Specifications for the Hockey Stick
FIH is sometimes asked whether or not a particular stick meets the specifications in the Rules of Hockey but it is difficult to provide specific answers.
This is because FIH does not test or approve sticks when they enter the marketplace. There are so many manufacturers and suppliers around the world and models change so often that this would be an overwhelming task.
Instead, the specification is made widely available through publication of the Rules of Hockey and sticks presented at FIH and other major tournaments are also checked. At these events, players are not permitted to use sticks which do not comply with the specification.
The vast majority of sticks comply with the specifications but occasionally a stick is produced, perhaps with a novel feature, which is not compliant. The following notes indicate features which might occur which are not within the specifications.
The full specification is available in the Field and Equipment Specifications section of the Rules of Hockey.
Measuring a Stick
It is important to note that all measurements are made and other specifications assessed with any coverings or additional fixings attached to the stick (that is, with the stick in the form in which it is used on the field).
Flat Playing Side
Specification 2.3.f requires that “the flat playing side of the head of the stick … must be smooth”. “Smooth” means that the surface must be even and regular, free from perceptible projections or indentations and not rough, wrinkled, pitted or scored. Textured surfaces or raised patterns are not permitted.
It is also specified that “the flat playing side of the head of the stick … must be … in a single plane”. A twist or twists along the playing side are not permitted.
Further, “the flat playing side of the head of the stick” may have a “convex or concave deviation across” the plane of that side measuring “no more than 4 mm in any direction”. A single convex or concave deviation is permitted but not both. Grooves or similar indentations are not permitted on the flat playing side of the stick.
Curvature and Bow
Specification 2.3.k specifies that “any curvature along the length of the stick (the rake or bow) must have a continuous smooth profile along the whole length”. Curvature significantly towards one end of the stick (eg the head) or multiple curves are not permitted.
With effect from 1 January 2006 the extent of this rake or bow is limited to 25mm for sticks used in international competitions. However, it should be noted that National Associations have discretion to decide the date of implementation at national level.
Note that this curvature is measured using a pointed wedge the point of which is 25 mm from the flat base or using a round cylinder with a diameter of 25mm. The stick is laid playing side downwards on a flat surface in its natural resting position. The wedge is placed with its base on the surface or the cylinder is laid lengthwise on the surface. The wedge or the cylinder must not pass completely under the stick at any place along its length.
Edges and Back
Specification 2.4.b stipulates that “the edges and the non-playing side must be rounded and must have a continuous smooth profile”. Flat sections along the edges or back of the stick are therefore not permitted. Some sticks have smooth and shallow undulations or indentations on the back of the stick. Because these shapes do not appear to have any effect on the playing characteristics of the stick they are currently permitted.
More generally, Specification 2.8 says “the FIH reserves the right to prohibit any stick which, in the opinion of the Hockey Rules Board, is unsafe or likely to have a detrimental impact on playing the game” and 2.1 says that “the stick has had a traditional shape which will be retained” and “the introduction of extreme shapes or designs … will not be permitted”.
The comments above all relate to the published stick specification and it should be noted that they are identical for both indoor and outdoor (field) hockey. There is no difference in the specifications for each game although designs tend to vary within the overall parameters (eg lighter indoor sticks).
The specification of the stick is unavoidably technical but it is hoped that these notes help to interpret important parts of it. If there is any doubt about a particular stick it is best to consult a knowledgeable local hockey official because the judgment can often only be made by physically examining the stick concerned.
If there are any general questions about this notice please address them to [email protected].