The Ultimate Guide To Field Hockey Goalies: Can They Use Their Hands?

person jumping wearing red and white head gear in front of net goal

What Are the Rules for Field Hockey Goalies?

Field hockey is a popular sport played all around the world. It requires players to use their sticks to move and shoot a small, hard ball from one end of the field to the other. Each team has their own goalie who defends against shots on goal by blocking it with their body or stick. But can field hockey goalies use their hands as well?

The rules regarding goalkeepers are slightly different in field hockey compared to other sports, such as soccer or basketball, where using your hands is prohibited within certain areas of the court or pitch. In field hockey, while most of these restrictions still apply, there are some exceptions that allow goaltenders more freedom than regular players when trying to defend against shots on goal.

Using Hands Within Specific Guidelines

In general, goaltenders in field hockey should remain outside of a semi-circle area known as “the circle” during play (this area usually extends 16 yards out from either side of the net). They also may not touch any part of an opponent’s stick with their hand unless they first gain control over it with their stick. However, when inside this semi-circle area and facing shots on goal, goaltenders may reach out and use their hands but only if they keep them below shoulder level at all times; otherwise, any contact made above shoulder level will result in a penalty being called against them for dangerous play or obstruction. Additionally, if a goalkeeper catches the ball in his/her hand, he/she must immediately drop it onto the ground before playing it again.


Goalkeepers in field hockey have more freedom than those found in other sports when defending against shots on goals – meaning they can use both fingers and palms provided they stay under shoulder height – however, this comes at a risk since going too high could result in penalties being called against them for obstruction or dangerous play which would make them less effective defenders overall! All-in-all, though, knowing how far you’re allowed to go as a goalie helps give you an advantage, so be sure to understand these rules before taking up your post between posts!