This information was copied from the Hockey Australia web site, for the full text please click here (opens in a new window).
The Duration of the Game
2 x 35 minutes halves. 5 minutes at half-time (minimum) plus time-outs for penalty-strokes
How many players in a team
The game is played between 2 teams of not more than 16 players each. Not more than
11 players from each team shall be on the field at the same time. Each team must
have a goalkeeper on the field throughout the game.
Each team will normally divide its players into 3 groups. These are known as the
defence, the midfield, and the attack. Obviously all players attack and defend,
but you would soon get tired if you tried to do everything, and that is why there
may be specialist positions for players.
There are 2 umpires in each game of hockey. Together they are responsible for all
the field. The 2 umpires work together, to form the 3rd team on the field. They
are responsible for penalising fouls and maintaining safety and control. The umpires
need to co-operate and communicate with skill and judgement. Umpires need to stay
calm and concentrate at all times.
Umpiring can be just as much fun as playing. You need a watch to keep time and a
pen plus small pad to count the goals scored.
WHISTLE BAND to be around wrist
An umpire needs to blow the whistle firmly and loudly.
An umpire needs to signal clearly and positively.
Starting the Game
Starting the game:
A centre pass is used to start the game. It is also used to re-start the game after
a goal has been scored and after half time. The teams change ends at half time.
If the ‘blue team’ starts the game then the ‘red team’ shall
start it after half time.
Scoring a goal:
A goal is scored when the ball has completely crossed the goal line. It must have
been touched by an attacker’s stick inside the shooting circle. When a goal
is scored, the umpire shall blow the whistle and turn and point both arms towards
the centre of the field.
These are awarded following unintentional or intentional fouls. The umpire is responsible
for recognising the foul and then applying the appropriate penalty.
If the foul was unintentional, the umpire shall award a free-hit (unless it was
by a defender in the circle, in which case the umpire shall award a penalty corner).
If the foul was intentional the umpire may first warn the guilty player/s and then
award the free hit (unless it was by a defender in the 22.90m (25 yard) area in
which case the umpire shall aware a penalty corner).
For an intentional foul by a defender in the circle that prevents a goal from being
scored, the umpire shall award a penalty stroke.
SO IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT AN UMPIRE MUST BE ABLE TO RECOGNISE THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTENTIONAL AND UNINTENTIONAL FOULS.
Infringements - What you cannot do!
You cannot play the ball with the back of the stick
You cannot deliberately stop or play at the ball with your body, leg, foot, arm,
You cannot stand still and shield the ball when an opponent is attempting to tackle
you. You must either pass the ball or move away in any direction (except bodily
into the opponent).
You cannot push or trip or interfere with an opponent in any way.
You cannot hit, hold or hook an opponent’s stick with your stick.
You cannot play the ball in a dangerous manner towards another player. You cannot
play the ball with your stick held above your shoulder.
Special Rules for the Goal Keeper
Goalkeepers are allowed to do each of the following (but only in their own circle).
1. Stop the ball with a hand or any part of the body.
2. Kick the ball as long as it’s not dangerous to other players.
3. Stop the ball with the stick held above shoulder height, as long as it’s
not dangerous to other players.
4. Play the ball outside the circle with the stick only.
Ball out of play
Over the side-line:
A hit-in shall be awarded. The ball shall be played along the ground, from the spot
where it went out, and all opponents shall be at least 5 metres from the ball.
Over the back-line - (by an attacker):
A hit-out shall be awarded to the defenders. The ball shall be played along the
ground on a spot opposite where the ball crossed the back-line up to 14.63m (16
yards) into the pitch. (Level with the top of the circle). All opponents shall be
at least 5 metres from the ball.
Over the back-line - (by a defender):
If the defender accidentally hits or deflects the ball over their own back-line
from anywhere on the field, a corner shall be awarded. The ball shall be played
along the ground, on the sideline, from a spot 5 metres from the corner flag. All
opponents shall be at least 5 metres away. Note: This applies only when the ball
has unintentionally been put over the back-line by a defender.
When it has been intentionally put over the back-line by a defender anywhere on
the field, the umpire shall award a penalty corner.
A penalty corner is awarded when a defender unintentionally commits a foul in the
circle or intentionally hits the ball over the back-line from anywhere in the field.
Remember also that a penalty corner can be awarded for any intentional foul by a
defender in the 22.90m (25 yard) area.
Umpires - Important things for you to know:
The ball shall be played from the back-line 9.10m (10 yards) from the goal post.
No more than 5 defenders are to stand behind the back-line and must be at least
5 metres away from the taker. All of their teammates must be the other side of the
All attackers must be outside the circle until the ball is played. The ball must
be stopped outside of the circle BEFORE a shot at goal is made unless it has already
gone beyond 5 metres of the circle’s edge. If the first shot is a hit, it
cannot cross the goal line at above 460mm (18 inches) unless it is deflected on
the way. A push or flick may be higher if it’s not dangerous to other players.
A penalty stroke is awarded for an intentional foul by a defender in the circle
that prevents a probable goal from being scored, or an unintentional foul by a defender
in the circle which prevents a certain goal from being scored.
How does an umpire signal a penalty stroke?
Umpires - Important things for you to know:
When you award a penalty stroke you must stop the clock! (PS. Automatic Time Out!)
You place the ball on the Penalty Stroke Spot (6.40m (7 yards) from the centre of
the goal line). Apart from the penalty stroke taker, the goalkeeper and the other
umpire, all players must be moved to the other side of the nearest 22.90m (25 yard)
line. The goalkeeper must stand with heels on the goal line and cannot move until
the stroke is taken. The stroke-taker stands behind the ball and cannot play the
ball until you blow the whistle. The stroke-taker can only take one step. The ball
must completely cross the goal line before you can award the goal. You take a position
so that you can see the striker and goalkeeper in your vision at the same time.
Your colleague (the other umpire) shall stand on the back-line near the penalty
corner spot to check that the ball completely crosses the goal line. If the goalkeeper
makes a save, as soon as the ball has been prevented from crossing the goal line,
the penalty stroke is over. The attacker cannot approach the ball again.
Now remember to start the clock as you re-start the game! If a goal has been scored
then you re-start the game with a centre pass to the team who have just conceded
the goal. If a goal has not been scored, you re-start the game with a 14.63m (16
yards) free hit to the defence.
And don’t forget, if you want more information about the Rules of Hockey,
and how to become accredited, contact the Umpire Convenor in your State.
This has been modified by Robyn Pascoe from Hockey Rules Okay written by Jane Nockolds
and Natalie D Beckerman.