How to dribble in hockey

hockey dribble
File photo credit: VOXSPORTS (for SSC)


By Adila Shahrin

Just like shooting in hockey, there are different ways you can dribble the ball. Dribbling is one of the basic skills you’d need to master because if you don’t know how to dribble the ball, you won't be able to go anywhere on the field. And when you do get the ball, you'll just end up losing possession of it because of your lack of dribbling skills.

Once you’ve mastered your dribbling skills, you can move past opponents, manoeuvre the ball and hopefully that would lead to your team scoring a goal.

So here are the 6 ways you can dribble the ball with steps explained on how to dribble in each one. Get out your chosen hockey stick, it’s time for some practice! 

1. Straight Dribble

The straight dribble allows you to control the ball best and is the most common dribble that players use. The ball never leaves your stick, allowing you to protect it from the grasp of your opponents. 

In order to straight dribble, you would have to use the basic grip. Your stick must be in front of you but slightly to the right of your body. Remember not to let the ball lose contact with your stick. Just run forward while keeping your head up so you’d know where to pass.

As this dribble uses the basic grip, it is thus easy for you to transition into passing (GC220) or shooting (GC218) while dribbling.

2. Loose Dribble

The loose dribble is similar to the straight dribble but instead of keeping contact with the ball, you continually tap it forward while sprinting. This allows for quicker ball advancement up the field. 

Just like the straight dribble, you make use of the basic grip. Your stick must also be in front of you but slightly to the right. If you want to cover more ground, tap the ball a few feet in front of you and keep sprinting after it. 

However, if you’re afraid to lose possession of the ball, you might want to execute smaller taps so that the ball will still be closer to your body. 

3. Indian Dribble 

The Indian Dribble is one of the most useful dribbles of all. Once you’ve mastered this dribbling technique, you’d be able to get past opponents easily. It’s also one of the most difficult dribbles to defend against due to the constant movement of the ball. 

Using a basic grip, use your left hand to rotate the stick 180 degrees but keep your right hand loosely in place for control. With the ball and stick in front of your body, push your ball flat to the left. Rotate your stick again and push your ball flat to the right. To dribble, just keep pushing the ball to the left and right! 

4. Dribbling Pull-back

What happens if there’s an opponent marking you? You’d need to be able to retain possession of the ball but you’d also need to advance. For situations like this, the dribbling pull-back is perfect for shielding the ball from defenders. 

The dribbling pull-back is executed together with a straight dribble. As you straight dribble, rotate your stick to the front of the ball and pull back before continuing forward. Remember to keep your stick in contact with the ball at all times! You can keep pushing forward and pulling back as long as you want till you want to pass it off or even shoot for goal yourself.

5. One-handed: Right Hand

This dribble only makes use of your right hand and you can only execute it if you’re on the right side of the field. Position the ball on the right side of your body, using the sideline as another shield for the ball. Run and move the ball up the right sideline, without losing contact with your stick. 

6. One-handed: Reverse Side

This is similar to the one-handed right hand dribble but this time, you only execute this if you’re on the left side of the field. Using a one-handed reverse grip, position the flat side of the stick forward. The ball must be kept on the left side of your body, away from opponents. Run and move the ball up the left sideline, without losing contact with your stick. 

Now that you’ve learned about the different types of dribbles you can make, it’s time for you to put this in action and start practising with some dribbling drills

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