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The Courts & Boards of Hockey5s

by USA Field Hockey

After reviewing the basics of Hockey5s and diving into the rules, the next step is to take a closer look into the courts and boards of Hockey5s, and their unique role in how the sport is played.

If you aren’t sure what Hockey5s is or why it’s played, first take some time to read A Dive into Hockey5s. As a quick refresher, Hockey5s is a short format version of field hockey – smaller, faster, and simpler – that can be adapted for many different scenarios in order to increase the global accessibility and popularity of the sport.

Hockey5s is unique in that it was made to be versatile and adaptable. A big part of that adaptability is the large range of court sizes and surfaces. At the international and elite level, there are precise court size and surface specifications. In other situations, where Hockey5s is being played at the recreational and community level, the court size and surface are more flexible, based on what is available and costs of construction.

The official FIH guidance for Hockey5s facilities sums up this idea nicely: “Hockey5s widens hockey’s reach by reducing costs of facilities and matches sports trends towards smaller teams and more urbanized experiences. The game is typically played on dedicated Hockey5s courts, on multi-use game areas or on existing sports fields.”


Now to get into the specifics of the Hockey5s courts and boards. For dedicated Hockey5s courts, the size will be precise, and the playing surface will be made from one of the FIH approved turf materials. For other courts, the specifications will be more flexible. The FIH Standards place Hockey5s courts into three categories: Category 1, 2, and 3. Category 1 courts are for major competitions, Category 2 are for regional, national, and local competitions, and Category 3 are for community/informal trainings and competitions. 

Category 1 Courts

Court size: 40 meters long x 23.76 meters wide

Playing surface: FIH approved or National category hockey turf (see the FIH Hockey Turf and Field Standards)

When it is used: major competitions (i.e., international and elite level)

Category 2 Courts

Court size: More flexible – between 36 & 48 m long and between 19 & 34.5 meters wide. Has a length to width ratio of around 1:0.7.

Playing surface: FIH approved hockey turf (see the FIH Hockey Turf and Field Standards)

When it is used: regional, national, and local competitions

Category 3 Courts

Court size: Flexible – ideally has a length to width ratio of around 1:0.7. The minimum size is 32 meters x 18 meters.

Playing surface: turf, textile sports surface; flexible with availability

When it is used: community competitions and informal play

For rebound board specifications, there are Class 1 and Class 2 boards. As a reminder, “Hockey5s may be played with different size boundary boards or even no boards at all.” Overall, the boards must connect, and be able to remain upright and straight to ensure that the ball does not go out of bounds. The method of keeping the boards upright should not pose any potential hazard to players stepping over the boards during play. (Read the FIH Quality Standards for Hockey5s Rebound Boards)

Class 1 Rebound Boards

Board size: 250 mm high

Board structure: Incorporate some form of structure to ensure board alignment. May be free standing, socketed, or fence mounted. Board alignment must pass a standard test.

Rebound: Must pass a standard rebound test.

Class 2 Rebound Boards

Board size: can be lower in height, but generally should be between 150 - 250 mm high

Board structure: Incorporate some form of structure to ensure board alignment. May be free standing, socketed, or fence mounted.

Rebound: Must pass a standard rebound test.

 

Sample image of a Hockey5s court

(Image from FIH Facilities Design Guidance for Hockey5s Courts)

 

The U.S. Women's and Men's National Teams will both be competing at the 2023 Hockey5s Pan American Cups from June 4-11 at the Jamaica Hockey Federation Turf in Kingston, Jamaica. Team selections, training, and preparations are underway. The Pan Am Cups is a qualifying event for the first Hockey5s World Cup, to be held in January 2024.

Keep an eye out for more about Hockey5s!


RESOURCES

FIH Facilities Design Guidance for Hockey5s Courts

FIH Quality Standards for Hockey5s Courts

FIH Quality Standards for Hockey5s Rebound Boards

 

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 sportdevelopment@usafieldhockey.com for more information.