The game is played between two teams. Each team shall have a maximum of ten players, seven players are permitted on the pitch at any one time. They’re six outfield players and one goal-keeper and the remaining three players are substitutes. Every team must play with a goalkeeper.
A match consists of two 12 minutes halves with a 2-minute rest period in between.
- Mouthguards and shin pads will be worn by all players when on the pitch.
- The Goalie must be fully kitted. The minimum kit a Goal-Keeper can wear is:
- Leg Guards
- Chest Protection
- Throat Guard
- Hockey Stick: The stick has a traditional shape with a handle and a curved head which is flat on its left side:
o the stick must be smooth and must not have any rough or sharp parts
o inclusive of any additional coverings used, the stick must be able to pass through a ring with an interior diameter of 51 mm.
o any curvature along the length of the stick (the rake or bow) must have a continuous smooth profile along the whole length, must occur along the face side or the back of the stick but not both and is limited to a depth of 25 mm.
o the stick must conform with the specification agreed by the FIH Rules Committee.
- The ball is spherical, hard and a colour which contrasts with the playing surface.
- Only play with the flat side of the stick
- No hacking on the stick
- No physical contact with an opposition player
- Auto Passes – Allowed from free hits but must be taken near to where the free hit was awarded
- Penalty Corners – 4 Defenders (including the Goalie where the Goalie is playing) behind the goal line and the other 3 (or 2 if playing without a Goalie) will be at the top of the opposition circle or where the 2nd umpire directs them.
- In all the following rules, the ball must not be hit directly into the opposition circle. It must either be passed to another player first or taken/dribbled 5 metres before entering the circle.
- Long Corners – the attacking team will bring the ball up in line with the top of the circle and where the ball went out over the base line.
- Penalty Hits – No penalty hits can be hit directly into the circle anywhere on a 7 aside field.
- Hockey players can only hit the ball with the flat side of their stick.
- Hockey players (other than the goalkeeper) are not allowed to use their feet, or any other parts of the body, to control the ball at any time.
- A goal can only be scored either from a field goal, a penalty corner, or from a penalty stroke.
Start and Restart of the Match
One player from each team will use paper, scissors or rock to determine who will take the first pass from the centre of the field.
- The team which wins the ‘paper, scissors, rock’ has the choice of which goal to attack in the first half of the match or to start the match with a centre pass
- If the team winning the ‘paper, scissors, rock’ chooses which goal to attack in the first half of the match, the opposing team starts the match
- If the team winning the ‘paper, scissors, rock’ chooses to start the match, the opposing team has the choice of which goal to attack in the first period of the match.
Direction of play is reversed in the second half of the match.
A centre pass is taken:
- To re-start the match by a player from the team winning the ‘paper, scissors, rock’ if they chose this option; otherwise by a player from the opposing team.
- To re-start the match after an interval by a player of the team which did not take the centre pass in the previous period.
- After a goal by a player of the team against which the goal was scored.
Taking a centre pass:
- Taken at the centre of the field.
- It is permitted to play the ball in any direction
- All players other than the player taking the centre pass must be in the half of the field which includes the goal they are defending
- The procedures for taking a free hit apply.
Ball Outside of the Court
- The ball is out of play when it passes completely over the boundary-board on the side-line or back-line.
- Play is restarted by a player of the team which was not the last team to touch or play the ball before it went out of play.
- When the ball travels over the side-line:
- play is re-started not more than one metre from where the ball crossed the side-line
- if the ball crossed the side-line within the quarter-line area and was last touched by a defender, play is re-started from just outside the quarter-line area they are defending and not more than one metre from the side-line
- the procedures for taking a free hit apply.
- When the ball is played over the back-line and no goal is scored:
- if played by an attacker, play is re-started with the ball inside the quarter-line area their opponents are defending and the procedures for taking a free hit apply.
Method of Scoring
A goal is scored when the ball is played by an attacker from within their attacking half of the pitch and passes completely over the goal-line and under the cross-bar.
A goal may only be scored when the ball has been touched by an attacker within their attacking half of the pitch. Should the ball pass into the goal having not been touched by an attacking player in their attacking half of the pitch, the game will be restarted and treated as the ball is played over the back line with no goal being scored.
Conduct of Play: Players
- A match is played between two teams with not more than seven players of each team on the field at the same time.
- Players on the field must hold their stick and not use it in a dangerous way. Players must not lift their stick over the heads of other players.
