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A team sport in which two sets of eleven players attempt to score by hitting a round plastic ball with a stick into their opponent’s goal. The sport is occasionally known as field hockey to differentiate it from the North American favourite ice hockey.

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The Basics

  • Field hockey can be played on both a grass surface and an indoor hard court. Players are permitted to play the ball with the flat of the ‘face side’ of their hockey stick, as well as the edges of the head and handle provided the stroke is controlled.
  • Outfield players are not permitted to use their feet or hands to help control or play the ball, whilst there are also tight rules on player contact and obstruction, with penalties awarded against teams that break such rules.
  • A goalkeeper will traditionally wear additional protective equipment, including gloves and a helmet, due to the more dangerous nature of their inclusion within the game. They do continue to use a stick, but aren't required to make the save using it.


  • After being included in both the 1908 and 1920 Olympic Games, field hockey has been included at every Olympic competition since 1928. The most successful nation is India, with eight gold medals, whilst Team GB is in fourth place with four.
  • India, along with Pakistan, were the dominant force in men’s hockey from the 1920s up until the mid-1980s, but their success has waned in more recent years with more European nations, such as the Netherlands and Germany, tending to be most successful.
  • Australia and New Zealand are the main challengers to the European-dominated Women’s hockey events, with the latter finishing fourth in both the 2012 and 2016 Games. Team GB famously took home gold in Rio after defeating the Netherlands on penalties. 

Famous Competitors

  • Kate Richardson-Walsh – captained Team GB to their first ever gold medal in the women’s Olympic field hockey tournament, winning every single match along the way, after missing out at the semi-final stage in London four years earlier. Kate was nominated for the 2016 Sports Personality of the Year Award for her efforts, and received an OBE.
  • Jamie Dwyer – the veteran Australian centre is one of the most decorated field hockey players of his generation, having won more than 300 caps for his country and scored over 200 goals. He won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as well as back-to-back bronzes in Beijing and London. He’s also a two-time World Champion and has three Commonwealth Games golds.

National Governing Body

England Hockey – please click here for more information.


  • Intra-School Primary: Competition Card
  • Intra-School Primary: Challenge Card
  • Intra-School Secondary 
  • Local Inter-School (x2)
  • Inclusive Specific Sport Format

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