Archive for March, 2018

March 30, 2018

Suggested introduction of a goal-zone Rewrite Rule 9.14.

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

Amended 11th April 2019.

A suggested rewrite of a Rule of Hockey.

The current Rule 9.14.

Players must not intentionally enter the goal their opponents are defending or run behind either goal.

Action. Amendment and Expansion, the introduction of a Goal Zone

Reason. A promise made in 1997, when Off-side was initially abolished:-

The (Hockey Rules) Board continues to explore ways of improving the flow of the game whilst retaining the fundamental pattern of play Having considered the results of world-wide trials of the offside Rule, the Board has to decided to introduce a mandatory experimental Rule under which “offside” is withdrawn. It is expected that the balance of influence will swing from defenders to attackers and will result in more goals, less congestion around and in the circle, and more flowing hockey with fewer stoppages. To prevent opponents from behaving in a potentially dangerous manner, their conduct near the goal will be subject to constraints. (my bold)

has not been honoured; there has been no Rule introduced to curb potential close in dangerous play by opponents, now free to position anywhere up to (and beyond) the baseline irrespective of the positioning of defenders (quite the opposite). This is a huge additional advantage –  It is expected that the balance of influence will swing from defenders to attackers – No kidding? This does fundamentally change the pattern of play from what it was previously. The recent introduction of above shoulder playing of the ball and the development of edge-hitting as well as permitting (and removing all previous control of) what is termed 3D hockey has also made defending the goal more difficult and dangerous than at any previous time.

Suggestion.

This is new so untried and any suggestion to improve it is welcome. Obviously the first step is a trial.

A Goal Zone or Goalkeeper’s Zone marked out in a similar way to the marking out of the shooting circle, but with the measurement, from a point 2m out along the baseline from the inside faces of the goalposts.

The Goal Zone would serve as a miniature off-side area, no attacking player being permitted to enter it before the ball had done so and obliged to vacate it immediately the ball travels out of the Zone. Dribbling with the ball directly into the Zone would of course be permitted.

The Zone would prevent most of the physical blocking and crowding of the goalkeeper that now occurs frequently and also prevent opponent’s ‘goal-hanging’ prior to the ball being raised with a hit or flicked across the face of the goal by an attacker from a position on the base-line. Point-blank deflections into the goal, from attackers positioned on or very close to the goal-line before the ball was passed, would be eliminated.

At 2m radius the Goal Zone is small – the goal-line is only a little beyond playing reach from outside the zone – and the zone could possibly be extended by a further 25cms, but I don’t think it should be made any larger than that.

The suggested wording:-

Rule 9.14 Players may not enter the goal zone of the goal their opponents are defending until the ball is in the zone.

Players must vacate the goal zone their opponents are defending immediately the ball is played out, or otherwise travels out of the goal zone. (For example, because (a) the ball rebounds from a goal-post, or (b) the ball is propelled into the zone, directly across and out again.

Players may not at any time enter the goal their opponents are defending.

No player may run off the pitch behind either their own goal or the goal their opponents are defending, and back onto the pitch on the other side of that goal.

(I don’t know why the Hockey Rules Board considered moving around the back of the opposing team’s goal an unfair action by an attacker but I have left this prohibition as presently given)

.I have no doubt that what has been suggested above does not cover a multitude of reasonable “What ifs” you are invited to point them out and make further suggestions for Rule wording. 

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/30/suggested-introd…ewrite-rule-9-14/

 

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March 28, 2018

Introducing a power play to replace the penalty corner

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

Edited November 2018

Preliminary suggestions for the procedure for the taking of a power play, which it is proposed will replace the present penalty corner.

Penalty Corner

Rule 12.3. a-e Rule 13.3. a-m Rule 13.4. Rule 13.5. a-g Rule 13.6. Rule 13.7. a-f

Action. Deletion and replacement with a Power Play

Reason. The Penalty Corner, never reasonably safe, has been allowed to become stupidly dangerous and also to have a ‘stranglehold’ on the publicizing of the game, the playing tactics of it and even the development of the hockey stick (for the drag-flick). Video of match ‘highlights’ often contains little more than a showing of the taking of penalty corners – not even showing what led to the award of these corners.

There has been talk of replacing the Penalty Corner for at least twenty years (in fact ever since the drag-flick became as powerful a shot as an undercut hit) and even some limited trials of a Power Play in 9’s Tournaments (in which a substantially wider goal was used) have taken place within the last ten years, but no real will to change anything is evident. Nothing mandatory or worldwide has been imposed; certainly nothing like the extraordinary long Experimental Period given to the introduction of edge-hitting (over much protest at its introduction). There is always the excuse that next year (or this year) is a World Cup (or an Olympic) year and the qualifying tournaments (which must, to be seen as fair, be always in the same format for all teams), and which appear to be near continuous, are always “in the way”. On top of that we now have professional tournaments (perhaps a way in?). The quest and demand for spectacular goals (for television), seems to be an obstacle rather than an opportunity to try something different.

Please offer suggestions for a fair and workable Power Play.

The only information I have about the workability of a Power Play (one where the score ratio is not either 99% or 1% ) has been obtained from reading the Rules of the Lanco 9’s and from watching YouTube videos of game highlights from a few of these tournaments. What I read and saw conflicted in several areas with my own preliminary thoughts and previous writing about a possible format. For example in the Lanco 9’s the number of defenders (three rather than four), the very limited time (30secs) and the permitting of addition attackers to make (a gut wrenching) run from the half-way line, to join in the attack (but apparently prohibiting the defenders to increase their numbers in the same way – but I may be wrong about that) is very different from what I expected or envisaged.

My preliminary ideas included four defenders v five attackers, ball inserted to outside the 23m line and then passed in, with play then continuing between just those nine in the 23m area until a goal was scored or the ball was put out of play or out of the 23m area (with various options for continuation or restart of play after that) or one or other side committed an offence, with a time limit from commencement (insert of the ball) of one minute. Normal open play Rules, no first hit-shot height limit. The use of a new Goal Zone to prevent both goal-hanging by attackers and goal blocking by defenders, no player other than the goalkeeper permitted to remain on the goal-line. This format gives scope for the development of an indoor style passing game during a power play.

All the ‘bits and pieces’, reasons to award, continuation at half and full time etc. etc. already exist for the penalty corner and much can be directly transferred. A power-play even begins in a familiar way, with the ball being inserted from a position on the base-line 10m from either of the goal-posts and the attacking side must then devise a way of making a scoring shot. The significant difference is that the ball is played to a position outside the 23m line rather than the line of the shooting circle. The expectation is that the inability of the attackers to set up an immediate shot at the goal will significantly reduce danger to players.

So what is holding up other trials? Perhaps it is the fact that the present Penalty Corner Rule has a great many clauses and a replacement that splits the two teams into four groups and needs to be timed, requires even more clauses and nobody can be ‘bothered’.

If it isn’t broken why fix it ?” is a common attitude to any suggested Rule change, but the penalty corner is ‘broken’; it has never been acceptably safe and is now unreasonably dangerous and the way the dangerous play Rules are applied within it (some being overridden) is grossly unfair. There may also be (certainly will be) resistance to the disappearance of the drag-flick, but it is mainly (but not entirely) the development of the drag-flick and the fact that absolutely nothing has been done to constrain the use of it, that has made the introduction of an alternative to the penalty corner an urgent necessity.

We have an absurd situation, where even if not hit towards an opposing player, a first hit shot during a penalty corner will be immediately penalised if raised above 460mm, but a ball flicked (at around 100mph by experts) at an opponent, that hits that opponent on the head, usually results in penalty against that defending opponent because of an advantage gained for the defending team (the prevention of a goal), instead of penalty against the attacker for dangerous play. That isn’t even rational – never mind reasonable – and the absurdity of it is obvious when it is realized that attackers using drag-flicks often deliberately target defenders on the goal-line with head high shots (usually by firing over-high (above 460mm) flicks ‘through’ out-running defenders) – they are actually coached to do so.

If the drag-flick is constrained, that is objective criteria concerning the propelling of the ball at an other player in a dangerous way, are introduced (there is hope for that now that drag-flickers have discovered that a low flick is as often as successful as a high flick – or more so) it may not be necessary to do more to the penalty corner than ‘tweak’ it a bit (introduce shooting height limits when the ball is propelled towards an opponent) – but discussion of the dangerously played ball has become as heated and as irrational as the gun control debate in the USA is. There is no sign of any drag-flick safety measures being introduced, they are not even discussed, there is refusal to discuss.

The current Rules: Penalties. Penalty Corner

A reading of the current Rule can be skipped but it is necessary to include it here for comparison purposes.

13.3 Taking a penalty corner:

a the ball is placed on the back-line inside the circle at least 10 metres from the goal-post on whichever side of the goal the attacking team prefers.

b an attacker pushes or hits the ball without intentionally raising it

c the attacker taking the push or hit from the back-line must have at least one foot outside the field.

d the other attackers must be on the field, outside the circle with sticks, hands and feet not touching the ground inside the circle

e no defender or attacker other than the attacker taking the push or hit from the back-line is permitted to be within 5 metres of the ball when the push or hit is taken

f not more than five defenders, including the goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges if there is one, must be positioned behind the back-line with their sticks, hands and feet not touching the ground inside the field

If the team defending a penalty corner has chosen to play only with field players, none of the defenders referred to above has goalkeeping privileges.

g the other defenders must be beyond the centre-line

h until the ball has been played, no attacker other than the one taking the push or hit from the back-line is permitted to enter the circle and no defender is permitted to cross the centre-line or back-line.

i after playing the ball, the attacker taking the push or hit from the back-line must not play the ball again or approach within playing distance of it until it has been played by another player.

j a goal cannot be scored until the ball has travelled outside the circle

k if the first shot at goal is a hit (as opposed to a push, flick or scoop), the ball must cross the goal-line, or be on a path which would have resulted in it crossing the goal-line, at a height of not more than 460 mm (the height of the backboard) before any deflection, for a goal to be scored

The requirements of this Rule apply even if the ball touches the stick or body of a defender before the first shot at goal.

If the first shot at goal is a hit and the ball is, or will be, too high crossing the goal-line it must

be penalised even if the ball is subsequently deflected off the stick or body of another player.The ball may be higher than 460 mm during its flight before it crosses the goal-line provided there

is no danger and provided it would drop of its own accord below 460 mm before crossing the line.

l for second and subsequent hits at the goal and for flicks, deflections and scoops, it is permitted to raise the ball to any height but this must not be dangerous

A defender who is clearly running into the shot or into the taker without attempting to play the ball with their stick must be penalised for dangerous play.

Otherwise, if a defender is within five metres of the first shot at goal during the taking of a penalty corner and is struck by the ball below the knee, another penalty corner must be awarded or is struck on or above the knee in a normal stance, the shot is judged to be dangerous and a free hit must be awarded to the defending team.

m the penalty corner Rules no longer apply if the ball travels more than 5 metres from the circle.

13.4 The match is prolonged at half-time and full-time to allow completion of a penalty corner or any subsequent penalty corner or penalty stroke.

13.5 The penalty corner is completed when:

a a goal is scored

b a free hit is awarded to the defending team

c the ball travels more than 5 metres outside the circle

d the ball is played over the back-line and a penalty corner is not awarded

e a defender commits an offence which does not result in another penalty corner

f a penalty stroke is awarded

g a bully is awarded.

If play is stopped because of an injury or for any other reason during the taking of a penalty corner at the end of a prolonged first or second half and a bully would otherwise be awarded, the penalty corner must be taken again.

13.6 For substitution purposes and for completion of a penalty corner at half-time and full-time, the penalty corner is also completed when the ball travels outside the circle for the second time.

b the player taking the push or hit from the back-line feints at playing the ball, the offending player is required to go beyond the centre-line but is replaced by another attacker : the penalty corner is taken again.

If this feinting leads to what otherwise would be a breach of this rule by a defender, only the attacker is required to go beyond the centre-line.

c a defender, other than the goalkeeper, crosses the back-line or goal-line before permitted, the offending player is required to go beyond the centre-line and cannot be replaced by another defender : the penalty corner is taken again.

If a defender at this or any subsequently re-taken penalty corner crosses the back-line or goal-line before permitted, the offending player is also required to go beyond the centre-line and cannot be replaced

A penalty corner is considered as re-taken until any of the conditions of Rules 13.5 and 13.6 for its completion are met

A subsequently awarded penalty corner, as opposed to a re-taken penalty corner, may be defended by up to five players

If a defender crosses the centre-line before permitted, the penalty corner is taken again

d a goalkeeper, or player with goalkeeping privileges, crosses the goal-line before permitted, the defending team defends the penalty corner with one fewer player : the penalty corner is taken again

If a goalkeeper, or player with goalkeeping privileges, at this or any subsequently re-taken penalty corner crosses the goal-line before permitted, the defending team is required to nominate a further player to go beyond the centreline, and they cannot be replaced

A penalty corner is considered as re-taken until any of the conditions of Rules 13.5 and 13.6 for its completion are met

e an attacker enters the circle before permitted, the offending player is required to go beyond the centreline : the penalty corner is taken again

Attackers who are sent beyond the centre-line may not return for re-taken penalty corners, but may do so for a subsequently awarded penalty corner

f for any other offence by attackers : a free hit is awarded to the defence.

Except as specified above, a free hit, or penalty stroke is awarded as specified elsewhere in the Rules.

 

Suggestion.

There are several Rules and many clauses to each Rule, preliminary amendment always leads to expansion of the number of clauses as sorting takes place and then duplication is reduced or eliminated. This instance is no exception. Numbering, syntax, tense, plural and singular etc. etc. will take several readings to sort out and these readings will have to be done at well spaced intervals and hopefully by a number of different individuals to overcome ‘blind-spots’.

There is also the introduction of a goal-zone – employed in a different way to the way it is suggested it be used in open play – and the splitting of the attacking team, in particular, into those involved in the power play and those not. In addition the timing of a power play is a new issue and there is also an effect on match timing. Substitution during a power play is to be permitted and the conditions that have to be met need to be described. For these reasons and also because this is a preliminary proposal, there may be some duplication and while many more Rule clauses have been added, not so many (from the penalty corner)have been deleted, so the suggestion is lengthy.

Whether or not it is necessary to be concerned about defenders breaking early or attackers moving early into the 23m area is debatable. The metre or so sometimes gained by such premature breaking is unlikely to be a significant advantage or disadvantage when a shot at the goal cannot be set up for immediate execution anyway, so such ‘breaking’ is not critical to outcome, but I have left these prohibitions and the penalties for them in place for the moment as they make for a ‘tidy’ if pedantic procedure. Numbering of the Rules and clauses needs amending, that is a detail I have not paid much attention to at this early stage (mainly because any subsequent addition or subtraction of clauses throws the numbering out of kilter and it has to be redone).

