The Rules of Walking Hockey
The following rules are laid out for consistency. We would welcome feedback on them so that we can evolve them through the experiences of players and clubs.
“The rules are the appropriate rules of 11-a-side field hockey except for the following…”
- All players are restricted to walking, meaning that when in motion at least one foot must be touching the pitch at all times.
- The ball must stay below knee height.
- The stick must remain below waist height.
- Only pushing or slapping of the ball is allowed.
- There will be no hitting of the ball.
- There will be no physical contact.
- In Low-level/recreational competitions and social sessions there is leniency on feet and back of stick use until people become comfortable with the game.
- If the ball gets accidentally raised (squeezed) it must drop to the pitch before it can be played.
Player numbers and pitch dimensions
- As a guideline this is a five -a-side game.
However, team size can be varied to allow as many people as possible to get an enjoyable experience. For example, if you have 16 players it is better to play two 4-a-side matches than one 8- a- side match. This allows more touches of the ball.
- There is no goal keeper.
- There is no option to play with a kicking back.
- The format can be single-gender or mixed.
- If mixed, at least 2 players of each gender must be on the pitch at all times.
- The playing area will measure 23m wide by 27.5m long. Again, this can be varied to meet the number of players or the available space.
- At each end, there will be a ‘Scoring Zone’ 8m from the baseline of the pitch and running across the full width of the pitch. Goals may only be scored from within this zone. The normal rules affecting play in an 11-a-side pitch ‘D’ apply in this zone unless otherwise stated.
- Shots cannot be lifted and only count if they cross the goal line below knee height.
Restarts, corners and free-hits
- In the case of any free-hit or restart being awarded, all players should be at least 3 meters away from the ball carrier.
- Defenders caught within 3 meters are not allowed to interfere with play until the ball has travelled 3 meters.
- The ball must be moved 3 meters before a shot is taken. In the event of a free hit within 3 metres of the Scoring Zone the ball must move 3 metres before it can enter the Scoring Zone.
- Clearance – (equivalent of a ‘16’ hit) – If the ball has travelled over the baseline and was last hit by the attacking team, play restarts with the defending team in possession on the Scoring Zone line, in-line with where the ball went out of play.
- Corner – (equivalent of a long corner) – If the ball has been unintentionally hit over the baseline by the defending team, play restarts with the attacking team in possession on the Scoring Zone line in-line with where the ball went out of play.
- The ball must be moved 3 meters before it can enter the Scoring Zone.
- Penalty corners and Penalty Flicks will be replaced by a ‘Challenge’
- The procedure for a Challenge is as follows:
- Time and play is stopped.
- One attacking ball carrier starts with the ball 1 metre outside the Scoring Zone line, on the challenge marker.
- One defending player is permitted.
- The defender starts 2 meters inside the Scoring Zone line, on the challenge marker. As soon as the ball has been played by the attacking player, the defending player is permitted to move. The defender still plays as an outfield player and can only use their stick to play the ball.
- All other players must position themselves on the half way line.
- When the attacker and defender are in place, the whistle is blown.
- As soon as the attacker plays the ball, all players are permitted to re-engage, attempt to play the ball, and open play resumes as normal.
- If an intentional foul is committed:
- By the attacker, then the defence are awarded a free hit.
- By the appointed defender, then the Challenge will be re-set.
Match duration can be flexible to suit circumstances
- The standard recommendation for game time is 24 minutes. This can be split as either:
- Two halves of 12 minutes, with a 4 minute half time break (Total = 28 minutes)
- Four quarters of six minutes, with a 1 minute tactical quarter break and a 4 minute half time break (Total = 30 minutes)
For tournament structures, to fit in more games, the following can be used:
- Two halves of 6 minutes, with a 3 minute half time break (Total = 15 minutes)
- All competitions are expected to have at least one umpire per game.
There are also the following recommendations:
- High level competitions are strongly recommended to have two umpires per game.
- Social sessions can be self-umpired unless it becomes apparent that an umpire is needed.
The ball used for in England for Walking Hockey is the England Hockey QuickSticks ball. Equivalent balls in the USA is the Go ball and in Australia the Joey ball.
The goal we use are the Youth Sport Trust Target goal. Any goal that is approximately 8ft x 2ft x 2ft (2.44m x 0.61m x 0.61m) is acceptable. If you don’t have goals like this then cones will do.
Key things to note are:
- Scoring Zone lines should be marked using throw-down rectangular markers. Each line is recommended to consist of 4 markers each side of a single marker of a different colour which denotes the middle of the pitch. The Challenge markers should be in line with the central marker and the appropriate distance either side of the Scoring Zone line
- Side lines are the existing lines of the pitch