High School Sports

Field hockey rule changes focus on penalties, signals

Posted February 21, 2013

NFHS Generic Graphic

Among the 25 rules revisions to high school field hockey rules for 2013-14 will be several dealing with penalty cards and official signals.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Field Hockey Rules Committee, at its January 9-11 meeting in Indianapolis, revised several rules aimed at reducing confusion and increasing the pace of play. All changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Effective with the 2013-14 season, a player who is issued a green card will be required to leave the field of play for two minutes (8-2-2a), and the player’s team will play short-handed for the duration of the penalty. The game clock will stop while the official issues the card. Once the official calls for the clock to begin and the game to resume, the penalty time begins.

“The committee wanted to add some teeth to the issuance of the green card,” said Elliot Hopkins, director of educational services and editor of the NFHS Field Hockey Rules Book. “Before, the green card was a warning, basically a slap on the wrist. The green card carrying a two-minute penalty will get the players’ and coaches’ attention.”

Once a card is issued, Rule 8-2-2e defines the location of players serving penalty time for a green or yellow card as being at the scorer’s table on the same side as their team bench. The rule allows coaches and officials to manage players easily, and avoids the risk of players not returning at the appropriate time.

A revision to Rule 4-4 Penalties now states that violations of substitution rules by either team will result in misconduct penalties being assessed to the head coach of the offending team using the card progression (green, yellow, red).

Another change to penalties involves the taking of a penalty corner. Rule 10-2 previously consisted of three penalties, which were deleted.

“The committee provided 10 separate elements of how to deal with a player who is violating the penalty corner and direction on how to officiate and penalize it,” Hopkins said.

The committee also made changes to the official signals for dangerous play and bully. When a dangerous play is noted by an official, he or she will place one forearm diagonally across the chest with the hand at the opposite shoulder. The new signal for a bully calls for the official to move his or her hands alternately up and down in front of the body with palms facing each other. These changes will help avoid confusion and provide clear indication when a call is made.

Following are other major changes approved by the committee:

Rule 11-2-6 simplifies how a goal is scored on a penalty stroke when the whole ball crosses completely over the goal line between the goal posts and under the crossbar.
Added Rule 1-8-1c, stating that the head coach is responsible for ensuring that players follow substitution rules.
At the end of each half, the timer shall sound an audible device to indicate that time has expired. The umpire’s whistle will then signal the official end of the half.
Removed “clear separation between the initial touch and any subsequent play on the ball” from the self-pass definition in Rule 3-3-9.
The addition of “a suspended player returning to the game when a penalty corner has been awarded may only do so after the ball has been put into play by the inserter” was made to Rule 10-2-10.
Added Rule 11-2-9d: “If the stroke is taken before the whistle and a goal is scored, the penalty stroke is taken again.”
A new note was added to Rule 12 stating that a time-out must be called when a coach is issued a card. If possible, officials should wait until the next stoppage of play to issue the card. If a foul has not occurred, play will start with a bully.
A complete listing of all rules changes approved by the committee is available on the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Athletics & Fine Arts Activities” on the home page, and select “Field Hockey.”

Field hockey is the 12th-most popular sport for girls at the high school level, according to the 2011-12 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS, with 60,607 participants nationwide at 1,788 schools. In addition, 297 boys participate in field hockey.


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