The proposal can be enacted without using a goal-zone if some other workable way to prevent crowding of the goal-line can be suggested.

 

Useful comment and suggestions welcome

Power play.

13.3 Power play procedure:

a. A goal can only be scored when the ball has travelled outside the 23m area and has then been played back into the shooting circle by one of the nominated attackers.

b The ball is placed on the back-line inside the circle at least 10 metres from the goal-post on whichever side of the goal the attacking team prefers.

c An attacker pushes or hits the ball to another attacker, positioned outside the 23m line, commencing the power play (The placement of the feet of the inserting player is not prescribed)

d Three defenders will be position behind the base-line and outside the goal-zone, the goalkeeper will position behind the goal-line.

e The other defenders will be positioned on the field and behind the half-way line

f Only the goalkeeper may defend the goal from within the goal-zone during a power play, the other three defenders are not permitted to enter the goal-zone

g Four attackers will be positioned on the field and behind the 23m line, a fifth attacker will insert the ball from the baseline.

h The other attackers on the field must be outside the half-way line.

i No player other than the attacker taking the push or hit from the back-line is permitted to be within 5 metres of the ball when it is taken

j Until the ball has been played, no attacker other than the one taking the push or hit from the back-line is permitted to enter the defensive 23m area and no players beyond the half-line are permitted to cross it.

k After playing the ball, the attacker taking the push or hit from the back-line must not play the ball again or approach within playing distance of it until it has been played by another player.

l. Immediately the ball is played back into the 23m area by a second attacking player positioned behind the 23m line, the attackers and defenders initially positioned behind the half-way line may move up to the 23m line of the defending team, but may not cross it until the power play is completed. (this allows rapid transference to normal play if the ball is put out of play over a side-line by either team or played back over the 23m line by the defending team)

m Only an attacker in possession of the ball may enter the goal-zone during a power-play; that attacker must immediately move out of the goal-zone if possession of the ball is lost or that attacker makes a pass to another attacker.

n No shot at the goal may be made in a way that is contrary to Rule 9.8. Dangerously played ball. (see separate suggestion for a proposed Rule)

 

13.4

Time and timing

On award of a power play match time is stopped.

There is separate timing of the power play.

Defenders should have no need to ‘kit up’ as they do now but thirty seconds will be allowed for both teams to prepare for the penalty.

The attacking side have one minute in which to try to take advantage of their numerical superiority by scoring a goal. The timing of the minute starts as the ball is put into play by an attacker from the base-line at the commencement of the power play.

If the one minute of time permitted expires while the ball is still in play the power play is terminated, and the defending team will restart play with a free ball to be taken from a position in front of the goal on the 23m line. Match time is restarted when the 23m ball is taken (“taken”, here, below and elsewhere, means a stationary and correctly positioned ball is moved by the player taking the free ball or restart – the introduction of a second whistle would remove all doubt about when a free or restart is taken).

When a power player is considered completed in the following circumstances, time is restarted as described in each case.

a A goal is scored – time is restarted when the restart on the centre spot is taken

b A free-ball is awarded to the defending team – time is restarted when the free-ball is taken.

d The ball is played over the back-line by an attacker – 15m ball to defending team – time is restarted when ball is moved by the player taking the 15m

e The ball is played over the back-line by a defender. A 23m restart for the attacking team opposite the place the ball when out of play – time is restarted when the 23m re-start is taken (this assumes that a ball played intentionally over the back-line by a defender will no longer be considered to be any different for restart purposes than one accidentally played out)

f A penalty stroke is awarded – if a goal is scored from the penalty stroke then as (a). if a goal is not scored then as (d)

g A bully is awarded – time is restarted when the sticks of the players engaged in the bully touch.

h If the umpire orders the resetting of a power play the timing of the initial power play will cease and one minute will then be allowed for the completion of the re-set power play as it commences. Match time will remain stopped until the re-set power play (and any subsequent re-set) is either completed or terminated and an open play restart takes place.

Exception. Where goal difference between the teams is five goals or more, match time will not be stopped when a power play is awarded but the power play will be time limited.

i. If an attacking player plays the ball out of the 23m area for a second time normal play resumes immediately

j. If a defending player plays the ball over the 23m line normal play resumes immediately.

k. When the ball is put out of play over a side-line by either a defender or an attacker the power play is terminated and match timing resumes when the side-line ball is taken.

Time extensions.

l The match is prolonged at half-time and full-time to allow completion of a power play or any subsequent power play or penalty stroke.

m If play is stopped because of an injury or for any other reason during the taking of a power play at the end of a prolonged first or second half, the penalty corner must be re-set.

 

13.5 A power play is completed when:

a a goal is scored

b a free-ball is awarded to the defending team

c the ball is played over the 23m line for a second time

d the ball is played over the back-line.

e time to complete the power play expires

f a penalty stroke is awarded

g a bully is awarded.

h. when the ball is put out of play over a side-line.

 

13.6 Feinting by attackers and premature moving into the power play area by attackers or defenders.

Attackers or defenders who are sent beyond the centre-line for a breach of this Rule may not return to participate in a subsequently re-set power play, but may do so for a power play subsequently separately awarded as penalty for any offence under Rule 9 Conduct of play.

b If the player inserting the ball from the back-line feints at playing the ball, the offending player is required to go beyond the centre-line : the power play is re-set but will then taken with only four participating attackers

c. If during a re-set power play, re-set because of feinting by the player inserting the ball, the attacker then making the insert also feints at playing the ball a free ball opposite to the goal and on the 23m line will be awarded to the defending team.

if feinting to play the ball leads to what otherwise would be a breach of this rule by a defender, only the attacker is required to go beyond the centre-line.

d If a defender, other than the goalkeeper, crosses the back-line or goal-line before being permitted to do so, the offending player is required to go beyond the centre-line and cannot be replaced by another defender : the power play is re-set.

If a defender at this re-set power play or any subsequently re-set power play crosses the back-line or goal-line before being permitted to do so, this offending player (unless the goalkeeper) will also be required to go beyond the centre-line and cannot be replaced

If a defender crosses the centre-line or 23m line before being permitted to do so, the power play may be re-set if the umpire considers the action to have disadvantaged the attacking side. A warning or a caution may in any case be given to this player.

e If a goalkeeper crosses the goal-line before being permitted to do so, the defending team will be required to nominate a player to go beyond the centre-line, and that player may not be replaced for the re-set power play. The defending team will defend the re-set power play with one player fewer.

If a goalkeeper, at this re-set power play crosses the goal-line before being permitted to do so, the defending team will be required to nominate a further player to go beyond the centre-line, and that player may not be replaced for the re-set power play. The goalkeeper should be warned that subsequent contravention will result in the award of a green card.

Should any defender cross the goal line or base line before being permitted to do so during a power play previously re-set for the same kind of offence, a warning or caution should be given as well as sending the player behind the centre line or to the bench. For a third infraction a penalty stroke should be awarded.

f If an attacker who is a member of the five initially engaged in the power play enters the 23m area before being permitted to do so, the offending player is required to go beyond the centre line and may not be replaced : the power play is re-set.

g If an attacker who is a member of the five initially engaged in the power play enters the 23m area before being permitted to do so, during a power play previously re-set for a similar offence, a free-ball will be awarded to the defending team.The free ball will be taken from in front of the goal and on the 23m line.

h If an attacker who was initially positioned behind the half-way line moves into the 23m area before a power play is completed a free ball will be awarded to the defending team on the 23m line in a position opposite to the goal.

i if a defender who was initially positioned behind the half-way line moves into the 23m area before the power play is completed the power play may be re-set if the umpire considers that the action disadvantaged the attacking team. Even where the power play is not re-set the player concerned should be cautioned or warned on the first occasion.

A power play is considered as untaken or incomplete until any one of the conditions of Rules 13.5, 13.6, and 13.7 for its completion or voidance is met.

 

13.7 Illegal entry of the goal-zone

a If a defender enters the goal-zone during a power play and in so doing prevents a goal or denies opportunity to an attacker to score a goal a penalty stroke will be awarded.

b If a defender enters the goal-zone during a power play but this action does not disadvantage the attacking side a re-set of the power play may be ordered at the discretion of the umpire. In the event of a re-set the offender will be sent behind the half-way line and may not be replaced for the defense of the re-set power play. Even if the power play is not re-set the defending player should be cautioned or warned on the first occasion there is such a transgression.

c If an attacker makes illegal entry into the goal-zone or illegally remains in the goal-zone instead of vacating it as quickly as possible, a free ball will be awarded to the defending side, to be taken opposite the goal on the 23m line.

 

13.8. Substitution during a power play.

Re-set power plays must be executed and/or defended by players remaining from the initial nine participants unless injury disables one or more of them.

Substitution because of injury will be permitted for the re-setting of a power play only from the players who were on the pitch at the time the initial power play was awarded and who are still on the pitch.

When a power play is awarded substitution is permitted by either team immediately the power play commences. No player substituted onto the field of play after a power play is awarded may participate in that power play or in any re-set of it because of breaches of Rule 13.6. but may participate in a subsequently awarded power play for any offence under Rule 9. A player substituted off the pitch at the commencement of a power play may not participate in a re-set of that power play.

That is a fair bit to ‘chew on’ and I doubt that I have covered everything that needs regulation, but a start needs to be made somewhere if any desirable change is to be achieved . I also referred above to a second whistle and a goal-zone, both of which I had previously presented articles about when I first wrote this article.

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/30/suggested-introd…ewrite-rule-9-14/

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/08/14/a-second-whistle/

 

It is also necessary to consider replacing the award of a penalty corner with a less severe alternative penalty for several accidental occurrences and actions that are not offences (e.g. ball trapped in equipment, or ball deflected up off a goalkeeper or another defender’s stick in the circle). Most of these were previously dealt with by the award of a bully and could now be more fairly result in the award of a free ball to opponents on the 23m line.

Other bits.

The deletion of the prohibition on playing a free into the circle when it is awarded to be taken within the 23m area, is essential to free the game up and improve flow (it is a silly restriction because it has no counterpart in open play): as is the deletion of the raft of 5m restrictions surrounding the free ball, especially when it is taken as a self-pass. Only the repositioning of the ball outside the hash circle when an offence is penalised between the hash circle and the shooting circle need be retained (restored), because the advantage of a free close to the line of the shooting circle, without 5m limits, would otherwise be greater than the award of the present penalty corner.

March 28, 2018

Irresponsible umpiring

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

I received a strange ‘friend’ request on Facebook on Tuesday (28th March). The individual concerned just wanted to be able to send me a message and a video which demonstrated again that I was wrong. What I was wrong about he did not say but as the video and his message were about a player shooting as he put it:-

“This is what you said last time about aiming and dangerous shots!! Another example that you were wrong because this is what happend in the hoofdklasse last weekend!! Amazing Goal while the girl sits on the ground the other girls smacks the ball in the cage! No time to look up and see if someone is there!”

In other words he said that the shooter in the video he sent to me, shot ‘blindly’ towards where she ‘knew’ the goal to be and she could not have taken account of the position of a defender because she had no time to do so or was blocked (he claims both in separate messages) and the umpire still awarded a goal. Ergo my view of reckless play is wrong.

Naturally he has put what I wrote ‘back to front’. in article about the video below (see link) I declare the action of the striker to be reckless precisely because he could see both the goal and the defender and had ample opportunity to make an alternative shot or even to pass the ball to a team-mate for an easy tap-in, but chose instead to raise the ball directly at the defender (who was within 5m of him) with a hit which was raised to above knee height – or rather not to care that that is what he did (or know that it was dangerous play by all the FIH published criteria). Ironically the shooter immediately, before the penalty stoke signal was given, asked for a video referral – a request he withdrew. 

https://martinzigzag.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/reckless-endangerment/

The other incident we ‘discussed’ (I was abused for my opinion of) was the second one in the following clip. An incident from the Rio Olympics, where an attacker unnecessarily hit the ball hard and high across and past the head of a defender from less than one meter. I had and have no issue with the velocity of the shot but I have with the raising of it, the ball could have been driven low into the backboards, there was nothing the defender could have done to stop it.

(I have frequently wished that the commentator of the first part of the video below made some attempt to learn the Rules of the game: he is a menace. His social chit-chat and irrelevant background knowledge 100%, his Rule and game knowledge zero)

I was initially quite confused by the video that my new ‘friend’ (who now I notice has no friends listed) sent, because he informed me that the shot he was describing occurred near the end of it. There were a number of incidents in the video, which was more than 18 mins long and contained highlights from several matches, where attackers shot towards the goal when there was a defender in a low (crouched) position in front of it. I eventually realized that he must be referring to an incident that occurred during the first penalty corner awarded in the first minute of the video. The beginning of a video is at one end of it, so this simple example serves to illustrate one of the difficulties of communication – understanding common terms: like “end” or “reckless” or “dangerous” (even if the latter has both subjective and objective criteria provided within the Rules of Hockey to define it. The “within 5m” part actually proves at times to be a hindrance to correct interpretation; there is often an illogical assumption made that a ball propelled from beyond 5m of a player cannot have been dangerously played at that player)

As it happens the incident he described as correct umpiring (and demonstrating my error) contains one of the worse examples of irresponsible umpiring I have seen, and the attacker, far from shooting ‘blindly’ obviously uses a mental image ‘snapshot’ to define her target, because she clearly looks up as she approaches the ball, she does have the time and space to do so, and executes a perfect hit which is exactly on that target – the gap between the defender and the post. The problem is that the umpire should have stopped play before the shot was taken.

.Whether or not the penalty corner was correct is debatable. Had I been umpiring I would not have awarded it but allowed play to continue (there was more likely to have been some danger from swinging sticks than from the low velocity of the ball). In my view the attacker who closes on the raised ball as it is falling, is at least as responsible for the ball hitting her as the defender, who was trying to play it to ground and who had not initially raised the ball towards the attacker (and the attacker may be considered have been guilty of an encroaching offence). It is perhaps odd to view the player who raised the ball as an initial receiver, but the ball was never beyond her playing reach and the attacker was about 5m away from her when the ball was raised.

The drag-flick shot towards the defender on the goal-line was dangerous play Others may want to debate or even deny that assertion until ‘the moon turns blue’ but the actions taken by the players are a prima facie example of dangerous play – the ball was propelled directly, at high velocity, at the head of an opponent, who took legitimate evasive action but was nonetheless hit on the head with the ball.

It is what followed that hit to the head of the defender that I find astounding (I am no longer even mildly surprised at what is considered “Not a dangerously played ball”).  The umpire seeing that the ball had hit the defender on the head and that she had crumpled to ground and was obviously injured, also saw that the ball was rebounding to an approaching attacker and gave a ‘play on – advantage’ signal – putting the fallen defender in harms way.

