Field Hockey Positions

Player Positions

In field hockey, there are 11 players on the field at any given time. These 11 players include ten field players and one goalie. The ten field players are usually forwards, midfielders, and defenders. Often times, coaches will position players in formations.

The Goalie

The goalie is the most important position on the hockey field. They are the last line of defense if the opposing team is able to make it past the last two defenders. The most important responsibility of the goalie is to stop the ball from entering the goal at all cost. They could be the reason that the opposing team wins. They are the only player on the field that is allowed to stop the ball with their field.

The goalie needs a different set of skills than the other ten field players. Goalies need to be flexible and have superior hand-eye coordination in order to block shots taken by opponents.  

The goalie wears a completely different set of gear than the field players. The goalie wears leg pads that cover their entire leg, arm pads that run from their shoulder to the wrists, and foam padded gloves, along with their mouth guard, they also sport an entire face mask.

The Defenders

Strong defenders on the hockey team are imperative, they are the heartbeat of the team. They should have strong stick skills and they should be proactive in their positioning.

The goal of the defenders should be to protect the goal, at all costs. Another duty of the defender is also is to accurately pass the ball to the forwards once it is cleared out of the striking circle.  

In most player formations, there is usually three defenders, excluding the goalie. It is set up that way to defend alleviate some of the pressure put on the goalie, and evenly distribute it amongst the other defenders. The forwards usually do not pass the line of scrimmage. The only reason the forwards would pass the line of scrimmage into the striking circle is to receive a pass from the defender to take the ball back down the field

The Forwards

Forwards are the first line of offense in field hockey. Their responsibility is solely to score goals, steal the ball from the opposing team and keep the ball past the line of scrimmage.

In player formations, there are usually three to four forwards, depending on the formation. If there are four forwards, they are broken into micro-positions. The two forwards on the outside are also known as wings. They keep the ball inbounds and usually cut the ball across to the strikers to score. The two forwards in the center are known as the strikers.

A huge emphasis is put on them to score because that is their responsibility. They are the quickest on the field and have a lot of fun stick skills to get around defenders. If there isn’t any opportunity to score a goal, they must create them by forcing opponents to turn the ball over.

The Midfielders

Midfielders are the most dynamic, and versatile players on the hockey field. They are the perfect mix between a defender and a forward. Typically, they need to have the most endurance on the field. Like forwards, midfielders are also split up into micro-positions. The center midfielder is the first person to assist the strikers in the game.

They help the forwards score when necessary but also need to retreat back to assist the defenders. Their main position is handling the ball when it comes past the line of scrimmage. They are the playmakers, who usually have the most assists at the end of the game.