Are you a coach or parent who is brand new to the sport of field hockey? We want to help you get to know our great game!
Review the segments within each section of the New Coach Toolkit to gain a basic understanding of field hockey’s rules, technical skills, and practice and game management. You can WATCH curated videos, READ online articles, EXPLORE digital resources, and DOWNLOAD helpful guides. LEVEL UP with more advanced resources.
Quick Facts to Get You Started
Did You Know
Field hockey is the third most played sport in the world!
Did You Know
On average, players travel more than five miles during the course of a field hockey match.
Did You Know
Field Hockey is the national sport of The Netherlands, India, and Pakistan.
Rules of Field Hockey
Once you get to know them, the rules of field hockey can be quite simple! Review suggested videos and articles below to grasp the rules, what is allowed, what is not, and what can happen in each area of the field.
Keep in mind…in the United States we have slightly different rules based on the level — there are international rules, collegiate modifications, and additional high school modifications based on which state you are coaching in. Once you grasp the international rules explained below, be sure to reference the official rules in your area and level of play.
- 5 Things About Hockey [2:25] — a very simple introduction to the rules of the game
- Hockey Rules [17:30] — this is the most up-to-date video that covers the field hockey rules you need to know
- How to Hockey, Hockey Basics [2:30] — this video is produced by our international governing body, the FIH, it is slightly out of date, but is a quick overview of general hockey rules
- Hint, Hint: In this video, when they say “Football” they mean soccer
- Keep in mind…In US High School field hockey, “meters” are measured in yards. For example, “15-meters” is 16-yards
- How to Hockey, Umpire Signals [1:38] — another video by the FIH that explains umpire hand signals
- How to Hockey, Self Pass [1:00] — this FIH video briefly shows how players use the self pass on free hits
- The Rules of Field Hockey [realbuzz.com]
- Field Hockey Rules, A Guide to Understanding the Sport [olympics.com]
- What is Field Hockey? — this resource is produced by our national governing body, USA Field Hockey
- Purchase the Field Hockey Rules Book produced by the National Federation of State High School Association, $6.99
Field Hockey Skills
Field hockey is a sport that offers athletes the opportunity to be creative with endless variations of skills — there are always new skills being invented! But, every hockey player should begin with a grasp of the most fundamental attacking and defensive skills. Starting with the way they grip their stick.
Review the suggested videos and PDF resources to understand how to teach the basic skills of field hockey.
- How to Play Field Hockey for Beginners — Vital Hockey covers basic field hockey skills in three short video
- Basic Field Hockey Skills — 79 Field Hockey demonstrates several foundational skills
Download & Read
- USAFH Core Skills [PDF] — this resource from USA Field Hockey breaks down skills and technique so that they are easily teachable
- 6 Strengths Needed to Be a Good Field Hockey Goalie [hockeyhooked.com] — this article provides some helpful insights into goalkeeping
Practice and Game Management
The first step in becoming a field hockey coach is understanding the basics of the game, but the equally important second step is being organized for games and practices. It’s easy to have a plan with our practice and game management guides.
- Substituting Field Players [1:55] — Skip the first 25 seconds of this video to get to a clear description of how to substitute field players during the game
- Keep in mind…this video from Brisbane refers to “short corners” which is another name for what we call “penalty corners” or just “corners”
- Substituting Goalkeepers [2:36] — Skip the first 25 seconds of this video to get to a clear description of how to substitute goalkeepers during the game
- How to Hockey, Penalty Corners [1:36] — a quick summary of what penalty corners are
- Hockey Coaching Workshop: Penalty Corners [12:00] — watch this comprehensive explanation of attack and defensive penalty corner positions
- Keep in mind…depending on the surface you play on you may or may not use a trapper or stickstopper — if you’re playing on grass or longer turf, the hitter can stop the ball and take the shot themselves
- Penalty Stroke [3:28] — watch Jeroen Hertzberger break down the basics of a penalty stroke
- Explore the NFHCA Drill Library for drills to use with your team! Members get access to the full Drill Library and all of the NFHCA Drill Booklets.
- Sample Practice Plans [PDF] — this resource from the NFHCA give you a basic framework for three types of practices
- Sample Substitution Sheet [PDF] — this template will help keep you and your subs organized on the sideline
- Penalty Corner Positions and Basic Tactics [PDF] — our guide helps explain attack and defensive penalty corner positions
- 6 Basic Attack Penalty Corners [PDF] — use these six basic PC plays as a foundation for your team’s corner variations