(courtesy of www.totaldutchfh.com)
Indoor field hockey is an indoor variant of “traditional” outdoor field hockey. It is traditionally and mainly played as a pastime by outdoor field hockey players during the off-season, when the outdoor pitches are frozen or, alternatively, conditions are too hot for outdoor play. It can actually be played on any hard, smooth and flat surface, but is usually played in a sports hall. Indoor field hockey is played locally, regionally, nationally and internationally at a variety of age levels (from U12 through to Masters). The sport is played by both men and women and there are national and international championships for indoor field hockey.
Indoor field hockey is played between two teams of five players (including the goalkeeper). Typically, there are two umpires on the pitch to officiate the match. A goal is scored when an attacker pushes, flicks or scoops into the opponent’s goal from within the scoring circle. The game is divided into two periods of 20 minutes. Playing the ball: In indoor field hockey, players may NOT “hit” the ball using a sweeping movement of the stick as is allowed in the outdoor game. Players must move the ball down the pitch using a “push” pass or deflection. In the circle, attackers may push, flick, scoop or deflect the ball in an attempt to score. Players skillfully push, pass and dribble the ball in order to try to score a goal.
An essential skill necessary for playing indoor field hockey is the ability to control, pass, push, stop and shoot the ball with your hockey stick. This is known as stick work, or stick handling. It is both beautiful and impressive to watch a player with good stick handling skills control the ball while dribbling the length of the pitch and especially to weave through the sticks and legs of defenders to create an open shot.
The indoor pitch is smaller than an outdoor field. Dimensions can vary. An indoor pitch width is a minimum 18meters/approx. 59' to a max 22meters/approx. 72'. Indoor pitch length is a minimum 36meters/approx. 118' to a max 44m/approx. 144'. The pitch is divided by a center line. Sideboards mark the sidelines to help keep the ball in play and so helps to create a fast, flowing and exciting game. (FYI to EHS indoor players... The indoor space at The Warehouse Sports Facility is 40' x 130'... so it was NOT our imagination that the turf space was quite narrow in relation to its length!)
Indoor field hockey goal cages are smaller than in outdoor field hockey: 2meters/approx. 6'6" high x 3m/approx. 9'10" wide and a minimum of 1m/approx. 3'3" deep
The requirements for the field hockey ball are the same for both indoor and outdoor.
The stick requirements are the same for both indoor and outdoor field hockey, however players often prefer a lighter, quicker stick specially made for indoor use.
As already mentioned, every team must have a goalkeeper. The other four players are referred to as field players, and are dispersed over the pitch. The field players can be put into two general categories – attackers and defenders. While no player (other than the goalkeeper) has an exclusively defined role, the attackers are generally on attack, the defenders are generally on defense – but in indoor field hockey you also get exciting overlaps from defense into attack!
Indoor field hockey is a fast game that requires team work. The space does not allow any good player to be selfish. To play indoor means that you work all together -- five players whose aim is to build the best strategy to score efficiently and quickly. The small field and sideboards make indoor field hockey a quick, technical and physical game.