THE HITCHCOCK PHILOSOPHY
Tommy Hitchcock's advice to his Westchester Cup teammates in 1930.
Try as hard as you can all the time. Do not let up for one second, and do not stop until the umpire blows his whistle. Keep your eye on the ball. Do not dribble the ball. Take a full swing at it every chance you get. There are few exceptions to this rule: (a) When shooting at goal, it is better to miss the ball altogether and leave it in front of the goal than to hit it over the backline. Therefore, a dribble or a short shot to place the ball in order to make a surer shot at goal is often justifiable. (b) In passing the ball to one of your own teammates, a short wide pass is often better than a long pass, as it reduces the hazard of an opponent getting the ball.
The player who gets away free with the ball should go at top speed the early part of his run in the hope that he may have a chance to steady himself for the last most important shot, the shot at goal. The ideal way to make such a run is to make an approach shot that can be picked up at the mouth of the goal, about twenty yards from it, thereby greatly facilitating the final shot.
Don't take the ball around by hitting under the pony's neck. There is practically no exception to this rule. A back shot, no matter how feeble, is safer than a shot under the pony's neck, which is very difficult to make when going at top speed. A straight forward shot to clear the goal is, of course, advisable. If you must take the ball around, don't make a great wide circle, but pivot the pony sharply in as narrow a circle as possible and hit a long shot directly for the opponents' goal.
A man riding to the boards to back the ball in front of his opponents' goal automatically becomes the Back. He should circle his pony so as to cover the Back position; and his is responsible for the defense until relieved. There is no exception to this rule.
Always play for your own man or the opponent hitting the ball, and assume that he will make a good average shot. Try to anticipate this shot at the earliest possible moment and place yourself accordingly. If your opponent has ridden you off, do not pull off or slacken your speed. You are responsible for one man, and if you cannot block him, you should hurry him. This is often very effective. Take nothing for granted. That is, if a ball is rolling through your own goal and the chances are all against your being able to stop it, do not assume it will go through. It may hit a lump of dirt and slow up enough so that you can get your mallet on it. If you can think of nothing better to do, put your opponent out of position. This applies especially to the No. 1, who has more leisure than the others.
Don't leave the ball unless a man on your own side shouts to you to leave it. When you are told to leave the ball, leave it as quickly as possible and ride off your opponent as wide and clear of the play as you can. Don't tell one of your own men to leave it because you have an easier shot at the ball than he, if he has a fair shot on either side of the pony. This holds good except when in front of your opponents' goal. Then you should tell one of your own men to leave it if you have an easier shot for the goal than he.
Play the man rather than the ball. The ball won't travel by itself if you eliminate the man. This is especially important when the man is trying to dribble the ball behind you. All you need to do is to check and bump into him hard ant that will spoil his play.