Field Hockey Rules

Field Hockey

Hockey is a game that is played around the world by many countries. Some of the top hockey playing nations includes India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Netherlands and Great Britain. The pinnacle of the sport comes in the form of the Olympics where it has been one of the top attended sports since its reinstating in 1928.

Object of the Game

The object of hockey is to hit a ball with a stick into a goal. Every time the ball goes into the goal then a point is awarded to that team. The team with the most goals at the end of the game is awarded the winner. In the event of both teams scoring the same amount of goals then a draw is called.

Players & Equipment

Each team consist of 11 players. It’s split up into 1 goalkeeper and 10 outfield players. The outfield players will consist of defenders, midfielders and attackers. The amount of each position will vary deepening on the formation that the team adopts. It’s not massively uncommon for a team to have no goalkeeper at the end of game if they are trying to push for a win or a losing the match.

The pitch is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. It has three lines running across the width of the pitch which are two 25 yard lines and a half way line to signify to players the certain sections of the pitch. At each end the pitch will include a goal which is 4 yards wide. Around the goal is a 16 yard line which is the only sections on the pitch that players are permitted to shoot from. A goal scored outside the 16 yard line will not be awarded and the ball turned over.

A hard ball is used in hockey along with each player having a wooden stick. Only the flat side of the stick can be sued and a foul will be called for any player using the back. The stick can be turned around in the players to hit the ball both ways. For protection players wear shin pads and gum shields. Goal keepers wear a lot more padding due to ball flying in their direction more often. A face mask, helmet, padded gloves, chest pad and leg guards are all part of the attire for a goalkeeper. Some players do wear eye and face masks as well.


A goal is scored when a player hits the ball in between the goal posts and over the line from within the 16 yard area. The ball must be struck with the players stick and any use of the body will be called as an infringement.

Goals can be scored from penalty corners which are awarded when a foul is committed in the 16 yard area. From a penalty corner the defending team all line up on their goal line. The attacking team must all be outside the 16 yard area when one player hits the ball to them from 10 yards either side of the goal line. As the ball is played back a team mate stops the ball before another strikes at goal.

Winning the Game

The game is decided by the team with the most goals at the end of the game. Each game lasts for two 35 minute halves with a 5 minute rest in between. In the event of the scores being the same at the end of the 70 minutes then the game will end in a draw.

Rules of Field Hockey

  • Each team is made up of 11 players and 6 substitutes.
  • Every player has a hockey stick of which they can only use one side of the stick to hit the ball.
  • A gaol is scored when the ball is successfully hit into the opponent’s goal from within the 16 yard area.
  • The ball must be passed or dribbled using the stick and no other body part is allowed to intentionally come into contact with the ball.
  • A foul or infringement is called when a player:
    • Purposely tries to hit the ball off another player with the intent of causing harm to that player.
    • Intentionally uses a body part to assist in moving or stopping the ball.
    • Hits the ball with the rounded side of their hockey stick.
    • Raise their stick above waist height.
    • Hit their stick off their opponents to interfere with play.