Hockey Rules and Regulations

6-a-side hockey (or small sided hockey) is a ball sport for two teams of six players; the aim of the game is for the two teams to score goals by passing the ball up and down the pitch, team who scores the most goals win. Read the Play Hockey Rules and Regulations below.

Hockey Rules and Regulations


Six players from each team are permitted onto the pitch at one time. You can play with five players if you’re a player short. Teams can bring substitutes on at any time, except during a penalty shot. Goal Keepers and kicking backs are not permitted in 6-a-side hockey.



There will be one umpire assigned to each pitch. Their role is to control the game, apply the rules and to judge the game fairly. The umpire will explain at all times why the whistle has been blown. The Umpire will be up-to-date on the hockey rules and regulations, so please ask them for any clarification on the night.



It is a MUST that all players wear shin guards (covered by long socks) and mouth guards at all times. Play Hockey will not provide this uniform to teams but will supply hockey sticks to anyone who attends the session without a stick.


hockey rules and regulations of the game


Playing Time
Each game is 36 minutes. The game will be split into two 18 minute halves with a two minute break in-between.

Teams are allowed unlimited substitutions and can sub at any time during the game, except during a penalty shot. You must make the umpire aware you wish to make a substitution.

Goal Area
Because there is no goal keeper, all 6 players are ‘out-field’ players. Players cannot use their feet or body to stop the ball from hitting the goal.

Starting The Game
The game is started with a hit taken from the centre of the centre line. Each team must be positioned in their own half of the pitch and be a minimun of 5 metres from the ball until the centre pass is played. The ball can be played forwards, backwards or sideways. The player taking the centre pass can use a self-pass (i.e. pass the ball to themself to intiate the game). After a goal has been scored, a push back should be taken from the centre of the pitch.

Scoring a Goal
A goal is scored when the ball has been struck by an attacking player whilst the ball is in the shooting circle or ‘danger zone’ (this includes the restricted zone). Attacking players can score from within the restricted zone, however defending players are not allowed to enter the restricted zone. The ball must cross completely over the goal-line between the goal-posts and under the cross-bar to be counted as a goal.

Over The Side Line
When the ball passes completely over the side line it shall be put back into play in any direction by a hit taken by an opponent of the player who last touched it. This is called a side line hit-in. Until the hit-in is taken, no opposition player shall be within 5 metres of the ball.

Over The Back Line Off Attacking Player
When the ball passes over the back line off one of the attacking players and no goal is scored, the game is restarted with a hit from the defence, taken in line with where the ball went off. This is called a hit-out.

Over The Back Line Off Defending Player
If the ball is accidentally played over the back line by a defending player and no goal is scored, the game is started with a hit to the attacking team on the half-way line. If the ball is deliberately played over the back line by a defending player, the game is restarted with a penalty corner to the attacking team. A self-pass is not allowed.

Free Hit
Free hits are to be taken close to where the offence occurred. The ball can be hit, pushed, or a self-pass can be played. The ball must be stationary at a free hit. Until the free hit has been taken, all opposition players must be 5 metres away from the ball.

If the ball has been unintentionally hit over the baseline by the defending team, play restarts with the attacking team taking possession in the shooting circle/danger zone in-line with where the ball went out of play.

Fair Play
– Rough or dangerous play is not allowed, nor any behaviour which in the opinion of the umpire, amounts to misconduct.
– Players must not intentionally use any part of their body to play the ball.
– Players must not play any high ball with the stick held above shoulder height unless they are preventing to attempt a goal from being scored.
– Players must not use the rounded side of the stick when playing the ball and when striking the ball, the stick must in no way cause danger to anyone on court.
– Players must not kick the ball.
– Players must not obstruct by running between an opponent and the ball. Players must not use any part of their body or stick to obstruct a player.
– Players must not hold, charge, kick, shove or intentionally trip/strike a player or umpire.

Read more information about our Play Hockey leagues