2021 POINTS OF EMPHASIS
AERIAL BALLS AND HIGH BALLS
With increased play on artificial surfaces and better skill levels, aerial balls, which are balls lifted intentionally with a flick or scoop, are becoming more prevalent. A high ball is one which is unintentionally lifted by a hit, is deflected into the air, or pops up above knee height between two players. Officials must consider height, speed and proximity to other players in order to determine danger. The NFHS Field Hockey Rules Committee developed a three-page infographic for officials’ education. The infographic can be found here.
PROVIDING AN OFFICIAL SCORER AND TIMER
Scorers and timers are an integral part of the official’s team. As a part of the officiating crew, they should give appearance to impartiality and neutrality throughout the contest. Verbal or visible reactions to outstanding plays or official’s calls is inappropriate. Rule 2-2 outlines the duties of the scorers and timers for field hockey. The home team shall supply the official timer and scorer. They are to remain at the scorer’s table for the entire game, including intermissions between quarters. The home team should supply an audible device as well as a game clock and stopwatch. NFHS rules recommend they wear officials pinnies at the table.
Smooth passing and dribbling techniques are two core skills all players should know how to do. Players should also know how to tackle the opponent when the ball is in their possession. The NFHS rules book defines tackling as a technique executed by a player in an attempt to gain possession or cause the opponent to lose possession of the ball. To properly execute a tackle, the player must be in the proper position to avoid a foul. The player shall not use the stick dangerously, nor deliberately make body or stick contact to gain any advantage when tackling. Remember that a player can’t hit, hook or hold an opponent’s stick with the stick. There should be clear intent to play the ball by the tackling player and the timing of the movement must be exact.
The opponent (and attack players inside the attacking 25) shall be 5 yards from the selfstart/ free hit. If an opponent is within 5 yards of the ball, a player may shadow the opponent but must not interfere with the taking of the free hit/self–start and must not play nor attempt to play the ball. The NFHS rules book defines shadowing as the act of being within playing distance of an opponent and following the player’s movement on the field without impeding progress. If this player is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or influencing play, the player has not violated the 5-yard rule. If the player does impede progress or influence play, a warning shall be issued and another free hit may be awarded. For repetitive violations by a player, the official should use the proper card progression. Be aware that the player taking the self-pass does not have to delay the start.