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Rules Changes for Spring 2016 updated Mar 2016
- Long-hits, which are usually taken on the sideline a distance of 5 yards away from the endline, are now taken from the 25 yard line. If the ball goes off a defender and over the endline, the ball will be re-started on the 25 yard line in line with the location that the ball crossed the end line; all procedures for taking a free hit will apply.
Rules Changes for Fall 2013 updated Aug 2013
- All U12 and U14, and U19 teams are required to field a goalkeeper for all games. Any team without a goalkeeper will forfeit their match.
- All U10 teams will use backward Pugg goals in the center of the goal and on the goal line in lieu of a goalkeeper.
- No jewelry of any kind is allowed at any level in practices or games. Players must remove all earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, etc. before entering the field.
Rules Changes for Fall 2012 updated Sep 10, 2012
PFH follows the International Hockey Federation (FIH) rules. Outdoor rules changes have been posted for 2013. USA Field Hockey has decided to enact the rules changes this fall and we will be adopting them as well this season. The two most important changes include "own goals" and lifts on self-starts.
These rules changes can be reviewed in this FIH document as found on the FIH site. If you have any question about rules, please contact our
Summary of the rule changes.
1) Own-goal. A ball that is played for outside of the circle and is touched by another player and goes into the goal, it is a goal.
An offensive player still has to use their stick, but if it goes off a defensive players body or stick or the goal keeper and goes in the goal it is a goal.
2) You can now lift the ball directly from a self start. This eliminates two rules. a) the ball no longer has to move a meter before a teammate plays the ball and b) two distinct touches on the ball no longer has to be done for a self start.
The umpire must still be able to tell that the player is starting the play, so it is still recommended to cover or stop the ball before playing.
Guidance given to Umpires is available in the Umpire Rule Briefing found here.
- Each game consists of two halves 20 – 25 minutes each with a 5 minute half time.
- The game is played 11 players per side, including the goalkeeper and sometimes 7 players, with or without a goalkeeper. Rules such as the penalty corner are modified for 7v7 play.
- For 11v11 teams, there must be a minimum number of 9 players from a team at the start of a match for the game score to stand; otherwise the team will forfeit. For 7v7 teams, thee must be a minimum number of 5 players from a team at the start of a match for the game score to stand; otherwise the team will forfeit. For 5v5 teams, thee must be a minimum number of 3 players from a team at the start of a match for the game score to stand; otherwise the team will forfeit. All games should still be played, however a forfeit will be recorded with a score of 0-3. Please note that only players who are registered for the current season's Youth Rec League are allowed to round out rosters of teams as substitutes; if a team plays a non-Youth Rec League player, that team will forfeit their match (score of 0-3).
- The ball must be passed or dribbled down the field with the flat side of the stick.
- A goal is only scored when an attacker strikes the ball into the goal from within the striking circle or "D".
At the end of each Youth Rec League season, standings will be reviewed to provide match ups for finals games. In the event that two or more teams are tied in the standings at the end of the regular season, the determining factors will be as follows:
a. head to head results
b. goal differential
c. fewest goals against
d. more goals for
A player may not:
- Shield or obstruct the ball from an opponent with the body or stick. All players must have an equal chance to gain control of the ball as it is dribbled or passed down the field.
- Play the ball with the rounded side of the stick.
- Charge, hit, shove or trip an opponent.
- Play the ball in a potentially dangerous way.
- Raise the stick in a dangerous manner while attempting to play or stop the ball.
- Advance the ball by any means other than with the stick.
- Stop or deflect the ball in the air or on the ground with any part of the body.
- Hit, hook, hold or interfere with and opponents stick.
Penalty Corner or "Short Corner":
- In a penalty corner, the ball is placed on the goal line at least 10 yards from the nearest goal post. One attacking player hits the ball to a teammate just outside the striking circle line. No shot on goal may be taken until the ball is touched outside the circle. All attackers must be outside the circle before the insertion is taken. On defense, a maximum of five defenders may be behind the goal line while the remaining defenders must be positioned beyond the center line.
- A penalty corner is awarded for the following offenses:
- Any breach of the rule by a defender within the circle that would have resulted in a free hit to the attacking team if the breach had occurred outside the circle.
- An intentional hit over the goal line by a defender from any part of the field.
- If a player, either on the attacking or defending team, enters the circle before the ball is moved, that player will be sent to the top of the opposite circle for 7v7 play or the midfield line for 11v11 play. If the injector feints and pretends to move the ball in the attempt to make the defense false start, the injector will be sent to the top of the opposite circle for 7v7 play or the midfield line for 11v11 play.
