Ignite possession and spark a numbers-up advantage.

The Joker’s Wild.

NFHCA Field Hockey Drill of the Week, 4-2-1 Drill

Objective: To possess the ball in a 4v4 setting and ignite the four Jokers to win Joker’s Wild with an 8v4.

Set Up: 

  • The drill size is about 25×25 or utilize the boundaries from the 25-yard line to 50 yard line and the width boundaries are the same sideline and about half way across the pitch (bigger sized for lower-level teams and smaller for more advanced hockey players).
  • Use cones to make four small boxes in each corner, each about 3×3.
  • Split into three teams of four players. Coaches can make the teams larger and give them substitutes or instead of 4v4 in the middle, play 5v5 or 6v6. Additionally, you can make two grids for much larger teams.
  • The three teams need to be in three different colors.

The Drill:

  • One team starts as the Joker team (J) and starts with a player in each of the four boxes (the orange team in the diagram). The Joker players cannot leave their box until a ball is passed to them in their Joker box from either of the White or Navy teams. The other two teams (White and Navy in the diagram) put four players in the middle. The White and Navy teams are fed a ball from the coach and work to keep possession of the ball and ignite all four Jokers (J) to possess with a 8v4 and win Joker’s Wild.
  • For example: When the Navy team receives a ball from the coach (1) they pass to a teammate (2) and then that teammate ignites a Joker (3) and now that Joker can leave their box (4) and join the Navy team to make it 5v4. The Joker can move anywhere in the entire drill space once ignited. The Joker passes to another Navy teammate (5) who then passes (6) to another Joker to make it 6v4. Once a player turns over the ball on the Navy team (or one of the two Jokers that have joined team Navy) then the Jokers run back to their boxes and the White team will now possess and try to ignite a Joker. Joker’s need to be mindful of which team passes them the ball so they know which team they have joined.

Points of Emphasis:

  • Possession and vision.


  • Three different colors of pinnys can be helpful for this game.
  • Goalkeepers can be put in the Joker boxes as a rebound pass and each team gets a point for every rebound they give and get back from the
    Goalkeeper Jokers. Once a team earns four rebound points from the goalkeepers, they win Joker’s Wild.
  • When the ball goes out of bounds a restart should be taken by the team that did not last touch the ball from going out of bounds – game-like.