As senior Kendall Eaton sprints down the field, outrunning opponents with the ball in hand, the only thing on her mind is scoring. She sees an opening, passes the ball to a teammate, and the Royals go up by another goal.
The technique Eaton uses is called air-dribbling. It has been around for a long time, but many teams do not use it consistently or even at all.
“An air dribble is a trick that gets the ball down the field quicker without it touching the ground,” Eaton said.
Sophomore Georgia Adair is another player who has grown accustomed to air dribbling during game play.
“It isn’t extremely valuable to the game plan, considering only two people on our team have been successful in performing it during gameplay. However, when we do air dribble, it definitely throws the other team off balance, which gives us an advantage,” Adair said.
Part of the reason that most teams do not air dribble is due to the legality of the technique. If a player decides to use it, they have to use it correctly or they are penalized.
“It is legal as long as it is not called as dangerous. So basically, if you are air dribbling and come within five yards of another player then you need to drop your stick below your waist and dribble as low as you can,” Adair said.
The entire team actually knows how to air dribble, but Adair and Eaton are the only players who utilize the skill in games.
“There are many ways you can do it, but the easiest one is pretty simple. You begin running towards the ball while it is lying on the ground, getting low, scooping it up with the hook of your stick, and continuously tapping the ball on your stick until you get to the point where you need to drop it,” Eaton said.
The field hockey team is 10-2 as of Oct. 12. They are on a winning streak, and look to continue their excellent play by practicing hard and using all the advantages they can get.