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All About Field Hockey

Updated on April 12, 2012

About Hockey

Hockey is a game played between two teams against each other in which a ball is maneuvered with a curved stick and put into the opponent’s goal. The game played with a curved sticks and a ball, now known as a hockey stick, finds mention in the history of different cultures of the world such as in Egypt, Greece, China and Magnolia. In these ancient cultures the game of Hockey has its presence in some form.

4000 old carvings related to Egyptian culture depict teams with curved sticks playing the game. In Ancient the game of hockey was called kerhtizein as it was played with a horn like stick. The game was called beikou in Mongolia and China. Most of the ancient games had been differentiated in the forms as we found them today. By this time, rules of all the games and sports had been codified and recorded. Different organizations related to various games came into existence. From its ancient beginning, various forms of hockey have been evolved.

Hockey has different subtypes such as Field hockey, Ice hockey, Inline hockey, roller hockey and street hockey. Field Hockey is played with a hard ball on an artificial turf made of grass, sand or water. This type of hockey is played across the world by both women and men. Field Hockey is a popular game all over the Europe, Asia, South Africa and Australia.

Ice hockey, as the name indicates is played on ice with a rubber disc popularly known as puck. The game is played between two teams of skaters. Ice hockey is popular in countries such as Finland, Canada, Czech Republic and Latvia. The International Ice Hockey Federation is its governing body which consists of 66 members. Roller hockey is popularly known as Quad Hockey. This game is played in more than sixty countries.

Another type of hockey is Inline Hockey which is another version of roller hockey. It is similar to Ice hockey. Each team of Inline Hockey consists of four players with skates and one goalie. It is played on dry floor which is divided into two halves. The game comprises three periods of 15 minutes each. Sledge hockey is another version of ice hockey which is played by physically disabled people. Players sit on sledges and use sticks to pass the puck. They propel their sledges with the help of two blades. One type of Hockey is street hockey which is also known as road hockey. In this game a ball is used instead of a puck. It is a variant roller and ice hockey. It is usually played on asphalt or road. It is the most simple of all.

Rules of Hockey

As there are many types of hockey, rules are certainly different for each type. However, we shall discuss the rules of hockey in general. Each team of hockey consists of maximum sixteen players. However, only 11 players are in the field including a goalkeeper. The winning team has to outscore the opposite. The game spans over two 35 minutes sessions halved by a 10 minute break. So the time is structured as 35-10-35. The attacking players have to be in the shooting circle which is also known as goal circle to perform a goal. This goal circle is a D-shaped area measuring 14.5 meters from each goal.

A hockey field is rectangular having length of 91.4 meters and width of 55.0 meters marked with white lines. These white lines are generally 7.5 cm wide. The lengthwise lines are termed as sidelines while the widthwise lines are called back lines. There are goal lines existing between the goal post and the backline. A Central line is there across the field with other lines marked 22.90 meters away from this central line. Thus the whole field of hockey is divided into four even quarters. A semicircle is formed from each back line which is called the D area mentioned above. These D shaped areas are called a shooting circle from where a goal is scored.

Goal posts are located at the center of each backline. Goals are rectangular having 2.14 meters height and 3.66 meters of width. A net is loosely attached to the back of the goal area so as to prevent the ball from rebounding. The ball in the game of hockey is spherical in shape weighing around 160 grams having circumference between 22.4 and 23.5 cm. It may be of any color agreed upon by both the teams. Hockey sticks are curved on one end and flat on the other. Its weight is about 737 grams. Each team has its own captain wearing a distinctive arm band in the field. There are two empires on the field under the control of whose game is organized and each one has his half of the field. Both the captains and umpires decide who will start and which side they take by tossing a coin in the field.

All the opponent players must be playing at a distance of five meters from the ball. If the ball crosses the sideline another team will take hold of it and will pass it to a player restarting the game. If the ball goes over the back line, the defending team will have a hit. The ball must be between the posts and over the line and under the crossbar in order to score a goal. The ball must be struck from inside the D-shaped semicircle. There are certain codes of conduct. A player cannot hit the ball with the back of the stick. Any body part should not be used to through the ball such as legs or hands. Ball can be moved only with the stick.

There are certain provisions of penalties if there is a breach in the game. A player can be penalized for hitting the ball by any part of the body. Goal keeper is allowed to use any part of the body to defend the goal. A player cannot put obstruction against any opponent player. Raising the stick above head is considered dangerous and the player doing so is penalized.


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