Field Hockey


Field hockey is a demanding, vigorous sport that is growing in

popularity. It combines intense physical activity and highly

coordinated team play, and has the potential for great spectator

appeal. It has been somewhat slow to become popular at the

high school and college level because of the expensive special

equipment required.


Hockey is thought to date back as far as ancient Greece. There is even evidence that the Aztecs played some version

of hockey. Arabs, Persians and Romans all had their own version of the game.

Some believe that the word hockeycomes from the French hocquet,a shepherds

crook. Whatever its origin, the sport has been around for centuries; in fact, it is one of the

oldest known sports.

By the late nineteenth century, hockey began to be played in English schools. In 1886,

the Hockey Association of London was founded. British soldiers then took the game to

India and the Far East. Indians were competing and winning international competitions

by 1928the year when India won the Olympic Games in field hockey. India, in fact,remained undefeated for twenty

years until Pakistan emerged as a strong competitor.

Field hockey was first introduced into the United States in 1901 by an Englishwoman

named Constance Applebee who taught the game to her classmates at Harvard. She was

then invited to many womens colleges to demonstrate the game.

The World Hockey Cup was inaugurated in 1971. Today, the Asian Cup, the Asian Games,

the European Cup and the Pan-American Games all are major international hockey events.

Field hockey has been an Olympic mens event since 1908 and a womens event since



In the game of field hockey, eleven players on each team play on a rectangular grasscovered

field 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. The object of the game is for both teams

to move the ball into the goal cage to score as many points as possible over their opponents.

The center pass is a method for putting the ball in play at

the start of the game, following halftime and after each

goal. The term bullyrefers to a method used by two

opposing players to restart play.

Once the ball is in play, it must be hit or touched by an

attacking players stick within the striking circle of the

goal cage so that the attacking team can score a goal or

one point.

Only the goalkeeper can use his or her feet or body or the

stick to stop a ball. Other players can use only the flat

surface of the stick to move the ball. However, they can

stop the ball with their hands. The stick can never be raised

above shoulder level (see section on Foulsbelow).

Five forwards, three halfbacks, two fullbacks and a goalkeeper make up the team. A

game is made up of two 30 minute halves. There is one five-minute break with time out

called only for an injury.


Various types of fouls occur in field hockey. Fouls are called by one of the two umpires

who are positioned on the two halves of the field. Most fouls are penalized by allowing

the opposing team a free hit.

Here are some of the most common reasons for fouls:

1. Raising the stick above the shoulder during a game.

2. Advancing the ball with the hand (as opposed to stopping it, which is legal).

3. Hooking or grabbing an opponents stick with another stick.

4. Undercutting, or causing the ball to rise so high that it becomes dangerous

to others.

5. Coming between the opponent and the ball by putting a stick or some body

part between the opponent and the ball (the obstruction rule).



When a team has control of the ball, many different techniques can be used to the offensive

teams advantage. Six major techniques are as follows:1. The Drive. This is a method of passing the ball to a teammate. The stick is

lifted waist-high while on the downswing, and the left arm pulls the stick as

the right arm pushes it. This move is usually spontaneous

and is done on the run or is walked into.

Theres usually no time to prepare to hit.2. The Dribble. This move is made by gently

tapping the ball along. While it looks

and sounds easy, it takes practice to do it

correctly. The stick is carried to the righthand

side of the players body with the

elbows slightly bent. The player who is

dribbling should keep his/her eyes on the

ball and on the other players on both


3. The Scoop. This technique often accompanies the dribble. It allows theplayer to scoop the ball far enough off the ground to clear the opponent


stick. It requires little backswing and little, if any, follow-through. It should

be a gentle, lifting motion resulting in a reaching stroke. The ball is ahead

of the supporting foot as the player reaches for the ball with the stick.

4. The Flick. This is also a reaching stroke with the ball ahead

of the forward or supporting foot. This move puts a spin

on the ball and can make it travel a considerable distance.

However, the negative side of this move is

that a spin can make it as difficult for a teammate

to receive the ball as for an opponent to block


5. The Push. This move is used for short passes.

There is no backswing on this move and both

arms are working in the same motion. The move

must be made quickly because as the player

pushes the ball, the players weight moves onto

the toes of the forward foot.

