Mirror, mirror on the ball — who’s the fastest one of all?

This week’s drill allows your team to work on attack and defensive one-on-one skills while emphasizing speed and decision making. Set up this simple drill and encourage your team to play fast and earn points based on their efficiency. Try it today and find out who is the fastest (or cleverest, or craftiest) of them all!

NFHCA Field Hockey Drill of the Week Mirror Attack Defense

Objective: For attack — to enter the circle through the gates and score. For defense — to channel and tackle, then outlet the ball through the gates on the sideline.

Set Up:

  • Split your team into attack and defense
  • Split the field down the middle with a line of cones from the top of the circle to the 40-yard line
  • Create two large gates on the edge of the circle
  • Create two large gates on the sidelines, below the 25-yard line
  • Have two ball piles at the 25-yard line

The Drill:

  • Player C passes to player A to start the 1v1
  • Player A works to possess the ball through the gates on the edge of the circle
  • Player C works to dispossess Player A, if they make a successful tackle, they should outlet the ball through the cones on the sideline
  • After A/C’s repetition is complete, player D initiates a pass to player B for a 1v1 mirrored on the other side
  • Continue to alternate
  • Coach’s discretion: you decide if you want your defender to continue to play once the ball enters the circle, or not

Points of Emphasis:

  • For attack: utilize speed from their first touch, work to get their vision up and the ball out in front of them, open their hips to the middle of the field for optimal elimination skills, shooting as soon as they enter the circle
  • For defense: maintaining good engaging-distance and modifying space based on the attacker’s speed and control of the ball, forcing the ball to the outside of the field, differentiating what tackle they should use based on their positioning (forehand on the left side, reverse on the right side)
  • For goalkeepers: clearing the ball to the least-dangerous space in the circle based on the attacker’s positioning


  • This should be a fast, intense drill whenever the players are participating — vary your time depending on your numbers, to account for rotations and rest. If you have very low numbers, start everyone on one side, then switch after a set amount of time.
  • Make it a competition! Award attack one point for entering the circle, another point for a goal, award defense one point for tackling above the 25, another point for outletting through the sideline gates.
  • Easily turn this into a 2v1 by adding another attacker either joining from the top cone or from the sideline.