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Field Hockey vs Indoor Hockey

By February 5, 2024Blogs

When it comes to hockey, the variations of the sport can sometimes lead to confusion. Field hockey and indoor hockey are two distinct forms of the game, each with its unique characteristics, strategies, and playing environments. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the key differences between field hockey and indoor hockey, shedding light on what makes each version stand out.

Field Hockey

Field hockey is a sport played outdoors on a grass or artificial turf field. This variant is known for its fast-paced nature, strategic gameplay, and emphasis on teamwork. The game typically involves two teams of eleven players each, including a goalkeeper. The objective is to score goals by hitting a small, hard ball into the opponent’s goal using a curved stick.

Playing Field

One of the most apparent distinctions between field hockey and its indoor counterpart is the playing field. Field hockey is conducted on a larger field, which allows for more extended passes, sprints, and a greater range of offensive and defensive maneuvers.

Physical Demands

Field hockey players often require a combination of speed, endurance, and agility. The larger field demands players to cover substantial distances during a match, making cardiovascular fitness a crucial aspect of their training.

Outdoor Elements

Weather conditions can significantly impact a field hockey game. From the blazing sun to rain and wind, players must adapt their strategies to the elements. This adds an extra layer of unpredictability to outdoor matches.

Indoor Hockey

Indoor hockey, as the name suggests, takes the game into an enclosed space. The sport is played on a smaller field, usually a hard court with boards surrounding the perimeter. The reduced playing area results in a faster, more compact game.

Playing Field

The most evident difference is the size of the playing field. Indoor hockey is characterized by its condensed pitch, which demands quicker decision-making and close ball control. The boards surrounding the field add an extra dimension to the game, allowing players to bounce the ball off the walls strategically.

Team Size

While field hockey typically involves eleven players per team, indoor hockey usually features a smaller team size. Teams often consist of five to six players, including the goalkeeper. The reduced number of players intensifies the individual contribution of each team member.

Pace and Quick Transitions

Indoor hockey is renowned for its rapid pace and constant transitions. The confined space necessitates swift decision-making, quick passes, and agile maneuvers. Players need to be adept at close-quarters play, making it a dynamic and exciting spectacle for both participants and spectators.

Equipment Variation

Beyond the differences in playing environments, the equipment used in field hockey and indoor hockey also varies.


Field hockey sticks are designed to facilitate long passes and sweeping shots. They often have a slight curvature for better ball control on the larger outdoor field. In contrast, indoor hockey sticks are shorter, allowing for more precise control in the confined space of the indoor arena.


The type of ball used in each variant is tailored to the specific requirements of the game. Field hockey balls are slightly larger and heavier, designed to withstand outdoor conditions. Indoor hockey balls, on the other hand, are smaller and lighter, promoting quicker play on the indoor court.

Play Indoor and Outdoor At Waverley

In essence, while field hockey and indoor hockey share a common origin, they have evolved into distinct sports with their own set of rules, strategies, and unique characteristics. Whether you prefer the expansive outdoor battles of field hockey or the high-speed, close-quarters action of indoor hockey, both variants offer a thrilling experience for players and fans alike. Understanding the differences between these two forms of the game enhances appreciation for the versatility and excitement that the world of hockey has to offer.

Waverley Hockey Club is one of the strongest indoor and outdoor clubs in Victoria. With multiple state and national players in both variants of the sport. With teams in a variety of leagues, there is an opportunity for everyone. Contact us to find out more and start playing hockey at Waverley.