Hockey rules

To have fun and play safely, we have to follow certain hockey rules. First of all, in all variations of hockey, we require certain equipment. Aside from your trusted hockey stick, you will also need shinguards a possibly a mouthguard. Shinguards are especially important since hockey balls are quite heavy. In any case, Mesaicos has you covered: we have spare hockey sticks and shinguards for trainings and matches, but you will have to buy your own mouthguard. You can do this by either checking our shop or purchasing a boxing mouthguards elsewhere.

Below you can find some additional rules to get you started.

Outdoor hockey

In Sweden, we play outdoor hockey in a variety of formats. The most common format is 11-a-side hockey with 10 outfield players and one goalie. We also play both 5-a-side and 7-a-side: each format has its own perks, such as the size of the pitch. This is 48 x 31.76 m, 55 x 45.7 m and 91.4 x 55 respectively for 5-a-side, 7-a-side and 11-a-side. Outdoor hockey is a priority at Mesaicos and we play for as long as the weather allows – usually between March / April and November / December.

Here are some general rules:

  • The players can only hit the ball with the flat side of the stick.
  • If you hit the ball with the other side (backstick), your foot or any other part of the body you commit a foul. The opposing team then plays the ball or takes a shot similarly to soccer.
  • Hitting an opponents stick with your stick (missing the ball) is a foul.
  • The goalkeeper wears heavy padding to stop shots (the ball is heavy) and is the only one allowed to kick or touch the ball with his body.
  • Players are not allowed to throw the ball high in the air unless they are shooting at the goal and there is no player in harm’s way (the goalkeeper can be in the way). The referee may allow long overhead passes as long as they are safe.
  • Players need to be inside the shooting circle close to the goal to score. This can be a horizontal square or a curved area depending on the field.
  • Obstructing a player who is moving is considered a foul (similarly to football).
  • There is no offside.
  • Referees can award personal penalties for misconduct. A player can take a green or yellow card and leave the pitch respectively for 2 or 5 minutes. A player can also receive a red card and be permanently suspended from the game.

In general, field hockey follows dynamics and strategies that are similar to those of football. The rules above will be more than enough to get you started.

Indoor hockey

We play indoor hockey during the winter, and each team has 5 outfield players and one goalie. The main difference between this form of hockey and outdoor hockey is the sidewalls around the pitch. In outdoor hockey if the ball crosses the line it leaves the pitch. In Indoor hockey instead you can bounce the ball off the sidewalls that delineate the pitch but you can’t lift the ball or hit it.

It is also common to wear an additional glove on your left hand to protect your hand from getting hit by a ball, which can happen more often in indoor. You can buy gloves at our shop. (Link to PDF) Otherwise you can order to a discounted price via Reece At Mesaicos, we usually play indoor hockey between October / November and March / April.

Most indoor hockey rules are similar to the ones described above. Some additional ones include:

  • The ball leaves the pitch if it moves above the sideboards
  • Players must not trap or hold the ball against the sideboards (eg in the corners of the pitch)
  • The ball must not be lifted from the ground unless you are in the shooting circle and attempt to shoot at the goal. Lifting the ball, or so called 3D hockey, is instead quite common in outdoor hockey.

Hockey rules at Mesaicos

During our trainings we may occasionally amend these rules. For example, if we play without a goalkeeper players will not shoot in the goal from a distance. We also do not play with penalty corners in our trainings and just restart the game with a free hit. In Swedish small pitch games it is also very common to replace the penalty corners with a penalty flick, where a team is awarded a flick on the third offence. Finally, we refrain from playing aerial balls to protect our less experienced players. Especially during TRIM trainings, our goal is for players to enjoy themselves. During TEAM trainings and before matches however, we practice in conditions as close as possible to those of the actual game.

If you have any questions, please feel free to check the external resources below or contact us directly. The Swedish federation page below indicates the current valid rules for hockey in Sweden.
Happy hockey!