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If a player is dribbling the ball and either loses control and kicks the ball or another player interferes that player is not permitted to gain control and continue dribbling.

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The rules do not allow the person who kicked the ball to gain advantage from the kick, so the ball will automatically be passed on to the opposing team. Conversely, if no advantage is gained from kicking the ball, play should continue. Players may not obstruct another's chance of hitting the ball in any way. Penalty for this is the opposing team receives the ball and if the problem continues, the player can be carded. While a player is taking a free hit or starting a corner the back swing of their hit cannot be too high for this is considered dangerous.

Finally there may not be three players touching the ball at one time. Two players from opposing teams can battle for the ball, however if another player interferes it is considered third party and the ball automatically goes to the team who only had one player involved in the third party. A match ordinarily consists of two periods of 35 minutes and a halftime interval of 5 minutes.


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Other periods and interval may be agreed by both teams except as specified in Regulations for particular competitions. At the Commonwealth Games Held on the Gold Coast in Brisbane, Australia the hockey games for both men and women had four 15 minute quarters.

The game begins with a pass back from the centre-forward usually to the centre-half back from the halfway line, the opposing team can not try to tackle this play until the ball has been pushed back. When hockey positions are discussed, notions of fluidity are very common. Each team can be fielded with a maximum of 11 players and will typically arrange themselves into forwards, midfielders, and defensive players fullbacks with players frequently moving between these lines with the flow of play.

Each team may also play with:. As hockey has a very dynamic style of play, it is difficult to simplify positions to the static formations which are common in football. For example, it is not uncommon to see a halfback overlap and end up in either attacking position, with the midfield and strikers being responsible for re-adjusting to fill the space they left. Movement between lines like this is particularly common across all positions. This fluid Australian culture [ further explanation needed ] of hockey has been responsible for developing an international trend towards players occupying spaces on the field, not having assigned positions.

Although they may have particular spaces on the field which they are more comfortable and effective as players, they are responsible for occupying the space nearest them. This fluid approach to hockey and player movement has made it easy for teams to transition between formations such as; "3 at the back" , "2 centre halves" , "5 at the front", and more.

When the ball is inside the circle they are defending and they have their stick in their hand, goalkeepers wearing full protective equipment are permitted to use their stick, feet, kickers or leg guards to propel the ball and to use their stick, feet, kickers, leg guards or any other part of their body to stop the ball or deflect it in any direction including over the back line. Similarly, field players are permitted to use their stick.

They are not allowed to use their feet and legs to propel the ball, stop the ball or deflect it in any direction including over the back line. However, neither goalkeepers, or players with goalkeeping privileges are permitted to conduct themselves in a manner which is dangerous to other players by taking advantage of the protective equipment they wear. Neither goalkeepers or players with goalkeeping privileges may lie on the ball, however, they are permitted to use arms, hands and any other part of their body to push the ball away.

Lying on the ball deliberately will result in a penalty stroke, whereas if an umpire deems a goalkeeper has lain on the ball accidentally e. It does not permit a goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges to propel the ball forcefully with arms, hands or body so that it travels a long distance. When the ball is outside the circle they are defending, goalkeepers or players with goalkeeping privileges are only permitted to play the ball with their stick.

Further, a goalkeeper, or player with goalkeeping privileges who is wearing a helmet, must not take part in the match outside the 23m area they are defending, except when taking a penalty stroke. A goalkeeper must wear protective headgear at all times, except when taking a penalty stroke. For the purposes of the rules, all players on the team in possession of the ball are attackers, and those on the team without the ball are defenders, yet throughout the game being played you are always "defending" your goal and "attacking" the opposite goal.

The match is officiated by two field umpires.

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Traditionally each umpire generally controls half of the field, divided roughly diagonally. These umpires are often assisted by a technical bench including a timekeeper and record keeper. Prior to the start of the game, a coin is tossed and the winning captain can choose a starting end or whether to start with the ball. Since the game consists of four periods of 15 minutes with a 2-minute break after every period, and a minute break at half time before changing ends.

