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Glasgow 2014 - A Viewing Guide

This evening’s Opening Ceremony marks the start of the 20th Commonwealth Games as Glasgow plays host to 11 days of competition across 17 sports....

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Glasgow confidence boost after London Cup hockey wins

Ashley Jackson and Alex Danson were the stars as England's hockey teams prepared for next week's Commonwealth Games with morale boosting wins at...

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England look for Glasgow boost in London Cup finals

England's hockey teams will look to springboard into the forthcoming Commonwealth Games with morale boosting victories at the London Cup.

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England continue London Cup charge with victories

England Hockey's men and women made it four wins from four at the Investec London Cup while day two also saw Scotland women pick up their first ...

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History

There is evidence of stick-and-ball games in many of the ancient civilisations in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. There is further proof that these games were present from medieval times in Europe and in 14th century England they were banned for a time to enable the citizens to practise archery for defence purposes.

Long gone are the days where playing hockey meant standing in a muddy playing field in the freezing cold and driving rain.  In recent years much has been done to improve the experience and opportunities for everyone to play, from the youngest children to the most experienced adults.  The advent of artificial turf and a progressive approach to the evolution of the rules mean that hockey is now more enjoyable than ever before, whether you’re playing or watching.

Although versions of hockey have been traced back hundreds of years, the modern version of the game was developed in Britain in the 1800s as an alternative option to football for cricketers during the winter months.  The first organised club was the Blackheath Football and Hockey Club, which dates back to at least 1861. Another London club, Teddington, helped refine the game by introducing a number of the modern rules and concepts, including the introduction of a sphere shaped ball, which replaced a rubber cube.  Most importantly, they instituted the striking circle, which was incorporated into the rules of the newly founded Hockey Association (Men’s) in London in 1886.  The All England Women’s Hockey Association was then founded in 1895, becoming the first women’s national sporting Governing Body. 

Hockey spread throughout the world as a result of Britain’s colonial exploits and subsequently India and Pakistan (after partition from India in 1947) became strong hockey-playing nations. Women started playing the game towards the close of the nineteenth century. The first hockey international was played between England and Ireland in 1895, with England winning.

 

Olympic History

Hockey for men first appeared on the Olympic programme in 1908, which Great Britain won. It then disappeared off the schedule until 1920 and has been part of the games ever since. Women’s hockey was introduced in 1980.

 

A long-time Olympic favourite, hockey will be played over 14 days of non-stop competition at London 2012.  Taking place at the purpose built, temporary hockey centre on Olympic Park, the hockey tournament runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August 2012. 

At London 2012, both the men’s and women’s hockey competitions will begin with a preliminary phase: the 12 teams in each event will be divided into two pools of six, and each team will play every other team in their pool. The two best teams in each pool will qualify for the semi-finals, the winners of which will go head-to-head for the gold.

In Beijing 2008 the women's competition was increased from 10 to 12 teams; the same number that compete in the men's tournament.

Technical

The Field of Play

A Hockey field, frequently referred to as the ‘pitch’, is a rectangular area measuring 91.4 m length by 55 m width. The long sides are the ‘side lines’ and the shorter ones are the ‘back lines’, or ‘goal lines’. Goal posts are placed at either end of the field in the middle of the back line. Almost semi-circular lines run from the back line and mark out the area of the shooting circle (‘circle’), the area in which goals are scored.

The Game

A Hockey game is played between two teams, of 11 players each. A game is divided into two 35-minute periods, with a 10-minute interval in between. Each team tries to score as many goals as possible in the opposite team’s goal post. Hockey games are usually conducted on grass. At high-level competitions though, like the Olympic Games, Hockey is played on synthetic surfaces.

equipment

Ball

The ball is white, hard and made of Teflon. Its surface has dimples. It weights 156 to 163 g and its circumference varies between 224 and 235 mm.

Stick

The stick is smooth and straight with one curved end, which is slightly wider. All of its edges are rounded, while the inner side is flat.

Clothing and gear

The goalkeeper must wear, over any upper body protectors, a shirt of a different colour than the ones worn by his or her teammates and the opposite team’s players. The goalkeeper’s body protectors consist of the secured protective headgear, leg guards, kickers and hand protectors, all of which must have no rough edges or protrusions.

