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  1. martinzigzag
    2013-07-23 @ 11:40

    I agree with your comments about the Own Goal. I write a Rules Of Hockey blog and recently added an article about the possible new Rule/s in 2015 – all of the ideas trialed in the EHL have later been accepted into Full FIH Rule – We need to be talking about possible changes now, with trials on-going, not in January 2015 after a Rule has been published in the Rules of Hockey.

    I support the introduction of the facility to stop a ball at above shoulder height (long on my Wish List) but I have strong reservations about permitting deflections (shots) and above shoulder height play by attackers in their opponent’s circle.

    Both the Self-pass and Direct Lift ideas, which I proposed about thirteen years ago, have finally been accepted, yet the powers that be have managed to leave ‘a fly in the ointment’ with both. The Direct Lift should not be permitted to be lifted directly into the opposing circle and an early taken Self-Pass, that is one taken before opponents have been given opportunity to retreat the required 5m, should be treated as what it is – an advantage played.

    • Ernst Baart
      2013-07-23 @ 14:19

      Interesting blog you have there… It will take me some time to read it, but I’ll give it a shot ;)
      For those who have not seen it yet :

      What are your thoughts (or anyone else for that matter) on the item of the Hockey Super 9’s as lauched once again by none other then Aussie coach Ric Charlesworth?
      Check out this YouTube video for his thoughts about it replacing (!!!) our 11 vs 11 hockey :
      I’m not convinced myself but to be honest have not seen it in action either… So I do not see the advantages.

      • martinzigzag
        2013-07-24 @ 00:08

        Replacing the 11 a-side game with one of 9-a-side is an idea suggested and vigorously promoted by the German Coach Horst Wein since the 1970’s, especially for young players. More space a faster game, more ball contact for each individual. It is an idea that has come back into vogue because it also demands a greater level of fitness from players. Producing fit players is something at which the Australian system excels, so naturally Ric Charlesworth is all for it. In the end though it is the most skillful super-fit team that will win. Hockey is and should remain a game of high skill.

        • Ernst Baart
          2013-07-24 @ 11:18

          Martin, I truly do not see the advantage of playing 9v9. The game is already very fast and even too fast for those unfamiliar to the sport. The level of fitness is already a key factor in team success. Yes it will creat some more space but team tactics will always be based upon the nature of the country, regardless if you play 9v9 or 11v11. Germans will be organized, India will be chaos, Aussies will attack, etc… That being said I have not seen many 9v9 games and I applaud innovation and new ideas and think there should always be room for testing these. But when it is clear there is no added value, one should also not be afraid to go back to the way it was before… ;)

  2. cft
    2013-07-23 @ 17:25

    What about splitting the game into quarters. That’s another terrible idea that breaks the game flow and killed the 20th minute mood change that we noticed again in the wotldleague. You could also open the PC controversy. PC hated so much by the Australians since 2010 worldcup and there malefic 1/12 success ratio vs GB

    • Ernst Baart
      2013-07-23 @ 18:30

      Well cft.. I can only partially agree here… I’m no fan myself of the quarter rule myself either. So I’m with you there. However I have no issues with the PC rules as they are. The Aussies had some good pc specialists of their own. Maybe not worldclass but still :)

      • martinzigzag
        2013-07-23 @ 23:55

        Splitting the game into quarters, something that was introduced in the European Hockey League some years ago, is something, that along with rolling substitutions (an Australian innovation) enables the game to be played at a frantic pace – which puts fitness above stick-skill.

        The EHL possibly though that regular breaks (as in American sports) would suite sponsors, particularly television sponsors – but the game is not given much television time, so few big sponsors have surfaced. I don’t think breaking the game into quarters is a bad idea, but the quarters ought to be of 20min rather than 17½min. I believe the biggest advantages are allowing the match officials a chance to relax and confer more often, which helps them maintain concentration and team coaches are allowed a little more input during a match.

        The penalty corner in its present format should be abolished and/or the many danger issues, particularly those associated with the high drag-flick shot, addressed. I favour the introduction of a time-limited power-play in the 23m area – but not in exactly the same form as seen in the Lanco 9’s in Australia.

        • Ernst Baart
          2013-07-24 @ 11:29

          The only advantage of quarters instead of two halves is indeed the possibility for sponsors of the games to add some more advertising for televised games. This is also the same for games streamed on the internet of course… the old skool television is becoming something obsolete in the (near) future anyway…
          I’m not a big fan because it interupts the flow of the game, whether you would do it after 17.5 minutes or 20 minutes does not make much of a difference according to me.
          However if it helps securing more sponsors and improving the ROI for them I’m all for it… ;)

          The penalty corner is good as is for me… Yes there is some danger, there has always been as in many sports. But protective gear could be a solution there. No need to dismiss something unique to our sport I think…

          • martinzigzag
            2013-07-25 @ 04:39

            You wrote “The penalty corner is good as is for me… Yes there is some danger, there has always been as in many sports. But protective gear could be a solution there. No need to dismiss something unique to our sport I think…”

            The argument that something is traditional or unique and for that reason ought to be retained – even in spite of more recent developments which have increased the dangers of it or in spite a general (even if not perfect) improvement as a result of the change, does not appeal to me. I think resistance to change for reasons of ‘tradition’ should not be viewed in the same way as outrageous ‘inventions’ like “An on target shot at the goal cannot be dangerous play” but should be gently discouraged by suggesting better alternatives.