That was dangerously irresponsible, I have never before seen any umpire do that. He had no way of knowing that the approaching attacker would hit the ball along the ground, she could have been as reckless as the shooting player in the first or second videos above. Had a second shot been raised into the defender while she was defenseless on the ground and injured her further, she would have had excellent grounds to take legal action against that umpire for damages for negligence. Geoff Erwin of Cookstown who was hit on the head with a similar drag-flick in an EHL match, suffered a fractured skull and a perforated eardrum from that single hit and was off work for a year, damages in cases where an initial injury is compounded by negligence (in addition to the negligence of not penalising the initial shot – which gives encouragement to attackers to make such shots) could be very substantial.

The umpire of the incident shown in the last video, after awarding a goal, didn’t even check to see if the defender was cut or concussed and there is no evidence he allowed medical aid staff onto the pitch to examine her or that he asked her to step off for a substitute until others considered she was fit to resume play. What was he thinking? Probably nothing at all.

As team coach at a tournament I would voice the strongest possible objection to that umpire officiating in any match my team were due to play.

There are those who consider this from page 1 of the Rules of Hockey to be a joke:

Responsibility and Liability

Participants in hockey must be aware of the Rules of Hockey and of other information in this publication. They are expected to perform according to the Rules.

Emphasis is placed on safety. Everyone involved in the game must act with consideration for the safety of others.

my ex ‘friend’ is one of them.

The words participants and everyone both include umpires.

The umpire at the other end not long afterwards awarded a penalty stroke when a forward fell in the circle. I have looked at that incident several times and can see no justification at all for a penalty stroke. Maybe, and it is a very weak maybe, a penalty corner could be argued for.

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So, at that point, 1-1  the umpires.

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/28/irresponsible-umpiring/

March 19, 2018

Holding a hockey stick.

and positioning the ball in relation to the feet.

Left hand.

A player stands with the feet pointing forward and approximately 150mm apart. The stick is held in the left hand and positioned with a straight arm so that the head rests on the ground in front of and between the feet. The stick-head is inclined to the left so that the face is angled at about 45° to the ground.
In this position the left thumb will be pointing down the back side of the stick.

Right hand.

Maintaining the left hand grip, the player squats as shown in the picture, so that the thighs are parallel to the ground and the buttocks are over the heels. The player should be comfortably balanced on the balls of the feet with the heels well off the ground. The left arm should now be bent and relaxed but free of the leg not resting on it, the forearm aligned with the handle.

Bring the face of the stick to the vertical by rotating the left arm and place a ball against it.’

With the right arm almost touching the right thigh place the right forefinger down the back of the stick, the thumb on top and the remaining three fingers curled around the handle at what feels to be a comfortable distance from the stick-head.

In this position rotate the stick-head over the ball and back again repeatedly without moving the ball. If this feels comfortable okay, if not adjust the position of the right hand, slightly up or down the stick, until the stick-head turning action is comfortable.

Now start to move the ball from side to side as the stick-head is rotated over the ball. A movement of between 150mm and 200mm should be found to be at the limit of comfort especially as the speed at which the ball is moved is increased.

There may be a tendency for the ball drift out of control towards the feet. If this happens the elbows will move out to cope with the shorter distance to the ball and stick-head and the player will tend to lose balance backwards. This can happen in a surprisingly short distance because both the feet and the arms are virtually pinned. The feet and legs firmly by the ground and the squat position, the arms loosely by the grip on the stick and the distance at which the stick-head can be kept in comfortable contact with the ball. If the ball is moved towards the feet, even a little, the position becomes uncomfortable and uncontrollable because the grip position does not change and neither does the length of the stick.

Moving the ball a short distance further away from the feet and trying to maintain the  same grip position while rotating the stick-head over the ball has a similar but opposite effect. Again balance is lost or almost lost but this time it is lost forward and there will be an uncomfortable feeling of over reaching or even toppling.

Going back to rotating the stick-head over and back the ball. Stop and leave the ball where it is and move the right hand down the stick so that it is closer to the ball, 100mm will be sufficient. There will immediately be the same lost of balance and feeling of overreaching that was experienced when the ball was moved a similar distance away from the feet.

Leaving the ball in position and moving the hands up the stick pushes both elbows out and the back arches as the player attempt to maintain balance.

In both changed right hand positions, further down the stick and closer to the left hand, rotation of the stick-head over and back the ball is significantly altered. The right hand further away position may lead to lost of ability to rotate the stick at speed, movement become uncoordinated, while the right hand closer grip quickly becomes tiring to the hand and the sense of toppling or actually toppling is difficult to overcome

What all this means is that the distance of the ball from the feet is critical and the place at which the right hand grips the stick is also critical.

The position of the third finger of the right hand when the right hand position on the stick handle is optimal should be noted and marked with tape. This position has been found by reducing the number of distance variables or reducing the influence of them. The legs were taken out of consideration and the influence on distance adjustment of the arms and changes to the length of the stick caused by changes of angle much reduced. Some of these influences can be huge (legs, arms) others marginal (stick angle, bend to body), all are significant especially distance of the ball from the feet, even if any change made is quite small.

Having established a right hand grip position the legs can be released, the player should move up into a dribbling crouch.

Moving more upright will elevate the stick and reduce horizontal reach and this has to  be compensated for. (It should be noted that the angle of the stick is nowhere near perpendicular to the ground when in a dribbling crouch, it is closer to the angle it was in while squatting). One foot, it does not matter which, can be advanced about half its own length (but no more than that, less if a ball playing position that feels comfortable can be maintained). It is important that the maximum distance possible, while still maintaining close control, is kept between the feet and the ball. The distance may seen unusual especially if the player has previously played with a straight leg stance and with the ball close to the feet but it is worth persevering with, even it does at first feel odd.

Now the player can look up and beyond the ball and see the ball only in peripheral vision while moving with it and rotating the stick-head over and back the top of it.  Practice, practice, practice around objects large and small – look to the next object not at the ball. Keep refreshing the hand positioning by squatting, at first every minute or so, until holding a stick in this position is ‘grooved in’ and become habit. A tape ridge on the handle is a good ‘reminder’ for the right hand.

The next stage is pulling the ball back and taking the stick-head around the back of it, then moving forward in a different direction.


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https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/19/holding-a-hockey-stick/

I put together this sequence of photographed poses when I was 47 years old. I felt at the time I first looked at them that I was getting fat. I am 73 now and my prediction has become truth.

 

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March 19, 2018

Suggested rewrite of Rule 9.10. Falling ball.

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

A suggested rewrite of a Rule of Hockey

The current Rule 9.10. Falling ball.

Players must not approach within 5 metres of an opponent receiving a falling raised ball until it has been received, controlled and is on the ground.

The initial receiver has a right to the ball. If it is not clear which player is the initial receiver, the player of the team which raised the ball must allow the opponent to receive it.

(a player in the landing spot prior to any opponent or in that position as the ball is raised is called the initial receiver)

Action. Amend the Rule and write the other half of it, the making of an aerial pass.

Reasons. The Rule has not been amended since the time the most common reason a ball would be falling from above head height onto the positions of closely grouped opposing players was an accidental deflection off a player’s stick or foot or off a goalkeeper’s protective equipment (still a common occurrence).

Now the more usual reason a ball may be falling from considerable height is because a scoop pass, commonly known as an aerial pass, has been made. Aerial passes made over 60m are now made frequently in the men’s game and aerial passes in excess of 40m are common in the women’s game. But the control of the scoop or aerial pass is weaker now, when the aerial pass is much stronger and much more frequently used, than it has been at any time in the last thirty years.

It is assumed in Rule guidance that the maker of an aerial pass will make a pass to a player of his or her own team who is in clear space (is by definition an initial receiver) or make a pass into clear space for a team-mate to chase. (Previous guidance that a scoop pass should not be made to a team-mate at a time when there was an opponent already within 5m (yards) of his or her position, which deterred the making of scoop passes to fall onto a contested position, because that action would be immediately penalised as dangerous play, has long since disappeared).

One reason a foul by the player raising the ball to fall into a contested area, is not often considered in the current application of the Rule is a consequence of the past assumption that passes will not be made into contested areas. The other reason is a recent transfer of obligation (by ‘interpretation’ not Rule) to the team-mate of the player making an unsafe pass – a requirement, which is not in the Rule (but can be put into it) to retreat if within 5m of an opponent who is positioned where the ball will fall as the ball is raised or is clearly the player already at or the first player to arrive at the landing point and is therefore the initial receiver.

That Rule application arises via ‘practice’ and ‘interpretation’ is the main reason there is confusion around the correct application of Rule 9.10 – anybody (any umpire) it seems can produce an ‘interpretation’ and via the Internet, declare it to be the Rule. Declarations, which are unsupported by Rule, such as “Aerial Rules do not apply to a deflection” or “Aerial Rules do not apply to a shot at the goal” (both of which have been made repeatedly) are not only false they are unhelpful, ‘a spanner in the works’ for those who are trying to understand the correct application of the Rule.

The making of an unsafe aerial pass and bouncing the ball on the stick while running with it into the playing reach of an opponent, are the two major elements ofplay leading to dangerous playthe second part of the Dangerously Play Rule. The bouncing of the ball on the stick has been dealt with in the suggested rewrite of Rule 9.9.

The safety requirements of the present Rulenot approach within 5 metres…until it has been received, controlled and is on the groundare too severe. 5m is a considerable distance to give to an opponent on a hockey pitch, and so the requirements are generally ignored or ‘interpreted’ in a bizarre way. Ignoring the conditions of the Rule is of course a cause of dangerous play occurring more frequently than it should because such ignoring means there is little or no penalty imposed: no deterrent. Players used to such ‘practice’ from umpires do not expect to be penalised for an encroaching offence and even come to view closing on an opponent receiving an aerial pass as a legitimate action.


It is suggested that instead of ‘control to ground’ before an opponent can even approach to within 5m, approach to within 3m of the ball is permitted immediately the opponent has played the ball with the stick (but not before that point) and the ball may be contested for once the receiver has played it twice with the stick or has moved the ball a distance of two meters.

Suggestion.

These proposals are not ‘cast in iron’, useful comment or alternative suggestions are welcome.

The ball is generally assumed to be falling from considerably above head height although there has never been anything in the Rules to suggest or confirm that assumption (but there could be) it could however just still be falling ‘in the air’ i.e. be off the ground.

Players must not approach within 3 metres of an opponent receiving a falling raised ball until it has been played by the receiving player.

The term ‘falling ball will refer to a ball that is falling after having been raised to above head height. The ball may be raised and become a ball falling either as a result of a deliberately made pass or accidentally as the result of a deflection off the stick or body of a player. The rule as it concerns receiving and encroaching is to be applied in the same way in both situations. But, obviously, a falling ball which arises as the result of an accidental deflection cannot be penalised as the intentional making of an unsafe pass – a pass deliberately made to fall onto/into an area occupied by opposing players, which is per se a dangerous play offence – that is play leading to or likely to lead to dangerous play.

The initial receiver has a right to the ball. If it is not clear which player is the initial receiver, the player of the team which raised the ball must allow the opponent to receive it by retreating to be at least three meters from the receiver until he or she has played the ball. The ball may then be contested for when the receiver has played it a second time with the stick or moved the ball two meters.

If the ball is scooped or lobbed to fall onto the positions of close opposing players and the team-mate of the passer does not retreat or even contests for the falling ball, then both the passer and the contesting player will have committed an offence. The contesting team-mate an encroaching offence and dangerous play – usually dangerous use of the stick. Penalty, for play leading to (or potentially leading to) dangerous play, should be awarded against the player who raised the ball, to be taken at the place the ball was raised – and the same team player who illegally contested for the ball, should be awarded a personal penalty.

If the ball is lofted to fall onto the positions of opposing players and the team-mate of the passer does retreat as required the passer has committed an offence (play leading or likely to lead to dangerous play) but, as opponents have not been unfairly disadvantaged by it (despite the gain of ground) and can play on, there will be no reason to penalise that offence. No penalty: this is in compliance with the Advantage Rule

If the ball is lofted to fall to an opponent who is in clear space at the time the ball is raised and subsequently a player of the same team as the passer encroaches to within three meters of the receiver before the ball has been played, then only the encroaching player has committed an offence. Penalty at the place the ball was falling. Free ball against the team for the encroaching offence and a personal penalty to the encroaching player as well if the ball was also illegally contested for.

Most of he following clauses are contained in the suggested rewrite of Rule 9.9. but, in line with the FIH declared emphasis on the safety of players, are repeated for emphasis in this suggestion. To avoid any ambiguity some of the following clauses state the same prohibitions given in other clauses in a different way.

The ball may not be played into the opponent’s circle with a raised hit that propels the ball beyond the immediate control (playing reach) of the hitter. A raised hit is a hit ball that is not traveling along the ground.

The raising of the ball directly into the opponents circle with any sort of flick stoke will be penalised if the ball crosses the circle line at above elbow height.

No player may play or attempt to play at a ball in the opponent’s circle while it is above shoulder height.

A ball that bounces into the circle and rises to above shoulder height must be allowed to fall below shoulder height before it may be played at by an attacking player.

A player in the opponent’s circle may not in any circumstances approach to within 3m of a defender playing an above shoulder height ball until the ball has been played twice by the stick of the defender or been moved a minimum of 2 metres. For example: Following up on a high drag flick shot at a penalty corner and attempting to play at a rebound from a defender while the ball is still above shoulder height will be considered a deliberate dangerous play offence.

General

When the ball is in the air at any height, particularly in the shooting circles and when it is possible it will be contested for by opposing players, that is a potentially dangerous situation and umpires need to watch for and penalise careless or reckless play (particularly shots at the goal or high velocity clearances) that endanger another player.

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/19/suggested-rewrit…-10-falling-ball/

 

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March 16, 2018

Umpire positioning

FIELD HOCKEY UMPIRING

POSITIONING

From that position the umpire could not see the shooting options available to the attacker or where the defender was hit with the ball. I am not at all convinced that that position is the best one for seeing action in the circle. I never (after attempts to do so in one match) took up that position when umpiring over a period of thirty years, it’s usually far too blocked.

Other examples:-

These two penalty corner incidents below (in the absence of assistance from the second umpire ???) had to be sorted out by video referral: both shots were disallowed. The involved match umpire could see nothing amiss from her (approved) position. Not, in either case, the ball raised dangerously high, the ball hitting a defender, the deflection of the ball.

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The umpire was here so ‘busy’ getting into the approved position that he missed what was a red card and penalty stroke offence. (What the other umpire was looking at, I do not know. Less than a minute previously he had given a verbal warning to the offending player for committing a physical contact offence – instead of issuing the yellow card it deserved – the offence was not accidental).

There are two offences shown in the above video both committed by IND players. The first was the intentional raising of the ball with a hit across the circle from outside the circle, an action which was illegal and disadvantaged the defending team – so an offence which should have been penalised (and umpire positioning does not here excuse the failure to penalise). The second was the reckless and dangerous hit into the back of a member his own team by the IND #5.

The award of a penalty corner was unjustifiable the defending goalkeeper did not endanger anyone with his kick to clear the ball from the goalmouth; there was no legitimate evasive action.

But, from the recommended position, the umpire could have had no idea of the flight path of the ball or how close it actually was to the players in front of the goalkeeper. He had no choice but to react as he did to the false evasion. The recommended position is a ‘crock’. It would only make sense if there was a third official running the area between the two circles.

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/16/umpire-positioning/

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March 14, 2018

Physical contact in a non-contact game

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

Andreu Enrich a Spanish International level hockey player (and also a busy hockey coach) who recently joined the Facebook Hockey Rules discussion group, has written some interesting hockey articles which he has posted on the Linkedin.com website. This is one entitled ‘Ten habits of successful hockey players’.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-habits-successful-hockey-players-andreu-enrich/

lists as one of the habits:-

Aggressiveness is not negotiable: hockey is becoming -and it will become- more and more physical. That means that the physical contact will be more and more accepted and tolerated by the umpires. In hockey, goals can only be scored inside circles. That creates a “highly transcendent” field of battle for both attackers and defenders. Inside the circles, every inch and every instant has an enormous value. It’s worthy to fight hard for it. Don’t be violent, be aggressive, but remain at the margin of the concept. Don’t refuse the contact.

These parts of that statement I cannot accept and must present argument against:-

“hockey is becoming -and it will become- more and more physical. That means that the physical contact will be more and more accepted and tolerated by the umpires.”                                                             “Don’t refuse the contact”

This, below, I find ambiguous, I don’t understand what is meant.

“Don’t be violent, be aggressive, but remain at the margin of the concept.”

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There are three parts to my argument. 1) What by Rule players must not do 2) What by Rule umpires must and and must not do. 3) Why the Rules are as they are.

The relevant Rules.

All participants:
Responsibility and Liability Participants in hockey must be aware of the Rules of Hockey and of other information in this publication. They are expected to perform according to the Rules.

Emphasis is placed on safety. Everyone involved in the game must act with consideration for the safety of others. Relevant national legislation must be observed. Players must ensure that their equipment does not constitute a danger to themselves or to others by virtue of its quality, materials or design.

1.4 Umpires must :
a have a thorough knowledge of the Rules of Hockey but remember that the spirit of the Rule and common sense must govern interpretation
b support and encourage skilful play, deal promptly and firmly with offences and apply the appropriate penalties
c establish control and maintain it throughout the match
d use all the available tools for control
e apply the advantage Rule as much as possible to assist a flowing and open match but without losing control.                                                                          
(Some of those appear to be advice but they are all presented as Rule – but then we have some Rule, for example what is written under the heading Responsibility and Liability, presented as if it is only advice).

Umpires do not have the authority to accept or tolerate more, indeed any, (intentional) physical contact between contesting opponents during a hockey match. Umpires, like all other participants, must abide by the published Rules of Hockey. There is leeway for interpretation except where there is no ambiguity in a Rule requirement or in a matter of fact. Where an objective judgement, rather than a subjective judgement is being made, then there is no need for interpretation (of intent for example). Interpretation should in any case refer to the interpretation of actions rather than to the meaning of the words used in a Rule. Word meanings in Rules should be determined and understood before an umpire sets foot on a hockey pitch, not arrived at during the course of an incident in a match; this knowledge is part of preparation.

A look at the Rules about physical contact reveals that some, when considered along with the provided Explanations of application, are very clear, 9.3 and 9.13 for example (the absence of any Explanation with these two Rules may account for the clarity of them); others depend on the interpretation of actions such as ‘intimidate’, ‘impede’, ‘legitimate’ (‘legitimate’ here meaning ‘legal’ rather than ‘genuine’ or ‘necessary’), but a fair and workable interpretation of these actions should not beyond the common sense of a reasonable and rational person.

9.3 Players must not touch, handle or interfere with other players or their sticks or clothing.
There is no ambiguity about the meaning of this Rule – it is absolute, even touching is prohibited. I have (I hope using common sense) added ‘intentional’ to it , but even an accidental physical contact between players which disadvantages an opponent or an opposing team is an offence which should be penalised. There is no room in the construction of this rule for any other interpretation but a literal one – no contact at all – there can be no acceptance or tolerance of physical contact and if there is doubt about whether a body to body contact was intended an umpire would be correct to penalise rather than not do so. The body to body contact Rule is in other words as some umpires imagine the ball-body contact Rule to be (the ball-body contact Rule is in fact almost the opposite in its construction – not an offence unless). If the Rule approach to body to body contact is to be changed Rule 9.3 must first be changed, that cannot be done on an ad hoc basis by an umpire at any level – it cannot even be done by a Tournament Director.

I have added ‘intentional’ because the UMB gives to Tournament Umpires, under the heading FLOW, this ambiguous and vague advice…

Allow the players to contest the ball

… but I can’t see such permitted contesting including intentional physical contact. I may be wrong about that but it does not matter if I am, the UMB is not the Rules of Hockey and does not, cannot, over-rule the Rule, which forbids physical contact. Accidental bumping while two players are running ‘neck and neck’ after a loose ball may be overlooked by an umpire – as per the advice in the UMB – but any hint of intentional barging, in an attempt to gain an advantage, should (must) be penalised.


9.4 Players must not intimidate or impede another player.                          
(Physically blocking the movement of another player is prohibited. The two terms used in this Rule are very different actions and I do not understand why they have been lumped together as they have)

9.12 Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball.
Players obstruct if they :

back into an opponent
physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent
shield the ball from a legitimate tackle with their stick or any part of their body

A player with the ball is permitted to move off with it in any direction except bodily into an opponent or into a position between the ball and an opponent who is within playing distance of the ball and attempting to play it.

A player who runs in front of or blocks an opponent to stop them legitimately playing or attempting to play the ball is obstructing (this is third party or shadow obstruction). This also applies if an attacker runs across or blocks defenders (including the goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges) when a penalty corner is being taken.                                                                                  (Many physical contact offences are also obstruction offences; a book could be written about obstruction but most hockey coaches just ignore it and so do many umpires)

 

9.13 Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball without body contact.
(an overly severe positional requirement – how is such a position determined in advance of a tackle attempt? – but not an ambiguously worded Rule)

Reckless play, such as sliding tackles and other overly physical challenges by field players, which take an opponent to ground and which have the potential to cause injury should attract appropriate match and personal penalties.

I won’t list the physical contact offences a goalkeeper might commit by inappropriate use of his or her body protection, the pattern is the same.

Nowhere in the Rules of Hockey is there any indication that any intentional physical contact is acceptable or may or should be tolerated by an umpire. An umpire who does accept physical contact among competing players goes beyond what the Rules permit and is exceeding his or her authority. Such exceeding of authority is not interpretation (What is being interpreted?) or the application of common sense, but invention, and is certainly outside of the ‘Spirit of the Rules’ and the intent and purpose of them.

Umpires do not have the authority to invent Rules or (except when following the Advantage Rule) to disregard a particular offence. A physical contact offence which is not immediately penalised because advantage was allowed should in any case be penalised, with a personal penalty for the offender, at the first opportunity after the advantage has played out.

Players who are strong and fit, have well developed stick-skills and good timing and spatial awareness don’t need to use physical contact (brute force) to play the game well and must be penalised if they do use physical contact to gain advantage – to deter such conduct.

We have a game that can be played for a life-time, old codgers and young kids, grand-parents with their grand-children, can play on the same pitch at the same time – and Mum and Dad can join in too. It’s a social and non-contact sport; let’s keep it that way. If Dad (or Mum rather than Dad – or both) also want to enjoy something far more demanding and competitive in a club’s First Teams, that’s fine: Sport is about enjoyment. Those who enjoy physical contact sports can go and play hurling or lacrosse (which have many of the same skills as hockey).
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As a skinny youngster I enjoyed that I could compete on a level with much bigger kids of my own age (who would half kill me when playing soccer), because the Rules protected me from physically aggressive tackling and I could use my brain rather than my weight or aggression to compete. We need to retain that protection and encourage the development of thinking and stick-work and movement skills – and to encourage kids to stay with a sport when they leave school.

(Not that size determines aggression. Swann (video above) seems to get away with his continual physical aggressive foul play (there are many examples of it) because he is not a large man – he gets treated as if he is a kid who does not know what he is doing).

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/14/physical-contact…non-contact-game/

March 13, 2018

Legitimate evasive action

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

Edited 15th December 2018

It has been suggested to me that the evasive action being taken by the defender shown in the photograph is not legitimate because the ball was not raised at or above his knee height. This suggestion uses ‘necessary‘ rather than ‘genuine‘ or ‘necessary as well as genuine‘ to define legitimate. The meaning ‘legal’ is obviously not appropriate, the defender does nothing illegal in trying to avoid being hit with the ball. But the fact that this needs to be pointed out highlights a problem; there is no clear meaning given to the definition of a dangerously played ball we have been provided with in Rule 9.8.

Rule 9.8. Explanation. A ball is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.

The recently added “also” is there because there are also two objective criteria provided in Rule 9.9,  which are 1) the raising of the ball towards a player 2) who is within 5m – the “knee height or above” part comes from the Rules of the conduct of a penalty corner – so even within the objective criteria for ‘dangerous’ there is some ambiguity about appropriate application.

I prefer to think of a legitimate evasive action as one that has been taken genuinely. That is a player takes evasive action because he or she believes that if they do not do so there is a high probability that the will be hit and injured with the ball. I take that view because the reverse edge hit, particularly when it is used to make a hard shot at the goal, is generally used with the intention of raising the ball. Players will often opt to use a reverse edge hit when they could just as easily, or even more easily, have used a standard upright forehand hit, because a raised ball hit towards a defender is more difficult for the defender to track and play than one that is hit towards them along the ground. If a defender within 5m of a striker believes that striker is going to raise the ball at him or her at high velocity (and is going to use a reverse edge hit to do so) it is reasonable to suppose the defender has a genuine reason to be taking evasive action even before the ball is struck (after the ball is struck will be too late).

A problem with using ‘necessary’ as a criteria for ‘legitimate’ is that evasion that was not only genuine but also necessary when it was taken can become unnecessary because of subsequent events. A ball raised towards the head of a defender on the goal-line, which is evaded by that defender as soon as he or she realizes what its path is, may be intercepted by the stick of another defender or deflected by the stick of a second attacker. The evading defender has no way of anticipating such intervention (which may make the evasion unnecessary) or of halting his or her evasion, which may have been a reflex action.

Another problem is that a defender may be taken by surprise and not realize that evasion is necessary until it is too late to evade. This may be coupled with the edge hitter not having an accurate idea of the height to which the ball will be raised. The example in the video below is of an illegal reverse hit, illegal because the ball was raised intentionally with a hit but was not a shot at the goal from within a shooting circle, and also because it was raised dangerously. The striker obviously had no idea (or intent) that the ball would rise as sharply as it did (but he did intend to raise the ball) and the defender had no chance to evade the ball entirely with his reflexive attempt to defend his face (the bruise on his neck, caused by the raised ball, can be seen).

It is sobering to know that had that edge hit been a shot at the goal from within the circle of the defender, many umpires would have penalised the defender and not the striker.

The player shown being hit with a raised shot in the picture below was penalised (he was hit to the side of his knee despite his evasive jump)  – a penalty stroke was awarded instead of a free ball to the defending team, which would have been the correct decision following the breaches of Rule 9.8 and 9.9. by the attacker.  A defender cannot be said or required to accept the risk that an opponent will endanger him by means of a breach of either of these Rules. The acceptance of risk, normally associated with participation in a dangerous sport, can only be applies to the accptance of the risks caused by legal actions – raising the ball towards an opponent within 5m is not a legal action.

The striker of the shot shown in the first photograph presented at the top of this article, probably intended that the ball fly into the goal just under the cross-bar and was disappointed at the ball elevation achieved as well as the direction of the shot (it was off-target). The point is, if a striker cannot always be sure about what height and direction the ball will be raised with a hard edge hit, it is unreasonable to expect a defender to have any idea of the path the ball will take, and when a defender sees a forward ‘shape up’ to strike an edge hit towards him or her from close range it is reasonable to consider any evasive action taken as being legitimate. (It is worth noticing that the evading defender was protecting his head with his arms and even a team-mate of the shooter, well to the right of the defender, also took evasive action – neither player could have had an accurate idea of either the height or direction the ball would be propelled until moments after it was hit) The umpire awarded a penalty corner following that foul by the attacker and not as he should have a free ball to the defending team.

And that brings us to another problem, unless he or she is a mind-reader, an umpire can have no idea if evasive action taken by a defender towards whom a ball has been raised, is genuine or not (and often even if it was necessary). Legitimate evasive action is therefore an inappropriate criteria on which to base an important judgement like ‘dangerously played’. There is here a subjective judgement – legitimate – being used to define another subjective judgement – dangerous – and, as has been pointed out, ‘legitimate’ cannot be judged with any certainty at all.

In this following instance instance, as it happens, the ball was raised to above knee height at the defender from within 5m of his position. The fact that a shot at the goal was being attempted should not (cannot) prevent an umpire applying criteria for dangerously played that is generally accepted in other situations in open play. There is no exemption from the dangerously played ball Rule for the taking of a shot at goal (no matter what a Russian FIH Umpire and an Australian television commentator said to the contrary during a World Cup match in 2010)

Nor, I believe many drag-flick experts will be astonished to be informed, is there any distance limitation put by Rule on legitimate evasive action. LEA has to be judged as much, if not more, on ball velocity and ball height as it is on distance from the player the ball is propelled at. Flicking the ball at a defender’s head, at 120 -150kmh., is not always okay just because it is done from about 13m – in fact very seldom so. 5m is not a distance beyond which a dangerously played ball becomes an impossibility, it is the distance within which a ball raised at an opponent must always be considered to be dangerously played at that opponent. This is An Emphasis on safety – Consideration for the safety of other players – Playing responsibly – all that generally ignored stuff in the rule-book.

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/13/legitimate-evasive-action/

March 12, 2018

A suggested rewrite of Rule 9.11

A suggested rewrite of a Rule of Hockey

Rule 9.11.

The current Rule

9.11 Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body.

It is not always an offence if the ball hits the foot, hand or body of a field player. The player only commits an offence if they gain an advantage or if they position themselves with the intention of stopping the ball in this way.

