How to Spin Dodge in Field Hockey

When you’re caught in a corner and have nowhere to go, fear not! You can spin your way out of it. The spin dodge is used in field hockey to open up new passing options on the field. If an opponent is closing down on you, you can legally turn your body to block them from gaining possession of the ball. In your beginning stages, you’ve probably been called for obstruction one time or another because you turned illegally. This guide will teach you how to turn legally using this proper dodge technique.

The Spin

The spin is used at every level of play. It might be hard to get adjusted to, but as soon as you do, it can be a valuable resource on any part of the field. Instead of always moving forward, you can spin to create a left, right, or backward dribbling and passing option. By scanning the field while you spin, you look for new opportunities while keeping possession of the ball.

Strong Stick Spin

The strong spin move can be used to turn your entire body away from a player who is closing down on you and preventing you from moving forward. By spinning, you can quickly change directions on the field and create more options for yourself on the field. Make sure to keep solid possession of the ball with your stick while you spin counterclockwise:

  1. Place your hands in the basic grip on the stick.
  2. Bend both knees low to the ground.
  3. Plant your right foot in front of you.
  4. Pull the ball with your strong stick to your left.
  5. Pivot with your right foot while you spin towards the left.
  6. Once you turn about 180 degrees, switch your plant foot.
  7. Pivot with your left foot to continue your spin.
  8. While you spin, scan for possible passing options and be ready to accelerate out of it.
  9. You can exit the spin at any time; you do not have to complete a full 360-degree turn.

A Few Tips

The strong stick spin is useful anywhere on the field, so be ready to use it. To make learning a little easier, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep the ball on your strong stick, moving the entire time.
  • Complete the spin quickly, in one fluid motion.
  • Keep at least one foot moving at all times to avoid an obstruction call.

Hot Tip: Avoid Obstruction

According to the official rules of the game, if you prevent any defender from tackling the ball by deliberately shielding it with your body, obstruction will be called. Your team will be penalized with a free hit awarded to the opposing team. To avoid these calls, always keep your feet moving. By doing this, you are giving your opponent a fair chance to try and tackle the ball.

Reverse Stick Spin

This move is used to turn out of a corner or away from a defender. You can also use the reverse stick spin to change directions while you’re dribbling, and to switch the ball across the field. As you spin clockwise, you can get out of the spin at anytime, so make sure you are always scanning for space and teammates:

  1. Place your hands in the basic grip on the reverse stick.
  2. Plant your left foot in front of you.
  3. Pivot with your left foot and spin towards your right.
  4. Keep your back straight and your knees bent.
  5. Using the reverse stick, drag the ball from the left side of your body to your right.
  6. Use your strong stick to control the ball when you are ready to come out of the spin.
  7. Scan for possible dribbling and passing options.

Some Advice

Similar to the strong stick spin, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when doing a reverse stick spin:

  • Keep the ball on your stick for the entire duration of the move.
  • Both your non-pivot foot and the ball are moving at all times.

Getting Dizzy Yet?

An important thing to remember with the spin is that the ball needs to be “playable” at all times by an opponent. If you turn the ball, but not your body, you will get called for obstruction. Therefore, make sure you are always using one foot to pivot and the other to turn. Also, if you keep losing control of the ball during the spin, try placing your hands lower and bending your knees a little more; you will have much more control.

So, now you have it — if you’re ever stuck with nowhere to go, you can always do a U-turn and get out of the crowd with the spin dodge.

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