The Wonderful World of Field Hockey:

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Rules and Regulations

The rules and regulations of hockey are very long and difficult to understand, so below you can read our simplified version! If you really want to read the full rules you can find them here. If you do not have acrobat you can download it here.

Field of Play Goals The Ball Sticks Teams Captains
Umpires Duration of Play Starting and Restarting games Scoring a Goal Conduct

Field of play

The field should be rectangular and 91.4 meters long and 55.0 meters wide. It should be clearly marked with white lines.

All lines should be 7.5 cm wide. The longer, 91.4 metre lines are called side lines. The shorter 55 metre lines are called back lines. Goal lines are between the back line and the goal-post. Minimum run off areas should be provided outside the back lines and the side lines.

There is a Centrex line across the field and there are two other lines each 22.90 metres away from the centre line. This forms four even quarters.

Protruding from each back lines is a semicircle, sometimes referred to as the ĎDí or the circle. These are the shooting circles and a goal cannot be scored unless the shot came from within the circle.

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At the centre of each back line are goals, which must be rectangular in shape and 2.14 metres high and 3.66 metres apart. There should be back and side boards 46 cm high.

The nets should be fitted loosely to prevent the ball from rebounding.

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The Ball

The ball should be spherical, weigh between 156-163 grammes. Its circumference should be 22.4- 23.5 cm. It should be white or any other agreed colour and should be smooth but seem or indentations are permitted.

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Sticks should be flat on one side and curved on the other. Only the flat side may be used during the course of a game. It cannot weigh more than 737 grammes.

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A game will consist of two teams of eleven players each. You can have five substitutes to be used throughout the game.

You can be substituted at any time during a game except when a penalty stroke is being taken and you can come on and off the field as many times as your coach wants. You also have to enter the game at the centre of the field.

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Each team must have a captain on the field and they must wear a distinctive arm band. To sought out who starts with possession or which side they take will be decided by the two captains and umpires, by tossing a coin.

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There are two umpires on the field who control the game. They take half of the field each and adjudicate in there own half.

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Duration of play

In junior hockey games will be 20 minutes each half, in intermediate and secondary hockey halves are 25-30 minutes each way. In international matches each half is 35 minutes long.

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Starting and Restarting games

To start play a pass will be taken from the decided team from the centre of the field. It may be pushed of hit to a player in their own half. All opponents must be 5 metres from the ball. If the ball goes over the side line the team which did not hit it over the side line will take the ball and restart play by passing it to a player. Then when the ball goes over the back line the defending team will take a hit 16 yards from the back line.

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Scoring a goal

To score a goal the ball must be in between the posts, and completely over the line and under the crossbar. It also must be struck by an attacker inside the semicircle.

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Conduct of play

You shall not hit the ball intentionally with the back of the stick, use any body part, play the ball with your stick over shoulder height. You shan't raise the ball dangerously or injure another player or the umpire. You canít waste time. You can not obstruct the opposition with your stick our body.

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