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Behind the Whistle Scenario: Ball off the Ground

March 25, 2021, 11:14 a.m. (ET)

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

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

Behind the Whistle Scenario: Ball off the Ground

Look at the video closely. If you were the umpire in this situation what decision would you make?

From this camera angle, there does not appear to be danger to anyone on the path(s) of the ball. Any call for the ball off the ground is based on danger or intent, not just because the ball is lifted. It also appears that no player had to take evasive action in the process. The only possibility other than awarding a goal, may have been for “leading to dangerous play” from the second deflection as the player in white in the circle attempted to stop the ball in the air, which rebounded off the stick and away from her. But, the umpire was in a good position with a clear sight line to assess the play.

The results of the questionnaire showed that 40% of the 220 respondents chose “Award the goal as no danger occurred on the play”. From this angle, it appears this was the correct decision. The umpire managed this situation with a cool, calm and confident presence allowing the play to flow safely and fairly

Guidance: Look at the big picture to allow yourself the time to assess the “next possibility” on any play. Also, stay calm so the as an umpire you are not too quick to blow the whistle unnecessarily. Well done on this umpire's part.