I find lots of explanations online of how and when is a back stick sanctioned.
But I wasn't able to find why this rule was added or what is it trying to achieve or prevent.
In two of its closest relatives, rink and ice hockey, you can hit the ball or puck with any side of the playing end of the stick, in rink hockey the stick is totally symmetrical but not on ice hockey.

If the answer is that the curved side of the stick isn't very useful or accurate to strike the ball because of its curve, then it begs the question of why does the stick have a curved side?

  • "why does the stick have a curved side?" This feels like a separate question, but the simple answer is "to put mass behind the ball, so it goes further and faster". Compare a hockey stick to a golf driver/wood.
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 19:50
  • But it could have that mass and still be flat on both sides. More over, with modern materials it could have more weight in less thickness
    – Petruza
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 0:55

1 Answer 1


The rule exists for safety reasons, both historically and today.

You can only play the ball using the left-hand, flat face of the stick, which places it on the right side of the body.

When two opponents both move to play the ball, they will be on opposite sides of the ball, minimising the risk of bodily collision.

As skills have developed, top-level players are capable of rotating the stick to use the playing side in almost any position, this rule also serves to elevate the ability required, helping to make the sport more interesting as well.

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