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Tamil Nadu - Sports - hockey

The Field of play

Most hockey field dimensions were originally fixed using whole numbers of imperial measures. Nevertheless, metric measurements are now the official dimensions as laid down by the International Hockey Federation in the "Rules of Hockey" . It is these dimensions that are given in this article, with the imperial units in parentheses. The pitch is a 91.40 m × 55 m 100 yd × 60 yd rectangular field. At each end is a goal 2.14 m 7 feet high and 3.66 m wide measured from the inner sides o bounded by a solid line, with a dotted line 5 m 5 yd 6 in this marking was not established until after metric conversionm from that, as well as lines across the field 22.90 m 25 yd from each end-line (generally referred to as the 23 m lines and in the center of the field. A spot 0.15m in diameter, called the penalty spot or stroke mark, is placed with its centre 6.40 m 7 yd from the centre of each goal.

Traditional grass pitches are far less common in modern hockey with most hockey being played on synthetic surfaces. Since the 1970s, sand-based pitches were favoured as they dramatically speed up the pace of the game. However, in recent years there has been a massive increase in the number of "water-based" artificial turfs. Water-based astro turfs enable the ball to be transferred more quickly than on the original sand-based surfaces and it is this characteristic that has made them the surface of choice for international and national league competitions. Water-based surfaces are also less abrasive than the sand-based variety and hence reduce the level of injury to players when they come into contact with the surface. The FIH are now proposing that new surfaces being laid should be of a hybrid variety which require less watering. This is due to the negative ecological effects of the high water requirements of water-based synthetic fields.
[edit] Rules and play

The game is played between two teams of up to sixteen players, eleven of whom are permitted to be on the pitch at any one time. The remaining five players, the substitutes, may be substituted in any combination, from one to five, an unlimited number of times in the course of a game. Substitutions are permitted at any point in the game, apart from between the award and end of a penalty corner; the only exception to this rule is for injury or suspension of the defending goalkeeper.

Players are permitted to play the ball with the flat of the 'face side' and with the edges of the head and handle of the hockey stick with the exception that, for reasons of safety, the ball may not be struck 'hard' with a forehand edge stroke, because of the difficulty of controlling the height and direction of the ball from that stroke.

The flat side is always on the "natural" side for a right-handed person swinging the stick at the ball from right to left. Left-handed sticks are rare, but available; however they are pointless as the rules forbid their use in a game. To make a strike at the ball with a left to right swing the player must present the flat of the 'face' of the stick to the ball by 'reversing' the stick head, i.e. by turning the handle through approximately 180°(while a reverse edge hit would turn the stick head through approximately 90° from the position of an upright forehand stoke with the 'face' of the stick head.

Edge hitting of the ball underwent a two year 'experimental period', twice the usual length of an 'experimental trial' and is still a matter of some controversy within the sport. Ric Charlesworth, the current Australian coach, has been a strong critic of the unrestricted use of the reverse edge hit. The 'hard' forehand edge hit was banned after similar concerns were expressed about the ability of players to direct the ball accurately, but the reverse edge hit does appear to be more predictable and controllable than its counterpart.
[edit] Positions

There are no fixed positions but most teams arrange themselves (in a similar way to Association football teams) into fullbacks (defence), midfielders (halfback) and forwards Many teams include a single sweeper. The rules do not specify a minimum number of players for a match to take place, but most competitions have some local ruling on this, with seven players being a common minimum[citation needed].

One player from each team may be designated the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers must wear at least a helmet and a different coloured shirt in order to have "goalkeeping privileges". They may also opt to wear additional padding such as "kickers" over the shoes, leg-guards, padded shorts, body and arm protectors if they opt for this protection, they are termed "fully protected goalkeepers". Although such goalkeepers may block or deflect the ball from the goal with any part of their bodies, and propel the ball with their feet, legs, the associated padding or their stick, they must always carry a stick. Goalkeepers are permitted to play the ball outside their defensive circle (scoring area or D , but may only use their hockey-stick in this circumstance, not their kickers; leg-guards; gloves/hand protectors or any part of the body. Fully protected goalkeepers are prohibited from passing their side's defensive 23 m line during play, unless they are taking a penalty stroke. A goalkeeper who is wearing only a helmet and different coloured shirt may remove the helmet and play anywhere on the field and retains goalkeeping privileges even if they do not have chance to replace the helmet when play returns to their defensive circle. They must however wear a helmet to defend penalty corners and penalty strokes.