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Rules & Governing Bodies of Field Hockey

Field Hockey is a sport that has been played for thousands of years and which bears much in common with the sport of soccer. As with soccer, the basic principle of Field Hockey is goal scoring. The players are divided into two teams with each attempting to get a ball into the other's goal. At the end of the game, the team that has scored the most goals wins. As with all major sports, there are official rules of Field Hockey that govern the way the game is played around the world.

Field Hockey Teams

Similar to soccer, Field Hockey teams feature eleven players. There are no formal positions, except for the goalkeeper position. Teams may arrange themselves into general positions similar to soccer teams; namely midfielders, defense and forwards. According to the basic rules of Field Hockey, goalkeepers must wear a jersey that is a different color than that of their team's jerseys and must remain within the 25-yard area they are defending.

How the Game is Played

Field Hockey is played on a field measuring roughly 100 yards by 60 yards. There are two umpires, each controlling halves of the field. Ball possession at the start of a game is decided by a coin toss. Games must result in a winner and may go in to extra time and penalty shootouts if the score is tied at the end of the initial 70 minutes.

The General Rules of Field Hockey Ball Control/Stick Work

The rules of Field Hockey stipulate that a player must control the ball with their stick only. This means that they may not use any part of their bodies to get control or maintain control of the ball. They must also use only the left side (the "face side") of the stick to pass, dribble and stop the ball. These methods are collectively referred to as "stick work." The ball must not be raised above the ground except when attempting to score a goal and should not be played if it is above shoulder level unless defending against a goal.

Rules & Regulations of Field Hockey Regarding Penalties

Obstruction is one of the more common fouls in Field Hockey. It occurs when a player from one team attempts to block or "obstruct" an opposing player from the ball with their bodies, essentially positioning themselves between the player and the ball. Kicking or touching the ball is another reason a penalty may be awarded.

Penalties in Field Hockey include the green warning card which signals to a player that they need to stop a particular infraction. The yellow card is a stronger warning leading to a five-minute suspension. The red card is reserved for serious infractions where the offending player must sit out the rest of the match, leaving the offending team with a one-player deficit.
Teams are awarded penalty corners for infractions that are committed on the opposing side of the field, but outside of the 25-yard area protected by the goalkeeper. Penalty strokes are awarded if they occur within that protected space. The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to defend a penalty stroke.

Governing bodies of Field Hockey:

The International Hockey Federation: http://www.fih.ch/en/fih

The United States Filed Hockey Association: http://www2.teamusa.org/USA-Field-Hockey.aspx