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Forest Hills Field Hockey / Grand Rapids, MI

About Field Hockey

What is Field Hockey?

Depending on your sports background, you can think of field hockey in a couple of ways: ice hockey played on a soccer field, or lacrosse played on the ground.

It is a non-contact sport played with a stick and a hard plastic ball about the size of a baseball. Teams of eleven dribble and pass the ball in order to score in a twelve-foot-wide goal protected by a padded goalkeeper.

Find a good guide to field hockey basics at this website.

The Global Game

Field hockey is one of the world's most popular sports, next to soccer. It is most popular in other parts of the world, including much of Europe (especially the Netherlands), south and east Asia, South America, and Australia.

Field hockey in the United States is governed by USA Field Hockey; Forest Hills Field Hockey is an official club member of USAFH, and follows its guidelines for player registration and coaching certification. As such, the club can enter regional and national club championships.

Field Hockey in Michigan

Like lacrosse, field hockey in the United States is most prevalent in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. However, Michigan does have a field hockey community that is growing at the high school and youth level.

The Big Ten and Mid-American are two of the few NCAA Division I field hockey conferences. Michigan and Michigan State often rank in the national top 20, and Central Michigan also sponsors a team.

At the high school level, field hockey is not yet sponsored by the MHSAA. While it was one of the first girls' sports after Title IX, it fell out of favor over time. The remaining participants were mainly the Detroit-area private and Catholic schools, along with Ann Arbor-area public schools. Recently, though, the Michigan High School Field Hockey Association has started to expand, and there are more than 30 schools and clubs sponsoring teams.

Rules

Field hockey rules are designed to keep the game fast-paced and safe. Speed and skill with the stick are emphasized over strength or size.

Check out USA Field Hockey's rules page for players.

Equipment

Not much equipment is required to start playing field hockey. Sticks range from basic wood models to high-end composites. Players should wear a mouthguard and shinguards. Soccer-style cleats are permitted, but not required. Eye protection is required at the high school level only. Starter packages are available, and the club has some loaner equipment available for players who want to avoid making a commitment right away.

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Forest Hills Field Hockey / Grand Rapids, MI
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