Sports made simple: An inside look at field hockey

Anne Buie

Editor’s Note: The following is the first part of a five part series to help readers understand how different sports are played.

Field hockey is one of the world’s most popular games and one of the world’s oldest competitive team sports. But many students aren’t farmiliar with how it is played. Many students have heard of field hockey but aren’t familiar with how the game is played or what you need to know in order to understand a match.

The Game:
In collegiate field hockey the game is split into two 35-minute halves, for a total 70 minutes of play. There are 11 players on each team, which include a goalkeeper. There are usually five substitutes per team.
The ball must be dribbled or passed down the field with the flat side of the stick. A goal is scored when an attacker strikes the ball into the goal from the striking circle.
Standard field size is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide divided by a center line and a 25-yard line on each side of the field. A striking circle is marked in the middle of the field, which is about 16 yards out from each goal post. A spot 0.15 in diameter, called the penalty spot or stroke mark, is placed 7 yards from the center of each goal.

Rules of the Game:
There are many ways for players to be awarded fouls in field hockey. This can include playing the ball with the round part of the stick, deflecting the ball with any part of the body or hook an opponent’s stick.
A penalty corner is awarded if a defender breaks a rule within the circle that would have resulted in a free hit to the attacking team if the breach had occurred outside the circle or if there was an intentional hit over the goal line by the defender from any part of the field.
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.

It is not easy to fully explain a sport in one short article, but there are a few key terms and ideas that should make understanding field hockey a bit easier. While the sport may not be exactly what you thought, I encourage you [the reader] to go out and explore all the sports Appalachian has to offer.

Story: KAITLIN THURSTON, Intern Sports Reporter