Edited 6th April 2013.
Some of these Wish List suggestions for field hockey Rules, which have been assembled from forum posts made in the past twelve years, could I think be enacted and accepted without much difficulty; others may be harder to accept, some are almost impossible at present. They are not presented in an order of importance but are in headed groups: some are important, some are just ‘tidying -up’.
It is not intended that all suggestions be enacted. There is some conflict among them and a ‘best path’ needs to be taken, or interim measures adopted. There is, for example, a proposal to change the penalty corner format (to a penalty play or power play) but also suggestions about the rulings concerning the present penalty corner format, obviously the implementation of a power-play format would negate the majority of changes suggested for the present penalty corner.
Some suggestions are ‘food for thought’, some are required urgently for safety reasons or for ‘game flow’. Most people will like some of these ideas and hate others, but they are something to think about for all.
Allow players to use any part of the stick to play the ball – back-sticks abolished.
Divide the game into four periods of twenty minutes. Change ends after 2nd.quarter. (Four periods of 17.5 minutes already introduced for EHL)
Stop time when a goal is scored and restart with the whistle when the ball is on the centre spot and teams in position.
Stop time when a normal time penalty corner is awarded (not necessary in an overtime situation). Time is restarted when the umpire is satisfied that all players are in position (exchange signal with college) and then restarts time with the whistle. Guidance will need to include a reminder to players that they may break only after the ball has been played and that the whistle is not a signal to cross the base/goal line or to enter the circle.
Restructure the penalty corner as a 4v4 (or as revised after experiment e.g. 3v3 or 3v4) inserting the ball to beyond the 23m. This would require a complete rewrite of the penalty corner rules as the penalty becomes a limited number game conducted within the 23m area but otherwise as in open play. Attackers having the advantage of possession and field position. (There has been a trial in Australia but information about how that is being received has not been easy to find).
Other penalty corner modifications suggested below are related to the present set-up
Remove the ‘offence’ of a closing defender being struck below the knee with a lifted ball while within 5m of the ball during a penalty corner, which is presently penalised with a mandatory penalty corner (No account is taken of the fact when such defending players are attempting to play the ball with the stick and the presence of this Rule Guidance has led some to believe – or accept- that a raised shot at the goal cannot be dangerous play).
Allow substitutions of players during a penalty corner as long as they do not enter the 23m in which the penalty corner is taking place before it is completed.
Limit the height of any first shot at the goal at a penalty corner that is not made with a hit stroke to 1200mm (elbow height)
Permit blood injury substitutions from those who will be involved in a penalty corner after the penalty corner has been awarded.
During a penalty corner: an initial stroke towards the base-line that is below 460mm – on the goal or wide of the goal – will be deemed to be a pass if another attacker plays the ball before it enters the goal, therefore the height limitation for the first hit at the goal will apply if the first attempt to shoot at the goal by the second attacker is a hit.
At a penalty corner, any initial (first) hit towards the goal line or baseline, that is raised above 460mm should be immediately penalised as a dangerous play offence (penalised at present but not an offence).
It should be an offence for an attacker to play the ball after it is ‘inserted’ at a penalty corner but before it has left the circle area, i.e. crossed completely over the line of the circle.
With the exception of defenders playing at an above shoulder shot at the goal, restore the objective criteria of the ‘sticks’ Rule – no part of the stick to be raised above shoulder height when playing or attempting to play a ball that is below shoulder height (usually a ball on the ground) – except when there is no opponent within 2m of the player playing the ball.
Add to definitions of a dangerously played ball – any ball that is played directly at a player, at a velocity that could cause injury and at above elbow height. (the present dangerous if raised above knee height at a player who is within 5m to remain in place, but the distance could perhaps be reduced to 3m)
Most flicks and even hits from beyond 5m and below knee height will not be dangerous to an aware player. Many flicks and hits between knee and elbow height may not be dangerous to aware opponents especially when they are made from beyond 5m. Most lobs and scoops directed towards aware opponents, even when falling from above head height will not be dangerous to opponents who are given the required space to play the ball.
