Indoor Field Hockey: Rules, Equipment, and Tips for Success

Are you an avid field hockey player who wants to keep up with the sport even when you can’t play outdoors? Or maybe you’re new to field hockey and want to learn the basics in a controlled indoor environment. Either way, indoor field hockey is the perfect solution. It allows you to continue playing and honing your skills regardless of weather conditions or limited space.

Indoor field hockey offers a unique and fast-paced variation of the traditional sport. The smaller playing surface and a limited number of players create an intense and exciting game. Additionally, the indoor version of field hockey often incorporates boards or walls, allowing for dynamic rebounds and strategic gameplay.

This article will explore the world of indoor field hockey, including its rules, equipment, and strategies. Whether you’re a seasoned field hockey player looking for a new challenge or a beginner eager to learn the ropes, indoor field hockey provides endless opportunities for fun and growth in the sport.

How Does Indoor Field Hockey Work?

Indoor field hockey is a variant of traditional field hockey played indoors on a smaller pitch. Here’s how indoor field hockey works:

  1. Playing Area: The indoor field hockey pitch is smaller than the outdoor field, typically around 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. The playing surface is usually made of smooth and hard wood, synthetic materials, or specialized indoor turf.
  2. Team Composition: Indoor field hockey is played with teams consisting of six players, including the goalkeeper. The teams can have additional substitutes, which can be made freely during the game.
  3. Sticks and Equipment: The players use a standard field hockey stick, similar to the ones used in outdoor field hockey. The ball used in indoor field hockey is slightly smaller and lighter than the outdoor ball, allowing for faster play and better control in the confined space.
  4. Rules and Gameplay: Indoor field hockey follows most of the rules of outdoor field hockey with some modifications to suit the indoor environment. The key differences include:
    • Reduced Physical Contact: Due to the smaller playing area, physical contact is limited to ensure player safety.
    • Sideboards: Indoor field hockey pitches are surrounded by boards or walls, similar to those in indoor soccer or hockey. The ball can rebound off the boards, creating dynamic gameplay and quick transitions.
    • Ball Out of Play: Play is restarted with a sideline hit-in if the ball goes over the sideboards.
    • Reduced Game Duration: Indoor field hockey matches are typically shorter than outdoor games, with two halves usually lasting 20 to 25 minutes each.
  5. Tactics and Strategy: The smaller playing area in indoor field hockey necessitates quick decision-making, close ball control, and accurate passing. The game often involves fast-paced action, dynamic movements, and frequent transitions from attack to defense. Players need to adapt their tactics to exploit the limited space and utilize the boards to their advantage.
  6. Penalties and Fouls: Indoor field hockey has penalties and fouls similar to outdoor field hockey. Common fouls include obstruction, dangerous play, and stick tackles. Penalties can result in free hits, penalty corners, or penalty strokes, depending on the severity and location of the foul.

Indoor field hockey offers an exciting and fast-paced alternative to outdoor play, requiring different skills and strategies. It provides opportunities for skill development, close ball control, and quick decision-making in a more confined space.

How Many Players Are In Indoor Field Hockey?

Indoor field hockey is typically played with teams consisting of six players on the field, including the goalkeeper. Each team has five outfield players and one goalkeeper. The outfield players are responsible for attacking, defending, and transitioning the ball, while the goalkeeper’s role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring by saving shots on goal. These six players work together to compete in indoor field hockey matches.

What in the Difference Between Indoor And Field Hockey?

The main differences between indoor and field hockey are:

  1. Playing Area: The playing area is the most noticeable difference. Field hockey is played on a larger outdoor field with dimensions varying between 91 to 100 meters in length and 55 to 60 meters in width. Indoor hockey, on the other hand, is played on a smaller indoor pitch, typically around 40 meters long and 20 meters wide.
  2. Team Size: In field hockey, teams consist of 11 players, including the goalkeeper. Indoor hockey is played with teams of six players on the field, including the goalkeeper. The reduced number of players in indoor hockey allows for faster gameplay and more space for each player.
  3. Equipment: The equipment used in both versions of the sport is similar, with players using a field hockey stick and a ball. However, the ball used in indoor hockey is slightly smaller and lighter than the outdoor ball. Additionally, the goalkeeper in indoor hockey may wear different protective gear compared to the outdoor goalkeeper.
  4. Rules: While many of the rules of field hockey apply to indoor hockey, there are some variations. In indoor hockey, the rules are adapted to suit the smaller playing area and faster pace of the game. For example, indoor hockey may have rules regarding the use of boards or walls surrounding the playing area, different restart procedures when the ball goes out of play, and specific regulations for penalties and fouls.
  5. Game Duration: The duration of matches differs between indoor and field hockey. Field hockey matches are typically played in two halves of 35 minutes each at the international level, while indoor hockey matches are usually shorter, with two halves lasting 20 to 25 minutes each.
  6. Style of Play: The smaller playing area in indoor hockey leads to a faster and more dynamic style of play. Indoor hockey often involves quick passes, close ball control, and frequent transitions from attack to defense. Field hockey, with its larger field, allows for more open play, longer passes, and a greater emphasis on endurance and strategic positioning.

Both versions of the sport have their own unique characteristics and require specific skills and tactics. While the fundamental principles of the game remain the same, the differences in playing area, team size, and rules make indoor and field hockey distinct from each other.