It is not an offence if the ball hits the hand holding the stick but would otherwise have hit the stick.

Action. Amendment.

Reason. The Rule is poorly written and incomplete, giving for example, no meaning or limit to the term ‘advantage’ in the exceptions – which are not clearly set out as exceptions to the Rule, they appear to be in conflict with the Rule.

The current Rule is not ‘working’, here is an example of typical application:-
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The umpire disregarded the criterion for offence (intent by a field-player to use the body to stop, deflect or propel the ball or advantaged gained from doing so unintentionally) in other words ignored instructions given for the application of the Rule and ‘automatically’ (without further thought) awarded a penalty corner as the ball rolled off the pitch after hitting the defender: there was clearly neither intent nor advantaged gained by the defending team, they were in fact disadvantaged by this accidental contact but umpires and players are long trained to respectively carry out and to expect this incorrect reflex penalising of any ball-body contact (the weak excuses offered are consistency of decision and player expectation).

The following two clips show even clearer examples of no intent, no advantage gained. In the first clip the first and second penalty corners resulted in a shot that hit the outside of the defender’s foot, which was positioned outside the goal-post, before going out of play over the base-line. The second clip requires no further comment.



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Suggestion.

With the exception of the Rules concerning the penalty corner, this Rule has been amended more often than any other in the past thirty years (without any effect at all), so it should only necessary to choose from the parts of previous renditions that made sense and then add one clause (concerning goalkeepers), to devise a fair and workable Rule: getting it applied correctly will be another matter entirely but we should at least start with a non conflicting Rule and instruction for application.

I have avoided or removed mention of intention when making suggestion for the rewriting of other Rules because such intention is often difficult or impossible to discern (the main reason umpires used to avoid penalising the offence of forcing when it was extant, and still use to avoid penalising a lifted hit which is not a shot at the goal, is that they can’t see intent. In even the most blatant of incidents of undercutting or edge hitting used to raise the ball past a blocking opponent, intent to raise the ball escapes them or they “forget lifted” as instructed in the UMB.

Why the UMB gives us “forget lifted” when the first line of the Explanation of Application of Rule 9.9. is

A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether or not it is raised intentionally.

is beyond my comprehension).

 

But in the case of a ball hitting an opponent, it has been hit at or raised into, an entirely different approach is used. Umpires declare that a player who has the ball played into his or her legs or feet has an obligation, a responsibility, to defend him or her self, and failure to do so is a lack of skill for which the player hit should be penalised. This bias against a player hit with the ball is pronounced and has no Rule support at all – au contraire- but intent is simply assumed from a failure to avoid. It is moreover usually assumed that a player who has been hit with the ball has gained an advantage for their team, even in circumstances where it should be obvious that the team of the player hit has been disadvantaged by the contact.

Intent to use the body to stop or deflect the ball must, if penalty is to be applied, be as clear as was demanded of the the intent to force contact when the forcing Rule was extant. Umpires should be looking for foot or body to ball rather than ball to body or foot. Advantage gained should be clear and substantial, that is undue and unfair (terms previously used in Rule guidance on the subject), not dubious or even intangible.

The Ball body contact Rule is deliberately written with a slant towards not penalising ball-body contact, that is towards not interrupting the game with penalty unless it is unfair not to do so, but it is currently being applied in the opposite way. The word ‘intentionally’ is for the above reasons necessary in Rule 9.11. It moreover makes no sense to remove the word ‘intentionally’ from the Rule when ‘intention’ is used in the Explanation of Application of it and ‘intention’ cannot be removed from the Explanation (or indeed the Rule) without fundamentally changing the way in which the FIH RC intended the game should be played

(The word ‘intentionally was removed from the ball-body contact Rule, but not the Explanation, when the Rules were rewritten and renumbered in 2004, which set up a conflict between the Rule Proper and the provided Explanation of Rule Application. This conflict, instead of being later corrected, was used by some to declare, on Internet hockey forums, the Explanation to be ‘notes’ or ‘advice’ and not the Rule; an absurd about face when compared with the way Explanation is used in other Rules.).

Useful comment and or suggestion is welcome.

9.11 Field players must not intentionally stop, deflect, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body.

There is no offence committed if the ball simply hits the foot, hand or body of a field player, play should continue unless the player hit with the ball intended to use the body to stop or deflect the ball or is injured. Where there is injury caused by a ball contact and there is no intent to use the body by the player hit (or intent is not discernible) and there has been no forcing of contact or dangerous play by opponents, the game should be restarted with a bully.

Exception.1. Unless there is forcing of contact or prior dangerous play by opponents, for example a shot at the goal made in a dangerous way or the ball is illegally raised into the player hit, the umpire will properly penalise a player hit with the ball, even if the contact is entirely unintentional, if that ball contact directly prevents the ball going into the goal of the team of the player hit and thereby prevents the award of a goal. The penalty will be a penalty stroke.

With instances of unintentional ball-body contact by a player not in possession of the ball there are no other exceptions. If a player plays the ball into the legs or feet of an opponent and is disadvantaged because of that contact the umpire has no reason to intervene. The umpire’s only concern will be that the playing of the ball into a player does not injure, endanger or otherwise disadvantage that player. If a player intentionally raises the ball into the feet, legs or body of an opponent that player should be penalised with a personal penalty and the team of the player hit awarded a free ball. If a ball played along the ground is intentionally forced into the feet of a defender play should continue unless the defender is injured.

Intention to use the body to stop or deflect the ball should be judged in as objective a manner as possible. Intentional contact will, for example, be generally foot to ball rather than ball to foot. A player who is moving along the flight path of the ball (an out-runner during a penalty corner for example), rather than laterally into the flight path of it after it has been propelled, has not demonstrated an intent to use the body to stop or deflect the ball. A player who moves laterally into the flight path of the ball while attempting to use the stick to play the ball and is hit, has not intentionally used the body to stop or deflect the ball. That there was an intent to use the body must be clear and certain before a player hit with the ball may be penalised for use of body.

Exception 2. Should player in possession of the ball make body contact – usually foot or leg contact – with the ball and that player or a member of that player’s team retains or regains possession of the ball and the team are then able to continue their attack, that may be considered an unfair advantage and a free ball awarded to the defending team at the place the contact occurred or, if that was in the opponent’s circle, a 15m ball should be awarded. The emphasis is moved from requiring a defender who is ‘attacked’ with the ball to have the skill to defend his or her feet (often an impossibility if the defender is at the time attempting a tackle for the ball), to requiring a player in possession of the ball to have the skill to not lose control of it with the stick and make contact with it with part of their body; that is seen as a fairer requirement.

Goalkeepers.

Goalkeepers are not permitted to pick the ball up – raise the ball off the ground – by gripping it in any way, nor are they permitted to hold the ball to the ground in any way except with the stick (but without thereby preventing an opponent from playing at the ball), by for example, lying on it or by trapping and holding it under a kicker to prevent an opponent from playing at the ball. These latter ball-body contact actions will be considered obstructive play and penalised as such.

The above Rule proposals and the penalties suggested are slightly different (okay, hugely different) to much of what will be seen in current practice (generally the ‘automatic’ penalising of all ball-body contact, especially by defenders in the circles), but I believe that they are fair and in keeping with a stick and ball game which is supposed to be played in a skillful way. The offence of forcing should not of course have been ‘deleted’ in its entirety (breaches supposedly to be “dealt with” under other Rules) in 2011. The statement that forcing would be “dealt with under other Rules” was one that was quickly forgotten or only ever a pretense. The note that was put in the Preface of the Rules of Hockey in 2011 regarding what was to follow from the deletion of forcing should still be part of Advice to Umpires in current editions of the rule-book and should not have been discontinued, as it was in 2013. It is still extant because the reason Forcing was deleted as a separate offence is still extant. The disappearance of the following (unfortunately constructed) advice meant (because the Forcing Rule was no longer in the rule-book) that no forced ball-body contact, no matter how caused, would be penalised, but that was clearly not the original intention.

“The Rule which used to say that “players must not force an opponent into offending unintentionally” is deleted because any action of this sort can be dealt with under other Rules”.

Why umpires often ignore the below instruction concerning dangerous play, which is given in the Explanation of Rule 9.9. is a mystery – but they do.

Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous. A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 5 metres is considered dangerous.

Someone once told me in a comment to my web- blog that the above instruction applied only to scoops and flicks that raised the ball towards an opponent at head height, but I can find nothing in the Rules of Hockey to support that assertion.

Sports that developed as club games in the same era as field-hockey did – hurling, shinty, lacrosse, ice-hockey – have always permitted the use of the feet or other parts of the body, to stop, deflect or propel the ball or puck. Field-hockey also initially permitted this. I listened to older members of Blackheath Hockey Club (my first club) when I was a youngster, recounting the skill of trapping the ball under the foot within the opponent’s circle and then hitting a shot at the goal during the taking of a penalty corner. (The subject came up when stopping the ball with the hand during a penalty corner was introduced). Trapping the ball under the sole of a boot or trapping it with the instep during play was perfectly acceptable under the Rules of Hockey in the 1930’s.

What was not permitted by that time was to propel the ball by kicking it or pushing it with the boot. I don’t know the year in which it was decided that any ball-body contact that gained an advantage should be considered an offence and playing the ball was something that field-players could legally do only with the stick. Whenever it was, the idea was to promote stick-ball skills and discourage the lack of them. But, as is so often the case, the good idea has been taken to a ridiculous extreme and become an absurdity (in the same way as facilitating the receiving of the ball without the receiver giving obstruction has resulted in the near disappearance of the Obstruction Rule).

The forcing of ball-foot or leg contact or otherwise raising the ball at an opponent, now often covers a lack of ability (skill) to elude an opponent by fair means. (The needless introduction of a mandatory penalty corner, if an out-runner at a penalty corner is hit on or below the knee with the first shot taken, was the low-point of this absurdity – but it has got lower since then – it was possibly the seed of the obviously incorrect idea that an on target shot at the goal could not be dangerous).

Accidental and especially forced ball-body (foot) contact is not per se an offence by the player hit with the ball. It is possible to state with certitude that for fairness an intentionally forced ball-body contact should never be considered an offence by the player hit with the ball, no matter what the outcome in terms of advantage. An unavoidable ball-body contact is usually due to forcing or reckless or dangerous play by opponents or a combination of these.

An advantage, as can be seen in the video clips above, is not always gained by a player when hit with the ball – if an advantage always resulted there would be no need for the current Rule Explanation to state The player only commits an offence if they gain an advantage..

Apart from the two exceptions mentioned in the re-write suggestion, players should just get on with the game following any unintended ball-body contact and umpires should encourage play to continue uninterrupted by unnecessary (and clearly unfair) penalty.

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/12/a-suggested-rewrite-of-rule-9-11/

March 12, 2018

A suggested rewrite Rule 9.8.

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

A suggested rewrite of a Rule of Hockey.

Rule 9.8 Dangerously played ball.

The current Rule 9.8.

Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.

A ball is considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.

The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.

 

Action: Amendment.

Reason. There is only a partial Rule at present because there are no criterion for either of the two offences mentioned when the endangered player is more than 5m from the player who propels it, that there is a breach of the Rule in these circumstances depends entirely the personal opinion of an individual umpire. In addition to that the Explanation of application given in Rule 9.9. is generally ignored if the ball is raised at or into an opponent at below knee height (despite the ‘backhand’ declaration in the UMB – which also conflicts with what is given with Rule 9.9 – that a ball raised into a player at below half-shinpad height is not dangerous, which creates an ambiguity about a ball raised into an opponent from close range that is raised between above ‘ below half-shin pad’ and knee height ). This situation gives players inadequate guidance about what is or will be considered to be a dangerously played ball or play leading to dangerous play. It is vital that players should be informed about this.

It is I think proper to use as much of the existing Rule as possible. I’ll start with Players must not play the ball dangerously. That is easy to leave in place even if “dangerously” is poorly defined because that flaw can be rectified. Having spent some time pondering whether to use or in a way that leads to dangerous play , an after the fact of dangerous play decision or to use the previous wording or in a way that is likely to lead to dangerous play which allows the umpire to make a decision prior to dangerous play actually occurring, if he or she judges that dangerous play is probable, I have opted to use both. Why choose only one or the other when both are required? – so or in a way that leads to or is likely to lead to dangerous play has been drafted into the proposal.

What objective criterion are used for the determination of ‘dangerously played ball’ are adopted from other Rules, particularly those of the Penalty Corner and Rule 9.9. so I will continue by gathering together the relevant parts of those other Rules.

From Rule 9.9.

It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the field unless it is dangerous. If the ball is raised over an opponent’s stick or body on the ground, even within the circle, it is permitted unless judged to be dangerous.

Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous. A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 5 metres is considered dangerous.

It should be noted that the last Rule clause above does not require legitimate evasive action, so such evasive action is not a requirement for a breach of Rule 9.8. just something that must be taken into consideration if it occurs; neither is there any mention of a minimum height limit.

From Rule 13.3.k.

if the first shot at goal is a hit (as opposed to a push, flick or scoop), the ball must cross the goal-line, or be on a path which would have resulted in it crossing the goal-line, at a height of not more than 460 mm (the height of the backboard) before any deflection, for a goal to be scored
The requirements of this Rule apply even if the ball touches the stick or body of a defender before the first shot at goal.

If the first shot at goal is a hit and the ball is, or will be, too high crossing the goal-line it must be penalised even if the ball is subsequently
deflected off the stick or body of another player.

The ball may be higher than 460 mm during its flight before it crosses the goal-line provided there is no danger and provided it would drop of its own accord below 460 mm before crossing the line.

From Rule 13.3.l

for second and subsequent hits at the goal and for flicks, deflections and scoops, it is permitted to raise the ball to any height but this must not be dangerous.

A defender who is clearly running into the shot or into the taker without attempting to play the ball with their stick must be penalised for dangerous play.

Otherwise, if a defender is within five metres of the first shot at goal during the taking of a penalty corner and is struck by the ball below the knee, another penalty corner must be awarded or is struck on or above the knee in a normal stance, the shot is judged to be dangerous and a free hit must be awarded to the defending team.

Again there is mention, in the Rule clause immediately above, of the possibility of a dangerously played ball without the requirement that there be legitimate evasive action taken; there are in fact objective criterion for a dangerously played ball a) at or above knee height and b) into a player who is within 5m of the first shot when the ball is propelled with any stroke. It is not stated that a subsequent hit shot towards a player within 5m must not be raised to above 460mm – just that it must not be dangerous.

