Introduction to Hockey

Hockey is played with 10 field players on each team. In the Asian Games, every team is made up of 16 players, 11 on the field and five in the interchange area.

Players use their hockey stick to control, pass, push and hit the ball. The object of the game is to get the ball into the opposing team's goal. The team that scores the most goals wins the match.

Players undertake different positions in hockey. There are attackers, midfielders, defenders and a goalkeeper who remains in his team's shooting circle, protecting the area.

Only the flat edge of the hockey stick must be used to hit the ball. Players are not allowed to use their feet or any other part of their body. Only the goalkeepers are allowed to use the stick, hands, feet, legs and body to stop the ball when defending their goals.



Hockey is the oldest known ball and stick game apart from the Irish sport of hurling. Games resembling hockey have been played as early as 2000BC. The Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all left evidence they played a game using a ball and sticks.

In medieval Europe, pictures of men playing a game with hooked sticks feature in stained-glass windows at both Canterbury and Gloucester cathedrals.

It became so popular by the Middle Ages that, like football, it was banned in England for a time because it interfered with the practice of archery, which was the basis for national defence. The name hockey probably derives from the French "hocquet", or shepherd's crook, and refers to the crooked stick.

Hockey began as a sport in the late 19th century. The first hockey club is considered to be the Blackheath Football and Hockey Club in south-east London, which dates back to at least 1861, and possibly the 1840s.

Hockey had truly developed as a British sport before being carried to the four corners of the British Empire by the nation's soldiers and other workers. Accordingly, most of the dominant nations in the sport are, or were, members of the British Empire. This includes India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and England.

The Olympic programme first embraced hockey in 1908 and since its return in 1920, it has been on the events list ever since. Hockey was originally played on grass fields but in the 1970s artificial turf was adopted, making the game much faster. In 1980, women's hockey became an Olympic sport.

Hockey entered the Asian Games at the 3rd Asian Games Tokyo 1958, Japan.



Hockey is played on a field, frequently referred to as the "pitch". The field is a rectangular area measuring 91.4m length by 55m width. The longer sides are the "side lines" and the shorter ones are the "back lines", or "goal lines".

Goal posts are placed at both ends of the field, in the middle of the back line. Semi-circular lines run from the back line and mark out the area of the shooting circle, the area in which goals are scored.

A match consists of two periods of 35 minutes with a short half-time break of about five to 10 minutes. If there is an even score, or tie at the end of regulation time, two extra time periods of seven-and-a-half minutes each can be played.

The first team to score a goal during this time is the winner and the game stops. This is called the golden goal rule. If there is still a tie at the end of extra time, penalty strokes will decide a winner.

At the 15th Asian Games, the hockey competition will be conducted in accordance with the rules and tournament regulations of the International Hockey Federation.

The men's competition will contain 10 teams of 16 players, while the women's event will have eight teams of 16 players.

There will be two men's and two women's pools with three points awarded for winning a match, one point for teams that draw and zero points to a losing team. The top two teams from each pool will take part in the semi-finals.