- 1/2 Grade penalty corners. As this is a developmental age group and play on smaller fields with smaller goals, when there is a defensive infraction which typically results in the award of a penalty corner to the attacking team, the attacking team will instead play a free push/hit approximately 16 yards from the endline; NO typical penalty corner will be played.
3/4 Grade penalty corners. 4 players are allowed for a defensive penalty corner; all other defensive players must go to the top of the opposite circle to start the corner. Because this age group plays without goalkeepers, players may not flick or scoop the ball toward the goal. The ball must enter the goal cage at a height not higher than 18 inches (height of the back board).
5/6 Grade penalty corners. 3 defenders plus the goalie are required for a defensive penalty corner; all other defensive players must go to the top of the opposite circle to start the corner.
7/8 Grade penalty corners. For 7v7 play, 3 defenders plus the goalie are required for a defensive penalty corner; all other defensive players must go to the top of the opposite circle to start the corner. For 11v11 play, 4 defenders plus the goalie are required for a defensive penalty corner; ll other defensive players must go to the midfield line to start the corner.
- If the ball unintentionally goes off a defender and over the endline, the ball will be re-started on the 25 yard line in line with the location that the ball crossed the end line (11v11); all procedures for taking a free hit will apply. For 7v7, the ball will be placed approximately 25 yards from the end line (there are no 25-yard field lines on 7v7 field). For 1/2 Grade, the ball will be placed at half field in line with where the ball crossed the endline.
16 – Yard Hits:
- When the attacking team plays the ball over the backline, the defense receives a 16-yard hit. The free hit is taken 16 yards from the spot where the ball crossed the backline.
The Push-In/Hit In
- A push-in or hit-in is awarded to the opposition if a player hits the ball over the sideline. All players and their sticks must be at least 7 yards away from the spot where the ball is put into play.
- A penalty stroke is awarded to the opposition if a defending player or goalkeeper commits a flagrant foul inside the circle that poses danger to the attacking player, when a defender stops a sure goal with any part of the body, or when the goalkeeper purposefully covers the ball with their equipment therefore denying an attacker an opportunity to score.
- The ball is placed on the stroke mark 7 yards from the center of the endline. The opposing player must start within playing distance of the ball and should flick or scoop the ball toward the goal in one stroke (may only touch the ball once).
- The goalie must stand on the endline and may not move until the opposing player moves the ball. The stroke is retaken if the goalie moves off the line prematurely.
- A goal is awarded if the ball crosses the endline and into the goal cage at any height regardless of whether the goalie touches the ball. No goal is awarded if the stroker misplays the ball, the ball does not cross the goal line, or if the goalkeeper prevents the ball from crossing the goal line. A goalkeeper may cover the ball if necessary.
- 1/2 Grade teams: NO penalty strokes for this age group. Instead award the attacking team a free push 16 yards from the endline.
- 3/4 Grade teams: because these teams play without goalkeepers, must push the ball (instead of a flick or scoop) toward a defending player standing on the goal line. The ball must start on the same stroke mark 7 yards away from the goal line and must enter the goal cage at a height not higher than 18 inches (height of the back board). The defending player may only block/play the ball with their stick.
Choosing a Stick
Choosing a stick is an important task for every player. Click here for some general guidance on sizing.
To Goggle or Not to Goggle? Let us help you answer this question -
Many of you have read or heard about the change in rules that requires players who play for their High Schools to wear some form of protective eye wear. Anyone playing under the NFHS rules (also called Federation Rules), will be required to wear protective eyewear. (This does not affect any players playing for PFH).
We have included several links to help you to educate yourself and make your own decision. No matter what your individual choice, we support that the players be on the field enjoying the game of hockey.
As a USFHA Member Club, we can only allow players to wear USFHA approved eyewear while playing or practicing in any of our events. Since we play by FIH rules, with the USFHA and NCAA modifications, players will not be required to wear eyewear while playing with PFH.
Hopefully this information has helped you make an informed decision on this issue. Whatever you decide, please remember, there is inherent risk in playing sports. The risk of head injury is lower in field hockey than it is in many other popular sports. We want to see your players safe, comfortable and confident on the pitch - nothing does that better than good coaching and responsible play.
PFH plays Hockey using the International Federation of Hockey (FIH) rules. The rules are updated every 2 years with the latest update happening on 1 Jan 2015. The current rules can be found on the FIH site, or they can be directly viewed here: Rules.
All youth players are required to have and wear a mouth guard and shin guards.