All players need shin guards, goggles, mouth guards and a stick.

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Field Hockey Diagram

Field Hockey 101


• The ball can only be hit with the flat side of the stick.
• The left hand should always be above the right when dribbling, shooting or passing. Do not hold the stick cross-handed.
• There are no left-handed sticks.
• The ball cannot be played with either the feet or the hand.
• Hockey sticks are made of dense mulberry wood and/or  fiberglass.
• Sticks should be kept well below shoulder height at all times.
• There is no body checking in field hockey, and no stick-checking.
• There is no off-sides rule.
• The goalie has equipment similar to an ice-hockey goalie, and can use her feet, hands and body to stop the ball.
• Time does not stop for fouls, the clock is running at all times.
• Obstruction: A player cannot obstruct another player if she is stationary, she must move into a position to obstruct and the obstructed player must be actively trying to play the ball. A player can turn away from a tackler so long as the ball is held in front, and the player moves away from the tackler. (Most confusing & frequent foul called)

Free Hits: Given when any foul is made OUTSIDE of the circle. Everyone must be 5 yds away when player takes the "free hit" or it will result in a 5 yard penalty for the team not adhering to the rule. The player may also opt for a "self pass" option which allows them to carry the ball into play. When a hit is taken into the circle, the player may not hit the ball at the goal.  It must be carried for 5 yards or passed to another player before being shot towards the goal.

 Penalty Corner: Given when any foul is made WITHIN the circle. Five defenders, one attacker line up on goal line; ball is pushed out by attacker to offense teammates lined up around circle; once attacker hits the ball play resumes as normal.

Penalty Stroke: Given when foul is intentional to prevent a sure goal within the circle. Attacker players stands 7 yds from goal. 1v1 play with goalie. The attacking player may only take one step and the goalie may not move until the shot is taken. (Not called very often at rec level)


Bully:  Used to restart play when possession is unclear when play was stopped (e.g. injury timeout). Two opposing players start with their sticks on the ground, the ball is placed between them, and they must tap sticks above the ball before they can play the ball.



16-yard hit: Free hit for the defense 16 yards from the goal after an offensive player hits the ball over the end line.

Add-10: For delaying the game, such as a defender standing closer than five yards away during a free hit, the free hit is advanced 10 yards up the field.

Advancing: Penalty for field player hitting the ball with any part of the body.

Bully: Used to restart play when possession is unclear when play was stopped (e.g. injury timeout). Two opposing players start with their sticks on the ground, the ball is placed between them, and they must tap sticks above the ball before they can play the ball.

Center pass: Pass from midfield used to start each half and following all goals. “Free hit” rules apply. Also called “pass-back.”

Clearing: Hitting the ball away from the goal on defense, usually as a pass up the field.

Cross: Passing the ball in front of the opponent’s goal to create a scoring opportunity. Also called “centering.”

Dangerous play: Play that could likely result in injury, such as pushing, tripping, or raising the ball at an opponent who is less than five yards away.

Dribble: Moving while alternating the ball from the right side of the body to the left side of the body to elude defenders.

Drive: A hard hit made with the swinging motion of the stick.

Flagrant foul: Intentionally rough or dangerous play. Player is issued a red card and ejected from the game.

Flick: Pass or shot using the wrists to put force behind the ball to raise it off the ground.

Free hit: Awarded after most penalties. Defenders must stand five yards from the ball until it is played.

Hit: Any contact with the ball using a swinging motion of the stick. A hard hit is called a drive.

Long hit: Free hit for offense from the corner, following an unintentional hit over the end line by the defense. Also called “long corner” or “corner hit.”

Marking: Guarding an opponent.

Misconduct: Penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, including dangerous play, using obscene language, or taunting. Results in a green card (warning), yellow card (5-minute suspension), or red card (player disqualification). When players are suspended or disqualified, their team must play with fewer members.

Obstruction: Penalty for using the body or stick to prevent opponents from pursuing the ball. “Third party obstruction” is called for blocking an opponent so a teammate can play the ball.

Penalty corner: Offensive free hit from the endline, 10 yards from the goal, usually following a foul inside the striking circle. Offensive players must be outside the striking circle until the ball is hit, and the offense must control the ball before it can shoot. The defense is allowed five players behind the end line; all other defenders must be behind the center line. A penalty corner ends when the defense takes possession of the ball, the ball crosses over the 5-yard mark outside the striking circle, or the ball exits the striking circle twice. Also called “short corner.”

Penalty stroke: Free one-on-one shot from the penalty stroke line awarded when a foul prevents a likely goal. The goalie must remain behind the goal line until the ball is hit.

Push: Method of moving or passing the ball in which the stick is in contact with the ball and the ground as the player pushes the ball up the field.

Raised ball: Flicking, scooping, and chipping the ball into the air are legal. Undercutting or hitting that leads to dangerous play are penalties.

Scoop: Method of passing or shooting the ball by leveraging the stick underneath the ball to pick it up and fling it through the air.

Side-in: Free hit awarded to a team after the opponent hits the ball out of bounds over the sideline. Also called “hit-in” or “push-in.”

Striker: The player who shoots the ball.

Tackle: Defensive effort to take the ball away from an opponent.

Undercutting: Penalty for a hard swing of the stick under the ball to raise it into the air.