Field Hockey vs. Ice Hockey – How to play?

Field Hockey vs. Ice Hockey

The first and most obvious difference between field hockey and ice hockey is the terrain where they are played. Ice hockey, as you know is played on ice and field hockey is played on a green ground. However, the difference between these two is way more than the playing surface and if you’re new to hockey, you’d take time to understand this one. Here, we list you all about the similarities and differences, to help you choose which one to play.

How is ice hockey and field hockey different?

Your geographical location and accessibility to play either type of hockey will determine which one you choose. But you must know the difference to get better at it. You might have the option to play both, so understanding the difference will definitely help you.

1. Origin

According to the Loudoun Field Hockey Association, the origin of field play is traced back by 4, 000 years. There are pieces of evidence that prove so in the painting on a historic tomb in Nile Valley.

Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Aztecs, played something similar and used field hockey sticks. The present game was adapted during the mid-19th century in England. The British armed troops took the game into colonies and their first international league commenced in 1895.

The official ice hockey game was established in Montreal, 1877 and their first official league happened after a decade. From taking the cues from field hockey to shaping up as a different of its kind, ice hockey is based on the way field hockey is played.

2. Players

Ice hockey consists of six players in each team and they include 1 goalie, 2 defensemen, and 3 forwards. Field hockey consists of 11 players in each team. They have 1 goalie, 2 backs, 3 halves, and 5 forwards.

The team sizes in field hockey can differ, depending on the formation, field size, and coaching strategies. This is more common compared to ice hockey and is played by over 70 countries across the globe.

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3. Equipment

You have a field hockey ball and stick, which is similar to ice hockey. Since the main objective of both the game is to shoot the ball towards the opponent’s net, these things will be similar. Even though the objective is similar, the objects aren’t. For example, the kind of ball, stick, or net used in hockey is different.

The goal of field hockey is two 7ft high posts that space 12ft apart. The one for ice hockey stands 4ft high and 6ft wide. Field hockey uses a typical ball, while ice hockey uses a puck. The curved hockey sticks are similar but different in strengths and striking ability.

Due to the physical element of ice hockey, the players need to wear more equipment. The hardness of the pucks increases due to the speed from the ice skates, and that makes it a more fast-paced sport.

4. Shoes and skates

When you play field hockey, you need athletic shoes. These can be the running shoes you buy for the perfect grip or a separate pair to ace the game. Ice hockey needs you to skate on the ground so you have to wear skating shoes. This also makes skating an inevitable skill that you need to learn. If you cannot skate, you cannot play this game. You have to become a pro skater to take this up. For this reason, many prefer field hockey and find the other one tough.

5. Time and place

As per field hockey rules, you get two halves of 35 minutes each to play on a 60 by 100 yard. Ice hockey includes three 20-minute intervals and you need to play on an ice-covered surface. The sizes of the ice-covered area are not fixed.

6. Physicality

Field hockey has developed more during recent times and moved forward from being a physical contact game as it was before. It is now more based on focus and skill, as physicality remains the same.

Ice hockey is a  more physical game that is played within an enclosed rink with high-speed skating. Your body needs to explore the different ways of tackling the game, and it can get tough on you initially.

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The equipment that you need to wear for either sport expresses the physicality you need for the respective games. The ice hockey players need to wear protective gear, while the field players just have their uniform.

Only the goalies of both of the games wear clothes that are heavily padded because they’re prone to get hit.

7. Physicality isn’t always the way

Just as mentioned, the field game has become more skill due to slick passes, tactical shooting, sleek dekes, and more. The footwork and stick handling often get beguiling. Although you do need the raw aggression and fitness for ice hockey, this sport is also moving towards skill orientation.

Field hockey is rough, but it relies more on team play and skills. Ice hockey is evolving and giving us cues on both physical and mental abilities. The National Hockey League is setting examples and taking ice hockey to another level now. The players are fit, skilled, and need to use their minds as much as they use their physical strength.

8. The goalies

You might confuse between the goalies of both these games, as they gear up and function similarly. But goalies in the ice turn to be more integral to the final result than the field goalies.

Goalies on the ice have more chance to face shoots at a higher speed compared to the latter. They get strokes coming from almost anywhere. The field goalies know that most of the attempts on the net will come from the scoring circle and will face fewer attempts in every game. Both goalies need extreme athleticism, bravery, and focus.

Final thoughts

Both the games of ice and field hockey is exciting. They are quite similar and quite dissimilar, and you can only make that out when you play it. The terrain makes a lot of difference and you need to get accustomed to excelling in either of them. If you choose to try both, start with field hockey first and then take the other one ahead.

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