Hockey is one of the 26 sports at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Did you know?

Hockey gets its name from the French word ‘hocquet’, which means ‘shepherd’s crook’.
The first time the Olympic Hockey tournament was played on artificial turf was in 1976 in Montreal.
The first Olympic final was played on 31 October 1908 in London. England defeated Ireland 8-1.
The influence of the British Empire on the development of Hockey is seen in the dominance of countries such as India, Australia and Pakistan at the Olympic Games.
The Indian men’s team won six successive Olympic gold medals (1928 – 1956).
Hockey was originally considered too dangerous to be played by women – the first women’s Hockey Club was not formed until 1887.

Key facts

Venue: Hockey Centre
Dates: Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 2
Athletes: 384

Hockey: a history of the sport 

The origins of hockey can be traced back to the earliest civilisations of the world. The modern sport of field hockey was developed in the UK as an alternative to football for cricketers seeking a winter sport in the mid-19th century.

The game spread through the British Empire, largely due to the British Army, who played it at their many bases all around the world.

Until the 1970s, hockey was always played on grass, but top-level matches now take place on pitches made of synthetic turf, which allows the ball to roll more smoothly.

This has increased the speed of the game and the skill level of the world’s top players.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

Hockey at the Games

Hockey made its first appearance at the London 1908 Olympic Games. It did not return until the Antwerp 1920 Games, but has remained ever since. The first women’s event was held at Moscow 1980.

How to play – and win

Hockey is played on a 100 x 60 yards (91 x 55 metre) outdoor pitch by two teams of 11 players. There are 16 players in a squad and substitutes can roll onto and off the pitch throughout the match.

Each player uses a stick that is flat on one side, rounded on the other. Players must use the flat side of their stick to hit or control the hard hockey ball.

Goals can only be scored by a member of the attacking team from inside the shooting circle, or ‘D’ – a semi-circular area in front of their goal. At the end of a 70-minute match, the team with the highest number of goals wins.

Sometimes more than 100 substitutions are made in international matches.

Jargon buster

  • Bully-off: The way a game is restarted after an unplanned stoppage: two players face each other, and tap their sticks on the ground and together before trying to win the ball.
  • Dribble: To move while controlling the ball with the stick.
  • Golden goal: A way of deciding a tied match where the first goal scored during extra time wins and the game ends.
  • Flick: To push the ball with the stick and raise it into the air.
  • Tackle: To attempt to steal the ball from a player of the other team.
  • Reverse stick: the use of the stick on the left side of the player
  • Self pass: If a player choses to pass the ball to themselves to continue the game after they have been awarded a free hit.

Get involved

Hockey develops control, speed and fitness. As a non contact sport, it can be enjoyed by people of both genders and all ages. Find out how you can get involved by contacting your national federation. Visit England Hockey, Scotland Hockey, Welsh Hockey, Northern Ireland Hockey and Great Britain Hockey.

hockey competition at Beijing 2008

~ by superbowlnyc on February 17, 2011.

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