Field Hockey Basics

Although ice hockey is more widely played in the United States, there are still a huge number of field hockey players and teams across the country.  Field hockey in the US is played primarily by females, but is much more balanced around the world.  

The game is usually played on grass or artificial turf, and is sometimes referred to as a pitch. Each team consists of ten field players and a goalkeeper.  The uniform consists of shin guards, shoes, shorts or a skirt, a jersey and a mouthguard.  

Field hockey sticks are usually made of wood, or a composite of materials such as fiberglass and carbon fiber.  The length of the stick is based on each player's individual height.  The top of the field hockey stick usually comes to the player's hip.  The sticks have a round side and a flat side, and you are only allowed to use the flat surface to hit the ball. If you use the other side, you will receive a foul. 

Many players choose to use hockey grip tape to tape their field hockey stick.  Using VukGripz hockey grip tape can give you a significantly more effective grip without requiring any additional effort. Technique for taping a stick is mainly personal preference, but you want to get a better grip and provide yourself some extra cushioning while playing. 

The object is to hit a hard, round plastic hockey ball into the opposing team's goal. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins.  There are several variations of what happens in the event of a tie, and it simply depends on what level of the game is being played. 

Eleven players are on the field during a game.  You can substitute any extra players from the sidelines an unlimited number of times, and at any point during the game.  Unlike in ice hockey, there are rules in field hockey to prevent aggressive physical play.  There is no shoving, or using your body or stick to prevent the other team from advancing, If excessive contact is made, as well as for other reasons, a player can receive a penalty. 

Field hockey uses a three tier penalty card system.  A green card is a warning, but can send a player off the field for up to two minutes.  A yellow card is a mandated suspension like the penalty box in ice hockey.  The amount of time is decided by the umpire who issues the card.  Yellow cards are usually for a minimum of five minutes.  If you receive multiple penalties for the same infraction, they can have increasing penalties. A red card is a permanent suspension from the rest of the game, and they must also leave the pitch and surrounding area. 

A field hockey match usually consists of two 35 minutes halves, and a five-ten minute halftime. A timeout is called only in the event of an injury.  Gameplay begins with a pass back from the center forward.  There are no offsides penalties, which is different from ice hockey, but there are still many infractions that result in a penalty or foul. 

Field hockey is listed as the third most popular sport, and has an estimated two billion fans worldwide. The game is played in over one hundred countries worldwide!