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How to Play Underwater Hockey in Florida? It’s Not Easy, But Worth It!

In the diverse world of sports, underwater hockey in Florida stands out as a unique and intriguing pursuit. This unusual sport, also known as Octopush, is gaining popularity among Floridians who are seeking an adventurous twist to traditional games. Its blend of aquatics and competitive action offers a distinct appeal that is hard to resist.

Underwater hockey is not your typical sport. It’s played at the bottom of a swimming pool, with players equipped with snorkeling gear and small sticks to push a puck across the pool floor. It’s a game that requires both physical endurance and strategic thinking, making it a challenging yet rewarding experience.

The increasing interest in underwater hockey in Florida is a testament to the state’s love for unconventional sports. Despite its complexity, people are drawn to the sport for its unique gameplay and the sense of community it fosters. It may not be easy, but the thrill of playing underwater hockey is certainly worth it. As we delve deeper into this aquatic sport, you’ll discover why underwater hockey is making waves in Florida’s sporting scene.

What Is Underwater Hockey?

Underwater hockey, also known as Octopush, is a globally played limited-contact sport that takes the excitement of hockey to an entirely new level – literally beneath the surface. With two teams competing to maneuver a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool, this sport combines the thrill of competition with the challenge of performing underwater. As stated by Wikipedia, the game’s unique setting and mechanics make it a standout in the realm of sports.

The gameplay of underwater hockey is as fascinating as the concept itself. It is a non-contact snorkeling sport where two teams of six face off at the bottom of the pool, aiming to push, slide, or flick a weighted puck into the opposing team’s goal. The game demands both physical agility and tactical prowess, making it a truly engaging sport. As highlighted by the Underwater Society, the game’s dynamics are as intriguing as they are challenging.

Some basic rules and gameplay elements include:

  • Limited Contact: Despite being a competitive sport, underwater hockey is designed to be a limited-contact game. This means that while the game can be fiercely competitive, player safety is prioritized.
  • Teams and Players: Each team consists of six players, including a goalkeeper. The team’s objective is to score goals by maneuvering the puck into the opponent’s goal using their pushers.
  • Equipment: Players wear snorkeling gear, including masks, snorkels, and fins. They also use a short stick or ‘pusher’ to move the puck.
  • Gameplay: The game is played at the bottom of a swimming pool, with the teams trying to score goals by pushing the puck into the opponent’s goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the match is declared the winner.

In essence, underwater hockey is a sport that takes the thrill of hockey to a new, underwater setting. The game’s unique blend of physical challenge and strategic gameplay has made it a popular choice among sports enthusiasts looking for something different.

How to Get Started with Underwater Hockey?

Getting started with underwater hockey is an exciting venture that requires some basic skills and a readiness for adventure. As per the Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Hockey, the first prerequisite is being comfortable in water, particularly in swimming to the bottom of the pool. While it may seem daunting at first, practicing breath control and developing your swimming skills can make all the difference.

Once you’re ready to take the plunge, finding the right place to learn and play is essential. Clubs like Orlando Underwater Hockey offer beginner-friendly sessions, enabling newcomers to learn the game in a supportive environment. These clubs typically provide the necessary equipment and training, making it easier for beginners to get started.

Here are some key points to remember when starting:

  • Breath Control: Breath control is a fundamental skill in underwater hockey. As suggested by the Rumblefish Club, warming up your lungs before the game with a series of “BOGDATS” (Breathe Once Go Down And Touch the Floor) can help improve your breath-holding capacity. This drill involves taking a single breath, diving to the bottom, touching the pool floor, and resurfacing. Repeating this exercise can significantly improve your breath control, a critical aspect of underwater hockey.
  • Swimming Skills: Fine-tuning your swimming skills is key to excelling at underwater hockey. Seconnuwh suggests that practicing diagonal cuts back and forth across the width of the pool can help improve your swimming skills and puck control. This exercise not only enhances your swimming speed and agility but also improves your ability to maneuver the puck underwater.
  • Equipment Familiarity: Understanding the equipment used in underwater hockey can greatly enhance your performance. This includes snorkeling gear such as masks, snorkels, fins, and the pusher. The pusher, used to move the puck, is a short stick held in one hand. Familiarizing yourself with these tools and learning how to use them effectively is critical for both beginner and advanced players.
  • Team Recognition: Recognizing your teammates underwater is crucial for strategic gameplay. Breaking Even Inc. recommends memorizing your teammates’ swimsuit colors and flippers. This will help you quickly identify your teammates during the game, enabling faster decision-making and more effective team play.

Remember, getting started with underwater hockey is about learning the basics, gradually improving, and most importantly, having fun. 

