Timeline of the Progression of Field Hockey
Created by britt0918 on Mar 8, 2011
Last updated: 03/11/11 at 12:21 AM
Field Hockey's Progression From Ancient Egypt to Modern Day America: A Timeline of the Oldest Sport in Existence has no followers yet. Be the first one to follow.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Paul Kane Today, field hockey is one of the most internationally appreciated and renowned sports. It is currently dominated by women, with hundreds of thousands of young girls entering the sport at younger ages each year. Women and men’s field hockey still remains part of the Olympic summer games today and continues to be an extremely competitive sport at the games. The picture to the left is from the 2008 Olympic games in Athens, where women's field hockey was a popular event.
Photo Credit: Shen Kai/South China Morning Post The game of Beikou is similar to field hockey and has been played in China for approximately 1,000 years. It was created by the Daur people, a group from Inner Mongolia, China. This game involved teams of males using long wooden branches to hit around a ball-like object made of apricot root. The game was also played at night with a felt-covered ball that was set on fire. Modern field hockey was introduced to China in the 1900s and was eagerly adopted by the Daur people. Today, many men on the Chinese men’s field hockey team descended from the Daur people. The picture to the left is of Chinese men playing a competitive game of Beikou in 2008.
Photo Credit: Adidas/adidasshowroom.com Initially, field hockey sticks were traditionally made out of wood. Today, field hockey sticks are often made with contents such as fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber composites. These materials make for lighter sticks that are agile, easy to use and effective in the handling of the ball. The stick still maintains its original shape, but over the years was made thinner, with a more pronounced and rounded handle. Field hockey sticks also are made with a tight curve at the end to enable the player to more easily play the ball on the reverse side and to limit the power with which the ball can be passed and flicked down the field. This makes the game harder, more competitive and requires much more skill.
Photo Credit: Google Images/ioffer.com The year 1980 was a very important year for women’s field hockey as it was the first time women were part of the Olympics to compete in a field hockey competition. The 1980 Olympic summer games were held in Moscow, Russia and featured many teams across the world. Countries including Zimbabwe, Czechoslovakia, Russia, India, Austria and Poland competed in these games for the first time in Olympic history. Zimbabwe won the gold, Czechoslovakia won the silver and Russia won the bronze. The United States team was unable to join the 1980 games because of a U.S. boycott of the sport but was able to participate in the 1984 games. From this point on, many women’s teams around the nation come together for the Olympic summer games to participate in an intense competition for the gold. The picture to the left is of a pin handed out at the Olympic women's field hockey competition to players.
Photo Credit: Dow Artificial Turf Solutions/dow.com In the 1970s, traditional grass fields took a back seat to synthetic surfaces. Today, field hockey is mostly played on synthetic fields. In 1970, sand-based pitches were favored because they dramatically speed up the pace of the game. In recent years, the creation of water-based artificial turfs has created an even quicker version of field hockey. Water-based synthetic turfs allow the ball to me more easily and quickly passed from player to player, making them a better choice for international and national competitions. Water-based surfaces also enable for a safer game, as it reduces the level of injury of the players then they come into contact with the surface.
Photo credit: Google Images/India Sight/indiasight.com Field hockey spread to India in the late 1800s/early 1900s when it was taught to them by British soldiers in the army. The country took to the sport very enthusiastically and eventually became a force in field hockey. The national men’s hockey team of India became the first non-European team to be a part of the International Hockey Federation. In 1928, the team won its first Olympic gold medal. From 1928 to 1956 the Indian men’s team was unbeaten in the Olympics and received 6 gold medals in a row. The picture to the left is of the 1928 men's Indian team.
Photo Credit: Chicago Historical Society/homicide.northwestern.edu In 1925, field hockey was continuing to grow internationally. Many clubs were being regularly created, as the demand for the sport quickly expanded to include many men and women. With the creation of the International Federation of Men’s and Women’s Hockey Associations in the 1920s came a new set of rules and regulations. At this point, field hockey was now being played on a grass field that was a 100 yard by 60 yard rectangle. At each end of the field was a goal with a large semi-circular area, known as the shooting circle, surrounding it. Grass fields were played on until the 1970s, when a new type of field was introduced.
Photo Credit: PA Photos/printstore.pressassociation.com In 1908, field hockey became even more widely accepted and popular when a field hockey tournament was created for the first time in the Olympic games. The 1908 Olympic summer games were held in London and featured six field hockey teams. The teams were from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany and France. England won the gold, Ireland won the silver, and Scotland and Wales won the bronze medals. From this point on, field hockey continued to remain a big part of the summer Olympic games and solidified its’ place as a legitimate sport.
Photo Credit: M. Carey Thomas/Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections Constance Applebee was born in 1873 in the town of Chigwell, Essex, Great Britain. When she was old enough, Applebee began playing field hockey and the sport quickly became her passion. She regularly played the sport until she travelled to America in 1901 to take a summer course at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While she was in America, she demonstrated the sport of field hockey to her classmates. Applebee’s peers were very receptive to the new sport and with the increase in interest, Applebee was asked to remain in the United States and teach field hockey to American women students. For the next two years Applebee travelled to various colleges to teach women the sport of field hockey. Applebee also helped to establish the American Field Hockey Association in 1901 to create rules and promote the sport. Applebee is looked back on as a pioneer of women’s field hockey as she continued for years promoting the sport and was the reason field hockey ignited in America.
