A Beginner's Guide: Rules for Indoor Field Hockey

Author: Jomathews


With a smaller field and fewer players, indoor field hockey offers a fast-paced and exciting version of the sport. The smaller playing area also brings with it some unique rules. Depending on your league or team, you may play indoor or outdoor field hockey or both. Even if your team plays both versions, you’ll want to read through this guide for some helpful tips about the different rules for each version of the game. At its core, indoor field hockey is similar to outdoor field hockey. Players must advance the ball up the pitch by dribbling with their sticks and passing to teammates while avoiding being caught with the ball by an opposing player. Both versions require each player to remain behind the ball when they’re not actively in possession of it. Also, as with outdoor field hockey, there are no offsides in indoor field hockey.


Basics of the Game


First, let’s review some basics of the game. Field hockey is played by two teams of 10 players each in an indoor or outdoor setting. Each team defends a goal and attempts to score by placing the ball in their opponent’s goal. Field hockey is a non-contact sport, so players are not allowed to hit anyone with a stick or shove another player. Field hockey is known as a “stick and ball” game because the players use long, flat-headed sticks to hit a small, hard ball across grass or synthetic turf field. The game is split into two halves of 40 minutes each. If a game ends in a tie after regulation, there is a sudden-death overtime period. The game ends when a team scores and the other team cannot answer.




Indoor players use shorter sticks than outdoor players, which is the first difference in equipment you’ll notice. The shorter length is due to the smaller field and tighter confines of the indoor game. If you’re new to the sport, you may want to try out a few different stick lengths to find the one that feels best in your hands. Indoor field hockey players wear similar uniforms to outdoor players. You’ll find that most indoor teams wear dark or black jerseys with white or light bottoms. The only difference is that indoor players have a face mask to protect their faces from the ball and the walls around them.


Rules for Indoor Field Hockey


As you know, the smaller field and fewer players mean some changes to the game. Let’s review the rules for indoor field hockey. 

The field: The field is smaller and laid out with a three-two-three formation. The three-two-three formation means that the field is 30 meters long and 20 meters wide with a 10-meter-wide center line. You’ll notice that the goal is also smaller and sits 7 meters from the back wall. 

The ball: The ball is also smaller and sits at a circumference of 68-71 centimeters. It’s also made of a softer sponge than its outdoor counterpart to prevent it from bouncing too high off the walls. 

Balls Out: You’ll notice that indoor field hockey rules include a “balls out” rule. When the ball hits the ceiling, side wall, or back wall, it’s out of play, and an opposing player “calls” the ball out. This gives the offensive team a new “ball out” to restart play.


Differences in Outdoor Field Hockey


When you look at the differences between indoor and outdoor field hockey, it’s important to keep in mind that each version has its governing bodies, and each may have slight variations in the rules. 

Fewer players: In indoor field hockey, there are only 10 players per team compared to the 11 in outdoor field hockey. 

Shorter game: An indoor game is shorter than an outdoor game. You’ll play two 20-minute halves in indoor field hockey compared to two 40-minute halves in outdoor field hockey. 

A smaller field: The indoor field is smaller, 7 meters wide, with a 10-meter-wide center line. The outdoor field is wider and has a center line that is 20 meters wide. 


Penalties and Fouls in Indoor Field Hockey


One of the biggest differences between indoor and outdoor field hockey is the number of fouls called in the indoor game. Like outdoor field hockey, indoor field hockey uses a “carding” system to penalize players who break the rules. There are different cards in indoor field hockey, but they’re used the same way as in outdoor field hockey. The orange card is given for a “dangerous play”, this includes dangerous use of the stick, dangerous body-checking, or deliberate foot-fouling. The yellow card is for a minor infraction, like a foot-foul, deliberate delay of the game, or excessive use of the hands. If a player receives two yellow cards, they are given a red card and ejected from the game.


Coaching Advice for Beginners


If you’re new to the game, we’ve got a few tips for you to advance your skills and become a stellar indoor field hockey player. Take a few lessons: If you’re brand new to the sport, it’s a good idea to take a couple of lessons with a local indoor or outdoor field hockey club. Field hockey clubs are a great place to meet people and learn the basics of the sport. You can also find out about nearby leagues where you can play competitively. 

Practice your stick skills: One of the most important skills to learn in field hockey is how to use your stick. You’ll want to practice hitting the ball with your stick and dribbling with your stick as much as you can. You can also practice passing with your stick by throwing balls to yourself and a friend.




No matter what version of field hockey you play, you’ll find that it’s a fast-paced, exciting sport. Field hockey improves your health while building social skills and promoting competitive spirit. Field hockey is a team sport that is played with 11 players on the field. Goals are scored by hitting the ball into the goal with the stick. The most common age group to play field hockey is from 13 to 19 years old. If you’re looking for a team sport for your kid, field hockey is the perfect fit. Whether you’re a beginner or have experience on another team, you will feel right at home on a field hockey team

No matter what age you are or how much experience you have, you will be welcomed and feel a sense of family with your teammates. Whether you’re part of a team or playing solo, you’ll experience a rush of adrenaline as you slide across the ground to make a save or hit the ball into the goal. Even if you’re not actively involved in the game, you’ll find it hard to sit still as you watch a fast-paced, exciting sport. The game is played with nine other people who are your teammates and friends, so it’s an excellent way to make new friends. Indoor field hockey is a great way to stay active during the winter and a great way to challenge yourself and push your skills. Whether you’re new to the sport or you’ve been playing for years, indoor field hockey is an excellent way to stay fit, meet new people and have fun.


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