Sprint Workouts for Field Hockey

Field hockey is a sport that calls for quick acceleration and rapid changes in direction. Sprint workouts target the specific muscles needed to build the first explosive steps during acceleration. They also improve your agility for quick direction changes.

This guide will introduce a few speed workouts that you can complete on your own or with your team. If you commit to these workouts, complete every exercise at maximum effort. Challenge yourself! Go through each sprint as fast as you can, and allow yourself only 30-90 seconds for recovery. After training, you’ll have strengthened your fast twitch muscles and built your endurance!


The rabbit sprint helps you build that first, explosive step. It’s set up in a particular fashion — to give one sprinter a disadvantage. That sprinter has to overcome starting at a disadvantage by working even harder to beat her opponent — she has to be mentally prepared for this.

Two cones and three people are needed for this drill: Two sprinters and one to signal the start. This drill’s focus is on acceleration:

  1. Set down one cone (the base cone). Walk forward 5-10 yards, and about 5-10 yards to the left or right, and set up the second cone. There should be at least five yards between the two cones.
  2. One sprinter starts at the base cone in the push-up position. The second sprinter starts at the second cone in her ready position.
  3. On the whistle, both players accelerate forward towards their target, 50 yards away from the base cone.
  4. The sprinter who started at the base cone in push-up position has to catch up to the player who started from the forward cone before they reach the 50-yard line.


This workout focuses on your footwork for quick direction changes. You will need four cones for this drill, set up like a “T” (with three cones across the top and one at the bottom).

This drill mimics what’s needed in a game: Rapid movement and changes in direction. Only one player is needed for this workout. Focus on your footwork and agility at each turn:

  1. Set up four cones in the shape of a “T.” Set down the first cone (this is cone number one). Walk forward 5-10 yards and set down cone number two. Turn directly to the right and walk 5-10 yards; then set down cone number three. Then walk back towards the middle cone and walk 5-10 yards past the middle cone (to its left); set down cone number four.
  2. Start at cone number one.
  3. Sprint towards cone number two so that the cone stays to your right. Use a specific sequence of steps: Left foot, right foot, left foot. By your third step, you should have rounded the second cone and be facing the third cone.
  4. Sprint to the third cone.
  5. When you approach the third cone, round it so that the cone stays to the right of your body.
  6. Now, sprint to the fourth cone.
  7. As you approach the fourth cone, round it so that the cone stays to the left of your body.
  8. From the fourth cone, it should only take three steps to get to back to the second cone: Right foot, left foot, right foot. On your last step, you should be around the second cone and facing the first cone.
  9. Sprint back to the first cone. Complete this drill three to five times.

Three Cone Shuffle & Sprint

The three cone shuffle strengthens your leg muscles and focuses on quick steps and directional transitions. One player is need for this drill.

  1. Set up three cones along a line, 5-10 yards apart.
  2. Start at the middle cone.
  3. Shuffle to the far right cone. Keep your knees bent and stay low as you shuffle — do not cross your feet! Lead with your right foot.
  4. At the far right cone, plant your right foot, turn your body to the left, and then sprint back to the middle cone.
  5. At the middle cone, come out of the sprint and turn your body 180 degrees so that your right foot leads as you shuffle to the far left cone.
  6. At the far left cone, plant your right foot, turn your body to the left and sprint back to the first cone.
  7. Repeat this workout twice, leading each shuffle with your right foot. Then, repeat the workout another two times, leading each shuffle with your left foot (turn your body accordingly!).


The ladder works on acceleration, your first explosive step, and directional changes. One player is needed for this drill.

  1. Set up five cones in a line, making sure that all cones are of equal distance apart. The total distance, from cone one to cone five, should be about 20-40 yards.
  2. To climb the ladder, start at the first cone in the standard sprint position.
  3. Sprint to the second cone.
  4. Touch the second cone, plant your lead foot, and then reverse directions. Sprint back to the first cone.
  5. Repeat towards the third, fourth, and fifth cone. Sprint back to the first cone after each succession.
  6. To climb down the ladder, sprint from the first cone to the fifth cone, and then back to the first cone. Then sprint to the fourth cone, and then back to the first. Repeat toward the third and second cone, sprinting back to the first cone after each succession.
  7. Complete this exercise in sets of five (climbing up and down the ladder is one set).

Triangle Full-field Sprint

This sprint helps develop your endurance. The longer distance sprints simulate sprinting across the field, while the jog along the side of the field allows you to recover. One player is needed for this drill.

Practice this sprint on a standard field hockey field with a 100-yard perimeter length and 60-yard width. Complete the workout for 10 minutes, and take as much time as you need to recover so that you can give 100 percent in the diagonal sprint.

  1. Jog the width of the field, about 60 yards.
  2. Sprint diagonally across the field from one corner to the opposite corner.
  3. Jog the width on the other side of the field.
  4. When you hit the next corner, sprint diagonally across the field again.
  5. Repeat five times.

You Can Do It!

Sprints may not be your idea of a great time, but they are one of the best workouts. Sprints build strength, burn fat, and get you in shape faster than long distance runs or other aerobic exercises. When your coach tells you it is time to run, don’t think of it as a punishment. Running is part of the game. Just tell yourself to push through the sprint every time. Eventually, you can become one of the fastest players on the team and your game will improve significantly.

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