Is Field Hockey a Non-Contact Sport? (2023)

Is Field Hockey a Non-Contact Sport?

Is Field Hockey a Non-Contact Sport? (1)

Contact In Field Hockey

No matter how hard sporting authorities try to control it, the line between contact and non-contact sport can get pretty blurry. Some sports like American football and mixed martial arts are obvious contact sports. At the same time, swimming and golf are considered non-contact. It’s not always so easy to tell when it comes to sports like soccer and field hockey.

Technically, field hockey is considered a non-contact sport, but the truth is that some contact is unavoidable. You won’t play or watch field hockey without seeing some bodily contact between the players. This is why various methods are employed to ensure field hockey remains a non-contact sport.

The notion of a non-contact sport and the measures put into place to maintain it as such are worth discussing, as is whether field hockey is considered a safe sport for people to play.

In the world of sports, we use the term “non-contact” and “contact.” These terms are used to describe whether the game involves some form of bodily contact or not. Non-contact sports are defined by an actual physical separation, which results in the players not coming into contact with one another.

If you consider American football, much of the game is played with the players’ bodies, making it a contact sport. Running, swimming, and cycling are all examples of non-contact sports because the players do not need to come into contact with one another.

Field hockey, on the other hand, lies somewhere in between these two. Because field hockey is played with sticks, the players don’t need to come into contact with each other. However, this is where the misunderstandings begin. Just because field hockey isn’t a collision sport doesn’t mean there isn’t contact.

How Is “Contact” Defined in Field Hockey?

Field hockey is comparable to soccer. Both sports are technically defined as non-contact sports, and yet they lie somewhere in the middle. As in soccer, there are three types of contacts in field hockey. These are legal contact, illegal contact, and accidental contact (source).

Legal Contact

Legal contact occurs on the field in several instances. If one player is guarding another, one or perhaps two players are chasing the ball and are running shoulder to shoulder. Legal contact is defined as contact that is necessary to play the game.

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Illegal Contact

Illegal contact in a non-contact sport is when a player makes contact with another in an intentional and potentially dangerous way. Illegal contact always results in the umpire calling a foul and reprimanding the guilty team.

For field hockey, illegal contact includes tripping players and using their elbows. Illegal contact is also considered to be careless contact. That means that a player must always be aware of those around them.

The International Hockey Federation states that each player must behave responsibly at all times (source).

Accidental Contact

Accidental contact frequently occurs in field hockey. It happens when players accidentally run into one another or collide. In a sport as fast-paced as field hockey, often contact can be unavoidable, and it’s no one’s fault.

Is Field Hockey a Non-Contact Sport? (2)

Image by Patrick Case via Pexels

Ultimately the umpire is responsible for monitoring the level of contact on the hockey field. While there are protocols in place, each umpire will also be expected to use their own description to make decisions. In professional sport, where the games are recorded, there is more opportunity to monitor contact more carefully.

Contact in field hockey is controlled through a system of fouls and penalty cards. A team is fouled if they push, charge, trip, or intentionally injure another player in any way (source).

For more severe offences, penalty cards may be used. Penalty cards are used against individual players. There are three penalty cards in field hockey — green, yellow, and red. These cards operate based on the severity of the offence and whether the player is a repeat offender.

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Green Card

A green card is awarded for more minor offences and for one-time offenders. Being given a green card means the player is suspended for a period of two minutes of playing time.

Yellow Card

A yellow card is given for a more severe infraction. It means that the player is suspended for a minimum of five minutes of playing time.

Red Card

Red cards are awarded for only the most severe offences, and they mean the player is permanently suspended from the game.

Most often, penalty cards are usually only awarded for misconduct that endangers the safety of other players.

Common Injuries in Field Hockey

Since field hockey does involve a certain amount of contact, it’s essential to consider the common injuries associated with the sport and how these are related to contact between players.

Any sport has a risk of injury; however, the more contact the players have, the greater the risks. The following injuries are considered the most frequently occurring in field hockey, directly related to contact.

Hand and Wrist Injuries

Due to how field hockey players hold their sticks, there are often both hand and wrist injuries. These injuries result from direct contact with another player’s stick or with the ball. Fractured fingers are especially prevalent for similar reasons (source).

Facial Injuries

Again, contact with another player’s stick or with the ball can cause facial injuries. Most facial injuries in field hockey are superficial, like shallow cuts and bruises. More significant injuries have been recorded, but the instances are not as common.


