Q: Are there any particular requirements for hockey goals?
A: The precise dimensions of the goals and their components plus their position relative to the back-line are set out and illustrated in the Rules of Hockey which are available in the Rules section of this website.
There are, however, some other important factors to consider.
The goals should not have any additional fittings that could cause danger to players. For example, some goals are fitted with rubber-tyred wheels to facilitate easy movement to a side-line for training purposes and to save wear and tear in the goalmouths. While this is good practice, handles may be attached to the sides of the goals to help with pulling/pushing the goals into position. These handles often project towards the field of play creating a potentially dangerous protrusion.
Any such protrusion should be completely demountable, and physically removed prior to any match.
Another frequent problem arises from the metal stanchions used for supporting the goal net and, in some cases, to add weight and stability to the goal structure.
Traditionally, the supports have been located inside the net but this means that a ball striking one of them can rebound dangerously into players in the goalmouth. The rebounds can also confuse an umpire who may be uncertain as to whether the ball rebounded back into play off a post (no goal scored) or off a stanchion (goal scored). All such stanchions should be therefore be covered for their full length by strong, rubber tubing (not less that 3mm thick), preferably black in colour, to dampen the force and the sound of any rebound.
However, a better type of goal design incorporates a “free hanging” net. In this design, any horizontal or vertical part of the net support frame across the back or sides of the goal is located outside the net. The net hangs from these supports and is not draped over them as in the more traditional design. A ball does not therefore reach the supports and so cannot rebound from them.
The latter type of goal is required for FIH international competitions. It is strongly recommended at other levels.
Information about goal construction requirements at FIH competitions is available on the FIH website in the Publications sub-section of the Pitches and Equipment section.
Q: Are there are any particular points to note with respect to the fixing of the goal nets?
A: the Rules of Hockey specify the fixing interval and the size of mesh to be used for the goal nets but do not specify the method(s) of fixing.
It is important that the method of fixing to the goal-posts and cross-bar is secure and safe. The old-fashioned way of using hooks screwed into the back of the wooden posts and crossbar was susceptible to damage from a hard shot and can cause injury to players who get entangled in them. Metal cup hooks should not therefore be used and any spring hooks should have screw caps.
A better alternative is for D-shaped eyelets to be attached to the back of the posts and crossbar with just sufficient space in the eyelet for a 6-8mm diameter rope to pass through twice when tight. The rope is intertwined through the net and the eyelets in one direction and then the other direction.
The latest types of metal posts often have holes and slots to hold the net in place. Again for safety reasons, any external openings on the goal-posts, cross-bar or other parts of the goal frame should be less than 8mm or greater than 25mm.
In addition to ensuring that the net remains securely attached to the goal, if possible it should be fixed in a way which avoids a strong rebound when the ball enters the goal. Any horizontal part of the net support frame across the back or sides of the goal should therefore be outside the net and fixed so that a ball entering the goal cannot rebound from it.
It is also recommended that any vertical part of the net support frame is situated outside and clear of the net. This results in a “free-hanging net” which avoids confusion about whether following a hard shot the ball rebounds from the back/side-boards or part of the net support frame. This sort of goal design is strongly recommended.
Q: Are there standards for the manufacture of hockey goals?
A: Hockey goals must comply with the requirements of the Rules of Hockey a copy of which is available in the Rules section of the FIH website.
This is a size specification only. Because of the heavy impacts and regular use hockey goals receive, it is important to procure the most robust goals available. There are well credentialed manufacturers on all continents.
In addition, nations in the European Union must comply with the European Normation EN 750. Among other things, this requires anchoring of the goal either by insertion of the goal posts into pipes embedded in the ground and/or held down by weight devices or anti-tilt devices. It is important for proprietors who procure hockey goals in the European Union to ensure that the equipment has the EN 750 compliance stamp.