IceHockey Coaches and Wooden Balls - South African UniHoki is Alive and Well

i recently got involved in the running of the inline hockey club where we play our UniHoki
the club is small and seems to be in not the greatest shape in the world and if they should close down, we’ll lose the kewlest UniHoki rink in the world and that wouldn’t be kewl

during a recent comittee meeting (oh how i hate those things), a possible coaching clinic was discussed
to be run by a young man who’s studying Ice- and InLine Hockey coaching in Finland
he’s back in south africa for a short visit and they tried to put something together at fairly short notice
due to the short notice, they couldn’t get enough people together to make it viable
i was quite keen on getting involved as im sure there must be sufficient simmilarities between the various hockey disciplines to be able to get some benefit from such a course
i decided to give the guy a call and invite him down to the game yesterday ‘just to have a look if he could add something to the way we play the game’
that was really the full and final extent of my intention at the time
well, we got the bargain package
he watched us play for a ‘first to 10’ game
(‘The Dark Side’ (we always play in black T-shirts) kicked the crap out of the other team 10-2)

then Lawrence jumped on the rink and proceeded to take us thru the best part of a 2 hour coaching session
focusing on the basics of cycle-control, riding forwards, backwards and making sharp turns
he was also oddly keen on us being able to move laterally, which seemed rather quaint at first, but when used to close down an attack, proved to be a rather interesting move

he introduced us to the wonder of wooden balls
they are 40mm in diameter (a touch more than an inch) and are fairly light
they’re used in Ice-and InLine hockey coaching
since u’re not supposed to strike the ball with the head of the stick, but rather move it around in a sweep-like movement (and simmilarly receive the ball with a reverse of the sweep movement), there should never be ay audible ‘TOCKING’ when passing the ball to and fro
the wooden balls make it very obvious when u’re not doing this properly
these balls are also very quick and may well become our ball of choice
with the bevelled corners and the chest-high wall around the rink, these balls make it possible to play ‘rim-shots’ (all drummers, relax) where u can be riding back in defence and play the ball back down the wall, around the back of your own goal, and right onto the stick of your team mate who’s calmly waiting on the other side of the pitch
there is waaay less chance of an opposing player intercepting this pass than a traditional square pass

Lawrence also pointed out that it was very obvious that we didn’t practise very much as we tended to all chase the ball, much like under8 soccer players
this he adressed by introducing more than one ball in a practise game
and by splitting the teams (we were playing 4-a-side yesterday) down the middle and limiting each pair to one half of the field only

he also took us thru some basic zonal play and a couple of basic ‘break-out’ plays for use when u restart the game after conceding a goal

we played a game after the coaching, and the difference was immediately apparant

if u’re serious about your UniHoki, try n find an Ice- InLine Hockey coach and see if u can arrange for a couple of coaching sessions

What good luck!

“the difference was immediately apparant”…man, thats really cool!

Ive never even tried Unihoki but i appreciate your writeup just the same. So did the coach try to uni?

I hope you dont lose your rink. It looks real nice!

take care

Cross fertilisation. Got to be good!

Hope it all works out for you and your club, GILD.

I thought a picture was in order, especially now that I’m actually able to take and post one.
The ‘tennis balls’ aren’t actually. They’re marketed as ‘Fun Balls’ and retails at the equivalent of a macdonald’s cheeseburger for three. They are also very dead, bouncing only about 20% on concrete. They do lose their shape rather easily, especially when ridden over.
They are the same size as regular tennis balls tho and I include them here for scale.

This post links to some video of a game played with the wooden ball.

Coaches! pah
Special balls! pah
Tactics! pah
Zonal Play! pah

we keep to our
over enthusiastic stick hacking,
hit and hope,
selfish glory runs,
scrum style attack runs.

See ya in IRELAND…