Field hockey is played on gravel, natural grass, sand-based or water-based artificial turf, with a small, hard ball. The game is popular among both males and females in many parts of the world, particularly in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South Africa. In most countries, the game is played between single-sex sides, although they can be mixed-sex.
The governing body is the 116-member International Hockey Federation (FIH). Men's field hockey has been played at each summer Olympic Games since 1908 (except 1912 and 1924), while women's field hockey has been played at the Summer Olympic Games since 1980.
Modern field hockey sticks are J-shaped and constructed of a composite of wood, glass fibre or carbon fibre (sometimes both) and have a curved hook at the playing end, a flat surface on the playing side and curved surface on the rear side. While current field hockey appeared in the mid-18th century in England, primarily in schools, it was not until the first half of the 19th century that it became firmly established. The first club was created in 1849 at Blackheath in south-east London. Field hockey is the national sport of India and Pakistan.
Wikipedia [accessed 10 May 2010] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey