Play Hockey

Play Hockey

1 . Hockey

Hockey is a stick and ball game with origins dating back thousands of years. It is traditionally played on grass, but more often it is played on synthetic surfaces. Two teams compete using hooked sticks to hit, push, pass and dribble a small, hard ball with one aim in mind to score a goal by getting the ball past the goalkeeper.

2 . Teams

There are 11 players on the pitch with up to five substitutes on the sideline. Players can substitute virtually at any time and any number of times.

3 . Player positions

Every team has a goalkeeper although, rarely, a team will play only with field players to put more players into attack. The other 10 players are called field players, and are in three categories attackers, midfielders and defenders.

4 . Stick handling

Hockey players must be able to control, pass, push, stop and hit the ball with a hockey stick. This is known as stick work, or stick handling. Keeping the ball under close control is called dribbling. The head of a hockey stick has a rounded side (the right side) and a flat side (the left side). It is only with the flat, lefthand side of the stick and the edges of that side which can be used to play the ball.

5 . No feet

Field players are not allowed to use their feet (or any other parts of their bodies) to control the ball. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to use hands, feet, etc. to stop or propel the ball when defending in his or her own circle.

6 . Ball in the air

In general play, the ball cannot be raised into the air when hit. It can though be raised by using a scooping or long pushing action of the stick. A player will be penalised if they lift the ball in a way which is dangerous to another player. When the ball is in the air, a player must not play it above shoulder height. A defender can use their stick at any height to save a shot at goal because attackers are allowed to raise the ball when trying to score a goal. Many shots are raised because it is an effective way of scoring goals.

7 . Field Goals

Field goals may only be scored from within the circle, which is actually a roughly semicircular area in front of the opponents goal. If an attacker hits the ball from outside the circle and it goes into the goal or is touched by a defender on the way, it does not count.

8 . Penalty Corner

If a defending team breaks certain rules, the other team can be awarded a penalty corner. Normally this happens when a team breaks a rule within their own shooting circle, but these can also be awarded when a defender is guilty of a particularly bad foul in the defending quarter of the field.
For a penalty corner, play is stopped to allow the teams to take their positions. One attacker stands with the ball on the backline. This player will push out the ball to other attackers waiting to take a shot. The other attackers wait at the top of the shooting circle to get the ball.
Up to five defenders (including the goalkeeper) position themselves behind the backline to defend. The rest must stay behind the half way line until the push out is taken. The ball is pushed out to one of the attackers. Before a shot can be taken, the ball must first travel outside the circle. The receiver then usually pushes it back into the circle for a shot either by themself or another attacker.
If the first shot is a hit (as opposed to other types of shots, like a flick or a scoop), the ball must enter the goal no higher than than 460mm. It is easy to tell if the ball is at that height because the board at the back of the goal is the same height.
If the first shot is a scoop or a flick (shots that are lifted into the air with a long scooping or pushing action of the stick) then the ball can cross the goalline at any height. Once the attacker on the backline begins to push the ball out, the defenders on the back line may move into the circle.

9 . Penalty Strokes

A penalty stroke may be awarded for a number of reasons, the most common being an offence by a defender in the circle that prevented a goal. In a penalty stroke, a shot is taken by one player and defended only by the goalkeeper. The shot is taken from 6.4 meters directly in front of the goal. All other players must stand outside the circle, about 23 metres away. Match time is stopped during a penalty stroke.

10 . Free Hits

For general offences, a free hit is given against the team which fouled. Common fouls are obstructing an opponent from playing the ball, interfering with the stick or body when tackling, kicking the ball and playing the ball dangerously.
For a free hit, opponents are given the ball where the offence took place. The ball is initially stationary and play will often be restarted by passing the ball to a teammate nearby while all opponents are 5 metres away. However, the player taking the free hit can also begin to dribble the ball him/herself.