USA Field Hockey NEWS Behind the Whistle: ...

Behind the Whistle: Danger Off the Goal Post

Sept. 17, 2020, 2:10 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 Rule 9.8: Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play. A ball is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by opponents. 


NFHS Rule 8 Section 1, Article 1.f: Raising the ball dangerously, or raising the ball in a way leading to dangerous play.


Even though the wording of the rule may be a little different, the application of the rule is the same for all levels of field hockey.


Applications: In both clips a legal shot at goal comes off the goal post and into players. In Clip 1, it appears the ball is deflected by the attack player in orange and after the ball deflects off the post. A defender in white must take evasive action to protect herself. This should have been a free hit out to the defense. In Clip 2, the attacker shoots the ball legally and then after the ball comes off the goal post, the goalkeeper touches the ball redirecting it into a group of players in the circle. The umpire initially calls for a free hit out for the defense, but after video review, it is determined that the goalkeeper did touch the ball thus a penalty corner is awarded to the attack team. Proper Application.


Guidance: Clip 1, even though this is a legal shot at goal, the attacker is still responsible for the safety of the ball even though it hits the post. This should be judged the same as if the ball was deflected wide and into the defender. This is unlucky and unfortunate for the attacker, but the defender did nothing wrong to warrant a penalty corner. She just tried to get out of the way of the ball. Clip 2, since this happened very fast and close to the post, the umpire initially judged the ball as coming off the post and the attack team is responsible just as in Clip 1. But after video review, it is seen that the goalkeeper did touch and re-deflect the ball into the crowd of players, thus, unluckily and unfortunately, the goalkeeper is now responsible for the danger. Remember, there is nothing in the rules that negates the responsibility of danger, just because the ball hits the post or crossbar. The last player to touch it is always responsible for any danger or leading to dangerous play.


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