The game of hockey, or field hockey as it is sometimes known as, originated thousands of years ago. It is traditionally played on grass, but can be played on a variety of surfaces including gravel and sand-based or water-based artificial turf. Commonly hockey is now played on synthetic surfaces – particularly at the higher levels like the Olympics. In basic terms, hockey is a two-team sport which sees each team using curved sticks to move a small hard ball about the pitch – the ultimate aim being to get the ball into the goal Ice Hockey .
11 players make up a hockey team, and each team is allowed up to five substitutes. The rules related to substitutions are not as rigid as some sports, as hockey teams can make as many substitutions as they like during a game.
Hockey Player positions
As well as the goalkeeper, the positions in a hockey team can be broadly categorised as defenders, midfielders and attackers. These are known as the ‘field players’ and while only the goalkeeper has a pre-determined role, the field players generally stick to either attacking or defending, with the midfielders joining in both roles!
Hockey Stick handling
Stick handling, or ‘stick work’, is an essential hockey skill. A good hockey player needs to be able to control the ball, pass it, shoot and of course dribble. Hockey sticks have a round side and a flat side, and players are only allowed to touch the ball with the flat side – which is why, in a high-tempo game, the art of stick-work is essential.
During general hockey play, players are not allowed to hit the ball high in the air. The ball can be lifted by scooping, but it is at the referee’s discretion whether this constitutes dangerous play. Players are not allowed to play the ball if it is above shoulder height, unless they are attempting to block a shot on goal. Shots on goal tend to be raised as this is the most effective way of scoring goals.