Indoor Hockey Rules GEMS

Basic Indoor Hockey Rules

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Indoor Hockey is a version of Outdoor or Field Hockey. It developed in Europe in the 1950s mainly to allow keen hockey players to continue enjoying their sport during periods of bad winter weather. But as it is an exciting and enjoyable version of the game it is now played in many locations around the world. It can be played on any hard, smooth, and flat surface but is usually played in a sports hall.

The pitch is, therefore, smaller than an outdoor field. It is only 44 meters by 22 meters at most. Something else which distinguishes an indoor pitch from an outdoor one is that indoors there are 10cm boards down the longer pitch side-lines. This keeps the ball in play more and so helps to create a fast, flowing, and exciting game.

For indoor hockey, two teams of 6 players compete against each other using their 'hooked' sticks to play a small, hard, often white but sometimes colored, ball. In indoor hockey, the ball may only be pushed and not hit or flicked. Except for a shot at goal, it may only be played along the ground. Players skillfully push, pass and dribble the ball.

But, as in infield/outdoor hockey, the fundamental aim of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opponents' goal. To do that, they have to get the ball past the other team's goalkeeper, who protects the goal, and logically, tries to keep the ball out!

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As already mentioned, every team must have a goalkeeper. The other 5 players are referred to as 'field players', and are dispersed over the pitch. The field players can be put into two general categories - attackers and defenders. While no player (other than the goalkeeper) has an exclusively defined role, the attackers are generally on the attack, the defenders are generally on defense - but in indoor hockey, you also get exciting overlaps from defense into attack!

An essential skill necessary for playing hockey is the ability to control, pass, push, stop and shoot the ball with your hockey stick. This is known as stick work or stickhandling. It is both beautiful and impressive to watch a player with good stickhandling skills control the ball while dribbling the length of the pitch and especially to weave through the sticks and legs of defenders to create an open shot.

It is important to know that the head of a hockey stick has a rounded side (the right-hand side) and a flat side (the left-hand side). It is only with the flat, left-hand side of the stick and the edges of that side that you are permitted to play the ball.

It may seem like common sense, but it is worth mentioning that in indoor hockey just as in outdoor hockey, field players are not allowed to use their feet (or any other parts of their bodies for that matter) to control the ball. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to use hands, feet, etc. to stop or propel the ball when defending in his or her circle.

Scoring a goal in hockey is very interesting. There are only certain ways it can be done: from a Field Goal, from a Penalty Corner, and a Penalty Stroke.

A field goal is a goal scored from open, continuous play. Field goals may only be taken from the 'shooting circle', a roughly semi-circular area in front of the opponents' goal. If a ball is played from outside the 'shooting circle' and it goes directly into the goal or is only touched by a defender on the way, it does not count as a score.

If a defending team breaks certain rules, the other team may be awarded a 'penalty corner.' It is awarded when a team breaks a rule while defending in their 'shooting circle'. It can also be awarded when a defender is guilty of a particularly bad foul in the defending half of the pitch. To take a penalty corner, play is stopped to allow the teams to take their positions in attack and defense. One attacker stands with the ball on a designated spot on the back-line. (It's the line that marks the shorter boundary of the pitch and on which the goal is placed.) This player will 'push out the ball to other attackers, waiting to take a shot at the goal. The other attackers usually wait at the top of the shooting circle to receive the ball. But in any case, all attackers have to be outside the shooting circle until the penalty corner begins.

All members of the defending team (including the goalkeeper) position themselves behind the back-line to defend against the penalty corner. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to position her/himself inside the goal. All other defenders must be outside the goal on the side furthest from where the ball is being put into play.

The ball is 'pushed out to an attacker waiting to receive it. Before a shot on goal can be taken, the ball must first travel outside the circle. The receiver then usually pushes it back into the circle for the shot either by her/himself or another attacker.

Once the attacker on the back-line begins to push the ball out, the defenders on the backline may move into the circle and do their best to stop the other team from scoring.

But quite a lot of the time a goal is scored and one team of players will be celebrating!

It's a long explanation, but in practice, it all happens very quickly and is exciting to watch.

A penalty stroke is a shot taken on goal by a chosen player and defended only by the goalkeeper. (All other players must stand in the other half of the pitch.) A penalty stroke may be awarded for a few reasons, the most common being an offense by a defender in the circle to prevent the probable scoring of a goal. The shot is taken from a spot 7 meters directly in front of the goal. Match time is stopped when a penalty stroke is being taken.

A regulation-length indoor hockey match lasts 40 minutes - which is broken into two halves of 20 minutes each. The team with the most goals at the end of the 40 minutes is the winner. It is also possible for a match to end in a draw (or tie). But in some matches - like in a tournament or a championship game - there must be a winner. In those cases, a match that is tied at the end of regulation time, then often goes into extra time (the first team to score in extra time wins), and if necessary, to a penalty stroke competition.

Rules of Hockey

Using sticks that are flat on one side and curved on the other, two teams hit and dribble a solid plastic ball down the field and try to shoot it past a goalkeeper into a goal cage. Goals can only be scored when a shot is taken from within the striking circle; a semicircle extending 16 yards from the goal.

The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner.