What Equipment Do You Need for Underwater Hockey?

Getting equipped for underwater hockey involves acquiring a specific set of gear designed to facilitate gameplay underwater. As detailed in Berlin Underwater Hockey’s gear guide, the essential items include a mask, snorkel, fins, and a protective glove. Each piece of equipment has a distinct role in enabling players to perform effectively in the pool.

Here’s a closer look at each item:

  • Mask: According to BUWH, a face mask is crucial as it allows players to see underwater. Masks designed for snorkeling or diving are typically used in underwater hockey.
  • Snorkel: A snorkel is used to breathe while floating on the surface, allowing players to observe the game without lifting their heads out of the water. As Rumblefish Club suggests, large-bore snorkels are often preferred due to their increased airflow.
  • Fins: Fins are worn on the feet to increase swimming speed and maneuverability. They come in various designs and materials, with the Chicago Underwater Hockey recommending those specifically designed for underwater sports.
  • Protective Glove: A protective glove is worn on the hand that holds the pusher (stick). This glove not only protects the hand but also provides a better grip on the pusher. As per Guildford Underwater Hockey Club, mouthguards are also recommended for added safety during gameplay.

Remember, being well-equipped can significantly enhance your performance in underwater hockey. So, make sure you have the right gear before diving into this exciting sport.

What Does a Typical Underwater Hockey Game Look Like?

An underwater hockey game, otherwise known as Octopush, is a unique spectacle that combines elements of swimming, diving, and hockey. According to ESPN, the game was invented 65 years ago to keep British divers and commandos in shape, showcasing its potential for improving swimming and free-diving abilities.

The pace of an underwater hockey game is quite dynamic. The game is played entirely underwater, with players only surfacing for breath between dives. As per the Rules of Sport, players must remain underwater until a goal is scored or there is a break in play due to a foul. This means that the duration of dives can vary greatly, depending on the flow of the game and the players’ breath-holding capabilities.

Typically, according to CMAS Archives, an underwater hockey match consists of two 15-minute halves with a three-minute halftime. Each team is allowed one 60-second timeout per half. The game begins with the puck in the center of the pool, with 3-4 players on either side. After the command “Sticks Up, Go!,” each team descends to the bottom of the pool to vie for control of the puck, as described by UNC.

Underwater hockey is not just a game of strength and speed but also of strategy and teamwork. The structure of teams and the positioning of players can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. With six players on each team facing off at the bottom of the pool, coordination, and communication become key to scoring goals and defending against the opposing team.

In conclusion, a typical underwater hockey game is a thrilling, fast-paced event that requires skill, strategy, and excellent breath control. It’s a sport that not only builds physical strength and endurance but also fosters teamwork and strategic thinking.

Where Can You Play Underwater Hockey in Florida?

Underwater hockey is growing in popularity across the Sunshine State, with several clubs and groups offering opportunities for both novices and experienced players to get involved. From university sports clubs to city-based groups, there are plenty of places where you can dive into this exciting sport in Florida.

Let’s take a look at some notable clubs:

  • UF Underwater Hockey Club: This club is based at the University of Florida. The UF Underwater Hockey Club welcomes players of all skill levels and provides training sessions to help members improve their underwater hockey skills.
  • Orlando Underwater Hockey: Founded by Ariel Czesler and Lucky Meisenheimer on January 7th, 2011, Orlando Underwater Hockey has been promoting the sport in the Orlando area for over a decade. They offer regular practice sessions at the Rosen Aquatic Center.
  • Tampa Underwater Hockey: This club welcomes newcomers with no prior experience required. Based in Tampa, this group encourages participation through its Facebook page, where potential players can find more information about joining.
  • Palm Beach Underwater Hockey Club: Promising one of the most unusual and fun sports experiences, Palm Beach Underwater Hockey Club hosts games at Aqua Crest Pool. They welcome new members to join through their Meetup page.
  • Florida Keys Underwater Hockey Club: Located in the scenic Florida Keys, this club offers underwater hockey enthusiasts a chance to play in the beautiful setting of Jacobs Aquatic Center. Contact information for the club can be found on the Puck U website.

Why Try Underwater Hockey in Florida?

Diving into the world of underwater hockey in Florida is more than just learning a new sport; it’s about embracing adventure and joining a close-knit community. With clubs spread across the state, from the energetic university scene to the tranquil beaches of the Keys, there’s a place for everyone. 

Whether you’re looking for a unique way to stay fit, make new friends, or just try something different, Florida’s underwater hockey scene is welcoming and vibrant. So grab your fins and take the plunge into an unforgettable aquatic experience!

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