Kobras and their kit
For the 2016-17 season, we have introduced kit guidelines for the Kobras section so that we look a bit smarter for competitive fixtures. The guidelines are currently non-mandatory, but we hope that when the time comes to replace a bit of kit, parents will purchase items in the correct colour scheme.
Shirts are provided by the club to anyone who attends a competitive fixture. Baselayer tops should be white.
Shorts and skorts should be black.
Black leggings, tights or baselayer can also be worn.
Socks should be white. We prefer Stanno three ring socks, which can be purchased via the club for £5 per pair. Just drop an email to the club with the size you want.
Buying a new stick
We sometimes find that parents rush in and buy a new stick without taking any advice, which can sometimes lead to problems. In particular, there is a tendency for kids to get sticks that are too long, either because they don't want to bend their knees or because their parents want to buy a stick with "growing room". Having a stick that is too long means never getting proper control of the ball. It's better to borrow a club stick than to buy one the wrong size.
The picture shows how to find the correct size of stick. It should come up somewhere between the widest part of the hip and the hipbone. If in doubt, go for a shorter stick rather than a longer one.
Beginners should always start with a wooden stick. These "give" a bit, and so are a bit more forgiving of poor technique. Once children move up to the intermediate group they will be hitting the ball harder and wooden sticks tend to break fairly quickly. At this point a composite stick becomes more appropriate. These will be fibreglass, possibly with up to 30% carbon fibre to add stiffness (and cost). The level of carbon fibre is not important for children of this age though. Once children are fully grown, they can think about stiffer sticks (up to 100% carbon), and sticks with different profiles that suit particular styles of play.
A gumshield is important and can be very offputting if it doesn't fit well. A good fit can be achieved if you avoid the cheapest ones. For Kobras, something like the Shockdoctor GelMax or something from Opro is fine - these are in the £10-15 range. The gumshield has to be warmed in hot water and moulded to the teeth; just follow the instructions in the packet. If your child is playing several times a week, you might like to consider getting your dentist to make a bespoke gumshield. These are much more comfortable than off-the-shelf ones and therefore less likely to be "forgotten", although they are perhaps best left for older children.
Buy hockey shinpads rather than football ones - you need the ankle protection that comes with hockey shinpads. You need to make sure you get shinpads the correct length - it needs to come up to just below the knees. Shinpads are kept in place a velcro strap and/or the socks, so having long socks is important too. The only other important consideration is whether to get shinpads with a built in footstrap. These are more secure, but the problem is that you can't take the shinpads off without removing your shoes and socks first. Some people like to wear shinnies, which a layer of material to wear under the shinpad, which helps stop the shinpad from becoming sweaty and then whiffy.
OTHER USEFUL kit
Block tackles, with the stick flat on the ground, and reverse stick stops are important skills, both of which will involve knuckles being placed on the ground. Many children don't like doing this, and a hockey glove or mitt can then be useful. There are many styles - armoured, padded, or simple gloves with grips, with or without palms, with or without fingertips. Many people only wear them on the left hand, but others prefer to wear them on both.