How To Play Indoor Field Hockey

Because the area for playing indoor field hockey is much smaller than the 100-yard long outdoor field, the rules on how to play indoor field hockey had to be adapted for a smaller space. The smaller space requires players to change their passing and ball control skills. Players are also allowed to play the ball off the boards on the sidelines in indoor field hockey.

  1. Teams. Indoor field hockey teams cannot be larger than six players nor less than four players, of which one must be a designated goalie. The goalie must wear protective gear.
  2. Time. There are two halves that may be either 20 or 25 minutes long.
  3. Basic Rules. All players should wear similar colored shirts, appropriate footwear, no caps, jewelry, casts or cleats. Shin guards and mouth guards should be worn.
  4. Free Push, Center Pall or Push Off. When a player is taking a free push, center pass or push off, all opposing team members must be at least three meters away.
  5. Penalty Corner. When there is a penalty the goalkeeper is the only one that can be in the goal cage. Defense has to be on the opposite side of the goal cage and behind the goal line on the opposite side.
  6. Fouls. Players cannot hit the ball, lift the ball except when making a goal shot, hit or play the ball in the air, jab the ball intentionally into the opposition or play a ball that is in the air outside the circle with either a hand or a dead stick. A defender can stop a raised ball on a goal with a dead stick.
  7. Lying on the Ground. Having one hand or knee on the ground is considered lying on the ground. It is illegal to use the hand or knee to help with balance when in a tackling position or to stop a ball.
  8. Illegal Strokes. Long pushing, sweeping or sling strap strokes with the stick before making contact with the ball are not legal. Using a drag stroke is forbidden and hit shots are not legal.
  9. Goalkeeper. The goalkeeper cannot kick the ball into the air; it must be settled first. If the goalkeeper and the ball are inside the circle, the goalkeeper can play lying on the ground. The goalkeeper can play within one or two meters of the circle but no further because of the danger that could be caused by all his protective equipment.
  10. Penalties. Some of the penalties in indoor field hockey are illegal substitution, lifting a stick over the head of another player, turn and fire blindly, intentional roughness and bad language. The umpire should watch for infractions such as a receiving play being motionless as the opposing player attempts to get the ball, tacking player barging into the back of the receiver or the receiving player backing into the tackler, holding the ball against the sideboards or shielding the ball with the body, hip or stick, or intentionally kicking the stick out of the way.
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