How to Receive the Ball from Behind in Field Hockey

Receiving a pass from behind most commonly occurs on the forward line, as every other player strategizes to send the ball up the field to score. Midfielders also receive the ball from behind, but they are more likely to receive a pass from somewhere ahead of them or from a player on their side. Defenders generally wait patiently for the ball to come to them as they stay back to protect the goal. No matter where you play, though, you may find yourself in the situation where you’re on the run, and you need to receive a pass from behind.

So, how can you keep your momentum going forward if you are constantly turning around to stop the ball? You can either stop and flow, or dodge and pull. This guide will teach you how to receive the ball from behind and dodge to maximize your momentum and eliminate any opponents in your path.

From Behind: Stop & Flow

For this stop, you will receive the ball coming from behind you and towards your left before controlling it to continue your run. The main purpose of this stop is to build off of the ball’s momentum. By having both yourself and the ball moving forward, you can increase your speed up the field. This type of stop is best used for fast passes up the field.

  1. Place your hands in the basic grip.
  2. Keep your stick low.
  3. As you are running forward, follow the ball by looking over your left shoulder.
  4. Allow the ball to roll past the left side of your body.
  5. When the ball is ahead of you, turn your torso to face the ball and reach your stick to the left. Use your strong stick to control the ball.
  6. Angle your stick and drag the ball in front of you where you can transition into a straight dribble with your strong stick.
  7. Scan for possible passing options.

Hot Tip: Stop & Flow from Your Right Side, Too!

You can use the same techniques as the “From Behind: Stop & Flow” stop for a ball coming from behind you and towards your right. The only minor change you would need to make would be to control the ball off of your right side with the reverse stick. Then, simply turn the stick over and position it behind the ball before dribbling forward with your strong stick. You now know how to successfully stop and flow with the ball from either side of your body!

From Behind: Dodge & Pull

If an opponent is approaching you head-on, you can still receive the ball from behind. But instead of simply stopping the ball, you can incorporate a dodge into your stop to avoid the oncoming player. The tactic used to dodge opponents after receiving the ball is called a pull. By combining these two elements — the dodge and the pull — you can avoid a player approaching you from the front, left side of your body. You will also be able to transfer the ball from the weak side of your body (left) to your strong side (right), while giving yourself the opportunity to dribble with your strong stick after the initial pull.

  1. Place your hands in the basic grip.
  2. Keep your stick low to the ground.
  3. The ball will come from behind you, and from somewhere on your left.
  4. Allow the ball to roll past your feet.
  5. Shadow the ball with your strong stick (so that it doesn’t pass you), and then use your reverse stick to make a one-touch pass to move the ball across your body (to your right side) while you control it.
  6. Stop the ball outside of the right foot using your strong stick.
  7. Scan for possible passing options and dribble forward.

Create Space

Always be aware of your surroundings when you receive the ball. While in the offensive zone, you’ll likely be marked by an opposing defender. So, instead of waiting for the ball to come to you, run towards it. This is part of the larger technique known as creating space.

If a player is marking you, run at an angle towards the sideline. This will likely draw the defender away from the middle of the field. Once you’ve pulled her outside, quickly cut back inside towards the middle in front of her. By doing this, you create space to receive the ball, maintain your momentum, and create a clear path towards the goal.

Once you have created space, encourage your teammate to pass the ball by signaling to her with a head nod or a call. Then, give yourself a running start onto the ball as you allow it to roll past you. By allowing it to come past you, you won’t waste time or energy re-starting the ball or your own momentum before receiving it.

Go with It

By eliminating your opponent, you can create more breakaways and scoring opportunities. You want to be able to receive the ball quickly and move it up the field. So remember, if you receive a ball from behind, just go with it! Create space or incorporate a dodge into your game strategy and you will be on your way to scoring more goals and winning more games!

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