1. Gain Possession of the Ball
When it comes to field hockey, the defensive team works to keep the other team from scoring. One of the ways defensive players do this is by tackling the ball. If you have a mental picture of a football team dog-piling the offense, think again. Players have no contact with one another during tackling in field hockey. In fact, if the defensive player touches the offensive player's body or stick, field hockey rules require the umpire to call a foul on the defense.
2. Field Hockey Tackling Requires Skill
In order to avoid an obstruction foul, the defensive player must time her actions. If she thrusts her stick in to soon, the field hockey sticks collide. If she's too late, she may hit the offensive player's body. Aside from timing, the player also needs to be able to control her stick with one hand. This allows the defensive player the most mobility and increases the speed with which she can change direction.
3. Use Technique to Gain Possession
The technique you use influences your success rate at tackling. If you use the jab tackling technique, you push your body forward, which means if you miss, the offensive player gains ground. If you do connect with the ball, the jab sends the ball away from your body, leaving an opportunity for the offensive to catch the ball and regain possession. The best technique uses the flick or your wrist to pull the ball away from the opponent, which keeps you close to your opponent and pulls the ball toward you.
4. Pressure a Turn-Over
A successful tackle wins your team possession of the ball. This doesn't mean that all successful tackles occur when you take the ball away from the offensive player. Applying pressure to force the player to hit the ball out of bounds gains your team possession. You can also channel the offensive player toward other defender, increasing your team's chance to intercept the ball.
5. Tackle the Right Way
When you head in for a tackle, you need to constantly be aware of the danger posed by the stick and the ball. Tackling from the left side leaves you open to a swing from the stick. In some cases, this has caused death, fractured legs and knocked-out teeth. Get in front of the player with the ball to reduce the chance of the player hitting you on a back swing. Moving in from the right with your stick in your left hand also helps reduce the chance of injury.