Behind the Whistle: Defender Hit by High Shot

Sept. 09, 2019, 1:09 p.m. (ET)

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

Rule:  9.11 Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body.

Application: This was deemed dangerous and a free hit was given to the defense. At a closer look, it can be seen that the defender turned to the attacker taking the shot, with the intent of protecting the goal like a goalkeeper, thus putting herself in a dangerous position from an otherwise legal shot at goal. With the goalkeeper nearby, this may not have prevented a sure goal which would have been a penalty stroke, but the defender allowed for her body to be used to defend a legal shot, thus a penalty corner would have been appropriate. This was improper application of the rule.


Guidance: This can be a tough situation to call a penalty corner against a player who may be injured, but she unfortunately placed herself in that position. It appears the shot is on goal and would have gone in if not stopped. If the shot was going well high or wide and not on goal, a defensive hit out would have be appropriate. The defender was not marking an attacker or attempting to defend in any other way but to protect the goal. Had the defender been playing legitimate defense on an opponent, the attack would not have the right to shoot through her.


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