Last Updated on April 9, 2022 by Field Hockey
Even though the debate if high school players should or shouldn’t wear face masks is still fresh and the entire field hockey community is buzzing about it, the fact, that the safety of the players should be the number one concern, stands.
We are all aware that field hockey is a contact sport, and as such, things like injuries are happening all the time. Ok, we have to say that most of them are not that serious, but concussions and broken bones can and do, happen more than we would like to admit. Since contacts with the stick or the ball are sometimes unavoidable, fractures of the fingers, wrists, or hands, are more than possible. And in the case when the ball hits a player in the face, broken jaws, cheekbones, teeth, and even eyes are unfortunately the injuries that can occur.
When it comes to field hockey, for the team that is attacking, one of the most important set plays is the short corner, and the most effective shot-on-goal technique is the so-called drag-flick. When a drag-flick is the first strike, there is no maximum ball height limit. When done properly, it is really breathtaking and in certain circumstances, it can be a game-changer. If you watch the video, you will see how amazing the drag-flick scoring looks like
But, there is a downside of drag-flicks. As you can see in the video, the defenders stand in the goal, and when the ball is going, sometimes over 90 km/h, having time to get your face away from the ball is impossible. Having this in mind, it is not a surprise that many players choose to wear face masks to avoid getting injured. So, for those who want to find out more about best field hockey masks, why are they best, and which ones to choose, we suggest that you keep on reading.
Field hockey Full Masks
Unlike protective goggles, full masks, as their name suggests, offer protection for the entire face and not just the eyes. And, unlike protective face cages, masks don’t interfere with the field of view, meaning that they are more effective.
However, field hockey full masks are not popular among players and aren’t worn all of the time. Usually, only the defenders wear them during the penalty corner, and then take them off and throw them behind the goal. The reason for their unpopularity is the fact that field hockey is considered to be a tough sport, and wearing a mask makes the player look less tough. But, since this sport is evolving by the day, and field hockey sticks become lighter, and on the other hand allow more powerful shots, balls are achieving greater speeds nowadays. Having this in mind, and the injuries that can occur during a game, players have started changing their opinion about masks, and more and more of them can be seen wearing masks during the game.
What makes a good field hockey mask
Besides the myth, of the mask making you less of a tough player, some of the reasons why players avoid wearing masks is that some of them can fog up, some can narrow the field of view, and some can cut off your voice when shouting, and team communication is extremely important in this sport. So, in order for a mask to be among the best, it has to be made of high-quality materials that will be able to withstand high pressure during a hit, it musn’t fog up during the game, and it should have great ventilation that allows air to circulate and allow players to breath normally. Furthermore, most muffle the voice, so that other players can hear you when you shout out something important, and your field of view has to stay unaltered. Also, it has to form a perfect grip with your face, and it has to be comfortable.
How does the fit factor affect the hockey mask?
If you are wondering if there are any sizes when it comes to field hockey face masks, and if you can order one online or you have to go to the store and try one out in order to see if it fits you, we have great news! Protective face masks for field hockey are made one-size-fit-all! This means that it doesn’t matter what size your head and face are, or what shape your face has, it will fit the mask without a problem, and the straps that go around your head are adjustable so that you can adjust the mask and feel comfortable wearing it.
Benefits of Mask’s Over Goggles?
Well, it is kind of obvious, isn’t it? While the goggles protect only your eyes, face masks protect the entire face, plus, the googles have a cage-like construction, meaning that the bars go over your eyes, further meaning your eyesight will not be as good as without them. On the other hand, face masks offer a clean field of view, meaning that there is nothing in front of your eyes and you can see better.
Best Field Hockey Masks 2022
Here are some of the best models of field hockey face masks that could save your face from getting injured. They are not the best just because we think they are, but bets because the players that use them on the field claim that they are comfortable, don’t fog up, offer great protection, and don’t interfere with their field of view:
Mylec Pro Goalie Mask (Best for Goalies)
- Perfect for street and field hockey
- One size fits all, adjustable straps
- Great mask for a field hockey goalie
- High quality, manufactured in the US
Grays Polycarbonate Mask (Our Favorite)
- High impact resistance from Polycarbonate shell.
- One of the best fit on and take off’s during a short corner.
- Different types of foam density allow for foam to reshape quickly after a short corner resulting in a fresh fit every time.
- Protection extends around forehead, chin and sides of the head.
- Foam inner with increased depth and improved shape and increased shock absorption.
- Adjustable straps for an easy and secure fit.
- Reduces risk of serious facial injury
- Adjustable straps for better fit
- Meets all FIH standards & Legal for NFHS play
- Hard plastic shell with medium density foam lining pads
- Steel frame protection extended around forehead, chin, and sides of the head.
- Foam is a bit lighter on this mask and one density but does the job.
- Adjustable straps for an easy and secure fit.
Another Useful Case: Penalty Corners
One other key thing to keep in mind is that these masks can be specifically used for a corner shot when a penalty is given. Even the professionals wear these due to the possibility of injury from standing still while taking a full-speed hit. Since all the defenders during this penalty will need to be in the goal or within 5 meters of the goal, there isn’t a lot of room to defend yourself let alone the ball. Considering there are 5 people of you defending different parts of the goal based on estimating the attack path of the opposing team. The key thing to keep in mind here is that the attacking team can use a variety of methods like a flick, scoop, hit, push, or deflection to shoot the ball until the penalty play is over. These plays can severely result in high-velocity balls (Not beyond dangerous speed play) that can easily injure any part of your face. Having the proper mask to adjust and be able to take this impact is key for protection against this type of goal and is highly recommended when you play at the lower levels as well. Please keep in mind that field hockey corners are just as dangerous as normal play and should be guarded against with the same protection.