Hockey- Rules and Regulations

Discover the essential rules and regulations of hockey with a support spectrum, providing a clear and concise guide to the game's structure. Read more...

Hockey- Rules and Regulations
hockey sticks in criss cross view

Understanding the Basics: Hockey Playing Rules

To appreciate the beauty of hockey, one must grasp the fundamental rules governing the game.
 From penalty corners to penalty strokes, understanding the nuances adds depth to the spectator's experience. The agility of players, the precision of their shots, and the strategic brilliance of coaches come together harmoniously on the field.

The Basics

  • Team Composition

Each team comprises 11 players, including 10 field players and a goalkeeper.
Substitutions can occur at any time during the game through a designated area on the sideline.

  • Objective of the Game

The primary goal is to score by propelling the ball into the opponent's goal using the hockey stick.
The game is divided into two halves, each lasting 35 minutes in traditional field hockey. 
The objective is to score goals by getting the ball into the opponent's net using a hockey stick.

  • Duration of Play

A standard hockey match is divided into two halves, each lasting 35 minutes at the international level.
The clock stops during penalty corners, penalty strokes, and other significant stoppages.

The game begins with a center pass at the start of each half and after each goal.
After stoppages, play resumes with a free hit or self-pass, depending on the situation.

Starting Play

The game begins with a toss of the coin, and the team winning the toss chooses their 
side or decides to start with the ball. The opposing team starts the game by taking 
a pass from the center of the field.


The standard hockey field is 100 yards in length and 60 yards in width, with a goal at each end.
D-Zones and Shooting Circle. The shooting circle, also known as the D-zone, is a semi-circular area in front of each goal where goals can be scored. Penalty corners are awarded when a defensive foul occurs within the shooting circle.


  •  Ball Movement

Players move the ball using their hockey sticks, which have a flat side and a rounded side.
Pushing, dribbling, and passing are common techniques employed during the game.

  •  Tackling and Physical Contact

   Controlled tackles are allowed, but physical contact that may harm an opponent is penalized.
Stick obstruction and deliberately using the body to block an opponent are considered fouls.

  •  Penalty Corners 

Awarded for defensive fouls within the shooting circle. The attacking team starts play with a push or hit from the backline, and defenders must be positioned outside the circle until the ball is in play.

  •  Penalty Strokes

Awarded for intentional fouls that prevent a probable goal.
The attacking player takes a penalty stroke from a designated spot against the goalkeeper.
Umpire Signals

  • Whistle Signals   

Umpires use distinct whistle signals to indicate various decisions, such as fouls, goals, and stoppages.

Penalties and Fouls

To maintain fair play, hockey has strict rules regarding fouls and penalties.

Common fouls include:

  1. Obstruction: Blocking an opponent with the body or stick.
  2. Dangerous Play: Actions that may harm other players, such as a high stick or a dangerous swing.
  3. Charging: Making physical contact with an opponent.
  4. Offsides: Crossing the opponent's goal line with the ball ahead of it.

Hockey Sticks: The Extension of a Player's Skill

At the heart of every hockey game lies the essential tool—the hockey stick. Crafted with precision and
 adapted to each player's style, these sticks become an extension of the athlete's skill. From dribbling
 to powerful shots on goal, the hockey stick is a symbol of the player's mastery over the game.
The length of a hockey stick can vary based on a player's preference, position, and style of play. Generally, 
hockey sticks range from around 36 inches (91 cm) to 38 inches (97 cm) for field players and up to 
28 inches (71 cm) for goalkeepers. Players need to choose a stick length that feels
 comfortable and suits their playing style. Traditionally, hockey sticks were made from wood, and some players still prefer wooden sticks for their feel and handling. Common types of wood used in traditional hockey sticks include:


 Known for its strength and flexibility, ash wood was historically a popular choice for hockey sticks.


 Another durable wood, hickory was used in the construction of early hockey sticks.
 However, it has become less common in modern sticks due to its weight.


 Mulberry wood was also historically used for making hockey sticks, offering a good
 combination of strength and flexibility.