Have you ever seen a school of sharks fighting over a piece of fish? How they crawl over each other? Replace the sharks by snorkelers and the piece of fish with a heavy puck and you will see underwaterhockey.
Speed, technique and a long breath. That is what it’s all about in underwaterhockey. This very intense sport is played on the bottom of the pool by two teams with 10 players. Each player is equipped with snorkeling gear. It consists of a diving mask, fins, stick, glove, cap and a special wide snorkel. We are not using compressed air! Underwaterhockey players use the short stick to shoot the 1.5 kilogram puck in the bottom of the pool. The intention is to dive in time and to play the puck past the defense and in de the goal of the opponent.
Underwaterhockey is three-dimensional. Opponents come not only from the front or the back, but also from above. Timing is essential, otherwise you will run out of air. Imagine you are just in front of an open goal and you need to get up because you are out of breath. This gives this rapidly growing sport a unique dimension over other competitive sports.
Almost all of the 260 clubs connected to the NOB play underwaterhockey on a recreational level or as training. Underwaterhockey is invented in 1954 (By Alan Black, a British diver) to cheer up the boring swimming pool diving session during winter. He called the game “OctoPush”, later they called it underwaterhockey. Nowadays it’s a vibrant national league. The Dutch underwatersports federation (Nederlandse Onderwatersport Bond (NOB)) also sends national teams to the European- and World championships which is held every two years.
We have shown that we are capable to hold a prominent place at an international level. The women’s and men’s national selection have been European champion multiple times. The ladies became world champions in New Zealand in 2004. The European Championships of 2001 was a peak with three golden medals, for men, women and youth.
It’s a beautiful and attractive sport. Swimming with fins is fun. A good technique and also tactics are necessary to improve the game play. When and where goes a player underwater to attack or defense? Did a player took enough breath to score?