Don’t let a UV hit send you to the bench

Hockey players are often training and competing outside for extended periods of time and are subject to the UV both reflected off the pitch and from above which can increase your risk of skin cancer. Even at very low levels of UV, the extended periods outdoors mean good sun protection is needed all year round.

Five tips for how to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide without compromising your game

1. Cover up exposed skin: SLIP on clothing designed for athletes that covers as much skin as possible, such as a loose, long-sleeved shirt or jersey with a higher neckline. Look for fabrics that are rated UPF50.

2. Apply sunscreen correctly and frequently: SLOP on SPF50+ broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to any exposed skin at least 20 minutes before play. Sunscreen won’t provide 100% protection but used in conjunction with other sun protection methods it will greatly reduce your risk of skin damage.   

  • If you’re worried about losing stick grip, look for a dry touch or active formula that won’t be greasy.
  • Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours and more regularly if you’re sweating so put some in your hockey bag for later. Half-time provides the perfect opportunity to reapply.
  • Correct application of sunscreen is essential. 85% of Aussies don’t use enough sunscreen putting themselves at risk. Check out our sunscreen calculator.

3. Protect your face, neck and ears: SLAP on a wide-brim hat when you are off the pitch to protect your face from the intense UV. When on the pitch, in line with match safety rules, wear a foam visor or soft-edged hat to provide some UV protection for your eyes and face. Be extra careful with sunscreen application for the back of your neck and ears, as these hats leave skin exposed.

4. Avoid peak UV times: Try to schedule training and matches earlier in the morning or later in the day when the sun’s UV isn’t as intense, or at night. Download the free SunSmart app for UV alerts and sun protection times. SEEK shade at the end of each quarter and at the completion of the match.

5. Protect your eyes: SLIDE on close fitting wrap-around sunglasses when you’re off the pitch. For best protection, look for sunglasses which meet the Australian standard (ASNZS 1067). Due to the risk of getting hit in the face with a hockey ball, wearing sunglasses during the match is not possible.