Learn the Game

Field Hockey Field

Field Hockey is played both indoors and outdoors.


  • Outdoor field is 100yds by 60 yds
  • The Outdoor Game has 10 field players and a goalie. Usually, Attack, Mid Field, Defense, Goalie
  • Game starts at the 50 with a pass by one team. Also after every goal.
  • (2) 30 or 35 min halves.
  • To score the attacking team hit the ball within or touch the ball within the 16 meter circle.
  • The ball cannot touch your feet even if it is unintentional! Or any part of your body for that matter.
  • You can not use the rounded side of the stick but  you can use the thin sides!
  • There is a reverse by turning the stick around.
  • Penalties within the 16 meter circle by defense result in a penaltys corner.
  • Penalties by offense in the 16 meter circle are a free hit out at top of circle.
  • Players awarded a free hit can self start.
  • On a free hit, defending players must be 5 yds or not play the ball until it has move 5 yards.
  • Players can not purposely block the ball or obstruct another from getting the ball with their body except momentarily.
  • The ball is out of bounds when the entire ball goes over the side or end lines. It can be played on the line.
  • If a defender hits the ball over the end line, the attacking team gets the ball at the 25  yd line even with where it went out.
  • Although the field set up is similar to soccer there is no off sides.
  • There are free Substitutions


  • Indoor field hockey is played on a hard surface with sideboards marking the sidelines and keeping the ball in play.
  • Field size is smaller than outdoor and so is the goal.
  • Played by 5 field players and a goalie on each team
  • The indoor stick is thinner and lighter.
  • Players usually wear gloves as the game is much tighter, players play lower and the ball pops up more due to the surface.
  • Players can not hit the ball. They must push or sweep except they can lift into goal.
  • There is a Team USA National Indoor team and Indoor World Cup

A Field Hockey Stick 

(see selecting a stick)

  • Sticks are only right handed but a lefty can have an advantage as strength in that arm is a plus!
  • Outdoor & Indoor Sticks are different  (indoor much lighter and thinner)
  • Sticks are different sizes for youth 25”-35” and generally 36.5 or 37.5 for High School and above
  • Sticks can vary by the materials they are composed and their bow.
  • Selection of the proper stick is by age, level of play and skill set.


  • Specifically made for field hockey game about 9” circumference of hard plastic.

Shin Guards

  • Necessary to play the game.
  • The ball is hard!
  • Field Hockey specific shin guards protect the shins and sensitive ankle bone.
  • Breathable is preferred.
  • They are available with a washable interior!

Mouth Guard

  • Do not play field hockey without a mouthguard!


  • Some leagues require them. USAFH does not allow them in their sponsored events.
  • Dribbling/Tracking:  moving the ball with your stick as you move down the field
  • Pass:  moving the ball to another player
  • Dodge/Elimination:  skills to get the ball around a defending player
  • Tackle:  Skill to take the ball away from someone else who has it.
  • Channel:  Getting a attacking player to go where you want them to with out tackling
  • Hit:  Making contact with a swinging motion to move the ball hard and fast. Long pass, shot on goal
  • Sweep:  Low sweeping motion along the ground to hit the ball usually a pass.
  • Lift/ 3D:  Putting the ball in the air  Scoop: low over another stick, Aerial: high over players down the field  Flick: mix between pass and lift usually used as a shot on goal or on a penalty stroke.
  • Reverse:  hitting the ball on your left side with the side of your stick
  • Chip:  front or reverse  hard lift by hitting ball with side of stick;  used to score goals.
  • Started in the British Isles in the 19th Century
  • Introduced in the USA by Constance Applebee to several private universities  as a women’s game in 1901.
  • Third most popular sport worldwide after soccer & cricket
  • In most countries it is played by both men & women
  • Played Worldwide by over 3 Million in over 100 countries
  • The small Netherlands has close to 300,000 field hockey players and has won many Olympic Medals
  • The Dutch have won the most Olympic Medals in the sport:  Women 8 Medals  and the Men’s team 9
  • There are over 50,000 High School Players in the USA an over 260 College Programs (DI,II, III)
  • TEAM USA has BOTH Mens and Women’s National Teams that participate in the Olympics,  World Cup & Pan America Games
  • Team USA Women’s won a Bronze Medal in the 1984 Olympics and 5th place finish in 1996 & 2016
  • The governing body in the USA is USAFH
    World wide it is the International Hockey Federation or FIH and there is a Pro League
  • Field Hockey has the fastest swing speed, faster than golf or baseball.