Or just wanting a refresher? 

The game: 

Field hockey is a team sport, structured in ‘standard’ hockey format. The 11-a-side sport is played on a pitch that is 100 x 60 yards, consisting of a team made up of ten outfield players (defenders’, mid-fielders’ and forwards), and a goalkeeper.

Matches can be played on grass, watered turf, artificial turf, or an indoor boarded surface. In Atherton, we only play on grass.

Players wear a standard uniform consisting of their’ team jersey, socks, shorts of a skirt, shoes, and for safety, shin guards and a mouthguard. Each player holds a hockey stick, which can be made from wood, carbon fibre, fibreglass, or a combination of these. Using their stick, the team’s objective is to drive a rounded hockey ball, made of hard plastic, into the rival team’s goal.

A match ordinarily consists of two 30-minute periods, with a half-time interval of 5 minutes, however, other periods (such as 15-minute quarters) may be agreed upon by both teams, clubs, or within particular competitions. The match is won by the team who scores the most goals by the end of the game. 


The rules:

The game is played between two teams of 11 players; 10 outfield players and one goalkeeper, who are permitted to be on the pitch at any one time.

The remaining players may be substituted. However, the player being substituted must leave the field before the new player comes on, ensuring that there’s never more than 11 players on the field at any given time. There is an unlimited number of times a team can sub in and out. Substitutions are permitted at any point in the game, apart from between the award and end of a penalty corner (a player can leave the field during this period, but you must wait until after the penalty corner is complete before a new player can come on). Play is not stopped for a substitution (except of a goalkeeper) and must occur at the half-way line.

Players are permitted to play the ball with the flat of the ‘face side’ and with the edges of the head and handle of the field hockey stick. The flat side is always on the “natural” side for a right-handed person swinging the stick at the ball from right to left. This is how majority of play will occur. Left-handed sticks are rare, but available. However, they are pointless as the rules forbid their use in a game. You cannot use the round side (back) of the stick at any time. To make a strike at the ball with a left-to-right swing (commonly known as a ‘reverse tomahawk,’) the player must present the flat of the ‘face’ of the stick to the ball by ‘reversing’ the stick head.

Other rules include; no foot-to-ball contact, no use of hands, no obstructing other players, no high back swing, no ‘hacking’, and no third party. The only player on the field who is allowed to use their feet and hands, as well as their stick, is the goalkeeper.

If a player is dribbling the ball and either loses control and kicks the ball or another player interferes that player is not permitted to gain control and continue dribbling. The rules do not allow the person who kicked the ball to gain advantage from the kick, so the ball will automatically be passed on to the opposing team. Conversely, if no advantage is gained from kicking the ball, play should continue.

A key differential with hockey, is that there is no “offside” rule like in other games, allowing for a fast, potentially high-scoring game.

Players may not obstruct another’s chance of hitting the ball in any way. No shoving/using your body/stick to prevent advancement in the other team. Penalty for this is the opposing team receives the ball and if the problem continues, the player can be ‘carded’ which results in being excluded from the game for a chosen amount of time. While a player is taking a free hit or starting a corner, the back swing of their hit cannot be too high, otherwise this is considered dangerous. Additionally, if a strike from a hit is above ‘knee-height’ and a player is within range of the hit, this can also be considered dangerous, and will result in the other team gaining a free hit.

Finally, there may not be three players touching the ball at one time. Two players from opposing teams can battle for the ball, however if another player interferes it is considered third party and the ball automatically goes to the team who only had one player involved in the third party.