Field Hockey - The Game
Hockey is predominantly played as a winter sport by two teams of eleven
players (ten roving players and one goalkeeper) with the aim of of scoring
more goals than the other team. It is essentially a non-body
contact game, sometimes difficult to believe, and rules restrict
the amount of body contact and tackling that is permitted to keep the
The hockey pitch, or field, is a rectangular field 60 yards wide and 100 yards
long (54.90m by 91.50m) and matches are played in two 35 minute halves with a five to ten minute
break at half time. Two umpires control the game (one on each side of the
field) and to score a goal you must use the hockey stick to shoot the ball from within the circle (actually a
semi circle) with the ball passing completely across the goal line.
b) The Equipment
The hockey stick is approximately one metre long with a curved end, it is flat
on one side and rounded on the other. It is made from hardwood or carbon
fibre and usually has a laminated handle. Fibreglass is now
widely used as a binding agent in the wooden stick. Hockey sticks may have
different weights, curves and lengths, but there is a maximum weight of 28
ounces and the stick must fit through a 2" internal diameter ring.
The ball can only be played with the flat side and edges of the stick, but
there are many situations when it is necessary to turn the stick over with
the end pointing downwards in the "reverse stick" position. There are no
left-handed hockey sticks, but hockey players who are natural left-handers
can still be very successful players.
The ball is the same size and weight as a cricket ball and is covered by a
thin shell of dimpled plastic to keep it waterproof. Although white is the
traditional colour, other colours may be used - bright orange is frequently used
on sand filled artificial turf pitches.
Field players usually wear only shin pads and mouth guards for protection, but
goal keepers must wear considerably more protective clothing, including throat
guard, chest and arm protectors, gloves, leg pads, kicking boots and helmets
as is made mandatory by the rules on safety grounds.
The rules and equipment for both men and women are the same.
c) Other Versions of Field Hockey:
Indoor Hockey is played as the name suggests, indoors, normally on a
basketball court or similar. The rules governing the size of the
court and the goals are well defined and forbid hitting the ball (it must
be pushed), or
raising it off the ground, unless actually having a shot at goal. Several
locations also play "Indoor/Outdoor" hockey - indoor sized courts and goals
with indoor rules on one of the outdoor artificial turf pitches.
may now like to read about
Hockey History or about the
Rules of 1892-3 or go to