Field hockey explained

What is Field Hockey

Grass Hockey is a team sport played on a grass field. Find out more about its history, rules and characteristics in the text below. Grass hockey is a team sport played by two teams composed of eleven players each. The game is played on an artificial grass field. Players use clubs to drive the ball, make passes to the players on their team and try to score the goal.

Origin (history)

Although there are reports of a sport similar to hockey on grass being practiced in Ancient Greece, it was only in the second half of the 19th century that the sport began to have rules, thus reaching its current format. The first field hockey team appeared in England in 1861. In 1924, the International Field Hockey Federation emerged, making the sport gain a great international momentum.

Main rules

  • A match is divided into four times of fifteen minutes each.
  • The team that manages to score the most goals during the match is the winner.
  • The official field must have the following measures: 91.40 meters long and 55 meters wide.
  • The official ball is made of cork and plastic. It has a circumference of 2.3 cm and its weight is 160 grams.
  • Goalkeepers are the only ones who can touch the ball with any part of the body. For protection, they must use special protectors on the head, trunk, legs and arms.
  • The measures of the official beams are: 2.14 meters high and 3.66 meters wide.
  • The clubs are made of carbon fiber and fiberglass. They must weigh between 350 and 700 grams.

Main plays:

  • Flick: when the player drives the ball with the club, raising it in the air. It is a difficult move to make, but it is often used to circumvent opponents.
  • Push-hit: the ball is pushed by the player. Widely used to score goals and passes.
  • Obstruction: the player uses the club or body to protect the ball, causing an obstruction. This move is considered a foul.

International Federation

The official international field hockey games and championships are organized by FIH (International Field Hockey Federation).


  • Grass hockey has been a sport for the Olympic Games since the London edition of 1908.
  • The strongest countries in field hockey today are: Australia, Germany, Holland and Spain.
  • Until the beginning of the 1970s, the matches of this sport were held in fields of natural grass.
  • In the Olympics in Rio 2016, matches were played by women’s and men’s teams. In the men’s division, the Argentines took the gold, after beating Belgium in the final. In the women’s division, the British team won the gold medal.