Field hockey is one of the most competitive and physical sports today. It is played almost everywhere in the world. However, wit is especially popular in countries like Great Britain, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Pakistan. Particularly unique and special in its approach, the success in this sport lies between controlling and manipulating the stick in order to shoot the ball and make a goal.
Ranked as the third most popular sport around the globe, there is no denying that the game still reigns supreme in numerous countries and regions today since its reinstatement in the Olympics. From the likes of Dhyan Chand to Luciana Aymar, this physical sport definitely knows no bounds nor gender.
As a billion-dollar market, countless individuals are not only getting into the business of field hockey but into playing the sport as well. You might be asking what makes it unique and special? We’re here to let you know.
A Brief History Of The Sport
According to the Federation of International Hockey or the FIH, the origins of this sport lie in antiquity. Research and studies show that the game was played thousands of years ago, both in Egypt and in Ethiopia. Meanwhile, a similar game structure was reportedly found in Iran in 2,000 BC.
There is also enough evidence to show that the Greeks and Romans played the game, as well as the Aztecs, prior to Christopher Columbus’ arrival.
While the sport is rooted in ancient civilization, field hockey was modernized and streamline in the mid-18th century in England. The United Kingdom can be thanked for setting up the first Hockey Association and for setting up the ground rules of the sport.
The Game In The Olympics
Thanks to the success and popularity of the game, particularly in the United Kingdom, India, and Pakistan, field hockey was first introduced and included in the 1908 Olympics in London, then once again making an appearance in the 1920 Olympics due to Belgian hockey advocates pressuring organizers for the games in Antwerp.
The sport, however, only became a mainstay in 1928 during the games held in Amsterdam. Years later in 1980, the sport also included a category for women on the field.
Today, the fame of the game spans across five continental associations and 137 national organizations, thereby ensuring its place in history.
Fundamentals Of The Game
There is much intrigue about how to play field hockey. After all, it requires more than just physical skills and careful manipulation of hockey sticks. To know more about the basics of playing this sport, keep on reading.
The goal of this sport is simple: it is to make goals and win. To do this, players must hit the ball using their sticks and make it go through the goal. The team that garners the most number of goals or points wins at the end of the match.
To play, two teams consisting of 11 players each are required to enter the playing field. Of this number, ten players are outfielders – including defenders, attackers, and midfielders – while one acts as the goalkeeper.
The field spans 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. Two 25-yard lines run across its width while another line falls in the center to divide the field. Meanwhile, the goal measures four yards wide and seven feet high.
Despite the wide expanse of the field, players are only allowed to score goals from the 16-yard line which surrounds the goal. Goals that are scored outside these parameters will not be tallied and will result in the ball going to the other team.
At the center of it all is a hard ball that can only be touched and maneuvered using one side of the wooden stick. Although cricket balls are used for playing, a plastic ball, roughly nine inches in circumference, may also be used as a substitute.
The whole length of the game runs for two 35-minute halves with a five-minute break in between them.
The Bottom Line
Field hockey continues to be one of the most beloved and popular sports in the world today. From Asia to the Middle East to the United Kingdom, more and more people are joining this sport, one way or another.