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Differences Between Indoor & Outdoor Field Hockey Sticks

Updated April 17, 2017

Field hockey is one of the oldest sports in the world. You can find evidence that Egyptians played a sport very similar to modern day field hockey as long as 4,000 years ago. It has been played in the United States since it was imported from England in the early 1900s. Indoor field hockey is played in the off season of outdoor field hockey.

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Indoor and Outdoor Fields

The difference in equipment between indoor field hockey and outdoor field hockey is powered by the difference in the size of the playing field. The outdoor field is similar in size to a football field, 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. There are as many as 16 players on each team. The indoor hockey field is between 40 to 50 yards long and 22 yards long. There are only five or six players on the indoor team. These differences mean that slightly different type stick is needed for each sport.

Outdoor Stick

Outdoor field hockey sticks were originally made out of hardwood. Mulberry and hickory were considered to be the best wood to fabricate the sticks. Elm and ash were also sometimes used. Today you can also buy composite sticks. These are made of wood combined with other materials such as fibreglass or carbon fibre. If you are a beginner you will want to look for a flexible stick that reduces power but lets you control the ball more efficiently. An expert player wants a heavier stick with less flexibility to get off those hard shots and firm passes.

Indoor Stick

Indoor hockey sticks are lighter and more flexible than outdoor sticks. They also can be made of wood. All of the components such as the shaft and the blade are slightly smaller than their outdoor counterparts. There are also pure composite sticks, meaning they are fabricated entirely of man-made materials.You can also find sticks that combine manmade and natural components. Indoor sticks are designed to be lighter and more flexible to reduce the velocity of shots and to be less dangerous on the smaller field. An indoor stick can be broken quite easily if you use it for the outdoor game.

Indoors and Outdoors

Of course, depending on the league you are playing in, you can use an outdoor stick indoors. The heavier construction makes it more difficult to do intricate moves, and its lack of flexibility can hurt someone in the tight surroundings. If you play in a well organised, refereed situation, you will not be able to use an outdoor stick indoors. On the other hand you can always opt for the indoor stick to play the outdoor game. You will lose some power on your shots and passes but will have great control of the ball. Because of its lighter construction it can be easily broken playing in the rougher outdoor game.

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About the Author

Les Belzer has been a professor, entrepreneur, farm owner and writer since 1968. He has written in-house articles on education, mathematics and Spanish literature. Since 1999 he has written travel articles for Escapeartist and "International Living." Belzer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from Idaho State University and a Master of Science in math from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon.

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