Many hits and flicks made to propel the ball at high velocity above knee height when opponents are close – usually within playing distance of the ball but even beyond 5m – are however both reckless and dangerous. Many flicks and hits lifted to between elbow and head height, especially when they are used to propel the ball at high velocity and/or players are unsighted or unprepared, are both reckless and dangerous – even when propelled at opponents from 14m or more.
A ball propelled at above knee height directly at a player who is within three meters of the striker will be considered dangerous. A ball raised at another player that is lifted above elbow height will be considered dangerous at any distance where the velocity of the ball could cause injury (including shots at the goal).
A ball raised at a player, who is more than three metres from the lifter, to above knee-height but below elbow heigh to be judged on velocity i.e. the propensity of the ball to cause injury and the forcing of self defence. Forcing a player to self-defence from a ball lifted at that player at above elbow height to be an offence (but could be “play-on” if the player copes with it without disadvantage) irrespective of the skill level or field-position of the player concerned – including in front of goal: “at a velocity that could injure” the only relevant factor in the making of the decision.
Restore “A player shall not lift the ball at another player” but with guidance that permits some lifting of the ball towards opponents. i.e. Lifting of the ball that is not dangerous or reckless and does not force unavoidable foot/body contact.
Restore the offence of ‘forcing’, the deliberate ‘creation’ of a breach of Rule by an opponent . In particular forced foot/ball contact and the forcing of self-defence (evasion or attempted evasion) of a raised ball.
It has to be understood however, that an opponent in possession of the ball who is shielding it from a player, is forced to an ‘obstruction’ offence by the attempt of the challenging player to play the ball and such forcing is legitimate play – an obstructive offence will not occur unless there is such forcing. This is not the same action as a player in possession of the ball pushing it past a close opponent and then running into that opponent claiming to be obstructed.
Prohibit any raising of the ball into the opponent’s circle with a hit. Also ban intentional deflecting of the ball, so that it is raised from outside the attacked circle into the circle, at above knee height or goes above knee height (before any other stick contact) within the circle.
Forbid lifting the ball into the air and hitting it again, while it is still in the air, as a pass or shot at goal, if the ball is lifted above knee height, (either from the initial lift to striking position or from the subsequent hit). This is not intended to prevent a player running with the ball while bouncing it on his stick – a dribbling skill– as long as this is not dangerous and does not lead to dangerous play; it is intended to prevent what might be described as a hurling stroke that propels the ball beyond the strikers immediate reach. This suggestion does not apply to goalkeeper who may lift the ball with the stick and then kick it while it is still in the air (but who may not use a combination of stick and hand-protector in the same way)
Any ball hit to above shoulder height in the outfield may be penalised as reckless, dangerous or time-wasting.
Mark the goal-uprights – use of tape around the net with elasticated fittings to provide height guidance for shot at the goal.
Alternatively - following the suggestion from the Lanco 9′s – widen the goal, to 5m? – but additionally reduce the height of it to 120cms. The cross bar could (for safety reasons) be a 50mm tape of the kind used as tie down straps. Its easy enough to attach a net to the back of such a tape.
Allow lifting of the ball directly from a ‘free-ball’ with any stroke except a hit. (accepted for 2013-15)
Allow (subject to dangerous play) intentional lifting of the ball with a hit in the outfield up to knee height (460 mm), except when hitting the ball from the outfield into the circle. Hits into open space – so not made past an opponent within the playing reach of that opponent – may be made to elbow height provided no opponent is unfairly disadvantage but such a hit.
Free Ball / Self Pass
The taking of a self-pass when opponents are still within 5m of the ball to be considered an advantage played – so normal play resumes immediately. But players of the offending team MUST retreat at reasonable speed immediately the free is awarded. (they should however be permitted to defend themselves with the stick while moving away)
Umpire controls timing of the taking of a ‘free’ with a second whistle. The whistle to be immediate once rules conditions have been met to the satisfaction of the umpire. (Stationary ball; close to position of offence).
Allow players to take the ball down and into control from above shoulder height, when no opponent except a goalkeeper, is within 5m – no defection or volley hitting of an over shoulder height ball to be permitted while the ball is above shoulder height and a ball falling from above head height must touch the ground before a shot at the goal may be attempted.
