Field Hockey was introduced to the United States in 1901 by Constance Applebee, an English physical education teacher. Internationally, field hockey is primarily a men’s sport; however, in the United States, it is almost exclusively a women’s sport. The objective of the game is to hit the ball from within the striking circle, through the opponent’s goal, to score points. The team with the most goals at the end of the game, wins.
Field hockey games are typically divided into two halves, with each half lasting between 25-35 minutes. Our Junior Travel League, however, plays four 12 minute quarters. 11 players on each team, 7 in the Junior League, attempt to move the ball toward their opponent’s goal to score. Goals can only be scored when an offensive player hits the ball from within the striking circle, 16 yards from the goal.
The primary equipment in field hockey is a stick and a ball. The stick has a flat side and a rounded side. Players may only hit the ball with the flat side, or the “striking surface” of the stick. Players also wear protective equipment, including mouth guards, shin guards and goggles. Goalies wear additional protective equipment.
One or two referees govern the game to ensure fair and safe play. The referees signal action on the field, such as starting play, indicating goals and enforcing penalties.