Hockey is a team sport. The earliest origins of the game date back to the Middle Ages in England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands.
The game can be played on a grass field or an astro turf field as well as an indoor board surface. Each team plays with eleven players, including the goalie. Players use sticks made out of wood, carbon fibre, fibre glass or a combination of carbon fibre and fibre glass in different quantities (with the higher carbon fibre stick being more expensive and less likely to break) to hit a round, hard, plastic ball. The length of the stick depends on the player's individual height. Only one end of the stick is allowed to be used. Goalies often have a different kind of stick, however they can also use an ordinary field hockey stick. The specific goal-keeping sticks have another curve at the end of the stick, this is to give them more surface area to save the ball. The uniform consists of shin guards, shoes, shorts, a mouth guard and a jersey. Today, the game is played globally, with particular popularity throughout Western Europe, the Indin subcontinent, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and parts of the United States. Hockey is the national game of India and Pakistan.
During play, goal keepers are the only players who are allowed to touch the ball with any part of their body (the player's hand is considered 'part of the stick' if on the stick), while field players play the ball with the flat side of their stick. Goal keepers also cannot play the ball with the back of their stick. Whoever scores the most goals by the end of the match wins.
The governing body of hockey is the International Hockey Federation (FIH) with men and women being represented internationally in competitions including the Olympic Games, World Cup, World League, Champions Trophy and Junior World Cup with many countries running extensive junior, senior, and masters club competitions. The FIH is also responsible for organising the Hockey Rules Board and developing the rules for the game.
A popular variant of field hockey is Indoor Hockey which differs in a number of respects while embodying the primary principles of hockey. Indoor hockey is a 5-a-side variant, with a field which is reduced to approximately 40 m × 20 m (131 ft × 66 ft). With many of the rules remaining the same, including obstruction and feet, there are several key variations: Players may not raise the ball unless shooting on goal, players may not hit the ball (instead using pushes to transfer the ball), and the sidelines are replaced with solid barriers which the ball will rebound off.
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