Summer Olympics Field Hockey: 10 Terms Every Fan Should Know

Abstract: The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games will feature mens’ and women’s field hockey competitions, which will take place between July 29 and August 11. Here are 10 field hockey rules every fan should know.

Construction of Olympic Park, London (April, 2012) (1)
According to the official website of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, the field hockey events will begin Sunday, July 29 and end Saturday, Aug. 11. They consist of a men's 12-team tournament and a women's 12-team contest. Hockey fields are 91.4 meters (approximately 100 yards) long and 55 meters (about 60 yards) wide with goalposts at either end.

Each field hockey team contains 16 players, 11 starters and five substitutes. Ten of the starters will play in the field and one will serve as a goalie.

Players use "hook-shaped sticks" to move a small, hard ball up and down the field for two 35-minute halves. The squad's objective is to put the ball into the opponent's net for a goal.

People who are new to the sport should find these 10 definitions helpful. Unless otherwise noted, all of the information comes from the 2012 London Olympics' website.

Golden Goal: The first goal scored in overtime. Since overtime games are sudden death; the first team to score wins.

Shooting Circle: Players can only score a goal when they are within the shooting circle, a "D-shaped" area in front of the goal post.

Pitch: Per the International Hockey Federation (FIH), this term is another name for the playing field.
Scoop: Per NBC, the term means to raise "the ball off the ground by placing the head of the stick under the ball and using a lifting movement."

Bully: According to the FIH, a bully "takes place to re-start a match when time or play has been stopped." The referee sets the ball on the ground and two players contest for it with their sticks.

Push: Per NBC, the term refers to the act of propelling the ball "along the ground using a push movement of the stick."

Green Card: "An official warning that results in an automatic two-minute suspension." Per the FIH, the team cannot replace that player for the duration of a penalty, and so must play a person down. A green card is much preferable to receiving a yellow card, which results in a five-minute suspension.

Penalty Corner: If the defending team knocks the ball out of bounds or commits certain other infringements, the opposing team is awarded a penalty corner. It is "taken from the back line, 10m [(approximately 11 yards) to] either side of the nearest goalpost." Only five defenders "are allowed to defend penalty corners."

Short Corner: It is a synonym for a penalty corner.

Offense: Per NBC, it is another name for a player infraction.

1. Photographer: EG Focus
    Date: April 16, 2012
    Title/Description: Construction of Olympic Park, London — (April 2012).
    Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
    (click on the title or the caption to see the photo, credits, and permissions).

-- Anthony Hopper

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