USA Field Hockey is happy to enhance to the “Behind the Whistle” postings. Video(s), rule(s) and guidance will still be posted but would like to invite everyone to submit a scenario that may be odd, confusion or just plain not understandable. USA Field Hockey will post the scenario on the Behind the Whistle page with multiple choice answers for your review. Each posting will be available to answer for about a week, afterward USA Field Hockey will post the correct answer with the appropriate rule(s) and guidance. In order to have your scenario posted on the Behind the Whistle page, please send your scenario to firstname.lastname@example.org and will look to get it posted as soon as possible.
Behind the Whistle Scenario: Direct into the Circle Inside the 23-meter/25-yard line (Scenario No. 2)
A free hit is awarded to the attack team 1 meter/yard inside the 23-meter/25-yard line. The free hit is set up properly with all players a minimum of 5 meters/yards away from the spot of the free hit. The attacker passes the ball backwards to a teammate who approaches after the free hit was taken.
The correct answer is: C...Award a free hit to the defense 2 meters/yards outside the 23-meter/25-yard line where the ball was hit into the circle.
FIH/USA Field Hockey/NCAA Rule 13.2.f: From a free hit awarded to the attack within the 23-meter area, the ball must not be played into the circle until it has travelled at least 5 meters, not necessarily in a single direction, or has been touched by a player of the defending team.
NFHS Rule 9, Section 2, Article 1.f: From a free hit awarded to the attack within the 25-yard area, the ball may not be played into the circle until it has traveled at least 5 yards, not necessarily in a single direction, or has been touched by a player of the defending team.
Both rules are worded the same and applied in the same manner.
Guidance: In this situation, the ball only moved a total of 3 meters/yards before the second attacking player hit the ball into the circle, thus a violation of the rule. Just because the ball comes outside the 23-meter/25-yard area DOES NOT negate the requirement for the ball to travel at least 5 meters/yards before being played into the circle. The player at fault here is the player who hit the ball into the circle. The free hit was started properly, but the ball initially only moved 3 meters/yards. Therefore, once the second attacker touched the ball, he/she would have had to move the ball an addition 2 meters/yards to meet the requirement of the rule. Since the player who hit the ball was only 2 meters/yards outside the 23-meter/25-yard area, that is where the ensuing free hit should be taken. Just as in any other foul, the restart is taken on the spot where the foul occurred.