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Small Sided Hockey


 The Small Sided Hockey project, funded by Sport England and delivered in partnership with England Hockey, is a new initiative designed to increase retention and participation of University students in competitive hockey of all levels.   

All documents - including presentations and rules - relating to the format are now available to download on the right hand side of this page. 


The project has spent the last two years developing and rolling out a 6-a-side version of the game that rivals the style and atmosphere of Rugby 7s, Futsal and 20/20 Cricket.


Since September 2015, a series of events and leagues have taken place that have engaged over 3000 students from 45 different institutions across the country. Events in the 2015/16 season focused on testing the rules and format, engaging 1000 students from 14 institutions, with the 2016/17 season having leagues and regular competitive activity rolled out across a much greater spectrum. The big successes have included:

The BUCS launch event, where 225 players formed 25 Premiership-level teams from 8 Universities competed in a one-day tournament at Nottingham. 74 fixtures took place in a single afternoon, with 311 goals being scored - and we got the great launch video above

The University of Nottingham's Intra-Mural programme running a weekly competition for 22 teams across three tiers engaging over 170 students each week

The University of Sheffield's Intra-Mural and Society Hockey Leagues running weekly competition for 150 students across 18 teams with over 3000 goals being scored. The League is also city-wide, with teams from Sheffield Hallam University competing alongside the University of Sheffield teams

The University of Bath who, from having no participation level to their club, now have a weekly Super 6s competition engaging up to 100 social players every week

The University of Surrey setting up a successful programme that regularly engages 40 students on a weekly basis, as well as running one-off charity events and inter-sports-club competitions, and being the first to trial our new hockey pitch pipes

  Cumbria University hosting an early attempt at a Regional Competition, engaging development teams from 4 institutions that gave less-experience club players a chance to compete against their peers

The Universities of Leeds, Royal Holloway, Plymouth, Manchester and Surrey all running one-off competitions for up to 60 students at a time 


The game is designed to be as true to the normal rules of 11-a-side hockey as possible, but with some unique attacking twists to promote a high-scoring and fast version of the game. Research carried out across Bath, Manchester, Leeds and Surrey events showed 100% of students enjoying the format and wanting to play it in the future, 96% seeing a great amount of goalmouth action than 11-a-side hockey, and 93% saying it would benefit their 11-a-side playing abilities. 


The format is also designed to make the most out of available facilities, with three matches being played on a single astro-turf at any one time, thereby maximising the number of players that can compete in each session. In the 150 minutes it takes to play two 11-a-side matches, engaging a total of 64 players, it is possible to play 15 Small Sided matches providing up to 300 playing opportunities! The project is also expanding beyond the university sector, with Hockey Fest on Tour and club sides picking it up as a playing format, and with some university and community clubs beginning to deliver activity together to maximise it's impact. 


Whilst the success so far has been considerable, the work is ongoing and the future of this project is looking very exciting. We are particularly keen to investigate options for regional development hockey activity that give lower-level players the chance to compete on a regular basis. If you want your institution to be invovled, then make sure you get in touch with Greg Sturge as soon as possible to start getting it set up - there is potential funding available to provide basic equipment and support to get it off the ground. 


Watch this space for further updates and reports on how the project develops! 


If you would like any more information about BUCS Hockey Development, or are interested in bringing the Small Sided project to your institution then contact Greg Sturge, BUCS Hockey Development Manager.


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