Will Indoor Hockey affect my Outdoor game?

Indoor Hockey can help in several ways with an Outdoor Field Hockey game. Firstly, the game is often fast and requires players to make quick decisions which can affect your outdoor game. As well as this, passes must be effective, accurate, and precise, which helps with your passing ability when playing out on the field.

Secondly, with Indoor Hockey players get used to tackling with a flat stick and that translates into the outdoor game by giving defenders extra protection for their feet when defending around the circle. The fast pace environment helps improve not only decision making but also technical skills like ball control over various surfaces which would again give you a dynamic on kit come game day outdoors.

The other thing players usually miss that indoor hockey aids in are team dynamics. While playing doors, you play much closer together as a unit, so team chemistry is acquired quicker than usual out-doors making the transition much more natural when the ball finally hits the grass pitch. With all these points combined it could be argued that indoor hockey does indeed have its uses to affect your outdoor game positively when played effectively and correctly thus allowing yourself to pick up those important skills to bring back onto the field during the outdoor season!

How to Choose the Best Field Hockey Position for Your Game?

Choosing the best field hockey position for your game depends on various factors, including your skills, attributes, playing style, and physical abilities. Here are some considerations to help you determine the position that suits you best:

  1. Assess Your Skills: Evaluate your technical skills, such as ball control, passing, shooting, and tackling. Identify the areas where you excel and the ones that need improvement. This self-assessment can help guide you toward a position that aligns with your strengths.
  2. Understand Playing Styles: Familiarize yourself with the different playing styles associated with each position. For example, forwards typically focus on scoring goals and creating attacking opportunities, midfielders play a versatile role of both attack and defense, and defenders prioritize stopping the opponent’s attacks and distributing the ball. Consider which style resonates with your preferences and strengths.
  3. Consider Physical Attributes: Different positions require different physical attributes. Forwards often benefit from the speed, agility, and goal-scoring instincts. Midfielders need endurance, good passing ability, and tactical awareness. Defenders should possess strong tackling skills, positioning, and the ability to read the game. Assess your own physical attributes and see which positions align with your strengths.
  4. Role Compatibility: Think about how your skills complement other players’ positions on the team. Each position has a specific role and responsibilities within the team structure. Consider how your attributes and skills can contribute to team strategy and chemistry.
  5. Try Different Positions: Experiment with playing different positions during training or friendly matches. This hands-on experience will help you understand each position’s demands, challenges, and enjoyment. It may also reveal hidden talents or preferences you were unaware of.
  6. Seek Guidance: Consult with your coach or experienced players who can provide insights and advice based on their knowledge of your abilities. They can offer valuable perspectives on your strengths and weaknesses, helping you decide on the best position for your game.

Remember flexibility and adaptability are essential in field hockey. While choosing a preferred position is beneficial, being open to playing different positions when needed can enhance your overall understanding of the game and make you a more versatile player. Ultimately, the best field hockey position for you allows you to showcase your skills, contribute to the team’s success, and enjoy the game to the fullest.

Can You Hit In Indoor Hockey?

In indoor field hockey, hitting the ball is not allowed. The rules of indoor hockey prohibit the use of the hitting technique due to safety concerns in the confined space of the indoor pitch. Instead, players use pushing, flicking, and scooping techniques to pass, shoot, and control the ball.

Eliminating hitting in indoor hockey is intended to minimize the risk of injury to players, as hitting the ball in close quarters can increase the likelihood of accidental contact with other players. Indoor hockey focuses on quick and accurate passing, close ball control, and skillful dribbling, utilizing techniques better suited to the smaller playing area.

It’s important to note that the rules and regulations of indoor hockey may vary slightly depending on the specific league or competition. Therefore, it’s always advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific rules enforced in your particular indoor hockey setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is indoor field hockey the same as traditional field hockey?

While indoor field hockey shares similarities with traditional field hockey, there are notable differences. Indoor hockey is played on a smaller pitch, with teams consisting of six players instead of the eleven in outdoor field hockey. The rules are also adapted to suit the indoor environment, such as limitations on hitting the ball and the presence of sideboards. Despite these differences, the fundamental principles and skills of the game remain similar.

2. What is the purpose of the sideboards in indoor field hockey?

The sideboards or walls surrounding the indoor field hockey pitch serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they keep the ball in play, allowing it to rebound off the boards. This creates a dynamic playing environment with quick transitions and strategic use of the boards for passing and ball control. Secondly, the boards provide a physical barrier, reducing the risk of the ball going out of bounds frequently and ensuring a continuous flow of play.

3. Can outdoor field hockey players easily transition to indoor field hockey?

While there are similarities between the two versions of the sport, transitioning from outdoor to indoor field hockey may require some adjustments. Indoor hockey typically demands faster decision-making, close ball control, and quicker passing due to the smaller playing area. Additionally, the absence of hitting and the presence of sideboards require players to adapt their techniques and strategies. However, outdoor field hockey players often possess the foundational skills and game awareness that can facilitate a smoother transition to indoor field hockey with some practice and familiarization with the indoor rules and dynamics.


Indoor field hockey requires players to adjust their skills and techniques to the different regulations and playing environments. Hitting is not allowed in most indoor competitions, while sideboards provide many advantages for ball control and keeping the game moving. With some practice and familiarization with the rules, outdoor field hockey players can often make a smooth transition to indoor hockey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *