Each week, USA Field Hockey's Umpiring Department will provide video clips for educational purposes on recent plays/calls.
Situation: A player in a yellow jersey overreaches in an attempt to tackle and goes to the ground. The umpire deems this as unintentional but chooses to caution the player about the attempt. In the context of the match, the umpire decides to stop the game and give a verbal warning to the player. This is one of the tools in an umpire’s toolbox that can be quite effective.
Application: The umpire stops the game and calls the offending player over to have a quick chat. All proper at this point. After the warning is completed, the player turns to get into position when the umpire restarts the game before she is able to get set for the play. As a result, the attacking team takes the free hit with this defender trailing the play. Improper Application
Guidance: The umpires are responsible for fairness and should not contribute to what could be perceived as putting a team at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, in this situation the attacking team made their way into the circle and scored a goal as the defender involved in the initial play was still recovering. In this and any situation where play is stopped for an umpire to warn or correct something, be sure to stay calm and allow both teams to be set and ready before restarting the game. Remember, time is stopped, and you have control. This is where teams and spectators get the perception of a game being unfair and, of course, the umpires will be criticized even though it is hard to determine if this had an effect on the goal being scored.
Be proactive and be sure everyone is ready to play!
Video clips and photos are being utilized for educational purposes only and not meant to critique individual players, coaches or officials.