Field Hockey – High School Federation Play
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, 30 minutes each
- 11 players per side, one player must be a fully equipped goalkeeper
- The back and side of the goal cages are 18 inches high
- Two umpires on the field officiate the match
- The ball must be passed or dribbled down the field with the flat side of the stick only
- Players may not shield the ball using their body or stick. All players must have an equal
chance to play the ball.
- Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.
- Players may not intentionally raise the ball from a hit.
If the score is tied after regulation time has expired, an overtime period of two, 10-minute halves
is 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
- The Field
The field is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide divided by a centerline and a 25-yard line
on each side of the field. A striking circle is marked 16 yards out from each goal post.
The field is often grass, but can be artificial turf as well.
- 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 a minimum weight of
12 ounces and a maximum weight of 23 ounces. Sticks are typically 36-38 inches long.
- The Ball
The ball, slightly larger than a baseball, weighs between 5 ½ ounces and 5 ¾ ounces with
a circumference of 8 13/16 inches to 9 ¼ inches.
- The Goals
Goal cages are 7 feet high, 12 feet wide and 4 feet deep.
- Player’s Equipment
o Mouth Guard: Required for all field players and goalkeepers. Must cover molars
and cannot be clear or white in color.
o Shin Guards: Required for all field players. Must come up to the bottom of the
knee (LAFHA Approved).
o Spandex and Socks must be consistent with team colors.
o Goalkeeper: a shirt color different from both teams, full mask-helmet, leg pads,
chest protector, wrap around throat protector, mouth guard, hand blockers.
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 let to support the stick in order 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.
o It is not always an offence if the ball hits the foot, hand or body of a field player.
The player only commits an offence if they voluntarily use their hand, foot or
body to play the ball or if they position themselves with the intention of stopping
the ball in this way. It is not an offence if the ball hits the hand holding the stick
but would otherwise have hit the stick.
- Hit, hook, hold or interfere with an opponents sticks
- A free hit is awarded to the non-offending side following an infraction and are usually
taken at the spot the foul occurs.
- No player of the opposing team may be within 5 yards of the ball when hit. A teammate
of the restarter may be as close to her as they want (if they are more than 5 yards from the
- If a free hit is awarded within 5 yards of the striking circle, then both teams must be 7
- 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 if committed by a defender within the striking circle, the attacking team
is awarded a penalty corner.
- A penalty is awarded only when an opponent breaking the rules has disadvantaged the
opposing player or team. Umpires will use this rule of ‘advantage’.
- In a penalty corner, the ball is placed on the goal line at least 10 yards from the nearest
goal post. One attacking player pushes, flicks or hits the ball to a teammate just outside
the striking circle line. A shot on goal cannot be taken until the ball been controlled or
become motionless, inside or outside of 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 or flick), the ball must cross the goalline
at a height of no more than 18 inches – the height of the backboard – before any
deflection, for a goal to be scored.
- Should the game time expire during a penalty corner or after a penalty corner is awarded,
the penalty corner must be played out to completion unless at the end of the game and the
attack is two or more goals ahead or behind.
Penalty Corner Continued
- A penalty corner is awarded for the following offenses:
o 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.
o Any intentional breach of the rule by the defenders outside the circle but within
the 25-yard line.
o An intentional hit over the goal line by a defender from any part of the field
o 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, offensive player seven yards in front of the goal vs. goalkeeper
on the goal line, with all other players beyond the 25-yard line. Once the lead umpire is assured
that both players are ready, her or she must ask the goalkeeper and then the attacker if she is
ready (lack of verbal response equals readiness). 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 or flick the ball from the penalty spot. If the goalkeeper fouls in any way after whistle and
saves the shot from going in, a goal is still awarded. If the attacker fouls in any way after whistle
and the ball enters the goal, a goal is not awarded. 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 sticks must be at least 5 yards away from the spot where the ball is put into
- At the center-pass, players can cross the centerline as soon as the umpire whistles.
- Goalkeeper may not play outside the half of the field that they are defending.
Offenses & Misconduct
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 5 minutes with a yellow card; during the
suspension team plays with one less player for each player suspended. If a goalkeeper is
suspended an eligible player must be dressed as a goalkeeper, but the team must remove a
field player for the 5 minute suspension duration.
- Permanently suspend the offending player with a red card