An attacking player in the circle receiving a lifted ball (or a ball bounced into the circle) should be obliged to play the ball to the ground before a shot at the goal is attempted (a shot which could be a lifted shot) AND/OR any shot at the goal made on the volley at such a received lifted or bounced ball should be directed downwards to enter the goal below elbow height (but not in such a way that a dangerously high bounce up from the ground results before the ball crosses the goal line). So control to ground before shooting or shoot low. The purpose of the proposed change is to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) high shots at the goal, particularly from close range, that are not properly controlled and/or accurately directed and are thus potentially dangerous.
When a player is receiving a falling ball allow an opponent to move to within playing distance of the ball immediately the ball has been played, rather than when in control on the ground. (Not presently legal but generally already permitted without penalty)
In addition to giving 5m playing room to an opponent receiving a ball a ball falling onto their position from above head height before approaching them, players also must allow an opponent similar time and room to play into control a ball that has been lifted up at them (above elbow height) before approaching to attempt to play the ball.
A player will be deemed to have controlled an aerial ball having played it twice with the stick or propelled the ball more than two meters from where it was first played by that player.
If they are already within 5m of an opponent receiving a lifted ball, players do not have to retreat but must not encroach further until the ball is in the control of the opponent. i.e. the opponent has played the ball a second time or propelled it two meters in any direction.
Reconsider the placement of the free given when a ball is lofted to fall onto the position of close opponents and dangerous play (or encroachment) against a defender (opponent of the player of the team which put the ball up) occurs at the place the ball falls. A choice of position for the free could be given to the side offended against. a) at the place the ball fell b) at the place the ball was lifted – and caused – play likely to lead to dangerous play (an umpire judgement).
Prohibit any shielding of the ball by a player in possession of it that prevents the playing of the ball by an opponent who is
a) within playing reach of the ball and
b) who could play at the ball with the stick but for the shielding of it by the ball-holder – with body or stick – and
c) who is demonstrating an intention to play the ball.
This is not really a new suggestion, it is the existing Rule, which has been ignored for so long it has been ‘forgotten’.
Introduce a ‘three-point rule’ players may dive to play at the ball but they cannot play at it again once they are on the ground, (that is other than with the feet and one other point of contact eg. one knee or one hand), until they recover to an ‘on feet’ position. Lying on the ground (i.e. taking up a more than a three point contact position) in a blocking position to facilitate a tackle or force an opponent to go wide, will be an obstructive or impeding offence. Excludes goalkeepers except outside the circle.
Emphasis that backing –into and pushing through an opponent even while in possession of the ball are physical contact offences as well as obstructive fouls and that barging and other physical interference, even while the player concerned is in possession of the ball, is an offence.
Goalkeeper permitted to propel the ball with glove/hand-protectors in any way as long as that is not dangerous. (Introduced in restricted way)
Goalkeeper to be allowed to raise the ball with a hit with the stick as part of a goal-saving action, as long as that is not dangerous to another player.
Abolish the use of a “player with goalkeeping privileges” who uses a helmet to defend Penalty Strokes and Penalty Corners, but may otherwise play without a helmet. Discontinue permit for a team to field eleven outfield player but no goalkeeper. All matches to be played with a fully equipped goalkeeper.
Allow the opposing goalkeeper to either leave the field of play or remove the helmet during an overtime penalty corner should s/he wish to.
Mark out a small zone for the goalkeeper. Attackers not permitted to enter before the ball is in the zone – it may be dribbled into the zone.Attackers not permitted into zone when a shot above 1200mm has been made on the goal from outside the zone, until and unless it is played to ground by a defender – including the goalkeeper. The zone area is envisaged to be based on arc of 2m from each post, joined by a straight line, in a similar way to the setting out of the shooting circle and its purpose is to protect the goalkeeper from the barging and obstructive play that sometimes occurs during long corners or opposition ‘frees’ close to the circle.
Reintroduce restart with bully (or centre hit on the 23m line) after ball accidentally caught in the goalkeeper’s equipment.
