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Equipment used for Field Hockey
The history of hockey goes to 4,000 years back. The equipment at that time was not as sophisticated as they are now. Equipment for the game of hockey has evolved overtime as per the requirement. Hockey is a sparkling game for both players and audience. Players need to have certain equipment whether in a professional or recreational game of hockey.
Two hundred years ago balls were made from leathers which got affected by moisture on the ground and thus affecting the game as a whole. Today, balls are made up of PVC or polyvinyl chloride which is not affected by moisture. There are several rules and regulations governing hockey equipment. There have been certain controversies in the use of equipment. Sometimes a player’s equipment can injure another player. The weight and measurement of the equipment is determined by rules of the game. Let us discuss about the equipment used in the game of hockey.
1. Stick and Ball:
A player needs a stick to play the game of hockey. The hockey stick is a major equipment in the game of hockey without which a hockey game is not possible. A hockey stick is curved on one end. It is round on one side and flat on the other. A player has to hit the ball only with the flat side of the stick. A hockey stick has a bow along its length. This bow cannot be more than 25 mm as per the rules laid down by the National Hockey Federation. The stick is rounded from top to bottom. The weight of hockey stick is fixed as per the rule. The stick weighs 737 grams. Other equipment used in hockey is the ball. Earlier, hockey balls had a leather covering. However, they had one drawback. They got moisture due to the wet ground or grass.
Today, hockey balls are made up of PVC that cannot get affected by moisture. Balls come in different colors. Balls are made as per the need of the game. For example, different types of balls are used to play hockey on grass, turf or asphalt. There are different balls used in practice sessions. Usually a hockey ball is white in color. Its circumference is usually 8 13/16 to 9 1/4 inches.The ball should weigh between 5 1/4 to 5 3/4 ounces. These rules are internationally acknowledged. There are two goal posts measuring 22 feet wide, 7 feet high and 4 feet deep having a loosely attached net to protect the ball from rebounding.
2. Gloves and shoes:
A lot of risks of serious injuries persist in hockey. So, certain equipment is necessary for players to protect themselves. These include gloves, helmet, mask and shin guards, and more. Errant sticks and balls may injure a player’s hands. So, gloves are necessary. Additionally gloves make stronger grip on the stick. Some companies make gloves with heavy pad with foam which protects the bones of fingers from injury. Some gloves are designed not to protect fingers.
Shin guards protect the shins of the player when swinging of a hockey stick occurs just a few inches off the ground. Shin guards are made of foam and plastic. They are made with plastic covering a foam pad. There are mouth guards to protect the faces of players. Mouth guards protect teeth, eyes, forehead and nose. It is highly important equipment for the goalkeeper. Good shoes are necessary to make a firm grip on the ground. Good sports shoes are light in weight and have a firm griping sole.
3. Other Equipment:
There are other pieces of equipment used by the players in hockey. They include shoes and several types of gear for goalkeepers. A goalkeeper has to wear most protective equipment as he is most prone to the risk of injury. His equipment includes a helmet and full face cage. He needs to wear a neck protector and a padded chest guardto protect the chest when a speeding ball hit him.
Chest guards are 9 inches wide and 14 inches long. There are leg pads to protect the lower part of legs. He has to wear padded shorts. He has to keep a stick for passing and blocking.
There are goal cages one on both sides of the field. A goal is scored against the opponent team when a player hit the ball into the goal cage. A goal cage is rectangular cage like structure having a loosely attached net to protect the ball from rebounding. The goal cage is 12 feet wide, 7 feet high and 4 feet deep. Sometimes smaller goal cages can be used in certain conditions. A hockey field is 100 yards long and the goal cages are placed on both the opposing sides as per the US Field Hockey Association rules. This difference may vary tournament to tournament.