Have you ever stopped and considered what the soundtrack is to your hockey game? I’m not talking about the awesome Spotify playlist you’ve been smashing out in the car en route to your away game to get you pumped for the match, but the phrases that are constantly bellowed from across the pitch in order to either advise, motivate or even intimidate the opponent. Hockey is filled with pitch clichés that are a staple part of our hockey experience. We probably complain about it, but as I’ve said a variety of times now, words have power, and we use them all the time, even subconsciously. When a game goes quiet the guaranteed super driven midfielder will shout “it’s quiet out there” to highlight the fact it’s quiet! Why do we do this? Because communication is key in sport, especially in a ferociously competitive and blisteringly quick sport like hockey. Things happen in a blink of an eye, and we need to work together to make sure we work that ball up the pitch and pummel it against that backboard – we can only do that if we talk.
How many of these timeless pitch clichés have you heard? I bet it’s 100% of them, and you’ll hear them time and time again this season.
Some Twitter legends have even taken part in the #pitchcliches chat that went on last week, and I’ve even heard some new ones! I’ll definitely keep my ears open for these absolute belters.
“Get on the keeper!”
The amount of times I’ve heard this infuriating command from the skipper to the centre forward is ridiculous – and as a keeper, it’s the most annoying thing too. I’ve even been STOOD on in order to keep me from advancing towards the ball. Erm, obstruction much? Pet peeve right here. Had to be said.
“Use the wings!”
Usually one of the defenders who have a clear view of the game ahead will shout this gem as they can see bunching in the middle. Classic. Definitely hear this one, every single game.
“Just get a foot!”
During that interlaced mess in the D you’ll hear a scream of “just get a foot” when scrabbling mercilessly to get some sort of advantage in a panic state as you see the goalkeeper waving frantically in the corner of your eye and you just want that goal. All attackers are trying to slam the ball into the defence’s feet whilst the defence are on tip toes trying to prance away from giving away a short corner. Another absolute classic.
Matt reminds us of an absolute gem here – advice given to all players from grass roots to international. Probably the most important rule, especially for a defender. If your stick isn’t down, you might as well go play volleyball or something.
This is a genderless command that will help any attacker to be aware of the ninja type defender who’s closing them down. This is especially confusing in Wales as ‘Manon’ is quite a common, and pretty, Welsh name. It could be misconstrued as ‘watch out the player is behind you’ or ‘Manon, give me your attention!’ Either way, you need to be alert to what’s going on.
“5/Everyone 5/Watch your 5 please”
Now don’t pretend you don’t creep those few inches forward when an attacker is placing the ball, you peep to look at the umpire, stick down (obviously), and closing in trying to be as inconspicuous as you can. You’re always caught out, and the umpire then shouts for the 19th time that half that you need to ‘watch your 5s’. We love to push those boundaries don’t we? The umpire is on you, so don’t be fooled, they know your game.
“Set the press!”
Another classic that is shouted when a defender is setting up a free hit and the attackers are circling like a bunch of sharks around a trembling fish. If you don’t hear it during a game then you’re either incredibly efficient as working as a team or you have no idea what it means… either way, it’ll be said 14723 times this season.
“What was that for?”
When a scream of a whistle bursts your flow and disrupts your brilliant play you will inevitably ask for a valid reason for this, adrenaline coursing through your veins surging your cocky confidence to take on the umpire – which is something that is frowned upon as respect is essential. However, most umpires are more than happy to explain how you are the actual reason for stop play.
You’re running down the wings and your lungs are on fire trying to keep up with that explosive pace whippersnapper that’s graciously galloping down the wing, and your fellow team mates are beginning you not to swing in wildly to try and stop them and committing a foul. Just force the error, ennit?
We love to wield our stick like a weapon and believe that we are hockey warriors that can take on the world with only one hand on the stick… until we’re easily tackled and that ideal that we’ve created for ourselves is burst effortlessly.
Time is rapidly evaporating and your team frantically needs that extra goal. During a huge surge of attack most likely a defender will belt out “win something!” in order to try and encourage that ball into the goal – not like that’s not what we’re all thinking about doing?!
Oh no, there’s three attackers bounding towards you, you’re the center back and you are in need of reinforcements… and the most popular choice of plea that we use is “track back!” – because if they don’t, you’re done for.
Right, this is a very important one – if you don’t have possession then you’ve got no chance. Doesn’t it seem so obvious, we just have to ‘keep the ball in our possession’? Now why didn’t we think of that?
How many more can you think of? If you can think of more head on over to Twitter and use our #pitchcliches hashtag to get involved in the conversation… you know best, you’re the hockey pioneer.
Let’s see how many you hear during this season. Why not turn it into Pitch Bingo? It could be an excellent new game for your supporters too.