Concussions are responsible for seven percent of all field hockey injuries. They usually result from being hit in the head with the ball or another player’s stick. They can also occur if a player is pushed or tripped, falling to the ground.

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Not all injuries in hockey are due to contact with other players or the ball. Often injuries such as a twisted ankle or pulled hamstring are just a casualty of the game (source).

Is Field Hockey a Non-Contact Sport? (3)

Image by Patrick Case via Pexels

Is Hockey a Safe Sport?

As a semi-contact sport, you may now wonder if field hockey is a safe sport to play. The answer to this is two-sided and is also up for debate.

Extensive research has been done into contact and non-contact sports. This is because people, especially parents, are concerned about the effects of contact sports on both the short-term and the long-term health of their children.

Stanford Children’s Health reported that roughly 30 million children and teenagers participate in organized sports every year in the United States. Of these 30 million, there are more than 3.5 million injuries recorded annually (source).

While most of these injuries are minor, there is some concern about the long-term damage resulting from contact sports — specifically collision sports like football — and how it affects the brain’s functions.

Some of this research has shown that repeated contact, resulting in blows to the head known as micro concussions, for example, results in brain changes and changes in eye movements (source).

A study by the University of Indiana compared cross country runners with football players and found a significant difference in their brain activity. While the matter is still widely debated, most contact sports are not recommended for anyone younger than 14 (source).

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While field hockey is not considered a collision sport and the risk of head injury is less than eight percent, it’s still always vital to be aware of sports’ possible injuries. Field hockey is by no means the most dangerous sport one can play, but it does have some potential dangers and risks.

Despite this, field hockey is a popular sport in a lot of countries across the world.

How to Avoid Injuries in Field Hockey

Where there is a sport played, there will inevitably be injuries. Yet, while some injuries are unavoidable, there are things that we can do to help minimize them.

Players should be made aware of and regularly reminded about acceptable levels of contact. They should also be held accountable for any misconduct in terms of illegal contact. As a non-contact sport, umpires overseeing a game should strictly enforce the rules which keep other players safe.

The proper gear should be worn, which will help minimize potential injuries. This includes mouth guards and shin guards as well as shoes with sufficient grip to prevent slipping. Protective masks should also be worn when facing a penalty corner, and many players wear goggles to protect their eyes and gloves to protect their fingers.

Players should also be educated on the best ways to avoid contact while still being able to play the game and keep safe. If these steps are put into practice, it may help push field hockey back towards being a totally non-contact sport.

Final Thoughts

While field hockey is not defined as a contact sport, there will always be inevitable contact, whether intentional or by accident. As contact between players can result in injuries, it’s essential to monitor the game and have protocols in place to minimize the amount of contact in the non-contact sport.

As a hockey player, it’s always important to be mindful of the amount of contact you have and avoid contact unless absolutely necessary. By doing this, you can prevent injuries to yourself and other players.


Is hockey a non-contact sport? ›

Hockey players may not trip, push, charge, interfere with, or physically handle an opponent in any way. Hockey is a non-contact sport and all fouls result in a free hit or a 'penalty corner' for the non-offending team depending on where the infringement took place and the severity of the foul.

Is field hockey a contact sport? ›

Field hockey is not considered a contact sport, but contact does occur—and contact can result in bruises, fractures, and even concussions.

Is field hockey full contact? ›

Hockey is a fast-paced full-contact sport (sometimes also called collision sport) in which two teams play against each other by trying to control a small ball or puck, pass it between each other and score by hitting opponents goal using a curved wooden “hockey stick”.

What is the most non-contact sport? ›

Examples of non-contact sports include association football, cricket, tennis, table tennis, badminton, golf, bowling, bowls, croquet, pool, snooker, bossaball, darts, curling, tug of war, bodybuilding, swimming, diving, gymnastics, sprinting, running, track and field, bicycle race, rowing, archery, freestyle football, ...

Is there contact in hockey? ›

In hockey, body contact is as inevitable as skating, passing and shooting. Whether it's intentional or not, an adult league, women's game, 8U, 10U or the NHL, there are varying degrees of body contact at every age and skill level.

Is contact allowed in hockey? ›

Physical contact in ice hockey

The rules state that contact from the side and front is fine, but deliberate checking (slowing or hindering an opponent) from behind will usually result in a penalty.

