Limited information exists about the movement patterns of field-hockey players, especially during elite competition. Time-motion analysis was used to document the movement patterns during an international field-hockey game. In addition, the movement patterns of repeated-sprint activity were investigated, as repeated-sprint ability is considered to be an important fitness component of team-sport performance. Fourteen members of the Australian men's field-hockey team (age 26+/-3 years, body mass 76.7+/-5.6 kg, VO2max 57.9+/-3.6 ml.kg(-1).min(-1); mean+/-s) were filmed during an international game and their movement patterns were analysed. The majority of the total player game time was spent in the low-intensity motions of walking, jogging and standing (46.5+/-8.1, 40.5+/-7.0 and 7.4+/-0.9%, respectively). In comparison, the proportions of time spent in striding and sprinting were 4.1+/-1.1 and 1.5+/-0.6%, respectively. Our criteria for 'repeated-sprint' activity (defined as a minimum of three sprints, with mean recovery duration between sprints of less than 21 s) was met on 17 occasions during the game (total for all players), with a mean 4+/-1 sprints per bout. On average, 95% of the recovery during the repeated-sprint bouts was of an active nature. In summary, the results suggest that the motion activities of an elite field-hockey competition are similar to those of elite soccer, rugby and Australian Rules football. In addition, the investigation of repeated-sprint activity during competition has provided additional information about the unique physiological demands of elite field-hockey performance.