A suggested rewrite of Rule 9.9.


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.



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.



2 Comments to “A suggested rewrite of Rule 9.9.”

  1. In my opinion, any shot that would pass within 10cm of the torso, shoulders or head of an opponent (before taking any evasion into account) should be considered dangerous. It’s not only whether it would hit, but whether the opponent would reasonably feel that they should take evasive action because they are within a dangerous margin of error (and thus be intimidated from actually trying to play at the ball).

    Admittedly, I have only played lower grade hockey. Top-level players may have the skill to make more precise judgements.

    • I agree with you but not entirely because I believe the height of the ball also needs to be a consideration. I have previously suggested in ideas for a rewrite of Rule 9.11 that a ball that passes within the width of the shoulders, the head of a defending player should be considered to be at the head of that player and any evasive action taken should therefore be considered to be legitimate. I suggest sternum height (a little above elbow height) as an appropriate height (approx 120cms on an average senior man) for ‘dangerous’ at any distance when the ball is propelled at a velocity that could hurt (cause pain to) to anyone hit with it. It is a height above elbow height which makes it quite awkward to present the stick quickly and accurately to the ball

      A problem with a 10cms margin is that that distance will often be impossible to guage when the player is between the umpire and the path of the ball. A height criteria overcomes that problem.

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