goal line and the offensive player must stand at the penalty line which is 7 yards from the goal line in the center of the goal. The offensive player has one chance to scoop, flick or push the ball into the goal. This all must be done in one motion and their are no rebound opportunities.

Who should take the stroke?

Each team will have a few designated players who take the “strokes”. It is a unique scoring opportunity and team’s with players that have a strong shot and do not get nervous when the focus of the game is on them are the best candidates to take the stroke. Each field hockey player should have a routine to taking a penalty stroke, similar to a basketball player shooting a free throw. The approach should be consistent, the way you hold the stick, your target (corner you aim for), stance, and shot type (scoop, flick, or push) should all be planned out before addressing the ball. Practice helps develop muscle memory, confidence and will makes the stroke in a game situation easier.

Scoring Advice

If you decide to aim for the goalies stick side, aim to the high corner of the goal.  If you aim toward the goalies non-stick side you should shoot for the lower corner.  These are the two most susceptible locations for goalie, and here’s why.  It takes  more time for a goalie to get her stick up to block a shot then her non-stick hand.   Why shoot low on the non stick side, reflexes are quicker going down to up, than up to down.

The best advice someone can give for taking penalty strokes is to practice, practice, practice and always aim for the corners!