Photo Credit: Miliki/ebay.com In field hockey, the stick is a main and very integral part to the sport. It is required for all players to have one during the game. In the earlier days, field hockey sticks were quickly sculpted out of palm tree bark or large sticks from trees and were not very strong or structured. Once the field hockey club Blackheath was formed, field hockey sticks were produced with a specific structure, shape and weight. The sticks continued to be made out of wood and varied across nations. In some countries, players use a round stick with a curved end and used both sides; in others, sticks were developed with one flat playing side below a round grip area. With this stick, only one side of the stick was permitted to be used in the game.
Photo Credit: The Official Website of England Hockey/englandhockey.co.uk 1895 was signified the year of the first international field hockey competition between France and England. The sport of field hockey quickly spread throughout Europe and spread to the many British colonies after the creation of the first field hockey club in 1849 and the development of modern field hockey. The sport was spread to the British colonies largely because of the British army and is the reason why the sport spread to countries such as India, Pakistan and Australia. All of these countries and British colonies eagerly picked up the sport and quickly made field hockey one of the first largely popular international sports.
Photo by Harrison /Topical Press Agency/Getty Images In 1895 the creation of the All England Women’s Hockey Association changed the world of field hockey forever as it was the first women’s national sporting Governing Body. In addition to the women’s hockey association, the men’s hockey association was founded a few years prior in 1886. The men’s association was formed by seven London clubs and created rules and regulations for the game of field hockey. A year after the men’s association was established, the first women’s hockey club was formed in East Mosley, England. After a couple of years, it was deemed proper for women to play the sport of field hockey. This led to the creation of the women’s association, which proved that field hockey was truly taking hold in the world of sports. The picture to the left was taken on March 13, 1954 when Miss Armfield, president of the All-England Women's Hockey Association, was presented to the Scottish hockey team at Wembley in London.
Photo Credit: Blackheath Hockey Club In 1849, the first hockey club was established in London, England and was called Blackheath. It was founded by the Old Boys of Blackheath Proprietary School and quickly attracted many members. The club has minute books dating back to 1861 which refers to games played and practices held. This club set the stage for field hockey and helped it to become a nationally renowned sport. After Blackheath’s establishment, many other field hockey clubs were created throughout the United Kingdom and created a foundation for the sport’s future.
Photo credit: Google Images/buzzle.com In 1843, the game of dumbung was discovered in Australia. There are no records of when this game was created, but it was played in Australia by the Australian Noongar people for many years prior to its discovery. The game was discovered by European settlers that traveled to Australia around this time and discussed in their diaries that the natives of this area would play a game by the lake. This game would be played with bent sticks and in a meadow or field of grass. It is said that Dumbung was possibly a pear tree that produced a hard, fruit-like substance that the Noongar people used as a ball to play the game.
Photo Credit: Google Images/allempires.com The game of chueca became prevalent in Argentina in 1647, when drawings were found depicting the Araucano Indians playing a game similar to field hockey. The game of chueca required 10 to 20 players and was an extremely rough game. The Araucano Indians played with a small wooden ball that was struck with sticks that were curved at the end, trying to take the wooden ball to the opposite ends of the field. The two teams strategically planned their moves and passes to their fellow players. Once a player crossed a line at the end of the field on their opponents’ side, they would be given a point.
Photo Credit: Google Images/eng.umu.se There is evidence in the Canterbury Cathedral circa 1180 AD and the Gloucester Cathedral circa 1350 AD that shows the prevalence of field hockey in early English history. This picture was found on a stained glass window in one of the cathedrals featuring a boy or man with a curved stick and ball. This picture looks extremely similar to present-day field hockey because of the formation of the stick and ball. The picture is also reminiscent of Irish hurling, because of the way the man in the picture is positioned as though he will drive the ball down the field.
Google Images/Han borg – suite101.com The picture of the above kouros base was found in the Themistoclean Wall in Athens, Greece. Between 510 and 500 BC, Greeks learned the sport of field hockey from Egyptians and called it “keretizein.” The sport began to really gain popularity when Greeks adopted the sport, with field hockey eventually became part of the ancient Olympic Games held in Athens. The Greek players played a version of the game similar to Egypt with long, thin sticks and a hard ball. In addition to Greece, Ethiopia, Arab countries, Persia and Romans developed their own versions of field hockey, helping the sport of field hockey to officially take hold in global history.
Photo Credit: Google Images/hurling.be The above picture is of the 1938 Irish Hurling team with hurling continuing to be a prominent sport in Ireland today. Irish hurling is a sport similar to field hockey that is played on a rectangular field, with 15 players and requires players to drive a ball into the opponents’ goal with a wooden stick. There is evidence that hurling was prominent among Irish males for over 2,000 years. The first recorded reference to hurling dates back to 1272 BC during the Battle of Moytura, where records show that as both sides were preparing for battle they decided to instead have a hurling contest to determine the victor. Hurling was also played at the Tailtean Games, the oldest recorded organized sports competition in the world, which were held in Ireland in 1800 BC and continued until 1180 AD.
Picture Credit: Google Images/sis.gov.eg The exact origins of the game of field hockey are unknown and still remain unknown today. However, 4,000 year old drawings found in the tomb at Beni Hassan in the Nile Valley of Egypt have given field hockey advocates some insight into when field hockey came into existence. The drawings from 2000BC depict men playing a field hockey-like sport holding bats that are most likely made of palm-tree branches, with a bent end that is similar to the present-day field hockey stick. The players made a hockey ball out of compressed papyrus fibers covered with two pieces of leather in the shape of a semicircle and the ball was usually dyed in two or more colors.