USA Field Hockey NEWS Behind the Whistle: ...

Behind the Whistle: Proper Tackling

April 23, 2020, 5:15 p.m. (ET)

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

Rule 9.13: Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball without body contact.


Application: Player #8 in white collects the ball and attempts to go on a run down the left side of the field. Player #10 in yellow gives chase. As #8 takes the ball into the 23-meter area and attempts to head toward the goal, #10 attempts to tackle and continuously makes body contact. The umpire calls #8 for obstruction…Improper application.


Guidance: It appears that the trail umpire makes this decision. The depth perception of the trail may seem to indicate the attack player shielding the ball, but in reality, the attack player is ahead of the defender who cannot tackle without making body contact. Be mobile and be reactive when the ball goes away from you as the trail. Be sure of the sight line before making this decision. The lead umpire also could have been further ahead of the play which would have given him the better angle. From this angle of the camera this should have been called a free hit to the attack earlier or even a possible penalty corner for breaking down the play from behind.


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