Field Hockey Reference Terms

The following words are popular terms for different facets of field hockey. These following words should help familiarize yourself with skills, positions and rules of the hooked stick game.

field hockey terminology

16 yard hit: This is a hit taken by the team in defense 16 yards from the goal-line, after the attacking team hits the ball over the base line

Centre Pass: This is the pass taken at the start of each half to start the game, it is also taken by one team after they have been scored against.

Dangerous Play: This includes any play which could be considered dangerous or cause injury such as a raised ball when the opposition is in the way, illegal tackle or playing the ball while on the ground.

Drag Flick: A move used by a player to take a legal lifted shot on goal during a Penalty Corner (see how to perform a drag flick)

Bully: Used to restart play when possession is unclear when play was stopped (e.g. injury timeout). Two opposing players start with their sticks on the ground, the ball is placed between them, and they must tap sticks above the ball before they battle can play the ball first.

Penalty Corner: Is awarded to the attacking team for an offense or foul committed by the defensive team in the attacking area. The ball will be placed on the baseline, and then passed to the teammates at the top of the attacking D for a shot on goal.

Obstruction: When one player blocks another player from having a fair or equal chance to get the ball.

The D: this is the slang term for the scoring area at either end of the Field Hockey turf.

Add 10: For delaying the game, ie: as a defender standing closer than five yards away during a free hit and the free hit is advanced 10 yards up the field.

Penalty Stroke: A shot on goal awarded to one player from the attacking team against the goal-keeper from the defensive team.

Push: This is where a player moves the field hockey ball along the ground using a pushing motion.

Standard Hit: This is where a players moves the field hockey ball by using a swinging movement with the stick towards the ball.

Sweep (Slap) Hit: This is where a player using the similar motion of swinging the stick towards the ball only lower to the turf, in a sweeping or slapping motion.

Drive: A hard hit made with the swinging motion of the stick.

Scoop: This is where a player raises the ball off the ground by getting the head of the stick under the ball and using a lifting motion.

Tackle: The action of an opposing player by attacking the ball with his or her stick to capture control of the ball.

Shooting circle: This is the semi-circle area at each end of the turf, which extends 16 yards out from the back line of the turf.

Offense: This is an action committed by one team against the other team which is a breach of the rules of hockey.

Free-hit: This is awarded to the team which the offense was committed against.

Marking: The action of following and keeping close to an opponent (who is with out possession of the ball)

Flick: A shot which is taken where the ball is raised on goal

Jink or chip: An action used by one player to get the ball over the stick of another player

Drag: An action used by one player to go around another player.

Dribble: This is the way of moving the ball without passing from one part of the field to the other, where the player tries to weave past opposition players while in control of the ball.

Striker: These are the players who play as forwards and mainly score the goals for a team.

Inner/link/midfielders: These are typically fast running players who play at both ends of the field, in modern hockey they are called midfielders, there job is to get the ball from the back to the forward hence the word ‘link’ being used to describe what they do.

Halves: These players play through the midfield, but they also play in defence.

Defenders: These players sole job is to stop the ball and the oppositions from getting into good positions to score.

Goal-keeper: These players are very specialist in what they do, they are there solely to stop shots on goal.

Long Corner/Long hit: Free hit for an offense from the corner, following an unintentional hit over the end line by the defense.

Jink Steal: The skill of sweeping a stick’s hook over the opponent’s hook and stealing an oncoming ball. Read the technique here>>

Cleats: Studded boots, suitable for playing field hockey on grass.

Midi head – a small headed hook used typically by forwards and midfielders for its nimbleness

Probow:  The Probow shape is a modern low bow designed for drag flicking and 3D skills. The straighter rear profile allows more consistency on reverse stick passes and shots.

Jumbow: is a traditional low bow which is used by many top international players. A Jumbow is a flat faced low bow stick.

Dynabow: The Dynabow shaft profile is designed for the all-round hockey player and is excellent for stick handling and passing consistency also for more upright play. It is between a mid bow and a low bow – good for drag flicks but more of an all round shape.

Please let me know if you have more useful terms. Send to hockeyhookedsite at

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