6. The Dodge. Dodgingis a general term applying to moves that are not

passed and not used for shooting. The dodge is a method of avoiding or

escaping an opponent while the player continues with the ball.


Being in good physical condition and having a good grasp of the game are of prime

importance in field hockey. However, an aggressive player also wants to make the most

goals possible. Field hockey participants eventually learn that being persistent on the

field wins games. In addition, it helps to observe these tips:

1. Make your attempt at the goal cage from a distance thats not too far away

from the cage.

2. Aim at a specific spot in the goal cage, not just in the general direction of

the goal.

3. Aim for the area left open by the goalkeeper. Remember: the goalie cannot

be everywhere at once!

4. If its not possible to attempt a goal, pass the ball to a teammate.


One reason for the slowness with which field hockey has caught on at the high school

level is the expense of furnishing the necessary equipment. Players need not only special

clothing and equipment, but also a specific type of goal cage.

The hockey stick is usually 36 inches long and weighs from 12 to 28 pounds. The

weight of the stick increases as the length increases. Only the flat side (left side) of

the stick can be used to strike the ball.

Sticks require careful treatment in order to make them last. They need an occasional

sandpapering and rubbing with wax to keep them from splintering.

Today, balls are made of leather or plastic and can be any solid color as long as the

color contrasts with the playing surface. (instead of the older cricket balls).

Beginners can use tennis shoes to play field hockey. However, more

advanced players and professionals use rubber-cleated hockey shoes.

The cleats help players to stop, start and maintain balance on wet, mushy


The goalie wears the heaviest, most cumbersome uniform

of anyone on a hockey team. He or she wears protective

padding and padded gloves to stop the sting of a fast ball.

Goalies also wear shin pads (as should other members of

the team).

The goal cages are also vital pieces of equipment in this

game. They are four feet deep and four yards wide by seven

feet high. Although older cages were difficult to set up

and take down, modern goal cages are made of lightweight

aluminum and are portable.


Field hockey has never had the popularity in North America that it enjoys in other countries.

In India, for example, field hockey is the most popular sport in the country. Popularity

is sometimes a guide for predicting performance.

As the National Governing Body for the sport, the United States Field Hockey Association

prepares teams for participation in the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World

Cup and many other international competitions. The U.S. Field Hockey elite team programs

include both national and age group squads for both men and women.

2000 Olympics at Sydney, Australia

Mens Team: Womens Team:

Gold Medal Netherlands Australia

Silver Medal Korea Argentina

Bronze Medal Australia Netherlands

In 2000 NCAA Tournament action, Old Dominion

defeated North Carolina, 3-1, in the

finals of the Division I Field Hockey Championship.

The Lady Monarchs captured their

ninth NCAA title with the victory.


The following questions will help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding

of field hockey. Write your answers in the spaces below the questions. If there is not

enough room, write on the backs of these sheets. Be neat, spell correctly, and write in

complete sentences.

1. What are the physical benefits to be gained from playing field hockey?

2. How many persons comprise a hockey team? What positions do they play?

3. What does the term bullymean in hockey?

4. True or False: All the players on a hockey team can use their feet or bodies or the stick to stop a ball.

5. Name five common reasons for a foul in hockey.

6. Why has hockey been somewhat slow to catch on at the high school level?

7. Name at least three attacking skills that a hockey player should know.

8. What is a scoop? a dodge?

9. What should a player do when it is impossible for him or her to attempt a goal?

10. Where should a players attempt at a goal cage be aimed?

Short Answer Question:

1. Lifting the ball off the ground2. French word for shepherds crook

3. Number of players on a hockey team

4. This team member can use feet, arms and body to stop the ball

5. Method of making short passes

6. Moving the ball short distances

7. There are this many yards in a field hockey field

8. The number of minutes in a half

9. Advancing the ball with the hand is one

10. She taught field hockey to her students at Hrvard in 1901

11. Putting spin on the ball

12. Width in yards of a field hockey field

13. Passing the ball to a teammate

14. Number of forwards on a hockey team

15. There are this many halfbacks on a team

16. Time out is called in case of one of these

17. The number of fullbacks on a field hockey eam

18. A method by two players to restart play

19. Move that does not included either passing or shooting

20. Players use this important piece of equipment