A Dive into Hockey5s
by USA Field Hockey
As Hockey5s gains popularity throughout the world, and the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams prepare for the 2023 Hockey5s Pan American Cups, a Hockey5s World Cup qualifier, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the fast and wonderful world of this sport.
What is Hockey5s?
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) defines Hockey5s as “a short format of the sport which is designed to enhance the global reach of hockey via a game which is fast, skillful and adaptable with a set of simplified rules.”
What does that mean?
Hockey5s is the newest FIH competition format. It’s similar to the standard 11v11 field hockey that you know and love, but with some differences. It’s a super-fast, highly skillful, short format which is designed to be adaptable to multiple surfaces, environments and spaces.
A big difference with Hockey5s is the format. The field is about two-thirds the size of a normal outdoor pitch, there are four field players plus a goalkeeper for each team, and the game is only 20 minutes long. (That’s right, just two 10-minute halves!)
To start, there are boundary boards on the side-lines and goal-lines to keep the ball in-bounds. Next, there is no circle – so you can score from anywhere in your attacking half. And penalty corners? There are none – they have been replaced with a simpler “challenge” play. Besides those, the rules are mostly the same as 11v11 outdoor field hockey. (Hockey5s Rules)
What happens when you make the field smaller, reduce the number of players and essentially get rid of out-of-bounds balls? The play becomes very fast paced! Players will have more chances to show off their individual skill in Hockey5s, and there is an opportunity for lots of goals in a short period of time.
The adaptability of Hockey5s really makes it unique. While at the international and elite level there are precise field measurements and turf specifications, there is the ability to alter the game to fit the needs at the community level. Depending on the resources you have available, you can adjust the field size and number of players, and play on virtually any surface.
A Hockey5s game can range in how it looks. Check out these perfectly acceptable ways to play!
Field hockey is one of the most popular sports in the world, but there is still so much more room for it to grow. But how can you make a sport grow, and reach even bigger audiences than ever before? The inception of Hockey5s tried to answer that question, by creating a simpler, faster, adaptable and more accessible version of the game.
In order to allow the sport of field hockey to spread, there needs to be a way to adapt it so that communities all over the world can participate.
Hockey5s is unique because it can be played with a strict set of rules (such as international matches) or with room for variation (at the local or grassroots level.) At the international level, the court sizes are precise, and you play with the set amount of field players and a goalkeeper. But outside of that scene, there is so much room for adaptability!
Question: All I have in my area is a 45 x 50-yard basketball court. Can we play Hockey5s?
Answer: Yes! Hockey5s can be played many surfaces, and the field size can be adapted to fit your needs. The minimum size of the field needs to be about 43 x 30 yards.
Question: We only have eight people total, and none are goalkeepers. Can we still play?
Answer: Yes! You can use a smaller sized field and play 4v4 with only field players.
Question: I don’t have anything to use as boards. Can I still play?
Answer: Yes! You can adapt by playing the same sideline rules as 11-a-side.
Who plays Hockey5s?
Hockey5s is fast-growing and fun to play and watch. It utilizes a smaller field and lower number of players, making it more accessible for urban and developing areas and demographics. The short answer is – anyone can play Hockey5s!
But where is it played at the international level?
Hockey5s was introduced to the international stage at the 2014 Youth Olympics, and more recently had great success at the first-ever FIH World Hockey5s event that took place in June 2022 – Hero Hockey5s Lausanne. USA Field Hockey, working in conjunction with the FIH and Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF), demonstrated the sport of hockey and the Hockey5s format throughout the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala.
The first ever Hockey5s World Cup is slated to be held in Muscat, Oman in January 2024. The World Cup will feature sixteen men’s and sixteen women’s teams from the five continental federations. There have been several qualifiers already for the Hockey5s World Cup, including the EuroHockey5s Championship in July 2022 and African Hockey5s in December 2022. Preparations are currently underway for Team USA’s men and women to compete in their respective qualifier in June – the inaugural Hockey5s Pan American Cup. The U.S. Men’s National Team will be led by Head Coach Harry Singh and assisted by Will Holt. The staff will include physiologist Jarret Welsch and manager Kathy Schiller. The women’s team will be coached by Rachel Dawson, while assisted and managed by Melissa Gonzalez. Caitlin van Sickle will be the videographer for both the men and women. Team selections for the men will be announced by mid-April, and for the women by mid-May.
Moving forward, the FIH is advocating for Hockey5s to be added to the official program line-up at The World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China.
Click here for FIH’s guide to Hockey5s, rules of Hockey5s, facility guides, and Hockey5s academy webinar and courses.
Click here for USA Field Hockey’s Hockey5s Resource Page.
Contact USA Field Hockey Sport Development for more information at email@example.com for more information.