  • Two Halves, 35 minutes each in collegiate and international play, 30 minutes in the high school play
  • 11 players per side, including the goalkeeper
  • The back and side of the cages are 18 inches high.
  • Two umpires on the field officiate the match. An additional umpire may sit at the scorer's table.
  • The ball must be passed or dribbled down the field with the flat side of the stick.
  • A goal is scored when an attacker strikes the ball into the goal from within the striking circle.
  • Players may not shield the ball using their bodies or stick. All players must have an equal chance to play the ball.

The Field

  • The field, or pitch, is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide (91.40m x 55.0m) divided by a centerline and a 25-yard line on each side of the field. A striking circle is marked 16 yards (14.63m) out from each goal post. Although the game is often played on grass, all official international matches are played on watered-down artificial turf.

The Stick

  • The stick has a curved head, is rounded on one side, and is flat on the left-hand side. The ball can only be touched with the flat side of the stick. The stick is made of hardwood with a minimum weight of 12 ounces and a maximum weight of 28 ounces.

The Ball

  • The ball, slightly larger than a baseball, weighs between 5 1/2 ounces and 5 3/4 ounces with a circumference of 8 13/16 inches to 9 1/4 inches. The hardwood sticks are 36-38 inches long. Players may strike the ball only with the flat side of the stick.

The Goals

  • Goal cages are 7 feet (2.14m) high, 12 feet (3.66m) wide, and 4 feet (1.22m) deep. Boards on
  • In international play, in classification rounds or games that require a winner to advance to the next round, if the score is tied after regulation, extra time of two, 7 1/2-minute periods are played. The game is ended when one team scores a goal. If the score remains tied after overtime, penalty strokes may be used to determine the winner. In penalty stroke competition, each team selects five players to take alternating penalty strokes against the opposing goalkeeper.
  • In high school federation play, if the score is tied after regulation time has expired, an overtime period of two, 10-minute halves are played with each team reducing the number of players to 7 per side. If the score remains tied after overtime, penalty strokes may be used to determine the winner. In penalty stroke competition, each team selects five players to take alternating penalty strokes against the opposing goalkeeper.

A Player May Not

  • Shield or obstruct the ball from an opponent with the body or stick. All players must have an equal chance to gain control of the ball as it is dribbled or passed down the field.
  • Play the ball with the rounded side of the stick.
  • Interfere in the game without a stick
  • Charge hit, shove, or trip an opponent
  • Play the ball in a potentially dangerous way.
  • Use the foot or leg to support the stick to resist an opponent
  • Raise the stick in a dangerous or intimidating manner while approaching, attempting to play or stop the ball
  • Advance the ball by any means other than with the stick.
  • Stop or deflect the ball in the air or on the ground with any part of the body
  • Hit, hook, hold or interfere with an opponent’s stick
  • A free hit is awarded to the non-offending side following an infraction and is usually taken at the spot the foul occurs.
  • No player of the opposing team may be within 5 yards of the ball when hit.
  • The ball must be stationary and the striker must push or hit it. The hitter may not replay the ball until another player has touched it.
  • If the infraction is committed by a defender within the shooting circle, the attacking team is awarded a penalty corner.
  • In a penalty corner, the ball is placed on the goal line at least 10 yards from the nearest goal post. One attacking player hits the ball to a teammate just outside the striking circle line. A goal cannot be scored until the ball has traveled outside the circle. A shot on goal may be attempted once the ball is played back into the circle. All attackers must be outside the circle before the hit is taken. On defense, a maximum of five defenders may be behind the goal line while the remaining defenders must be positioned beyond the centerline.
  • if the first shot at goal is a hit (as opposed to a push, flick, or scoop), the ball must cross the goal-line, at a height of not more than 460 mm (18 inches - the height of the backboard before any deflection, for a goal to be scored.
  • A penalty corner is awarded for the following offenses:

Any breach of the rule by a defender within the circle that would have resulted in a free hit to the attacking team if the breach had occurred outside the circle;

Any intentional breach of the rule by the defenders outside the circle but within the 25-yard line;

An intentional hit over the goal line by a defender from any part of the field. A penalty stroke is one-on-one, offensive player seven yards in front of the goal vs. Goalkeeper on the goal line, with all other players beyond the 25-yard line.

A penalty stroke is awarded for any intentional breach by the defenders in the circle or for an unintentional breach by the defenders which prevents a sure goal.

  • A penalty stroke is a one-on-one confrontation between an offensive player seven yards in front of the goal vs. A goalkeeper on the goal line. All other players must stand behind the 25-yard line. The goalkeeper must stand with both feet on the goal line and may not move either foot until the ball has been played. The offensive player may push, flick or scoop the ball from the penalty spot. A penalty stroke is awarded for any intentional breach by the defenders in the circle or for an unintentional breach by the defenders which prevents a sure goal.
  • When the attacking team plays the ball over the backline, the defense receives a 16-yard hit. The free hit is taken 16 yards from the spot where the ball crossed the backline.
  • A push-in or hit-in is awarded to the opposition if a player hits the ball wholly over the sideline. All other players and their sticks must be a least 5 yards away from the spot where the ball is put into play.

For rough or dangerous play, misconduct, or any intentional offense, the umpire may

  • Caution the offending player
  • Warn the offending player with a green card
  • Temporarily suspend the offending player for a minimum of five minutes with a yellow card
  • Permanently suspend the offending player with a red card