Which sport is a non contact sport? ›

However, some team sports involve no contact at all, at least not intended contact. These would include ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and rowing.

What does non contact sport mean? ›

/ˌnɒn ˈkɒntækt spɔːt/ /ˌnɑːn ˈkɑːntækt spɔːrt/ ​a sport in which players do not have physical contact with each other opposite contact sport.

What type of sport is field hockey? ›

Field hockey is a team sport structured in standard hockey format, in which each team plays with ten outfield players and a goalkeeper. Teams must drive a round hockey ball by hitting it with a hockey stick towards the rival team's shooting circle and then into the goal.

Is floor hockey a non contact? ›

In floor hockey, no physical contact is allowed. Sticks cannot be carried above the waist or used above the knees when playing the ball. Only wrist shots and push passes are al- lowed. No swinging or slapping at the puck is permitted and the puck cannot be lifted above knee level.

What counts as a contact sport? ›

any sport in which physical contact between players is an accepted part of play, as football, boxing, or hockey.

Is hockey more contact than football? ›

Hockey is an intense, fast-paced, and dangerous sport. It has the contact level of football but it's magnified as players are skating on ice in excess of 20 mph.

What is the easiest sport ever? ›

The 7 Easiest Sports to Play
  • Table Tennis/Ping Pong. Table tennis is a game that can be played with two or four people. ...
  • Running. Running is easily the most accessible and easiest sport to play. ...
  • Spikeball. ...
  • Badminton. ...
  • Cycling. ...
  • Volleyball. ...
  • Bowling.

What is the least harmful sport? ›

Swimming is the safest sport to take part in. Its easy on the joints and can be an aid in recovery after an injury so making it the safest sport in America. A study by researchers at The University of Colorado Denver lead by PhD.

What sport is the easiest on the body? ›

Low Impact Sports That Won't Injure your Joints
  • Swimming. The water supports your body weight and takes pressure off your joints. ...
  • Rowing or kayaking. When you row or paddle, the movement is cyclical and puts very little impact on your joints. ...
  • Road cycling or mountain biking. ...
  • Bowling. ...
  • Golf. ...
  • Yoga.

What is contact hockey? ›

Legal body contact occurs between skates who are in the vicinity of the puck. A bodycheck is intentional on an opponent who has control of the puck, with the focus on gaining possession. It should not be delivered to an opponent who is not in possession of the puck or is in an otherwise vulnerable position.

What is the difference between contact and non contact sports? ›

Non-contact sports are sports where players should have no possible means of touching during the play, such as tennis, golf, sprinting, swimming, etc., where players use separate lanes or take turns of play. Contact sports are more prone to injuries because they involve deliberate and forceful impacts between players.

What are 5 rules of field hockey? ›

  • The ball cannot hit your feet.
  • You cannot raise your stick above your waste during regular play. ...
  • You cannot tackle (go for the ball) from behind. ...
  • No third party. ...
  • Obstruction – when your back is turned to another player and you are between the ball and that player.

Why can't girls check in hockey? ›

Due to their dangerous nature and increased likelihood of causing serious injury, these hits can have penalties ranging from a minor two-minute penalty to a major and game misconduct. In women's ice hockey, any body checking is a penalty and is also not allowed in leagues with young children.

Can you wear glasses in field hockey? ›

ASTM certified Field Hockey eyewear will feature impact resistant frames and lenses, as well as straps to keep them tight to the face. If a player is wearing Prescription ASTM F803 Recreational Sports Glasses, there is no requirement for the player to wear additional protective eyewear over the prescription eyewear.

Can you body check in field hockey? ›

There is no body checking in field hockey, and no stick-checking. There is no off-sides rule. The goalie has equipment similar to an ice-hockey goalie, and can use her feet, hands and body to stop the ball. Time does not stop for fouls, the clock is running at all times.

What are 3 non traditional sports? ›

Non-Traditional Sports Your Kids Will Love
  • Ultimate Frisbee. The word 'ultimate' takes frisbee to a whole new level. ...
  • Rock climbing. Rock climbing is great for health, fitness and team building, and of course, it's a fun-filled activity for all ages. ...
  • Trampolining. ...
  • Roller skating. ...
  • Figure Skating. ...
  • Badminton. ...
  • Circus classes. ...
  • BMX.