            Off-side in hockey was until the late 1960s, that is over a hundred years, three defenders between the player in possession and the ball (i.e. unique to hockey), now, since 1997 (and after a trial off-side from the (sic) 23m line) , we don’t have it at all (which is also unique to hockey). Was the change, the deletion of the Offside Rule therefore wrong?

            On the other hand I would argue that the deletion of (instead of the amendment of) the ‘gains benefit exception’ clause and the more recent ‘transfer’ (and disappearance of part of) the offence of ‘forcing’, are both serious mistakes and ‘wrong’ in the sense they were a necessary and integral – and long ‘lived’ – part of the game. I protest the disappearance of ball-shielding as an obstructive offence (it is still in the Rules of hockey but has virtually vanished from the game) and that Rule too is unique to hockey.

            Each proposed change has to be looked at from the point of view of it merits in the future of the game – but we do need to be careful that Rule changes do not result in a game that can no longer truthfully be called hockey: Some points of reference need be retained so that comparisons with play from previous eras can be realistically made.

            The FIH say the “The emphasis is on safety” so it ought to be. The introduction of the drag-flick has dramatically altered the nature of the penalty corner and it is now a great deal more dangerous than it was twenty years ago. The point was reached long ago where either the drag-flick should have been regulated (in a similar but not the same way as the first-hit shot) or the or the penalty corner replaced.

            Giving some consideration to the reasons a penalty corner is awarded (there are an awful lot of them) and using a lesser penalty (such a Free-ball centrally behind the 23m line) is I think worth a try even if the penalty corner is retained in its present format. There are many things for which the award of a penalty corner is now the only option open to the umpire but it is an extremely harsh one.

  3. martinzigzag
    2013-07-24 @ 07:00

    There is another not so recent new rule (2009) that I feel the game would be better without. It is the ban on playing the ball directly into the circle from a Free-ball awarded in the opposition’s 23m.

    In 2008 it was possible to make a pass from a Free-ball into the circle from just out-side the circle line. The only requirement was that when a Free-ball was awarded within 5m of the circle, own side players had to be 5m away from the ball. That was fair because otherwise a Free on the circle edge could have been of more advantage than the award of a penalty corner. The problem was that defenders also had to be 5m from the ball and that caused some difficulties with attackers and defenders jousting for positions. The defenders certainly did not want to be 5m back from the circle line.

    That issue was resolved by requiring that the ball be moved back out-side the hash circle when a Free was awarded inside it, but the no longer necessary (and badly observed) requirement that same team players be 5m, remained – and then the ban on the direct pass into the circle was imposed. “Two belts and braces” or “over-kill”. The effect on the (long) corner is to render it near useless (a ball played from the center of the 23m line – without restriction – might be a good replacement there)

    The ban, which is supposed to be a safety measure, looks absurd when compared with what is allowed in normal open play when playing a ball into the circle. The dangers in open play are just as great as in the set-piece, maybe more so, especially when the ball is raised as it so often is when it is hit across the circle from the flanks (always “accidentally” of course).

    I think a simple solution can be found by forbidding the raising of the ball into the circle with a HIT in any phase of play. (The Rule on intentionally raising the ball with a hit can then be ‘dumped’ – it is ignored anyway – and the raised hit – with a height limit and other restraints for safety reasons – can be allowed in other parts of the field. Player would then no longer have to practice “accidentally” raising the ball with a hit).

    It would also be necessary to forbid the deflecting of the ball – to above knee height – into the opponent’s circle off a ball propelled from outside the circle.

    Defenders 5m distance from a hit that is made along the ground are at some risk of course, but it is minimal. The real risk and unfair disadvantage to opponents, is from a ball that is raised at high velocity into and/or across the circle. The ban of playing a Free from within the opposing 23m into the circle does not address that issue (and causes some others e.g. a requirement that a Self-pass must be moved 5m before being played into the circle, which in a ‘domino effect’ causes yet more problems).

  4. Ernst Baart
    2013-07-24 @ 11:11

    The FIH does not agree with my remarks on the blue pitch… According to the article mentioned below the CEO of the FIH Kelly Fairweather stated thousands provided them with a positive feedback about the use of the blue pitch…
    It would be interesting to see which study this would be based upon. I admit I have not performed an actual study talking to thousands of people. However I was there in London, saw lots of games on the screen and talked to dozens, maybe even +100 people who stated the glare was annoying…
    Anyway the FIH has decided it will be blue again in Rio as you can read by clicking the link below:

  5. martinzigzag
    2013-07-24 @ 11:22

    I agree with your comments about the blue turf, the blue yellow contrast between ball and pitch is an improvement on the white green combination, but one has only to look at video clips of the WL matches held in June in London, where the circles were blue and the remainder of the pitch green to appreciate that glare from the blue surface was far greater than from the green. This may be a matter of surface wear with the newer blue being more ‘shiny’, but until the problem is resolved and it is a serious problem if the ball is to be seen on a television screen, the FIH should not yet commit to the blue for sunny Rio.