Girls playing a field hockey game in full uniform with shin guards and field hockey sticks hitting a ball on the pitch

Guide to Field Hockey Equipment

The first piece of equipment that you will need when you begin playing field hockey is a stick.  In addition to that, you will also need some gear. The game of field hockey is a contact sport, so it is necessary to have some protective equipment to keep you safe. Proper fitting and good condition field hockey equipment can make the game more enjoyable and your performance better  

Field Hockey Equipment- The Stick

Field hockey play starts with finding a hockey stick.   In general, while holding your stick at your side, the top should be about two inches below your waist, or right at your hip bone.  Field hockey sticks range in length from 28” to 38”.  A longer stick will help you to improve your reach and a shorter stick will help your stickhandling skills. 

Most are made from a composite of materials and can last for several years before they need to be replaced.  Lighter weight sticks are beneficial for attacking players, because they help with quicker backswings and stick handling skills.  A heavier stick is designed for defensive players and can help add power and distance while hitting.  This is beneficial for clearing balls and passing to your teammates. 

Field hockey sticks are shorter than ice hockey sticks because field hockey players tend to bend forward when running and striking the ball. The shorter stick is efficient for this usage and helps you to put your body’s weight into the strike. Wrapping your stick with VukGripz field hockey grip tape will make a big difference in the amount of grip and control that you have while playing. 

The curve of a stick is limited to 25mm to limit the force that the ball can be hit with.  The curvature of the face of the stick affects the angle that the stick head strikes through the ball.  The bow choice that you make depends on your personal preference, age and skill level.  The more it bows, the easier it is to use lifted shots and aerials. Less bow on your stick will help improve control, and reduce the chance that you accidentally lift the ball.  

Field Hockey Equipment- Protect the Feet

When playing on a grass field, players should wear cleats with rubber studs on the bottom.  Soccer cleats will work fine for field hockey play.  Cleats help you to gain traction and prevent slipping.  You should ensure that these are fitted well for your foot and are in good condition to be the most effective.  

Field Hockey Equipment- Protect the Mouth

Using a mouth guard is essential to protect your teeth while playing.  Field hockey sticks and balls can easily come into contact with your mouth if you are not careful.  Mouth guards are extremely effective in protecting your teeth from being broken, or even knocked out. If you are playing at a highly competitive level, you can even have your dentist make a custom fitted 

Field Hockey Equipment- Protect the Legs

Shin guards help protect your lower legs from direct hits.  It is very easy and common for field hockey sticks to hit your shins, and this can be very damaging to your tibia.  This is not an area to skimp on quality, as there is a direct relationship between better shin guards and leg protection 

Field Hockey Equipment- Protect the Goalie

Field hockey goalies have more intensive and protective equipment since they are exposed to more action than the rest of the team.  Balls and sticks are being aimed right at the goalie, so it makes sense for them to use heavier gear.  Goalies wear gloves, full face masks and thicker and more durable gear on the rest of their body.

Field Hockey Equipment- Be Safe and Have Fun

Making sure that you have quality gear is extremely important to maintain safety while playing field hockey.  As with any sport, you want to make sure that you are staying safe and protected while you are playing.  Staying healthy is the best way to continue enjoying the game!