The hand protectors may be no more than 228 mm wide and leg guards no more than 300 mm wide. In general, the clothing and the equipment of the goalkeeper must comply with the rules and regulations of FIH, so the gear will not artificially increase the size of the goalkeeper’s body or the area that he or she is capable of protecting.

rules

Essential skills for playing Hockey are the ability to control, pass, push, stop and hit the ball. Stick work is impressive to watch, as players with good stick skills can maintain control of the ball while sprinting the length of the field, weaving through the sticks and legs of defending players to create space.

Athletes can only play the ball with the flat face or edge of the stick. Athletes are not allowed to use their feet or any other part of their body. Only the goalkeepers are allowed to use their stick, hands, feet, legs and body to stop the ball when defending their own circle.

Player Positions

Every team consists of ten field players, who are classified as attackers, midfielders, defenders, and a goalkeeper who remains in his team’s shooting circle.

In the Olympic Games, every team is made up of 16 players, 11 of which remain on the field while the other five are interchange players. Although coaches may make unlimited substitutions during a game, they are not permitted to make any substitutions during penalty corners and penalty strokes. In such cases, coaches can only replace injured or suspended goalkeepers.

Scoring a Goal

A field goal is scored after a shot at goal by an attacking player within the defending team's circle passes over the goaline.

Penalty Corner

If a defending team breaks a rule within their own circle, like preventing a goal from being scored with one’s body, a penalty corner may be awarded. A penalty corner is executed as follows:

An attacker stands with the ball on a designated spot along the back line and pushes it out to a player waiting outside the circle. At the same time, five defenders who waited behind the back line start running towards the attacker who is about to attempt a goal. The ball must be stopped by an attacking player outside the circle before players can shoot for a goal.

Duration of the Game

A Hockey match consists of two periods of 35 minutes each, with a 10-minute half time interval in between. The team that scores most goals is the winner. In case of a tie, extra time is given, during which the first team that scores a goal is the winner. This goal is called “golden goal”. If there is no winner after extra time, then a penalty stroke play-off occurs where players from each team take a series of penalty strokes against the opposing goalkeeper. This is played out until there is a winner.

Umpires

Hockey matches are controlled by two umpires. In international matches, umpires appointed to games are from neutral countries. Their role is to ensure fair play and adjudicate on the rules issues. Each umpire covers roughly half the pitch, while around the middle of the field they work together. Signals are used to communicate decisions.

Umpire signals

Hockey uses two umpires, each responsible for a half of the pitch.  They work together to officiate the match.  Predominantly, an umpire will communicate with the players with a whistle and verbally. Umpires will vary the volume and length of the whistle depending on the seriousness of an offence.

Umpires also use different hand signals to communicate:

  • Start time – turn to other umpire with one arm in the air
  • Stop time –turn to other umpire and cross fully extended arms at the wrist above the head
  • Two minutes remaining – raise both hands straight up in air with pointing index fingers
  • One minute remaining – raise one hand straight up in the air with pointing index finger
  • Goal Scored – point both arms horizontally towards centre of field
  • Dangerous play – place one forearm diagonally across chest
  • Direction of a free hit – arm horizontally raised to the side in the direction of play of the team awarded the free hit

Team HeroesEntire Team

Kate Walsh was the most experienced member of the British women’s squad selected for London 2012 and captained the team at the Games.

Along with Helen Richardson she is one of two members of the women’s Ol...

Crista Cullen has amassed over 150 international caps and was Britain’s top scorer at Beijing 2008. Born in Lincolnshire, Cullen grew up in Kenya before moving back to the UK and attending Oakham School. Her father was a golfer on the pro...

At 21 Georgie Twigg was the youngest member of the British women’s team chosen for London 2012. She is also the least experienced but still has nearly 50 international caps to her name.

Twigg only made her international debut in 2...

Barry Middleton made his second Olympic Games appearance at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The mens team won their fifth/sixth place classification match against Korea to place fifth in the tournament. Middleton as a member of the England squa...

Ashley Jackson made his Olympic debut at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The mens team won their fifth/sixth place classification match against Korea to place fifth in the tournament. Jackson was a member of England mens hockey squad which won ...

Our Results

Total: 11 medals
  • 3 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 6 Bronze
London 1908
  • 1 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
Antwerp 1920
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Los Angeles 1932
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 1948
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Helsinki 1952
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Melbourne 1956
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Rome 1960
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Tokyo 1964
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Mexico City 1968
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Munich 1972
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Los Angeles 1984
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Seoul 1988
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Barcelona 1992
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Atlanta 1996
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sydney 2000
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Athens 2004
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Beijing 2008
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 2012
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
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