What are the skills in non-contact sports? ›

Non- contact sports are sports where contestants do not have any possible means of making impact on opposing player or athlete in any way.
Skills of non-contact sports (swimming):
  • The crawl or freestyle.
  • The backstroke.
  • Breast stroke.
  • The butterfly/dolphin movement.
  • The sidestroke.
8 Jun 2020

What are contact and non-contact sports with examples? ›

DEFINITION: Contact sports are those games that have direct body contact with the opponent when performing. While Non-contact sports are those games that has no direct body contact with the opponent when performing. Stunts games like head-stand, hand stand etc. Lawn tennis etc.

Is soccer a non-contact sport? ›

Football (or soccer for our US audience), as it is played today, is definitely a contact sport.

Is dance a non-contact sport? ›

Non-Contact Sports: Running, Swimming, and Dance — Identifying Common Injuries.

Is basketball a non-contact game? ›

Basketball is a contact sport but not in the same way as other sports such as football and rugby. Basketball is a physical game but much of the contact is discouraged by the rules that are in place. Due to this, many people consider basketball to be a non-contact or a limited-contact sport.

Is field hockey an actual sport? ›

The game of field hockey is played widely across the world. Field hockey is, in fact, the second largest team sport in the world played in over 100 countries. In Canada it is a popular family orientated sport, played mainly in clubs by both men and women.

How would you describe field hockey? ›

Simply put, field hockey is a game where teams come together on a field and use hockey sticks to drive a ball into a net in order to score points. The winner is determined by whoever has the most points at the end of the game.

Is field hockey a unisex sport? ›

Mixed hockey is collective name for the sport of field hockey that comprises both men and women on one team. A team will contain eleven players: five will be male, five are female and the goalkeeper can be either sex. Mixed hockey is not associated with ice hockey or street hockey and is played on astroturf or grass.

Is field hockey hard? ›

There's a High Skill Level

A tremendous amount of skill is needed to succeed in any sport, but field hockey is one of the most skill-based sports out there, as using a stick to move the ball around needs a high level of coordination — especially since you're constantly on the move.

Can you be #0 and hockey? ›

Beginning with the 1996-97 season, the NHL decreed that Nos. 0 and 00 could no longer be worn since they confused the League's digital database; today, only No. 1 through No. 98 are allowed, No.

Why are there no lefties in field hockey? ›

Why were left handed sticks band? Left handed sticks cause a high risk to injury in the game of field hockey. If a right handed player came in for a block tackle against a left handed stick they would most likely get hit on the follow through swing.

What sport has the most physical contact? ›

According to several studies about “science of muscles and movement” experts label boxing as the most demanding sport for an athlete. Boxing requires strength, power, endurance, and the ability to withstand huge hits over a period of time.

Can you play sports wearing contacts? ›

Are Contact Lenses Safe for Kids Who Play Sports? Yes, children who play sports can wear contact lenses. In fact, contacts are one of the safest types of corrective eyewear for physical activity.

Is touch a non contact sport? ›

Touch is a variation of rugby league with the tackling of opposing players replaced by a touch. As touches must be made with minimal force, touch is therefore considered a limited-contact sport.

What is the number 1 hardest sport? ›

According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo.

Is hockey the hardest sport ever? ›

According to an extensive study done by ESPN called Sports Skills Difficulty, ice hockey ranks second behind only boxing among the 60 sports measured. Football is ranked third, basketball fourth, baseball ninth and soccer tenth.

Is field hockey harder than soccer? ›

Soccer is a longer timed game, almost double to a field hockey game but bending down and the movements of field hockey can make it harder to play for extended periods of time. Field hockey has different hits, skills such as air dibbling, maneuvers, and more – so for the winner for skill most would say field hockey.

What's the hardest girl sport? ›


It is often regarded as one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. In addition, basketball is arguably the hardest sport for a girl. On a rectangular court, two teams of at least five players each compete in the team game of basketball.

What's the hardest sport mentally? ›


It may be surprising to most people that swimming is number 1 in the list of the most mentally challenging sports in the world. Many professional swimmers fall into a 7-day self-sabotage cycle. This is a period where they may doubt themselves and grow continuous stress on themselves.

What sport has the fittest athletes? ›

Water Polo is your Fittest Sport
RankingSportOverall Fitness Rating (%)
1Water Polo80.3
2Rugby 7s79.6
3American Football79.3
50 more rows

What is the most painful sport? ›

Sports with the most injuries
SportTotal injuries% change since 2017
8 more rows
11 Jul 2022

Is hockey safer than football? ›

Though football has many head injuries hockey has many other injuries involved with it as well. Playing hockey takes lots of skill, intensity, and its more physical. First, Hockey is more dangerous than football because of the injuries. In hockey injuries are common for anyone but also rare.

