Rules of Hockey

Hockey - or "field hockey" as it is also known (to differentiate it from ice hockey) - is an 11-a-side game played on a pitch 100 yards by 60 yards (91.4 metres x 55 metres) with a ball that has a 23cm circumference.  Each player has a stick with a rounded head to play the ball with the ultimate aim of scoring goals by putting the ball in the other team’s goal.
The rules of hockey are very similar to the rules of football except that players must use sticks instead of their feet to play the ball.  There are 11 players on a team made up of a goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and attackers. The only player on the field who is allowed to use their feet and hands as well as their stick is the goalkeeper.

The International Hockey Federation (IHF) is responsible for the Rules of Hockey. There are two different publications; one representing Outdoor Hockey and the other representing Indoor Hockey. They are reviewed on an ongoing basis and we normally expect a new edition every two years.

The Rules of hockey can be found in an easily readable format on the FIH website. Here, you will find video examples of how the rules should be interpreted and you can also test your own rules knowledge.

Hard copies of the latest Outdoor Rules book can be ordered by emailing or you can download the Outdoor or Indoor Rules by clicking on the documents on the right hand side of this page.