How to Inject the Ball on a Penalty Corner
The injector is a temporary position on the field. In regular field play, you have the defense, midfield, forward, and goalie positions. But for a penalty corner, you have a designated “penalty corner team”— the injector, stopper, and shooter. Generally, a forward or midfield player is chosen to play the role of the injector. She must be an accurate passer and great at taking deflection shots.
This field hockey guide will teach you how to inject the ball on a penalty corner, and it will go into depth about the roles and responsibilities associated with playing this position during a penalty corner.
At the start of the penalty corner, place the ball on the specific point marked 11 yards from the nearest goal post. You position yourself on the end line within playing distance of the ball (close enough so you can push it out without having to step to it first). You are the only player allowed to have one foot inside of the circle before the initial push out; the other foot must remain behind the end line.
You must wait to push the ball until the referee gives you the signal. This could be a nod or lowering of the arms. Once you see this signal, you are allowed to push the ball to your offense, who are all waiting at the top of the circle.
Hot Tip: Injecting on Grass
If you’re playing the injector position on a grass field, you may not get enough power with the push out. In these situations, substitute the push with an upright slap or short-handle drive to get more power behind the ball. Except for the hit itself, the same principles outlined in this guide apply to grass injections.
For more information on these hits, please see iSport’s guide “How to Slap the Ball in Field Hockey.”
The offensive team will come up with set plays for the penalty corner. So, you may change which player you pass the ball to depending on the team or coach’s decision. But most of the time, the main person you will push the ball out to is the stopper.
The most common way to inject the ball on turf is with a modified push. To inject the ball:
- Place your right foot behind the end line and your left foot inside the circle. Keep your back leg straight and your front leg slightly bent at the knee. Your body and feet should be in line with the target (though you will be facing the ball); however, you may point your front foot at the target if desired. Make sure to keep your back straight.
- Place the ball in the hook of the stick on the special marker. Extend your arms so they are straight down. Cock your wrists back to keep your hands in the basic grip on the stick. The stick should rest at about a 45-degree angle against the ball, with the top of the stick pointed towards the target.
- Focus on your target. Then, look at the ball and watch it as you push it out.
- Drag the ball with the stick forward and across your body in a straight line toward your target. As you drag the ball, turn your hips towards the target and shift your weight to your front foot.
- Follow through by continuing to turn your hips until you face your target completely. Bring your stick up and across your body. By the end of the push, all of your weight should rest on your front foot.
You have the shortest distance to travel to get to the goal, so it is your responsibility to hustle and cover the near post and be ready to deflect the initial shot or rebound shots into the goal. You always want to keep yourself involved in the play by becoming a passing or shooting option.
A few tips to remember when playing post-injection are:
- Keep your stick low inside the circle
- Stop the ball before shooting it
- Never swing at the ball
- Step in front of the defensive player (don’t get caught behind her)
- Keep your guts to the goal (stomach facing the goal)
- Angle your stick to redirect the ball into the goal
Please see iSport’s guide How to Take Deflection Shots in Field Hockey for more information on deflection shooting.
Being able to deceive your opponent is important to the injector role. The two things you want to keep your opponent guessing on are your target and timing, or where and when you’re going to start the play. Always set up in the push-out position (listed above) to start the play. If you decide to pass the ball to another player (rather than the stopper), reposition your body at the last second before you push the ball out. This way, your opponents will have already set up for a pass to the top of the circle and will have to readjust themselves to match your sudden change.
Do not make any initial movement to signal to your opponents when or where you are going to make the pass. Every second counts, so you want to give your team as much of a head start as possible.
Power & Accuracy
The injector starts the penalty corner and often finishes it, as well. Not only is it your responsibility to accurately push the ball out, but you also have to be confident taking shots on goal. So, work on developing a strong push out and getting your stick on the ball for deflections. With these techniques, you can maximize your roles in the position and help you team score more goals during penalty corners!