All forms of hockey are governed by the rules of hockey as set down by the International Hockey Federation (FHI).
Hockey - outdoor
Field of play
The pitch on which field hockey is played is 91.4m long and 55m wide. This boundary is marked on the turf and the shorter lines are called backlines.
A straight line is drawn midway between the backlines, and parallel to them. This centre line divides the pitch into two equal parts.
25 yard line
In each half, another parallel line is drawn at a distance of 22.9m from the backline. This distance converts to 25 yards, hence this is called the 25 yard line. This divides the pitch into four equal parts.
The areas enclosed by and including the 22.9m lines, the relevant part of the side lines and the backline are known as the 23m areas.
Striking circle or 'D'
From the center of each backline, a point is marked 1.8m away and a quarter circle arc having a radius of 14.63m is drawn from here on the inside of the field. The two quarter circles are joined at the top by a straight line measuring 3.66m to form the D-shaped striking circle, also referred to as the “D”. Another set of quarter circles are drawn outside these 5m away. These arcs are not solid, but dashed.
From the center of the baseline, this point is marked 6.475m towards the inside of the pitch with a width 0.2m.
Penalty corner defender's and attacker's mark
At 4.975m and 9.975m away from the center of each backline in either direction, a line 0.3m long is drawn. Each backline has four such markings. These are known as the penalty corner defender’s and attacker’s marks, respectively.
Long corner attacker's mark
Long corners are now taken from the 23m line. Along each sideline at 5.0m from the backline, a line 0.3m long is drawn to form this mark.
Each goal post is 2.14m high and 0.05m wide. The goals posts are white.
Each post is placed 1.83m away from the center of the backline, one on either side, with a depth of 1.2m. This makes the total goal width 3.66m.
The back net consists of mesh whose spacing should not exceed 0.04m. It is fixed to the goal posts, bar, sideboards and backboard at intervals of 0.15m or less, to form netting around the top, sides and back of the goal. This net is not to be too tight to avert the ball that is hit into the goal from rebounding off the net.
The playing surface extends at least 2m at the backlines and one metre at the side lines with an additional unobstructed one metre. This equates to a total of 3m at each end and 2m at each of the sides of the field.
These are minimum requirements with the recommended areas being 5m at each end and 3m at each side of the field.
Sideboards and backboards
Goals are positioned outside of the field of play at the centre of and touching each backline. Two white, vertical goal posts 2.14m high are joined by a white, horizontal crossbar 3.66m wide. Sideboards 460mm high and 1.20m wide are placed at right angles to the goal line. Backboards 460mm high and 3.66m wide are placed at right angles to the sideboards and are fixed to the end of the sideboards. Nets are fitted loosely to the back of the goal posts and crossbar at intervals not more than 150mm.
Flag posts between 1.2m and 1.5m high are located at each corner of the field.
Rookey is a modified hockey game for children that is played as part of the Hookin2hockey program for children aged 5‑10 years.
The Rookey pitch is divided into three zones of equal size using cones or markers along the sideline and if required, across the playing area. Goals can be created using cones or markers and are 3m wide.
The size of a Rookey pitch will depend on the number of players per team. Below is a guide to the pitch size required for different numbers of players.
| Players per team
|| Players per zone
|| Hockey pitch
|| No hockey pitch
|| Quarter field
|| Half field
The pitch is 44m long bounded by sideboards and 22m wide bounded by backlines. A smaller pitch may be used in national or local regulations. The minimum size of a pitch is 36m long and 18m wide.
The minimum run‑off area recommended is 3m outside the backlines and one metre outside the side lines.
The space outside the pitch, behind but including the goal posts and crossbar and enclosed by the net is a minimum of 800mm deep at the crossbar and a minimum of 1m deep at ground level.
Lines and markings
All lines are 50mm wide. The backlines and all markings enclosed between them and the sideboards are part of the pitch. All marks are in a colour that contrasts with the playing surface. If played on a surface marked with lines for other sports, they are a distinctive colour.
The following lines are marked on the pitch:
- Backlines: 18m to 22m long perimeter lines.
- Goal lines: part of the backline between the goal posts.
- Centre line across the middle of the pitch.
- 300mm lines inside the pitch on each backline on both sides of the goal at 6m from the outer edge of the nearer goalpost, as measured between the furthest edges of each lines.
- 150mm lines outside the pitch on each backline 1.5m from the centre of the backline, as measured between the nearest edges of these lines.
- Penalty spots 100mm in diameter in front of the centre of each goal with the centre of each spot 7m from the inner edge of the goal line.
The following circles are marked on the pitch:
- Lines 3m long and parallel to the backlines are marked inside the pitch with their centres in line with the centres of the backlines. The distance from the outside edges of these 3m lines to the outside edges of the backlines is 9m.
- These lines are continued in uninterrupted arcs in both directions to meet the backlines in the form of quarter circles with centres at the inside front corner of the nearer goal posts.
- The 3m line and arcs are called the circle lines. The spaces enclosed by these lines, including the lines themselves, are called the circles.
- Broken lines are marked with their outer edges 3m from the outer edge of each circle line. Each broken line starts with a solid section at the top centre of the circle line. Each solid section is 300mm long with gaps between the solid sections 2m long.
The pitch sideboards are:
- Marked on the 36m to 44m long perimeter of the pitch.
- Based on a square 100mm cross‑section and the upright surface facing the pitch is inclined by 10mm towards the pitch.
- Made of wood or materials with similar physical properties. They must not having fittings or supports which are dangerous to players or umpires.
Goal sideboards and backboards
Goal sideboards and backboards are not mandatory but if fitted should conform to the following specifications:
- Sideboards are minimum 0.92m long and 460mm high.
- Backboards are 3m long and 460mm high.
- Sideboards are positioned on the ground at right angles to the backline and are fixed to the back of the goal posts without increasing their width.
- Backboards are positioned on the ground at right angles to the goal sideboards, parallel to the backline, and are fixed to the end of the goal sideboards.
- Sideboards and backboards are of a dark colour on the inside.
IRules of Hockey. International Hockey Federation. Lausanne Switzerland 2014. www.fih.ch/media/8997802/rules-of-hockey-2015.pdf.
Rules of Indoor Hockey. The International Hockey Federation. Lausanne Switzerland. January 2016.
Hookin2Hockey. Hockey Australia. 2015. www.hookin2hockey.hockey.org.au/Home
The information in this guide is general in nature and cannot be relied upon as professional advice concerning the design of, or marking out for, sporting facilities and playing areas. No assurance is given as to the accuracy of any information contained in this guide and readers should not rely on its accuracy. Readers should obtain their own independent and professional advice in relation to their proposed sporting activity.