Last Updated on March 27, 2022 by Field Hockey
Originally field hockey balls were made of rock. Field hockey sticks, on the other hand, were shaped from animal horns or bones. Both have taken huge strides, as you can now get top of the notch field hockey balls at a cheap price.
What are Field Hockey Balls Made of?
So what is a field hockey ball made of in 2015? Many goalies will attest that balls are forged in the fires of Mordor, but in truth, field hockey ball material is traditionally a non-flexible plastic shell, that is often shaped around a cork core. They are usually white, orange or yellow, depending on the field or surface being used, as well as lighting.
Field Hockey Ball Size
A field hockey ball size is between 224 and 235mm (8.8 to 9.3 inches) in circumference, and weigh between 156 and 163 grams (5.5 and 5.7 oz).
To put this in perspective, a field hockey ball weight and size is about the same as a cricket ball, and slightly bigger than lacrosse ball. Lacrosse balls are also designed to bounce, whereas hockey balls tend to ‘skim’ across the field and do not have the sharp jump of a lacrosse or cricket ball.
Dimpled Vs Smooth Balls
The field hockey ball itself is covered with dimples that assist it in maintaining speed across a wet surface (i.e. the playing field) or through the air (i.e. an aerial or overhead), in much the same way that a golf ball is. It also creates interesting and unique patterns when it hits an unprotected part of the body. The dimpled ball was developed for use in the 1984 Olympics, as the old leather balls would become discoloured and weighed down by water on artificial and astro-turf fields. The addition of dimples has greatly improved the speed and skill of the game – modern elite players can move the ball at speeds of around 125 MPH with a hit and upwards of 80 MPH on a drag flick that has the potential to scare goalkeepers and defenders alike, breaking hands and ankles with reckless abandon.
Smooth field hockey balls are used on sand-based turf or indoor field hockey games, and tend to be at the lighter end of the ball weight spectrum. They can also be used in practice drills for outdoor training, but in high-level games, dimpled balls are preferred.
Choosing the Right Balls for Your Level
Like all decisions regarding field hockey, which ones you decide to use is a very personal choice, and will be mainly determined by the level of hockey that you are playing, coaching or managing. A junior team that is just starting out does not need to have pristine white cork-filled orbs of wonder. As you progress in age, strength and speed, you will benefit from using higher-quality field hockey balls, as your reflexes and stick skills such as dribbling, trapping and flicking will be sharpened.
List of the Best Field Hockey Balls for Sale
Your team should have bulk field hockey balls for practicing to ensure that drills and exercises aren’t constantly stopped to regather loose balls. Preferably, field hockey practice balls should be of similar quality to the balls that are used for competition games. There are field hockey balls for sale individually or you can buy field hockey balls bulk from sports retail stores or online; most will sell in quantities of twelve, so ensure that when ordering, you are buying field hockey balls dozen. Buying in bulk is a good way to purchase cheap field hockey balls, as most outlets will offer deals and discounts on large orders. To keep your field hockey balls cheap, buy more balls at one.
Brine Official Balls (Pack of 2)
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Good performer on all field hockey surfaces, these Brine field hockey balls are ideal for junior development level field hockey players, and come in bright rainbow colours to make finding lost balls just that little bit easier. This pack of 2 balls will come with one white ball and one rainbow ball and meet all NFHS and FIH specifications and rules.
STX Official Balls (Pack of 12) — BEST DEAL
Great durability and versatility, these STX field hockey balls can be used on all surfaces like grass or turf, including indoor pitches. Can be used as a game ball, or just for training and practice drills. Pick between a while orange field hockey ball, this PVC ball is NFHS approved and regulated.
Harrow Official White Ball
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Ideal for use on all field types, this Harrow field hockey ball has a cork center that provides a softer trap against your hockey stick. Perfect for use in colder climates – your hands will appreciate the difference! Meeting all NFHS specifications, Harrow tends to make some of the best field hockey gear in the world.
TK Dimple Balls
TK products are renowned for their high quality, and this field hockey ball is no different. Internationally recognized as a ‘match ball’ and perfect for use on wet, synthetic fields, this ball is a top-seller and a great price. Colder regions may need to replace these balls more frequently, as hollow balls tend to crack internally in frosty regions.
Official Kookaburra Dimple Balls
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For the serious field hockey player, Kookaburras are arguably the most preferred field hockey balls in the world. The Dimple Standard uses a combined core of rubber and cork , which puts it at the higher end of the price scale, but you will notice where that money went when you use it.
Cranbarry Field Hockey Balls
For best results on dry pitches, including sand-based and particularly indoor, these Cranbarry field hockey balls are ideal for training purposes at a very reasonable price. The multi-coloured ball is almost magnetic as it rolls, and is perfect for players and goalkeepers to track. Meets all NFHS specifications.
Longstreth Rainbow Tye Dye Balls
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Ideal to identify field hockey balls with a personal touch, these aren’t just pretty to look at and are ideal for all types of training surfaces. The hollow design keeps the ball light, but comes at the cost of durability, especially in cold areas. Definitely still a great option for all field hockey players out there.
Glitter Field Hockey Balls
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Recommended to youngsters just starting out in field hockey, these light-weight glitter balls are perfect for the next Casey Eastham to pick up the basics and have fun. Heavy field hockey sticks could damage this ball with prolonged use, however. Color options: Pink, Purple, Gold, White and Light Pink!
STX Ball Bag
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Keep all of your balls together and secure with this heavy-duty bucket-style ball bag. Built to hold over 70 balls with a study zipper to keep the balls where you want them. Convenience at an affordable price. Great for coaches or players who need to carry a lot of balls for practicing or gametime situations.
When to Replace Your Field Hockey Balls
Like all sporting items, hockey balls vary across brands, countries, price and durability. Being constantly belted across a field does tend to have an effect on ball longevity, and many balls will eventually become ‘rocks’ after time. A ‘rock ball’ will not travel quickly, and will vibrate your hands through your stick. It is easy to pick a ‘rock’ as it will make a distinct “click” when hit, akin to hitting two rocks together. It’s not just a clever nickname. Also, keep an eye on the ‘seam’ of a hockey ball as it gets put through a season of battering, especially in cold regions, as it can quite literally split in half if hit in the right (or wrong) area. It is exceptionally dangerous to continue playing or practicing with a ball showing signs of cracking, although it is infinitely impressive if you can time it right to have a ball split on either side of a goalkeeper’s helmet. It makes you feel like you’re controlling the Matrix.