Bquipped Equipment Education

FIH Rule Changes for 2015

Are you keeping up with the latest rules in field hockey? In the past few months the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has decided to change some of the rules in the game of field hockey. These rules will apply to the international level of play in the beginning stages, but may also expand to the collegiate and high school levels in a few years. 
The first rule change has to do with the dotted lines on the pitch (field) that surround the circle. These lines were recently put in place to prevent the attacker from taking the ball right outside of the circle and proceeding to play the ball into the circle. Originally the attacker had to take the ball outside of the hash marks no matter if the foul was inside the hash marks or right on the hash marks. The FIH recently changed this and has decided that you can take the ball from inside the hash marks, but you still must dribble or pass the ball five yards before entering the circle. This also means that the defense must be five yards away from where the ball is taken, meaning that depending on where the ball is, the defender may find themselves inside the circle. 
The second rule has to do with long hits. Now we all know that sometimes long hits are a pain in the neck, so the FIH decided to take them out of the equation. There will no longer be long hits in the international game. If the ball goes over the end line at any point, the ball will be taken straight up from that spot to the 25 yard marker. This means that the ball will be placed on the line and therefore, the attacking team may not play the ball directly into the circle. The defense will still have to be five yards away from the attacking team and the attacking players will also have to play the ball five yards before it can enter the circle.
Although we cannot speak for the FIH directly, we can guess that the rule changes have been made in an attempt to make the game even faster and more enjoyable to watch. The quarter system and shortening of the game length are previous rule changes that were also put in place to improve the speed of the game.
On a personal note, the USA team has been trying to incorporate the rule changes into our most recent practices in an attempt to become more familiar with these updates. The main difference does not have to do with the first new rule, but more so with the long hits and how they are no longer a part of the game. This has taken some getting used to, but definitely allows the attack to be more creative and opens the game up a great deal. Other than that, it is just exciting to see the game progressing and changing for the better of the sport. The new rules will be going into effect at an international level January 1st, 2015, so look out for the differences in play in upcoming international events! 
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