The first clause of Rule 13.3.l addresses any shot at the goal made with a stroke other than a hit (for flicks, deflections and scoops, it is permitted to raise the ball to any height but this must not be dangerous) and second or subsequent hit strokes, the first hit stroke having been dealt with (more severely with a low maximum height for a goal to be scored) under Rule 13.3.k. but this clause does not state how a shot at the goal made during a penalty corner may be considered dangerous play, leaving only legitimate evasive action – an entirely subjective judgement by the umpire (not the player taking the evasive action !!) – when the ball is raised at or into a defender when that defender is more than 5m from the ball.

Rule 9.10 at one time treated a ball that had been lofted to fall onto the positions of opposing players within 5m of each other at the time the ball was raised as a ball that was likely to lead to dangerous play and such passes were penalised. The deletion of that clause from the Rule on the falling ball has caused a great deal of dangerous play and also much confusion about who causes danger when players contest for a falling ball – so the clause is restored in this dangerously played ball suggestion. (accidental deflections that become falling balls may be considered dangerous if contested for, but the deflection itself should not be treated in the same way as reckless or dangerous play, and illegally contesting for a falling ball following a deflection can be dealt with under Rule 9.10)

The Rules state clearly that a shot at the goal must not be made in a dangerous way i.e. must not be dangerous to other players – not cannot be dangerous i.e. it is possible for an on target shot to be dangerous.

The must not be dangerous imperative would not be included in the Rules if it was not possible for any on target shot at the goal to be dangerous. In this situation – where there is declared to be an overall emphasis on safety – only an idiot would interpret “must not be” to mean “not possible to be”, an ambiguous but possible construction of the words “cannot be”. The Rule states“must not be” rather than”cannot be” for good reason – to avoid such ambiguity. Those who have ‘interpreted’ “must not be” to mean “cannot be” don’t understand the context or structure of the language used – the syntax.

 

The suggestion.

All of these proposals are suggestions and not ‘cast in iron’, useful comment and alternative suggestion is welcome.

It is evident, despite persistent claims to the contrary, that a shot at the goal can be considered to be dangerous play and that it would be sensible to adopt from Rule 13.3.l “but this must not be dangerous” concerning all shots at the goal in any phase of play, in the same way that “a defender (sic) is within five metres….and is struck on or above the knee in a normal stance, the shot is judged to be dangerous” is already so adopted: so I will do that.

The other necessary step is to provide an objective criterion for ‘dangerously played’ when an opponent the ball is played towards is more than 5m away from the striker at the time the ball is propelled. I believe that sternum height (which is about elbow height) is a suitable height for ‘dangerous’ (being in the area of the heart) when a ball is propelled at or into another player, if that is done with a ball velocity that could injure that player – and I suggest that most shots made at the goal from more than 5m of defender, when those defenders are positioned between the shooter and the goal, are made at a velocity that could injure: there will be exceptions, lobs for example, in which case the umpire applies common sense and subjective judgement (we have to assume that all qualified umpires have common sense and are capable of subjective judgements based on reason and that otherwise they would not have qualified as umpires).

I am not suggesting that the ball may not be propelled at the goal at above elbow height, even at very high velocity, but that it should be considered to be dangerous play if a ball is propelled at (the position of) another player at elbow height or above – and not wide of or above defending players or at below half-shin pad – provide no player has fallen to ground in the path of the ball..

I believe that the combination “knee height and 5m” is an unnecessarily severe safety measure for competent players (but not for U12 and younger or for novices) and generally ignored anyway, so I have reduced that distance to 2m. That change requires the creation of a third zone, but I can’t at the moment think of a way to avoid that.The offence of forcing is restored when the ball is raised towards an opponent.

 

Players must not play the ball in a way that endangers other players or in a way that leads or is likely to lead to dangerous play.

A ball will be considered dangerously played when it is propelled or deflected towards another player, even as a shot at the goal, when the other player is a field player or player wearing only a helmet as additional protection and is :-

a) within 2m and the ball is raised, at any velocity, into that player at knee height or above (this is a forcing offence as well as dangerous play).

b) within 5m and the ball is raised, at a velocity that could cause injury, into that player at between knee height and elbow height.

c) at any distance and the ball is raised towards that player at above elbow (sternum) height at a velocity that could cause injury,

A ball that is played at a player in any of the above ways will be considered to have endangered that player even if the player evades the ball or manages, having been forced to self-defence, to play it safely with the stick. Successful self-defence when self defence is forced does not mean there was no endangerment

In the event of evasion to avoid injury or forced self-defence caused by a dangerously played ball, the umpire should immediately penalise the player who propelled the ball, in line with the declared emphasis on safety unless:-

a) the dangerous action was entirely accidental, for example an unintended deflection AND the team of the endangered player were able to play on with advantage.

b) the endangering action was careless or reckless play, but the opposing team could play on with advantage; in these cases penalty (personal) can be delayed, but should not be forgotten.

A ball that had been lofted to fall onto the positions of opposing players within 5m of each other at the time the ball was raised (an aerial pass) and in such a way that two or more opposing players can compete for the ball as it is falling from above head height, must be treated as a ball that is dangerous or likely to lead to dangerous play and the player who raised the ball should be penalised.

A ball that is raised into a fully equipped goalkeeper can endanger him or her but, much depends on the protective equipment the goalkeeper is wearing, how the ball is propelled and from what distance. Endangerment must in this case remain an entirely subjective decision.

 

A velocity that could cause injury is not an entirely a subjective judgement because ball velocity will be comparable with the ball velocity of a powerfully made hit or drag-flick at the high end or, at the low end, a lob or a short flick (a flick that would not carry in the air beyond 5m) and so be largely an objective judgement, but there is a substantial element of subjective judgement involved.
Below are two, all too rarely seen examples of an umpire, the New Zealander Kelly Hudson, correctly penalising a dangerously raised ball.


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But even while discussing the injury to the player hit on the head the television commentators could not stop themselves saying “The attacker was entitled to take the shot” and “She (the defender) did stop a shot at the goal“. Both were fixated on the possibility that the defender had committed an offence. We need to be clear about ‘entitlements’ and what is and is not an offence. Yes, the attacker was entitled i.e. not prohibited, from taking a raised hit shot at the goal provided the shot made did not endanger another player, so in this case the attacker committed a dangerous play offence because what she did is prohibited (but at present only clearly so when a shot is  taken during a penalty corner or the ball is raised into an opponent within 5m, everything else depends on umpire judgement).

The acceptance of risk is often advanced as a reason to penalise defenders who are , and let us be clear about this, entitled to take up defensive positions between a shooter and the goal (there is no other way to defend the goal). Yes, there is a risk and one that is accepted by defenders, that such positioning may result in them being hit with the ball. That does not mean that such positioning is done with the intention of being hit with the ball and nor does it mean that if the defender is hit with the ball the defender has committed an offence, on the contrary it often means the attacker has committed an offence.

For offence there are three conditions to be met and acceptance of risk is not one of them. First, the ball must not be played at the defender in a dangerous way (if the ball has been played dangerously at a defender, for example raised towards the defender from within 5m, we need go no further, a free ball must be awarded to the defending team).

Defenders do not have to accept that opponents may breach any Rule with impunity just because they are shooting at the goal – that is not an acceptable risk – a breach of Rule cannot be treated as an accepted risk.

I have no doubt that had the above incident occurred in a men’s game, especially one of such importance and when their team were losing, that the attacking team would have been demanding at least a penalty corner because the defender’s head stopped a goal-bound shot. Women have much more sense, but it is to the credit of the Dutch team that there was not a hint of appeal for penalty against the injured defender, it was fully accepted that the fault was that of the attacking striker: that of course is how it should be – and well umpired too.

 


https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/12/a-suggested-rewrite-rule-9-8/

March 12, 2018

A suggested rewrite of Rule 9.9.

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

A suggested rewrite of a Rule of Hockey

Rule 9.9.

Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal.

A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether or not it is raised intentionally. It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the field unless it is dangerous. If the ball is raised over an opponent’s stick or body on the ground, even within the circle, it is permitted unless judged to be dangerous.

Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous. A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 5 metres is considered dangerous. If an opponent is clearly running into the shot or into the attacker without attempting to play the ball with their stick, they should be penalised for dangerous play.

 

Action. Amendment to reverse the present criteria. Reinstatement of previous Rules.

Reason. The Rule contradiction forget lifted-think danger from the UMB, which is now a “convention” or meme that over-rides the Rule.

The current Rule is a badly enforced mishmash of unrelated or only loosely connected statements. For example, the statement, taken from the Penalty Corner procedure Rule, about a player running into the ball, is out of place in a Rule prohibiting an intentionally raised hit. Mention of dangerous play as a result of raising the ball into an opponent with a flick or a scoop is also out of place. The proposed amendment will remove the subjective judgement of intention entirely and replace the subjective judgement of dangerous play with objective criteria for non-compliance or dangerously played.

Neither of the intentionally raised reverse edge hits shown in the following video clip, which were made within 30secs of each other, were penalised. (The ball was raised with similar strokes, when the first one was not penalised how could the second one be, if the umpiring was to be consistent?). After consulting with her colleague the umpire at the defending end incorrectly awarded a goal to SA.

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Suggestion.

All of these proposals are suggestions and not ‘cast in iron’, useful comment and alternative suggestion is welcome.

Players must not, except for a shot at the goal from within the opponent’s circle, raise the ball to above shoulder height with a hit.

Shoulder height is an absolute limit, irrespective of any danger, for any raised hit in any part of the field outside the opponent’s circle.

It is not an offence to raise the ball with hit except when hitting the ball:-

a) from a free ball or any re-start

b) so that it will fall, beyond the immediate control of the hitter, directly into the opponent’s circle.

c) inside the opponent’s circle when the hit is not intended as a shot at the goal.

d) in a way that will contravene Rule 9.8. The dangerously played ball.

e) with an edge hit from either side of the body that raises the ball above sternum height at an opponent within 20m (knee height when at an opponent within 5m).

The prohibition on a hard forehand edge hit is deleted.

(see https://martinzigzag.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/a-suggested-rewrite-rule-9-8/)

Intention to raise the ball in a way that is non-compliant (i.e. above shoulder height or dangerously as defined by sternum and knee height limitations within the relevant distances) is irrelevant, it is a breach of the Rule even if done accidentally: a deliberate breach of the Rule should attract a more severe penalty than an accidental mishit.

Exception. A player who is in controlled possession of the ball, both before and after hitting it, e.g. is dribbling with the ball, may raise it up to knee height with a hit while entering the opponent’s circle in order to evade opponents but:-

The practice of putting the ball up and then hitting a shot at the goal on the volley before the ball falls to ground or as it bounces up from the ground, on the half-volley, following a lift made specifically to achieve such bounce, is to be discouraged and in no circumstances may the ball be raised to above sternum height with such a volley or half-volley hit

The practice of running with the ball while bouncing it on the stick – up to shoulder height – is not prohibited until and unless it is done at above elbow/sternum height within the playing reach of an opponent who is in position to contest for the ball. If it is continued to that point it should be considered dangerous play or play likely to lead to dangerous play and penalised. (This is a restoration from previous Advice to umpires) Ball bouncing at knee height or below is permitted even in contested situations. It is not permitted to bounce the ball on the stick to above shoulder height in any circumstances. Bouncing the ball on the stick and then making a bounced pass raised above shoulder level to other player (or the player in possession lofting the ball ahead in this way to run onto on the far side of opponents) is a breach of the Rule (such passing is legal with a flick, scoop or lob and therefore not necessary with a hit stroke).

A distinction needs to be made between dribblers carrying out what are termed 3D skills, especially as they enter the opponents circle and then take a shot while the ball is still in the air, and what might be termed a hurling style hit shot. This is a matter for common sense and subjective judgement made with an emphasis on the safety of players. If the ball is hit while it is in the air, particularly when taking a shot at the goal, it must not be raised if there are defending players other than a fully protected goalkeeper between the striker and the goal on the flight path of the ball. This falls within the already demanded play with consideration for the safety of other players and playing responsibly: opponents should not be forced to self-defence from a raised shot.

A shot made at the goal that is not made towards the position of an opponent is not in any way restricted unless made with an edge hit.

A shot raised to head height that is directed within the shoulder width of an opponent is to be considered at that opponent even if it will miss that player’s head – such a shot, if evaded, will be considered legitimately evaded and deemed to be a dangerously played ball. A hit shot or deflection raised to knee height or above and towards an opponent who is positioned within 5m of the striker must be penalised as dangerous play even if it is a shot on goal. A hit shot or deflection, even if it is a shot on goal, raised to sternum height or above and at high velocity (at a velocity that could injure) towards an opponent who is positioned within 19m of the striker (flank edge of circle to far goal-post) must be penalised as dangerous play if it forces an opponent to self defence. There is an emphasis on safety, players must play with consideration for the safety of other players. It is important that reckless and dangerous shooting that is also towards opponents be eliminated from the game.

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/12/a-suggested-rewrite-of-rule-9-9/

March 8, 2018

Why did this happen.

FIELD HOCKEY RULES.

How did this happen….

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all but the last two obstructive incidents were ignored by the umpires and even then, the penultimate one was revered on video referral after the silly award of a penalty stroke and the other, the last, was only penalised after several seconds, when a second opponent was obstructed in the same way as the first one continued to be. The penalty given was a penalty corner and not the penalty stroke that should have been awarded.

…. from this?

9.12 Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball. (The Rule, aside from the clauses relating to third party and the clause ‘physically interfering with the stick or body of an opponent’ , assumes possession of the ball)

Players obstruct if they :

back into an opponent


physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent


shield the ball from a legitimate tackle with their stick or any part of their body.


A stationary player receiving the ball is permitted to face in any direction.


A player with the ball is permitted to move off with it in any direction EXCEPT bodily into an opponent or into a position between the ball and an opponent who is within playing distance of the ball and attempting to play it. (my bold and upper case).

(I have not here included the clauses that describe third party obstruction)

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

Restating the last clause above in its parts and in the prohibitive format previously used.

A player in possession of the ball is not permitted to:-

move bodily into an opponent

move into a position between the ball and an opponent who is attempting to play at the ball.

The clauses ……

Players obstruct if they:-

back into an opponent (back into the playing reach of an opponent – not into contact with because that action is separately listed)

physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent. (includes interfering with a stick by a stick) 

move bodily into an opponent (physical contact)

…….do not require that an opponent (a tackler) be attempting to play at the ball at the time of the given action. This is reasonable because backing into the playing reach of an opponent (forcing retreat to avoid physical contact) or physical contact/interference by a ball holder with an opponent who is trying to position to tackle could make a tackle attempt impossible or make an attempt to tackle unfairly difficult.

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

The complete list:-

Players obstruct if they:-

move bodily into an opponent

physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent.

back into an opponent

move into a position between the ball and an opponent who is attempting to play at the ball.

(that is ball shielding to prevent a tackle attempt without there being any form of physical contact).

