Indoor Field hockey is traditionally used as an alternative by outdoor Field Hockey players during the off-season, or when conditions outside are unsuitable. However, if you play in Australia or Asia you may be lucky to play all year round. While very similar in concept to outdoor Field Hockey, indoor Hockey has some significant differences. Most noticeably, it’s a much faster game played in a smaller, contained area.
A summary of Indoor Field Hockey rules
- Teams consist of six players, including the goalkeeper
- Much smaller field, constructed of wood or synthetic
- No more than 12 players in the team, including subs
- Four 10 minute quarters per game (FIH Rules)
- Goals can be scored only from within the scoring circles
- No flicking or scooping the ball, only at the goals
- No hitting or lifting the ball (maximum 100mm)
- You can bounce off the sideboards, preventing the ball from going out of play
- Players must stay 3m away from the ball on a free push
- No more than 3 touch points on the ground at one time. Can’t have both legs, a hand and the stick on the ground
To deep dive into the complete rule book, have a read of the FIH Rules for Indoor Hockey
*Interesting Hockey Hooked fact: In the German indoor league, teams play 30-minute halves with the ability to call time-outs, similar to basketball.
How is Indoor Hockey different to Field Hockey?
While the fundamental game is very similar to Outdoor Field Hockey, there are some significant differences with Indoor Hockey. To start with, the field is capable of being set up in most indoor sporting venues.
The features of an Indoor Hockey court are;
- Hard floor, normally wood or synthetic
- Raised sideboards that you can bounce against
- Much smaller court size of 44m x 22m
- Smaller goals, 9m semi-circles and a single centerline
The combination of a smaller gameplay area, with the raised sideboards, makes for a much faster game. However, the end lines don’t have boards, so the ball can go out of bounds there. In which case, the defense brings the ball in.
Are Indoor Hockey Sticks different to Outdoor?
While you can get away with using your favorite Outdoor Hockey stick when playing Indoor, it’s not ideal. The ball is on the lighter side, you are not allowed to hit, and it’s a quicker game. You don’t require as much power from your stick, so they tend to have much less ‘meat’ – HH official term 😉
The main Indoor vs Outdoor Hockey Sticks are ;
- Lighter and more flexible
- Thinner shaft and toe
Indoor Balls: Made of solid plastic, the ball has a circumference of between 224 mm and 235 mm. It weighs between 156 grams and 163 grams. They are usually white in color, however other colors (red and yellow) can also be used.
Indoor hockey nets: Goals are smaller than in outdoor hockey for easier portability and to reflect the smaller fields at 2m high x 3m wide and a minimum of 1m deep.
Indoor Hockey Shoes: As the indoor surface is vastly different from turf or grass, so must your shoes. Flat rubber soles give optimum grip, while non-marking is a must for some venues.
*Note – Latest rules limit the team size to 12, with 4 x 10 minute quarters
Will Indoor Hockey affect my Outdoor game?
Players and some coaches often say that Indoor Hockey isn’t of any benefit to your Field Hockey game. I disagree. There are many skills that can actually improve your game. The fast nature means you have to make quick decisions, often under pressure requiring quick and effective passes.
Players do get used to tackling with a flat stick, but that can transpose into the Outdoor game to help protect the feet. Especially in the defenders circle. While mainly focusing on 2D skills, the Indoor game breeds players that are quick on their feet, can think a few moves ahead, and include the whole team.
So get out there and give Indoor Hockey a go! You will probably love it!
by your faithful hockey blogger, Eddie