The basics:

  • Only 11 players per team are permitted on the pitch at one time
  • A team consists of 1 goal keeper, defenders, midfielders and attackers
  • Line-up of players depends on the team’s strategy
  • The game is started with a push-back from the centre spot
  • The game is split into 2 halves of about 30 minutes each. (game times depend on level of hockey)
  • Goals can only be scored from inside the shooting circle
  • Hockey is a non-contact sport
  • Only the flat side of the stick can be used to hit or control the ball
  • Players must not play the ball with the stick when it is above shoulder height


The following fouls are penalised with a free hit:

  • Obstructing the ball from an opponent with body or stick
  • Contacting the opponent
  • Raising the stick above the waist when attempting to play or stop the ball
  • Playing or stopping the ball with other means that the hockey stick
  • Interfering with an opponent’s stick

Penalty Corner (Short Corner)

If a foul is committed within the shooting circle a corner is awarded to the other team. It is also awarded when a defender deliberately plays the ball over the goal line. In a penalty corner, the ball is placed on the goal line about ten yards from the nearest goal post. The ball is then passed to a player who is positioned outside of the shooting circle. That player then attempts to shoot at goal or pass to a team member in order to create a chance to score.

hockey short corner


  • The pass must be received outside the shooting circle
  • No shot or pass may be taken until the ball is stopped outside of the circle
  • All attackers must be outside the circle until the pass is taken
  • Only 5 defenders are permitted to stand behind the goal line when the penalty corner is taken
  • The remaining defenders must stand behind the centre line
  • Only when the pass has been taken can the defender move from the goal line to defend the ball

Long Corner

A corner is awarded to the opposing team when a defender hits the ball over the goal line (outside the circle lines). In a long corner, the attacker takes a free hit on the side line 5 m from the corner closest to where the ball went out of play.

16 – Yard Hit: A free pass is awarded when an attacking player hit the ball over the opponents goal line. It is taken 16 yards from where the ball was hit over the goal line.

Side-line Hit: A free pass is awarded to the opposing team if any player hits the ball over the side line. All players must be 5 feet from where the ball is placed when the pass is taken.

Penalty Stroke

A penalty stroke (also known as a penalty flick) is awarded when a defender commits a deliberate foul in the circle which deprives the attacker of possession or opportunity to play the ball, when a goal would be a probable outcome. The attacker takes the penalty stroke against the goalkeeper, and is taken from a spot 6.4 m out, central and directly in front of the goal. The goalkeeper must stand with feet on the goal line, and cannot move them until the ball is played, whilst the attacker must start behind the ball and within playing distance. On the umpire’s whistle, the striker may push or flick the ball at the goal and the goalkeeper attempts to save it. The attacker is not permitted to play the ball more than once, to fake the shot, or to move towards or interfere with the goalkeeper once the shot is taken. Hitting or dragging the ball is also forbidden.

hockey penalty stroke