There are eleven players on each team -- ten field players and one goalkeeper. Formations on the field will vary depending upon the strategy of the coach, but they will include attackers, midfielders, defenders, and goalkeepers. The attackers are the principal goal scorers. They may include wings, inside forwards, and a striker. The midfielders are the most versatile players on the field. They contribute both to the offense and defense. The defenders are primarily responsible for the defense. The deepest defending back may be used as a sweeper. The goalkeeper is the last line of defense and must protect the goal cage area. The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to touch the ball with her body, but she can only do this within the shooting circle.
The goal cage is placed on each end line and is 12' wide x 7' high x 4' deep. It is covered with a net to “catch” the ball when a goal is scored. The goal boards placed along the bottom inside of the goal cage are 18" high.
The ball is smooth and seamless. It is always a solid color and is made of PVC material.
The field hockey stick is typically made of composite materials such as fiberglass, kevlar, and carbon. The composite materials -- carbon in particular -- adds to the power and stiffness of the sticks. Many beginner programs still play with wooden sticks. The stick must weigh no more than 23 ounces and must pass through a 2-inch ring. The unique feature of a field hockey stick is that it has a flat surface on the left side of the head and a round surface on the other side. Therefore all players, whether left or right handed, play by holding the stick with the left hand at the top of the handle.
Field players are required to wear mouthguards and shinguards. Some states require goggles or other eye protection.
The goalkeeper is required to wear a full complement of protective equipment, including helmet/mask, throat protector, gloves, goalkeeper girdle, legguards and kickers.