USA Field Hockey NEWS Behind the Whistle: ...

Behind the Whistle: High Press on 16-Yard Hit Out

Oct. 07, 2019, 1:03 p.m. (ET)

Each week, USA Field Hockey's Umpiring Department will provide video clips for educational purposes on recent plays/calls.

Rule:7.4 When the ball is played over the back-line and no goal is scored :

  If played by an attacker, play is re-started with the ball up to 16 yards from and in line with where it crossed the back-line and the procedures for taking a free hit apply.

Application: Ball goes over the end line off an attacker's stick thus a 16-yard hit out is called properly. The ensuing hit is placed 2-3 yards outside the circle and now the white team is using a high press by placing a player right on the dotted circle line. Therefore, the white defender is not 5-meters away from where the free hit is being taken. The umpire indicates 5 yards and after the hit is taken, issued a card to the white player. This is an incorrect application of the rule.


Guidance: Play is re-started with the ball up to 16 yards from and in line with where it crossed the back-line. If the defending team (white) on this free hit has chosen to back away and are beyond the 25-yard line, then if the restart begins at about 1-2 yards outside the circle, then that is okay. BUT, if a team is playing a high press and sets the block-up at the dotted line, they are not violating the rule. The responsibility to take the free hit from the right spot is on the attacking team (blue). The umpires should manage this quickly before any confusion can take place. The defense cannot be expected to back away more than 5 yards from the spot of the free hit, which in this case is up to the top of the circle and no further.


Video clips and photos are being utilized for educational purposes only and not meant to critique individual players, coaches or officials.