What is the hardest sport for kids to play? ›

Gymnastics. For males and females alike, gymnastics is considered to be one of the most difficult sports at the school-aged level. Gymnastics requires mastery of the body, and gymnastics are expected to demonstrate a high degree of excellence in all events (vault/pommel horse, beams, floor, bars/rings).

Which sport is easy for girls? ›

Basketball. Basketball is indeed the most loved sport among the girls. Schools and universities today encourage girls to participate in basketball competitions. It is a healthy way of developing competitive skills, social interactions and becoming a team player which is an important skill for life.

Which sport is best for mental health? ›

Team sports such as basketball, soccer, baseball, and volleyball can be beneficial to mental health from a physical activity and social perspective. Forming friendships through hobbies has been known to help with depression and ease social anxiety.

What sport puts you in the best shape? ›

In no particular order, here are the 8 best sports to quickly get into shape.
  • 1) Running or Other Track Sports. It is well known that while running, people tend to activate various parts of their bodies. ...
  • 2) Football (Soccer) ...
  • 3) Basketball. ...
  • 5) Gymnastics. ...
  • 6) Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) ...
  • 7) Cycling. ...
  • 8) Squash. ...
  • The Bottom Line.
11 May 2022

Are girls hockey non contact? ›

Just because girls' and women's hockey is “no-check” doesn't mean there's no contact. However, because the rules don't allow for checking, often times the physical part of the sport is not taught at a young age. This mentality is bad for girls learning the game as they grow into teenage and young women hockey players.

Is contact allowed in Olympic hockey? ›

Rule Variations for Women

Women's and men's international ice hockey operate under the same rules as stipulated by the IIHF - with one fundamental exception: the level of permissible body contact. Since the 1992 World Championship, IIHF rules have prohibited "body checking" in the women's game.

Is women's hockey full contact? ›

'' According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, the world governing body that conducts the Olympic tournament, ''body checking'' is not permitted in the women's game, although ''body contact'' is allowed. In body contact there is ''intent to play the puck first,'' and incidental collisions are legal.

What's the safest sport? ›

Swimming is the safest sport to take part in. Its easy on the joints and can be an aid in recovery after an injury so making it the safest sport in America. A study by researchers at The University of Colorado Denver lead by PhD.

Is hockey the toughest sport? ›

As a field hockey player will know, it's tough enough to dribble with a ball and stick on foot, but to do it at speed and on skates is incredible. Ice hockey really is one of the toughest sports around.

Why is field hockey a girl sport? ›

Because it was first introduced at elite women's colleges in the East, field hockey was seen primarily as a sport played by upper class girls and women.

What type of contact is not allowed in floor hockey? ›

In floor hockey, no physical contact is allowed. Sticks cannot be carried above the waist or used above the knees when playing the ball. Only wrist shots and push passes are allowed. No swinging or slapping at the puck is permit- ted and the puck cannot be lifted above knee level.

Can you wear glasses while playing field hockey? ›

It was unanimously voted to adopt the recommendation of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to modify NFHS Field Hockey Rule 1-6-5 to permit players with prescription glasses to wear protective eyewear that meets the ASTM F803 standard.

At what age is contact allowed in hockey? ›

The Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that bodychecking be introduced only in boys' competitive hockey, and no earlier than the bantam (ages 13 to14) or midget (ages 15 to 17) level. [5] The AAP recommends a ban on bodychecking for male players younger than 15 years of age.

What is GF in hockey? ›

GF – Goals for – Number of goals the team has scored. GA – Goals against – Number of goals scored against the team. OTW - Overtime Win.

Can a girl be on a hockey team? ›

USA Hockey has nurtured the growth of female hockey since the 1970s, and today, girls hockey is among the fastest-growing youth sports in the United States. In the 2018-19 season, more girls and women participated in ice hockey than ever before with nearly 83,000 lacing up the skates.

Can a girl play on a guys hockey team? ›

Playing with boys helps, but it is a personal decision

In conclusion, playing on a boy's team during key developmental minor hockey years appears to provide all the right ingredients for girls to reach their full potential as a hockey player.


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