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Basic Field Hockey Rules
sticks that are flat on one side and curved on the other, two teams hit and
dribble a solid plastic ball down the field and try to shoot it past a
goalkeeper into a goal cage. Goals can only be scored when a shot is taken from
within the striking circle; a semicircle extending 16 yards from the goal.
The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner.
Two Halves, 35 minutes each in
collegiate and international play, 30 minutes in high school play
11 players per side, including the
the back and side of the cages are 18
Two umpires on the field officiate the
match. An additional umpire may sit at the scorer's table.
The ball must be passed or dribbled
down the field with the flat side of the stick.
A goal is scored when an attacker
strikes the ball into the goal from within the striking circle.
Players may not shield the ball using
their body or stick. All players must have an equal chance to play the ball.
The field, or pitch, is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide (91.40m x 55.0m)
divided by a center line and a 25-yard line on each side of the field. A
striking circle is marked 16 yards (14.63m) out from each goal post.
Although the game is often played on grass, all official international
matches are played on watered down artificial turf.
The stick has a curved head, is rounded on one side and is flat on the
left-hand side. The ball can only be touched with the flat side of the
stick. The stick is made of hardwood with a minimum weight of 12 ounces and
maximum weight of 28 ounces.
The ball, slightly larger than a baseball, weighs between 5 1/2 ounces and 5
3/4 ounces with a circumference of 8 13/16 inches to 9 1/4 inches. The
hardwood sticks are 36-38 inches long. Players may strike the ball only with
the flat side of the stick.
Goal cages are 7 feet (2.14m) high, 12 feet (3.66m) wide and 4 feet (1.22m)
In high school federation play, if the
score is tied after regulation time has expired, an overtime period of two,
10-minute halves is played with each team reducing the number of players to
7 per side. If the score remains tied after overtime, penalty strokes may be
used to determine the winner. In penalty stroke competition, each team
selects five players to take alternating penalty strokes against the
A player may not:
Shield or obstruct the ball from an
opponent with the body or stick. All players must have an equal chance to
gain control of the ball as it is dribbled or passed down the field.
Play the ball with the rounded side of
Interfere in the game without a stick
Charge, hit, shove or trip an opponent
Play the ball in a potentially
Use the foot or leg to support the
stick in order to resist an opponent
Raise the stick in a dangerous or
intimidating manner while approaching, attempting to play or stop the ball
Advance the ball by any means other
than with the stick.
Stop or deflect the ball in the air or
on the ground with any part of the body
Hit, hook, hold or interfere with an
A free hit is awarded to the
non-offending side following an infraction and are usually taken at the spot
the foul occurs.
No player of the opposing team may be
within 5 yards of the ball when hit.
The ball must be stationary and the
striker must push or hit it. The hitter may not replay the ball until
another player has touched it.
If the infraction is committed by a
defender within the shooting circle, the attacking team is awarded a penalty
In a penalty corner, the ball is
placed on the goal line at least 10 yards from the nearest goal post. One
attacking player hits the ball to a teammate just outside the striking
circle line. A goal cannot be scored until the ball has traveled outside the
circle. A shot on goal may be attempted once the ball is played back into
the circle. All attackers must be outside the circle before the hit is
taken. On defense, a maximum of five defenders may be behind the goal line
while the remaining defenders must be positioned beyond the center line.
If the first shot at goal is a hit (as
opposed to a push, flick or scoop), the ball must cross the goal-line, at a
height of not more than 460 mm (18 inches - the height of the backboard)
before any deflection, for a goal to be scored.
A penalty stroke is a one-on-one
confrontation between an offensive player seven yards in front of the goal
vs. a goalkeeper on the goal line. All other players must stand behind the
25 yard line. The goalkeeper must stand with both feet on the goal line and
may not move either foot until the ball has been played. The offensive
player may push, flick or scoop the ball from the penalty spot. A penalty
stroke is awarded for any intentional breach by the defenders in the circle
or for an unintentional breach by the defenders which prevents a sure goal.
When the attacking team plays the ball
over the backline, the defense receives a 16-yard hit. The free hit is taken
16 yards from the spot where the ball crossed the backline.
A push-in or hit-in is awarded to the
opposition if a player hits the ball wholly over the sideline. All other
players and their sticks must be a least 5 yards away from the spot where
the ball is put into play.
Offenses & Misconduct
For rough or dangerous play, misconduct or any intentional offense, the umpire
Caution the offending player
Warn the offending player with a green
Temporarily suspend the offending
player for a minimum of 5 minutes with a yellow card
Permanently suspend the offending
player with a red card