In2Hockey follows on from hockey’s introductory 4-a-side game Quicksticks. It can be played as a 7-a-side game with goalkeepers, or introduced as a 6-a-side game without goalkeepers. It is played on an area the size of half a hockey pitch.
The small-sided teams mean that players get more touches on the ball, increased levels of physical activity, more opportunity for skill development, and greater feeling of contribution to the team.
To ease the young players’ transition, the stages of In2Hockey gradually introduce three key features of the 11-a-side version of the game. These are goalkeepers, penalty corners and penalty strokes, and through In2Hockey each element is introduced in an easy to deliver, progressive and enjoyable way.
The game is accompanied by specially designed equipment and supporting resources, and all have been designed to support the delivery of junior hockey for 10 to 14 year olds in both clubs and schools. The game is designed to be flexible and can be adapted to meet the requirements of a school or club in terms of the facilities and equipment available, and the age and ability levels of the players. It can support those players who have experience of Quicksticks to take their game to the next level, or can provide those players who have no prior experience of hockey with the fundamentals to be able to participate successfully in game based situations from the very first session. The equipment makes the game playable on a variety of surfaces including artificial turf, sports hall, and tarmac/playground. The specially designed sticks and the variety of balls available ensure that an enjoyable, safe, fast and flowing game of In2Hockey is accessible to all.
It is recognised that the specific age at which a young player progresses from one format to the next will vary depending on ability and experience. Some advanced young players may be ready to progress from Quicksticks into In2Hockey at an earlier stage, and also to play 11-a-side hockey before they are 13/14 years of age. However, most young players are still being introduced to the game at this stage and England Hockey therefore recommends that small-sided team games (i.e. 4, 6 or 7-a-side games) form the basis of a players’ development throughout the age range of 7 to 14. It is the responsibility of the teacher or coach to decide which format is most appropriate for their players, depending on their stage of development.