Restore ‘gaining unfair benefit’ as an (exceptional) means of creating an offence when there is body/ball contact by a defender , when the benefit gained is either a) the direct prevention of a goal or b) the propelling of the ball, by the player in possession of it to the unfair disadvantage of the opposing team. (The accidental interception of a ‘pass’ or preventing the ball going out of play or obtaining of possession of the ball by unintended ball/body contact is not to be seen as an unfair benefit gained. Players in possession of the ball while dribbling with it or attempting to pass it, should not be rewarded for the lack of skill evident in allowing or causing an opponent to make an accidental contact with the ball, these are ‘play-on’ situations, skillful play does not include propelling the ball to a place where an opponent may intercept it.)
Rule guidance to be added to guidance on ‘advantage’ to prevent a direct rebound from the body of an attacker over the goal-line resulting in the award of a goal when the ball has been illegally (dangerously) lifted into the attacker by a defender (usually the goalkeeper) – defining ‘too much’ advantage.
Ball off back-line by defender to be always a long corner – intent irrelevant.
Introduce new penalty hit centrally on the attacked 23m line to replace long-corner. This penalty restart may also be useful for the penalising of rule breaches in the circle that do not warrant a penalty corner or which previously may have led to a bully
The term ‘free hit’ is a misnomer. A more correct terminology would be ‘free’; ‘free-pass’; or ‘free-ball’. (the change from Long Corner to Corner does not do much for clarity but is the same kind of change). The introduction of the direct lift from a free with any stroke except a hit will make a nonsense of the term Free Hit because a direct lift cannot be hit.
A free ball awarded for an offence that occurs within 5m of the circle to be taken where the offence occurred but played out beyond the hash-circle before it may be played into the circle.
Remove the ban on hitting the ball directly into the circle from a free awarded in the opponents 23m area and outside the hash circle.
Also remove the ‘knock-on’ requirement that a self-passer move the ball 5m (or move the ball 5m from the place the self-pass was taken) before playing the ball into the circle when the self-pass is taken in the attacked 23m area.
Make it clear that an ‘up-ten’ awarded by the umpire is an option. The ball may be moved ‘up to ten metres’ from the position of the initial offence but it could be moved a lesser distance – or not at all. The direction of movement is not specified, it could be radial, so not only moved towards the opponents goal parallel to the sidelines, but at an angle – as long as not moved on any line more than 10m. The facility to move the ball at an angle would, in some circumstances, be more appropriate and give the required additional advantage intended by the ‘up-ten’.
Change the ‘Up 10m’ to an ‘Up 23m’ (but not to beyond 5m from the opponent’s circle) . The gain of 10m is often not worth the delay of the reset – it is in fact sometimes of advantage to the offending team. Allow positioning of the ball anywhere within a radius of 23m from the point of the initial offence (the call following dissent about a previous free awarded for an offence or a subsequent offence e.g. not retreating sufficiently or quickly enough or knocking the ball away). An ‘up 23′ could where appropriate automatically accompany the award of a green card or yellow card.
Add to penalties. A penalty-stroke (and personal penalty) may be awarded for a foul outside the circle but inside the 23m area which directly prevents the scoring of a goal (in particular the throwing a hockey stick from outside the circle at a ball that is going into the goal having been played by an attacker’s stick inside the circle or the throwing of a stick in the same situation but at a player in possession of the ball).
Provide clear diagrams for configuration and measurements of the hockey stick.
Require that the face of the flat of the handle and flat side of the head of a hockey stick are (within a degree or two latitude) in planes parallel to each other and also parallel to the flat surface from which bow to the handle is measured (the stick should not be twisted so that the head and the flat of the handle are in different planes)). Bow measuring to be done with a 25mm cylinder across the entire width of the face of the handle (not separately from either edge with a rule or 25mm upright point).
On synthetic pitches mark the penalty spot as a spot 50mm in diameter and in a colour other than white (blue or red or black). This is for the televised game. When a camera ‘pans’ the circle the penalty spot can often be confusingly mistaken for the ball. This is very noticeable in video.
The Field and The Pitch (playing area bordered by side-lines and base lines) to be defined separately. Pitch marked out within Field, Field to include a recommended surrounding ‘run-off’ area (which is in the control of the umpire).
Link to Index of Rules http://wp.me/p3tNmd-3