Indoor hockey is an indoor variant of outdoor "field" hockey. It is not to be confused with indoor roller hockey variants such as rink hockey or inline hockey.
This sport is traditionally and mainly played as a pastime by outdoor field hockey players during the off-season or when conditions are unsuitable for outdoor play.
Indoor hockey is played in regular national and international championships.
The first Indoor Hockey World Cup was organized in 2003. It included countries which do not compete at the highest level of the outdoor game.
Indoor hockey differs from its outdoor parent in several ways.
For instance, the pitch is smaller than the outdoor pitch. An indoor pitch is 18m to 22m wide by 36m to 44m long, divided by a center line. The shooting circle is a semicircle measured out 9m from each goal post. Side-boards mark the sidelines, helping to keep the ball on the pitch and allowing players to play against it. When the ball goes over the end-line, the defensive team will restart play regardless of which team played the ball last. The pitch is made of wood or synthetic material. The board surface facing the playing surface is angled slightly to encourage ball to bounce down not up.
The goals are smaller than in field hockey: 2m high by 3m wide and a minimum of 1m deep. (This is the same size as Team Handball goals as early indoor hockey used existing handball courts).
A team consists of six players on the pitch, one of whom is a goalkeeper, with a maximum 12 players on a team.
Internationally, the game is divided into two 20-minute halves.
In the German indoor league, they play 30-minute halves with the ability to call time outs as in basketball.
Halftime break is 15 minutes. In case of a regulation tie teams play up to two 5-minute golden-goal overtimes; otherwise, the game will be decided by penalty strokes (5 rounds for each team followed by sudden-death rounds in case of ties thereafter).
The players may not hit the ball, but only push it or deflect it, and may not raise the ball except in the shooting circle, with the purpose of scoring a goal.
The balls and the sticks are similar, but players prefer lighter sticks than for the outdoor game.