What are the rules to play field hockey?

Hockey is one of the oldest sports in the world but it wasn’t recognized before Edward III of England banned the game in a royal proclamation in 1363. Ancient Egyptian facts record people playing with curved sticks dating back to more than 4,000 years ago. The term hockey is believed to originate from the Middle French word ‘hoquet’ that translates as shepherd’s stave.

Different parts of the world have different stories on how the sport became popular in each culture. We now recognize hockey through several of its types like field hockey, ice hockey, sled hockey, roller hockey, and street hockey. It is a glorified game with a standard set of rules for every player to follow.

How is field hockey played?

Field hockey is the most common type of hockey that people play across the globe. Countries like India, New Zealand, Great Britain, Pakistan, and the Netherlands are renowned for their skill in hockey.

The prime importance of the game comes during the Olympics and is the most attended sport since it was reinstated in 1928. Let us now look into how you can play field hockey:

1. Objective

Hockey is a curved stick that every player needs to have in order to hit the ball and take it to the goalpost. Every time a player manages to reach the goal, their team gets one point.

The team that has the most points at the end becomes the winner. If both the teams have the same number of points then it is a tie. They then take it forward to a penalty round to decide the ultimate winner.

2. Players

The game of hockey includes 11 players from each team. One of them from both the teams has to be the goalkeeper while the rest are outfield players.

Outfield players include attackers, midfielders, and defenders. The number of every position in a team will vary according to the strategy and requirement of each team.

There are times when there are no goalkeepers if the teams are trying to push towards a clear win or loss. However, professional hockey includes a goalkeeper at all times and they’re usually the game changers that keep the excitement intact.

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3. Field

Hockey fields are usually 100 yards long with a width of 60 yards. You’d find three lines going over the width – two of them are 25-yard lines and one is a halfway line to specify certain parts of the pitch.

There is a goalpost at both ends of the field with an area of four yards. You’d find the 16-yard line around the goal that marks the only place from where the player can shoot. If players hit his goal outside this line, it is not considered a hit and the ball is turned over.

4. Equipment

Every hockey player needs to have a wooden stick to play their part in the game. The ball they’re all running after is pretty hard and players need strength to tackle and hit.

Players can only use the flat side of the curvy part of their sticks to hit the ball. Playing any other way can result in a foul – especially if the use the back to do so. They can, however, turn around the stick to hit the ball from both ways.

Hockey players must wear gum shields and shin pads for protection. Goalkeepers have a distinctive gear to keep them completely padded and protected from a hard hit. A flying ball can come from any direction and hit their body. This is why their uniform includes a face mask, padded gloves, helmet, leg guards, and a chest pad. Some players also use a face and an eye mask.

5. Scoring

You score a goal in hockey when you hit the ball and it lands inside the goal post. You have to keep in mind that you cannot go across the specified yard line. The players have to strike the ball with the right part of the stick and using the body will call in an infringement.

Teams can also score a goal from penalty cases that they get due to a foul in the 16-yard zone. From the penalty corner, the defenders line up on the goal line, while the attackers must be outside the yard zone. Any player can shoot the ball at them from 10 yards of either side of their goal line. When the hit is played back, another teammate stops it before one more team player strikes at the goal.

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6. Winning

The team that has more goals until the end is declared the winner. Every match spans for 70 minutes and breaks into two halves of 35 minutes each. There is a quick 5-minute break in-between and there is a huge clock at every field for the players. If the scores are equal after 70 minutes, it is either a draw or taken forward to the penalty round.

Rules of Field Hockey

  • Hockey includes 11 players each from both the teams and they must have six substitutes.
  • Each player must have one hockey stick and are allowed to use either side of their stick for hitting. Even the goalkeeper uses a stick.
  • A team gets one point when the ball goes into the goal post without the goalkeeper being able to defend it. They need to shoot into the opponent’s goal from the 16-yard zone.
  • The players need to pass the ball by using their stick from one team member to another. They cannot let a body part come in contact with the ball.

Infringements in hockey

  • If a player deliberately tries to shoot the ball off an opponent with an intent to cause harm.
  • When a player cautiously uses his body to move or stop the ball.
  • If a player hits with the rounded side of the stick.
  • When the stick raises above the waist height.
  • If they hit an opponent’s stick to interfere with their attempts.

Final thoughts

The objective of running behind a ball to reach a certain goal matches with many other popular games. Yet, hockey comes with its own charm and set of benefits.

If you want to learn or enroll your child into hockey, you can find the nearest coaching options available. There are many schools that incorporate teaching and learning this game too.

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