The unsatisfactory answers to How? and Why? are “Interpretation” and “The acceptance of this interpretation”.

But where do these interpretations come from? That appears to be anybodies guess.

I can’t see any reason that the interpretations of the actions seen in the video clips (that ‘saw’ nearly all of them as legitimate play) should be accepted by anybody, because such interpretation is clearly contrary (provided word meanings remain consistent) to what is given in Rule 9.12 Obstruction.

Are word meanings reasonably consistent? Is it likely (probable) that A player shall not move bodily into an opponent has several meanings in this time and place and one of them is that players are permitted to move bodily into an opponent – and, irrationally, that is the one used in hockey? If this is so we can despair of ever having a written Rules of Hockey that is adhered to.

It must however be acknowledged that for many years, from 1993 to 2004 for example, we had a provided interpretation in the back of the rule-book that could not be adhered to. That it was written by someone who did not understand how hockey is played is evident from the fact that he wrote it as he did. It contained the same kind of impossible conditions and contradictions that ‘The Lifted Ball’, an umpire coaching document by the same author, contained. Here is part of it:-

The Moving Player

The variations in this instance are many but the principles are:

∙ the onus is on the tackler to be in, and if necessary move to, a position from which a legitimate tackle can be made. Once in the correct position the following conditions must also be satisfied before obstruction can occur.

∙ there must be an intention to make a tackle. in essence the tackler must be attempting to move the stick towards the ball.

∙ the timing of the tackle must be precise because, until the tackler is in a tackling position and intending to make the tackle, the player with the ball may move off with the ball in any direction (except bodily into the tackler).

This interpretation of obstruction allows players to receive a ball, play or pass it in any direction, and only to be penalised if obstruction takes place at the time a properly placed tackler tries to make the tackle.

However, umpires should note certain forms of obstruction which are often incorrectly overlooked. In particular, preventing a legitimate tackle by intentionally shielding the ball with the body or leg is obstruction.

Stick obstruction and interference is prohibited; no player may strike at or interfere with an opponent’s stick. The player with the ball may not use the stick to shield or protect the ball from a legitimate tackle.

To be fair, the above interpretation was written about the exemption from the Obstruction Rule of a player who was in the act of receiving the ball, and it was not intended as an interpretation of obstruction at all (which remained exactly as it had before 1993. What constituted an obstructive action, the criteria for obstruction, continued to be exactly as it had been previously) but as an explanation of an exception to the Obstruction Rule, vis-a-vis tackling, when the ball was being received by a player: the dramatic change the author sat down to write about and mistakenly called a new interpretation.

This ‘new interpretation’ was very quickly being applied to a player who was already in controlled possession of the ball – not at all what was intended to be taken from what was written in the first four paragraphs above – and this mistake became universal as it was copied and ‘cascaded’.

Why there was differentiation made between a stationary receiving player and a moving receiving player, I can’t even guess. A more sensible differentiation could and should have been made between a player already  in controlled possession of the ball and a player receiving the ball – moving or stationary. The stationary/moving divide only confused participants further because there is in fact no difference in the application of the Obstruction Rule between them.

The part about a player already in controlled possession of the ball begins at paragraph five with “However, umpires should note certain forms of obstruction which are often incorrectly overlooked. In particular, preventing a legitimate tackle by intentionally shielding the ball with the body or leg is obstruction.and that paragraph is all the attention body obstruction by a player in possession of the ball (the most frequently contravention) gets in “the new interpretation” – and it is mistaken, bringing into consideration for the first time an intention to illegally shield the ball from an opponent, which has never been a consideration. Shielding the ball can be obstruction, but as an obstruction offence must be forced by an attempt by a tackler to play at the ball, intent to obstruct is irrelevant if there is obstruction.

In 2001 the words in the first paragraph “and if necessarywere deleted (I don’t know for certain why, there was no explanation offered at the time, but the cynic in me can make a guess). The 1993 ‘interpretation’ otherwise remained, as presented in part above, until the rule-book was re-formatted and rewritten in 2004 – when it was deleted. Hockey coaches and umpires in the meantime (and since, despite its deletion) have used this ‘interpretation’ to destroy the game by coaching and applying it inappropriately.

In 2009  the Explanation of Application clause to the rewritten Rule, A player with the ball is permitted to move off with it in any direction except bodily into an opponent., was extended, to read:-

A player with the ball is permitted to move off with it in any direction except bodily into an opponent or into a position between the ball and an opponent who is within playing distance of the ball and attempting to play it.

But this damage limitation attempt, the last amendment made to the Obstruction Rule by the FIH Hockey Rules Board, was too little too late (the penalising of obstruction had practically vanished by then) and most umpires today seem to be unaware of it – never mind to be applying it. This is generally because they are still applying the interpretation of ‘attempting to play at the ball’, extent up until 2003 (which was as explained above originally intended to be applied to a player attempting to tackle an opponent who was in the act of receiving the ball  – the ‘interpretation’ came instead to be about the positioning of a tackler and not about a player committing an obstruction offence). This ‘interpretation’ (which included the pre-2004 version) was handed down by word of mouth from older umpires to those taking their places with all the personal opinion, inconsistency, variation and mistake such a method of communication enjoys.

The only mention, following the 2004 deletion and rewrite, the revolutionary exception of 1993 gets in the 2009 (and the current) Obstruction Rule, is a statement that a stationary player receiving the ball is permitted to be facing in any direction. How’s that for clarification? The current, mistaken, view, ‘interpretation’ coming from that statement, is that a player in possession of the ball may at any time be standing facing in any direction regardless of the positioning of opponents and the position of the ball; not at all what the Rule now stipulates and not what was intended in 1993.

The story of the ‘development’ of the interpretation of the Obstruction Rule is one of a losing battle, beginning I think with the idea that a stationary player in possession of the ball could not obstruct, even if facing his or her own goal and within the playing reach of opponents who were intent on playing at the ball which came from this:-

OBSTRUCTION AND INTERFERENCE (Rue 13.1.4)

This note describes two primary playing circumstances: the stationary player and the moving player.

The principles are :

The Stationary Player
∙ the receiving, stationary, player may be facing in any direction
∙ the onus is on the tackler to move into position, for example usually to move round the receiver to attempt a legitimate tackle

No tackler with any common sense is going to try to tackle by moving around a stationary opponent in possession of the ball – the ball holder will of course just turn away in the opposite direction and into the space just vacated by his or her opponent. This interpretation just set up a situation where a single tackler could not tackle a competent player who had possession of the ball and who was prepared to shield it and wait for a tackle attempt or for team support (it slowed the game and ‘holding’ the ball in the corner of the pitch or against a base-line or side-line became a common tactic). The above Interpretation was deleted in 2004. Only this fragment of it remains in current Rule.

a stationary player receiving the ball is permitted to be facing in any direction    (this does not state that a player in possession of the ball is permitted to be facing in any direction when an opponent is attempting to play at the ball)

Cris Maloney an American umpire coach is currently coaching what he says FIH Umpires are doing, that is going beyond the above ‘stationary player’ statement to include a player in possession of the ball and also allowing a ball holder to move backwards towards an opponent while shielding the ball from that opponent – as long as the ball holder does not make physical contact with the opponent – which is his own interpretation.

https://martinzigzag.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/a-peculiar-interpretation/

But it is clear from the video posted at the head of this article that that ‘interpretation’ is ‘old hat’. FIH Umpires have for many years been allowing full-on contact by a player who is receiving the ball or who is in controlled  possession of the ball – it’s only an opponent who positions to block the ball or who attempts to tackle such a player, who risks being penalised – for impeding or physical contact. The application of the Rules – some Rules more than others – is in a state of anarchy. The back-into interpretation presently being promoted by Cris Maloney et al was but a step along the way.

Hockey has generally become ugly and less, not more skillful, as it should have done, over the last twenty-five years. Oh, we see videos of people with amazing juggling skills practicing in uncontested situations, moves that are not legal in a hockey match, but the free-flowing passing and dribbling game, the ‘new interpretation’ was supposed to herald an expansion of, has all but vanished. The fact that defenders can shield the ball and move with it while shielding it without any fear of penalty, equates with the unwelcome turning, shielding and barging tactics of attackers trying to penetrate the shooting circle in possession of the ball and turns hockey into a farce, a game without properly applied Rules.

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/08/why-did-this-happen/

March 3, 2018

Ball raised towards an opponent.

FIELD HOCKEY RULES.

Accidents.

Other than requiring that players play with consideration for the safety of others, that is responsibly and not wildly or recklessly, there is little else that can be done to prevent accidental injury caused by the ball. But playing responsibly is not a little, it is a lot and requires skill (stick and ball control) and self-control.

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It always causes outrage when it is suggested that a spectacular goal should have been disallowed. But this shot (below) caused legitimate evasive action by two defenders on its flight path – either of them could have been badly injured by it,  (the player closer to the goal could have been killed) and it should have been penalised as dangerous play. The attacker who was obviously careless of who was in front of him and with the circle crowded with players, (deliberately) raised the ball high towards the goal with the hardest edge-hit he could make.

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Below, another reckless shot. The attacker had time and space to make an alternative shot and even to pass the ball to a team-make near the right-hand goal-post, but choose instead to raise the ball with an edge-hit towards the goal and ‘through’ a defender directly in front of his position.
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Here below the shooter ‘targets’ the head of the post defender. Don’t believe it? You ought to, it’s a coached tactic. It’s not a coincidence that it happens so often. Legitimate evasive action taken and ignored, goal awarded – ‘accepted’ umpiring.

There is no good reason why a drag-flick shot made towards a defending opponent should not be height limited. A suitable height may be sternum height, which is about 120cms on a standing male senior (that is about head height when this player is in a dribbling crouch). This height could easily and cheaply be marked on a goal with an elasticated tape which would be readily adjusted to 110cms for women and 100cms for juniors. There is no need to limit the height of any flick shot that is not made towards an opponent. i.e. a shot that cannot cause legitimate evasive action.

Goal with adjustable height limit tape.

 


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.The intention of the attacker in the incident below was I think to propel the ball towards the forward close to the goal, for a hit or deflection into the goal. The defender seeing that possibility moved out to mark the attacker and had no chance to avoid being hit with the ball, which came at him on a high path he did not expect. I don’t know how the match was restarted, but a bully seems appropriate, neither player committed an offence.

 

This incident below shows a similar tactic but performed in a different (and illegal) way. The IND shooter uses a hard forehand edge hit (an action which is specifically prohibited) to raise the ball towards his team-mate . The second IND player then deflects the ball up into the body of the CAN defender – which was a dangerous play offence. The umpire awarded a penalty corner – of course, the ball hit a defender in the body.

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I have dozens of video clips which show a player raising the ball towards an opponent, often intentionally sometimes not. I chose the one below because the stroke used to propel the ball is not clear (the frame rate of the original video did not catch much of the movement of the stick). Why chose a clip where the stroke used is not clear? Because it does not much matter what stroke is used if the ball is raised and other criteria are also breached (and intention will also be irrelevant if the player hit is within 5m).


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The other criteria are not too demanding; if the opponent is within 5m, a flick or scoop made towards that opponent is dangerous play (not can be, may be, might be but, is dangerous play)

If the ball is intentionally raised with a hit towards an opponent that is an offence without the need for other criteria, there is no distance advice associated with the prohibition on the intentionally raised hit. Then there is the Rule (participants must) about playing with consideration for the safety of other players, and the admonishment heading Rule 9 Conduct of Play, that players are expected to act responsibly. Raising the ball towards another player cannot be considered responsible play when that action is an offence (forcing ball-body contact onto an opponent is still an offence if other Rule is breached. Other Rule is generally what is given with Rule 9.9.

Raising the ball towards another player, with any stroke, intentionally or not, is an offence if doing so causes that player to take legitimate evasive action (action to try to avoid being hit with the ball). There is no distance advice given with legitimate evasive action so such evasion is valid (legitimate) at any distance where the evading player has reason to fear that he or she will be hurt if hit with the ball; a typical situation would be a ball raised towards a goal when defenders are positioned between the goal and the player propelling the ball – a drag-flick during a penalty corner for example.

The commonly held view that defenders who are positioned between a shooter and the goal are “Asking for it” and should not be there, is no more than an erroneous view held by those who are ignorant of the Rules of the game (the oft quoted “Acceptance of Risk” does not (cannot) apply where the actions of an opponent endanger a player and are not Rule compliant. All players are entitled to expect the protection from endangerment provided by the correct application and proper observance of the Rules).

The defending ARG player in the video takes evasive action but is still hit with the raised ball (which appears to have been raised intentionally to try to get the ball past the defender), that was not an offence by the ARG player but by the CAN player. (the ARG player was penalised)

Try to avoid doing what you see FIH Umpires doing in these situations, they are following briefings, not the Rules of Hockey. They follow briefings, which are intended to ensure that all umpires are making the same decisions consistently – (therefore ignoring the relevant subjective criteria in each incident). They have, by previous similar decisions, trained players to expect them to keep umpiring in the same way and then, using circular reasoning, use this ‘player expectation’ as a justification for the decisions they make.

Being consistently incorrect is not seen as a fault but as the acceptable cost of consistency – it is easier and expected that an umpire penalise a player who has been hit with the ball. The fact that is may also be absurdly unfair is irrelevant. “That’s the way it is interpreted” is a ‘stone wall’ of indifference to fair play. It is ironic that a match umpire is the sole judge of fair play.

I have to ask ‘the interpretation’ of what? What wording is being interpreted in a way that is the opposite of a common sense literal interpretation of the words used in the Rules of Hockey? There isn’t any other wording. If it’s not interpretation of actions based on the wording of the relevant Rules or a reasonable interpretation of the words used in the Rules, and it isn’t, it cannot be, then how did this interpretation (invention) arise?

Listen to the commentator in the following video explaining an ‘interpretation’ – which I hope is now ‘dead’ but was the prevailing one for some time after this initial incident in which it was applied, during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (I have no idea where the commentator got the ‘interpretation’ he was ‘quoting’ (???) but it fits with bizarre commentary on other matches which he has irresponsibly broadcast). Did the commentator invent it or was he given instruction (a Rule briefing) by an FIH official (an Umpire Manager or Tournament Director)?

Maybe, like many umpires, he followed the briefing he was given without knowing or considering (caring) whether or not it was Rule compliant, the main thing with umpires (and commentators) is to be ‘in the group’, ‘ to go with the flow’, not ‘to rock the boat’ to ensure that he him/her-self is ‘accepted’ and asked to umpire (commentate) at a high level event again.

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This award of a penalty stroke seems to follow the above “Cannot be dangerous” ‘interpretation’, but the shot clearly endangers two players.