- Players must not touch, handle or interfere with other players or their sticks or clothing.
- Players must not intimidate or impede another player.
- Players must not play the ball with the back of the stick.
- Players may stop, receive and/or deflect the ball in a controlled manner in any part of the court when the ball is at any height including above the shoulder unless this is dangerous or leads to danger.
- Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.
A ball may be dangerous in itself; it is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players. The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.
- Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal, and then only when it is safe to do so.
It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the court unless it is dangerous.
If the ball is raised over an opponent’s stick or body on the ground, it is permitted unless judged to be dangerous.
Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous. A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 4 metres is considered dangerous. If an opponent is clearly running into the shot or into the attacker without attempting to play the ball with their stick, they should be penalised for dangerous play.
- Players must not approach within 4 metres of an opponent receiving a falling raised ball until it has been received, controlled and is on the ground.
The initial receiver has a right to the ball. If it is not clear which player is the initial receiver, the player of the team which raised the ball must allow the opponent to receive it.
- Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body. It is not an offence if the ball hits the hand holding the stick but would otherwise have hit the stick.
- Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball. Players obstruct if they:
- back into an opponent
- physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent
- shield the ball from a legitimate tackle with their stick or any part of their body.
A stationary player receiving the ball is permitted to face in any direction.
A player with the ball is permitted to move off with it in any direction except bodily into an opponent or into a position between the ball and an opponent who is within playing distance of the ball and attempting to play it.
A player who runs in front of or blocks an opponent to stop them legitimately playing or attempting to play the ball is obstructing (this is third party or shadow obstruction).
- Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball without body contact.
Physical play by field players, such as sliding tackles, which take an opponent to ground and risk causing injury should attract suitable match and personal penalties.
- Players must not throw any object or piece of equipment onto the court, at the ball, or at another player, umpire or person.
Conduct of Play: Goalkeepers
- Goalkeeper must not take part in the match outside the half they are defending.
Protective headgear must be worn by a goalkeeper at all times.
- When the ball is inside the half they are defending and they have their stick in their hand goalkeepers are permitted to use their stick, feet, kickers, legs, leg guards or any other part of their body to propel the ball in any direction including over the back-line. Goalkeepers are not permitted to conduct themselves in a manner which is dangerous to other players by taking advantage of the protective equipment they wear.
- Goalkeepers must not lie on the ball.
- Advantage: a penalty is awarded only when a player or team has been disadvantaged by an opponent breaking the Rules.
If awarding a penalty is not an advantage to the team which did not break the Rules, play must continue.
- A free hit is awarded to the opposing team:
- or an offence by any player between the quarter-line areas
- For an offence by an attacker within the quarter-line area their opponents are defending
- for an unintentional offence by a defender within the quarter-line area they are defending, including when the ball becomes lodged in a player’s clothing or equipment.
Procedures for taking Penalties
- Location of a free hit:
- a free hit is taken close to where the offence occurred.
‘Close to’ means within playing distance of where the offence occurred and with no significant advantage gained.
- a free hit awarded to the attack within the quarter-line area their opponents are defending is taken outside the quarter-line area at the nearest point to the offence
- a free hit awarded to the defence within their quarter-line area they are defending can be taken anywhere in that area.
- a free hit is taken close to where the offence occurred.
- Procedures for taking a free hit, centre pass and putting the ball back into play after it has been outside the court:
- the ball must be stationary
- all players other than the player taking the free hit must be at least 4 metres from the ball
If any player is within 4 metres of the ball, they must not interfere with the taking of the free hit or must not play or attempt to play the ball. If this player is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or influencing play, the free hit need not be delayed.
- the ball is moved using a push, hit, scoop or flick
- the ball may not be shot at or played directly towards the goal until it has travelled at least 4 metres or has been touched by a player of either team other than the player taking the free hit.
If the player taking the free hit continues to play the ball (ie no other player has yet played it):
1 - that player may play the ball any number of times, but
2 - the ball must travel at least 4 metres, before
3 - that player shoots the ball at goal by playing the ball again. Alternatively: - another player of either team who can legitimately play the ball can shoot at goal
- for an offence by a defender within the half of the court they are defending which prevents the probable scoring of a goal.
- for an intentional offence by a defender within the half of the court they are defending against an opponent who has possession of the ball or an opportunity to play the ball.