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Behind the Whistle: Fairness When Restarting

June 29, 2020, 1:41 p.m. (ET)

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

FIH/USA Field Hockey/NCAA Umpiring Objectives 1.2: Umpires contribute to the game by:

A. Helping to raise the standard of the game at all levels by ensuring that players observe the rules.

B. Ensuring that every game is played in the right spirit.

C. Helping to increase the enjoyment of the game for players, spectators and others. 


NFHS Officials Guide: Officials can maintain the spirit, flow and safety of the game by preventing potential problems and rule infractions before they occur. However, officials must remember that their role is to enforce the rules in the spirit of the game and not to become coaches. 


Application: On a penalty corner, the first shot at goal is deemed too high and the goal disallowed. The umpire does not signal immediately and appears to be consulting with her partner. The team in maroon is celebrating and once the decision is made to not allow the goal, the team in white quickly takes a free hit to counter-attack. The delay in the decision and the lack of signal from the umpire caused an extreme advantage to the team in white taking the ensuing free hit.


Guidance: Keep calm and do not rush the game when this happens to you. If there is an indecision, umpires still have the responsibility to have the game proceed fairly. Simply take the time to stop the game, admit it was your indecision that caused the confusion and allow the game to restart so that it is fair for both teams. This is similar to when an umpire points the wrong way for a free hit. Always reset the game so that both teams are ready for the restart after an umpire indecision or error.


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