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This incident from the 2018 Women’s World Cup is as bad a the one shown above. The ball was raised into the Japanese player at considerably above knee height (it hit the crouching defender on the collarbone) and from well within 5m. Clearly a dangerous play offence yet a penalty stroke was awarded. It difficult to see what possible advantage the Japanese player was supposed to have gained (not that that is important, when there is prior dangerous play any gain of advantage for the team of the player hit with the ball becomes irrelevant, the dangerous play must be penalised. This incident resulted in an award of a penalty stroke to the New Zealand team: an example of umpire ‘brain fade’.

Other examples:-

The next two clips show examples of a player in possession of the ball raising it into a close opponent – in the first with a flick, an action which is specified in the Explanation to Rule 9.9 as dangerous play. In the second with an intentionally raised hit – directly contrary to Rule 9.9. In both incidents the player hit with the ball was penalised.

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The two incidents below show a similar action at different levels of play – a drag-flick raised high into an out-runner during a penalty corner. The AUS international player was hit on the upper arm just below his shoulder. Had he been hit below the knee, as a Dutch attacker claimed he was, another penalty corner would by Rule have been mandatory – an absurd contradiction of dangerous play as described in the Explanation given with Rule 9.9.

I am not claiming the current Rules are perfect – very far from it. I want to change them all – a hit that is raised into an opponent within 5m should also be declared in Rule to be dangerous play. At the moment penalising that action depends on the judgement of intent (of the shooter) and of legitimate evasive action – both subjective judgements.

I have no idea what the offence, which was penalised with a penalty corner, the veteran out-runner in the second incident was supposed to have committed. The offence by the shooter is clear – but the umpire instantly awarded a penalty corner, rather than stopping time to check on the injured defender.
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https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/03/ball-raised-towards-an-opponent/

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March 3, 2018

Where the offence occurred

FIELD HOCKEY RULES
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9.9. Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal.

A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether or not it is raised intentionally.

9.8 Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.

A ball is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.

The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.

13.1 Location of a free hit :
a a free hit is taken close to where the offence occurred

‘Close to’ means within playing distance of where the offence occurred and with no significant advantage gained.

 When any play is dangerous play in midfield a similar play when a shot at the goal is taken  has also to be considered dangerous play – the same play must be treated in the same way in both circumstances.

The legality of a lifted hit is an entirely different matter from dangerous play – although a raised hit may be directly dangerous to another player or lead to dangerous play, it may not always do so. I have yet to see a raised hit-shot at a goal that was hit above the standing head height of a defender or a drag-flick that was going over or, not close to but past the head of a ducking defender on the goal-line, penalised as dangerous play – and it is unlikely I ever will, because evasive action is not necessary in such circumstances and therefore cannot be legitimate (necessary, genuine, rather than legal, evasive action is always legal).

The word ‘also’, recently added to the Explanation of Application of Rule 9.8. A ball is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players. although useful in other circumstances ‘muddies the water’ a bit in the scenario shown in the video, but there should be no confusion if common sense is applied. (An impossibility I know)

The correct location of a free ball (or penalising the right team for the wrong offence) may seem trivial matters, but if umpiring is seen by players to become this sloppy or mistaken  they quickly lose confidence in the judgement of umpires and this can have an effect when the umpires are making more important – game result changing – decisions.

The free ball should have been awarded for the intentional raising of the ball with a hit, not for dangerous play – as it happened the danger (if there was any danger) was not caused at the place it occurred – a distinction lost on those who do not understand that there is a difference between the meanings of ’caused’ and ‘occurred’ –

It is interesting that the umpire who did not penalise the hitter (or was it the other way about?) did not intervene when his colleague ordered a free ball taken, for an offence that did not occur, about 20m from where it should have been taken for the offence that did occur. A double ‘brain fade’ or umpires so intent on supporting each other that one would not correct the other even when the mistake made was obvious? There is an element of this apparent in some video referrals: it should not happen, the umpires should work together to achieve the correct decision – not just to spare each others blushes.

Even if there was endangerment of the NED midfielder the free ball should have been awarded for the intentionally raised hit – it would have been the first offence and much the nearer to the BEL goal – so a penalty awarded where the offence occurred and the more advantageous positioning for the team offended against.

Here is another similar type of odd decision about the placement of a free ball following an intentionally raised hit. The first offence was the illegal hit not the illegal contesting for the aerial ball at the place it was landing. The free ball was placed some 40m behind where it should have been.

 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/03/where-the-offence-occurred/

 

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March 2, 2018

Hitting the ball illegally

FIELD HOCKEY RULES

Aside from ‘back-sticks’ there are two types of illegal hit according to the Rules of Hockey.
1) A hard forehand edge hit.
2) The intentional raising of the ball with any type of hit stroke unless shooting at the opponents’ goal from within their circle.

9.6 Players must not hit the ball hard on the forehand with the edge of the stick.

This does not prohibit use of the edge of the stick on the forehand in a controlled action in a tackle, when raising the ball in a controlled way over an opponent’s stick or over a goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges who is lying on the ground or when using a long pushing motion along the ground.

9.9 Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal.

A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether or not it is raised intentionally. It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the field unless it is dangerous. If the ball is raised over an opponent’s stick or body on the ground, even within the circle, it is permitted unless judged to be dangerous.

Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous. A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 5 metres is considered dangerous.

Both of the above Rules require an umpire to make a subjective judgement. Rule 9.6. requires the judgement  of ‘hard’ and Rule 9.9. of ‘intentional’ and therefore despite some very clear objective criteria, much as the Obstruction Rule and the ball body contact/dangerous play Rules, 9.6 and 9.9 are seldom applied as they should be, if at all.

The subjective criteria in both of these Rules could and I think should, be replaced with a more appropriate objective criterion to improve application. I see no good reason that all intentional raising of the ball with a hit stroke should be prohibited (unless making a shot at the opponent’s goal from within their circle) – in fact that seems back-to-front to me. I do see reason to prohibit raising the ball at high velocity towards another player who is within 20m of the player hitting (or drag-flicking) the ball and that prohibition could reasonably depend on a height criterion – elbow or sternum height and on ball velocity.

I believe that in the area outside the circle an absolute limit could be placed on the height to which a ball can legally be raised with a hit if not propelled towards an opponent – this would prevent the making of the pitch length hits which were popular in the mid 1980’s (and which led to the imposition of the present prohibition on an intentionally raised hit) and the dangers which accompanied the making of those hits by players without the necessary skill would be avoided. I think shoulder height would be a suitable absolute limit. So in the circle a hit shot (or drag flick) at the goal would not be height limited unless the ball was propelled towards another player – in which case it would be limited to sternum height. The word intentionally could be struck out of the Rule.

Two other amendments are necessary. Raising the ball with a hit to propel the ball away from the hitter’s control and into the opponent’s circle to be prohibited (together with abolishing the present restriction on playing the ball into the opponent’s circle from a free ball awarded in their 23m area). Edge hits, both fore and reverse, to be height limited – to either knee height or sternum heigt – the word ‘hard’ could then be struck out. I would go further and abolish the offence of back-sticks, but that may be too much of a change for some to swallow although it would  make no difference at all to the way hockey is now played and would expand stick-work skills by expanding the available skill options.

In the following video there are nine examples of an illegal hit stroke incident shown, only the eighth incident (which comprised of three concurrent offences, a forehand edge hit, intentional raising of the ball with a hit and dangerous play – raising the ball towards an opponent who was within 5m, and injuring him) was penalised. I have written brief description of the action in each incident and a comment for each below.

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1) From a 23m restart following the ball going out of play over the base-line, the first ARG player passes the ball backwards to a team-mate who uses a forehand edge-hit in an attempt to raise the ball into the circle. The raised ball is accidentally deflected up and out of play over the base-line by a defender. The umpire having not noticed the illegal action of the ARG hitter (or having ignored it) awards another 23m restart for the attackers.

2) This incident occurred during a shootout, with both umpires positioned close to the play, presumably to ensure Rule compliance and fair play. The illegal hard forehand edge-hit was ignored (not seen?) and a goal awarded.

3) A free ball awarded to the ARG team about 1m outside the 23m line was hit hard and raised with forehand edge-hit. The ball struck a defending ESP player positioned just outside the circle, on the leg. The umpires, not noticing or ignoring these two offences (I cannot suggest that FIH Umpires are unaware of these Rules) award a free ball to ARG for the ball-leg contact. It is difficult to see what advantage, if any, the ESP team gained from the accidental ball-leg contact.

4) I am not sure if this hit was from a free ball taken inside the 23m line, but if it was the ball should not have been played directly into the circle at all. The BEL attacker uses a hard forehand edge hit to raise the ball into the circle, clearly to the disadvantage of the NZ team because a NZ player deflects the raised ball into the body of a team-mate. There is no evidence of any advantage gained by the NZ team because of the  ball-body contact  had the contact not occurred it seems probable that the ball would have gone into the possession of the NZ team. The offences of the player making the illegal hit were ignored and a penalty corner was awarded.

5) EHL match. The right flank (light blue) player uses a hard forehand edge hit to raise the ball into the circle – which was to the disadvantage of the defending team. These two offences were not penalised.

6) The picture quality on this video is poor. Not a forehand edge hit but an AUS player intentionally raises the ball with a hit into the circle. The illegally raised ball travels at about chest height towards an IND defender who is about 5m away.  The  IND player parries the ball with his stick and deflects it to another AUS attacker who is positioned near to the baseline (so the IND team are disadvantaged by the illegally raised hit). The second AUS attacker waits in possession of the ball until he is closed down by the same IND defender and then raises the ball into his thigh from close range (less than 2m). The umpire awarded a penalty corner, thus ignoring an intentionally raised hit and two instances of dangerous play by the AUS team.

7) An IND attacker used a hard forehand edge hit to raise the ball towards the goal from the top of the circle (it is not possible because of the frame rate of the original video to see if the ball was struck from inside the circle, but this is irrelevant anyway, the hit was illegal because a forehand edge hit was used to make it). If the ball was hit from outside the circle the intentional raising of the ball with a hit of any description would be illegal. The ball traveled towards a second IND attacker positioned in front of the goal who was  marked by a CAN player. The second IND attacker deflected the ball up into the arm of the CAN player (who could not avoid being hit at that range) this was clearly dangerous play by the IND player. The umpire awarded a penalty corner.

8) As mentioned previously, this illegal raising of the ball, use of a forehand edge-hit and dangerous play, were penalised by the umpire. The GER player was completely  ignorant of the Rules or despite knowing he was in breach of three Rules had the ‘brass neck’ to claim that the NZ player had committed a ball-body contact offence.

9) The AUS player intentionally raises the ball with a slap or punt hit across the circle towards the ARG goal.(to the disadvantage of an ARG defender and the ARG team) The ARG goalkeeper tries to kick the ball clear but propels it accidentally into the back of the legs of one of her own team, the ball then rolled out of play. This ball-body contact was of disadvantage to the ARG team, not the AUS team. Mysteriously the umpire, having ignored the initial raised hit offence by the AUS player, awarded a penalty conrner to the AUS team. For what?

It is not easy to understand what is going on concerning the Rules relating to illegal hitting actions, that is why they are so badly applied or ignored. The Rules are set out above, below is advice from the UMB.

Briefing Forehand edge
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Briefing Ball off ground copy

Page three of the UMB, which is headed, Rules of Hockey 2017, contains a paragraph that ends with a statement that the text in the Rule reinforces the existing interpretation. This is a bizarre statement, it must be the other way about – the interpretation must reinforce what is given in the text of the Rule.

The page headed Ball off the Ground (page 11) contains a first clause that is full of contradiction with the Rules of Hockey – and the umpires are anyway – as in the incidents shown in the video clips above – usually ignoring dangerous play as well as ignoring the fact of offence (that the ball has been illegally raised, often to the disadvantage of opponents).

When an offence disadvantages opponents it must be penalised; it is only when an offence is of no disadvantage to opponents that it can be ignored and play allowed to continue. Not all offences are dangerous play or lead to dangerous play.

Dangerous play is by definition of disadvantage to opponents because for there to be dangerous play an opposing player must be endangered (is it necessary to say that being endangered with the ball is a disadvantage to a player? – I’ve done it anyway).

To advise in a briefing document that ball raising offences be ignored (forget lifted) except when they are dangerous in themselves or lead to dangerous play (think danger) is not sound umpire management practice because this not only ignores the wording of the Rule it ignores any disadvantage to opponents. 

The umpires seen officiating in the above video clips (except #8) obviously do not understand the Rules. Rules 9.6 and 9.9. are applied (or not applied) in much the same way as Rule 9.12 is, and misapplied in much the same way as Rule 9.11. is misapplied. These umpires are consistently poor in the application of these Rules and there is not much common sense in evidence. There is therefore no good reason not to amend these Rules with the aim of achieving better compliance from both players and umpires.

In the first part of the video below the umpire ‘forgets’ lifted but he does not ‘think danger’ (here play leading to dangerous play). That close to the opposing goalkeeper, who was competing for the ball, the team-mate of the player who illegally raised the ball into the circle could not have been the initial receiver; the ball was potentially dangerous from the moment it was raised (I have no doubt about the flank player’s intention to raise the ball but would prefer a Rule situation where it was not necessary to determine intent – that the ball was raised into the circle should be sufficient to call an offence – as it was prior to the introduction of the Rule prohibiting the intentionally raised hit))

I am anyway firmly of the opinion that no player should be permitted to play or attempt to play at an above shoulder ball while in the opponents circle, especially if it is possible that the type of play seen in the video would not be considered by umpires to be dangerous. We have been taken in one step, by Rule amendment, from a situation where a defender who attempted to play at a shot at the goal that was going wide of the target would have to be penalised with a penalty corner (mandatory) to what looks like a free-for-all.

In the second incident the raised hit across the goal was obviously intended as a pass and not a shot at the goal and was therefore illegally raised. It is not possible (fair or safe) for the umpire to ‘forget lifted’ in such circumstances.

Back in 1997 when the Off-side Rule was finally abolished, the then FIH Hockey Rules Board promised that measures would be put in place to prevent attackers behaving in a dangerous way close to the goal (‘goal-hanging’, not previously possible, was a concern). These measures never materialized; in fact the opposite has happened, what little Rule protection there was for defending players after 1997 has been ruthlessly stripped away. Comment about this (from someone who pointed out he was a qualified umpire) is contained in my article ‘Reckless endangerment’ and illustrates a present common attitude towards players who are defending the goal when a raised shot is made.

https://martinzigzag.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/reckless-endangerment/

 

Below, another example in which there is penalising of a second offence rather than the first offence and awarding of the free ball in the wrong place (the first offence led to the second offence and was therefore – Rule 9.8 – also dangerous play).


 

https://martinzigzag.com/2018/03/02/hitting-the-ball-illegally/