Any game without rules will soon become a battle ground of confusion and aggression. This is why the hockey board FIH has designed many rules for the benefit of the game. These rules ensure the safety of the players and keep fraudulent practices at bay. The rules ensure that the game is played in a similar way all over the world and the decision of the world’s best team is unanimous.
Each and every player on the field must have a hockey stick. The hockey stick has to be exactly the size permitted by the FIH. The rounded side of the bottom of the stick is the only side which should not be used at any time during the game. Other than that any part of the stick can be used.
Each team consists of 11 players and they can have five substitutes. You can use your substitutes at any time during the match leaving during the penalty corner shoots. Each player can play at any position, there are no rules setting positions etc.
A goal keeper has to be dressed in full protective gear and then only take his place at the goal. The stick has to be carried by the goal keeper at all times when play is on. He can use his hands or feet to stop any attempts made by the opposition at his goal. If he steps outside the D area or scoring area he must touch the ball only with the hockey stick. At no time is he allowed to cross over to the opponent’s side or cross his defense line. The only time he can do this is if he is taking a penalty shot.
The number of players on the team should be eleven. You can play the match with lesser number of players if any of your players if sent out by the referee. A minimum of seven players must be on the ground or else you will be disqualified.
The match is judged by two field referees who are assisted by the more than important line men, timekeepers and record keepers. The referees are roughly in charge of one half of the field each. The referee also runs with the players during the match so that they can see every action of the players. The referee’s decision is the final decision and cannot and must not be challenged by the players.
A toss is what starts the match. The captains participate in the toss. The winning captain decides on which side does he want to start the game with. A match is normally played for a time period of 70 minutes. This is played in two halves. Each half consists of 35 minutes exactly. The half time break is for a mere five minutes only.
The game always starts from the centre with a pass. The players have to be in their defensive areas at the start and from then on can move any way the game requires. The team which concedes a goal will get the chance to start the proceedings after the goal.
Tackling the ball is a must but there are rules for that. At no time is unnecessary body contact to be maintained. As a tackler you must not touch the attacker with your stick or with your body. Unnecessary contact by the tackler will be penalized by the referee.
Players are not to touch the ball with their feet at any time. When done accidentally it is not counted but if intentional the referee’s decision will be final. The ball if crosses the sideline has to be played again by another player in the form of a sideline hit. If the ball crosses the backline after bearing the touch of the attacker a 15m hit is allowed.
The basic idea is that you have to score goals in the opposition’s goal. The team with the most number of goals at the end of the play time is adjudged as the winner. The side with the ball is known as the attackers and the other team is known as the defenders.
If the number of goals scored is equal by the end of the 70 minutes of play extra time is awarded to the sides. They are allowed to play for 7.5 minutes on each side. The team which scores the first goal is then adjudged as the winner. Incase even after the extra time, it’s a tie, the match then goes into a penalty shoot out. Each team is given five penalty strokes and the team with more goals converted is then adjudged as the winner.
The referee has three colored cards which he uses in case of fowl play during the game. The green card is a card which stands for a warning. The yellow card means the player is temporarily suspended. This suspension is normally for five minutes or more. The red card which is every hockey player’s nightmare is for the player to be sent out for the rest of the game.