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    Guide to Field Hockey

    The game of field hockey is a fast-paced, exciting game played worldwide, which may have started in Egypt way back in 4000BC, however, the game as it is known today was first officially played in England and Scotland in the early part of the 19th Century. It made its first appearance in the Olympics in 1908 and went through till 1920, it was dropped as a sport for the 1924 Olympics then returned in 1928 and has been in every Olympics for Men since then and Women from the 1980 Olympics.

    The Game

    - The game is played between two opposing teams of 11 players (10 field players and the Goalie)

    - The Field Hockey Pitch is as set out below-

    Field Hockey Field MeasurementsFig 1- Field Hockey Field Measurements

    The goals for field hockey are set out below-

    Field Hockey Goal MeasurementsFig 2- Field Hockey Goal Measurement

    - The game is at International Level played in quarters of 15 minutes in duration, but most domestic or club competitions play games with two halves of 30-35 minutes in length.

    - Each game is officiated by two umpires, and in some competitions, you will have an additional umpire sit at the scorer's table at halfway along with a Technical Official

    - The Field Hockey Ball, must be passed all dribbled at all times down the field of play using the flat side of the stick.

    - A goal is scored when a ball crossed to the goal line having been hit in the scoring circle.

    Basic Playing Positions

    The basic playing positions of field hockey are-

    Basic Playing Positions

    Fig 3- Basic Playing Positions

    Forward- Left Wing / Centre Forward / Right Wing

    Inners- Left Inner / Right Inner

    Halves- Left Half / Centre Half / Right Half

    Backs- Left Back / Right Back


    This is a very basic structure, keep an eye out on our Coaching Tips and Vids page for more on the different types of structures a team can play.

    Basic/Key Rules

    There are many different rules in field hockey for a more comprehensive view I suggest you check out the International Hockey Federation website. But here we will go through some of the very basic or key rules that apply in the game of field hockey-

    1. A player may not obstruct anyway other player from getting equal access to the contested ball (Field Hockey is one of the only if not the only game in the world that has an Obstruction rule)

    2. A player can not use their fit to stop the ball.

    3. A player may not use there round side of the stick they are only allowed to use the flat side or the edge of the curve of the Field Hockey Stick

    4. A player cannot raise or lift the stick in a dangerous way when other players are around, they can lift the ball if it is safe to do so.

    5. A player is not allowed to interfere with another player in any way when going for the ball.

    6. A free hit will be awarded to the opposing player when any infraction occurs.

    7. Players may play on with the ball

    8. The ball goes from a player of the opposing team to the last player who touched the ball before it went out.

    9. A player must be at least 5 yards away from their opponent after the free hit has been awarded, and in the 25-yard area at each end of the ground where the goal is everyone must be 5 yards away.

    10. Players are not allowed to touch the player with the ball after the free hit is taken till they have travelled 5 yards with the ball, if this occurs a further free hit will be awarded or a penalty corner can be awarded in the attacking 25-yard area if this happens.

    11. Any infraction that occurs in the goal-scoring area or D as it's called at either end of the ground will see a Penalty corner awarded to the attacking team.

    12. There are three different coloured cards in hockey which are-

    Umpires Cards

    Fig 4- Umpires Penalty Cards

    Green: 2 minutes

    Yellow: Minimum 5 minutes

    Red: Game Over visit the Showers