At the start of each period, as well as after goals are scored, play is started with a pass from the centre of the field. All players must start in their defensive half apart from the player making the pass , but the ball may be played in any direction along the floor. Each team starts with the ball in one half, and the team that conceded the goal has possession for the restart. Teams trade sides at halftime.

Field players may only play the ball with the face of the stick. If the back side of the stick is used, it is a penalty and the other team will get the ball back. Tackling is permitted as long as the tackler does not make contact with the attacker or the other person's stick before playing the ball contact after the tackle may also be penalized if the tackle was made from a position where contact was inevitable. Further, the player with the ball may not deliberately use his body to push a defender out of the way. Field players may not play the ball with their feet, but if the ball accidentally hits the feet, and the player gains no benefit from the contact, then the contact is not penalized.

Although there has been a change in the wording of this rule from 1 January , the current FIH umpires' briefing instructs umpires not to change the way they interpret this rule. When the ball passes completely over the sidelines on the sideline is still in , it is returned to play with a sideline hit, taken by a member of the team whose players were not the last to touch the ball before crossing the sideline. The ball must be placed on the sideline, with the hit taken from as near the place the ball went out of play as possible. Set plays are often utilized for specific situations such as a penalty corner or free hit.

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For instance, many teams have penalty corner variations that they can use to beat the defensive team. The coach may have plays that sends the ball between two defenders and lets the player attack the opposing team's goal. There are no set plays unless your team has them. Free hits are awarded when offences are committed outside the scoring circles the term 'free hit' is standard usage but the ball need not be hit.

The ball may be hit, pushed or lifted in any direction by the team offended against. The ball can be lifted from a free hit but not by hitting, you must flick or scoop to lift from a free hit. In previous versions of the rules, hits in the area outside the circle in open play have been permitted but lifting one direction from a free hit was prohibited. A free hit must be taken from within playing distance of the place of the offence for which it was awarded and the ball must be stationary when the free hit is taken. These free hits are taken in-line with where the foul was committed taking a line parallel with the sideline between where the offence was committed, or the ball went out of play.

When taking an attacking free hit, the ball may not be hit straight into the circle if you are within your attacking 23 meter area 25 yard area. It must travel 5 meters before going in. In February the FIH introduced, as a "Mandatory Experiment" for international competition, an updated version of the free-hit rule.

The changes allows a player taking a free hit to pass the ball to themselves. Importantly, this is not a "play on" situation, but to the untrained eye it may appear to be.

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The player must play the ball any distance in two separate motions, before continuing as if it were a play-on situation. They may raise an aerial or overhead immediately as the second action, or any other stroke permitted by the rules of field hockey. At high-school level, this is called a self pass and was adopted in Pennsylvania in as a legal technique for putting the ball in play.

The ball may not travel directly into the circle from a free hit to the attack within the 23 m area without first being touched by another player or being dribbled at least 5 m by a player making a "self-pass". These experimental rules apply to all free-hit situations, including sideline and corner hits.

National associations may also choose to introduce these rules for their domestic competitions. A free hit from the quarter line is awarded to the attacking team if the ball goes over the back-line after last being touched by a defender, provided they do not play it over the back-line deliberately, in which case a penalty corner is awarded.

This free hit is played by the attacking team from a spot on the quarter line closest to where the ball went out of play. All the parameters of an attacking free hit within the attacking quarter of the playing surface apply. The short or penalty corner is awarded:. Short corners begin with five defenders usually including the keeper positioned behind the back line and the ball placed at least 10 yards from the nearest goal post. This player puts the ball into play by pushing or hitting the ball to the other attackers outside the circle; the ball must pass outside the circle and then put back into the circle before the attackers may make a shot at the goal from which a goal can be scored.

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FIH rules do not forbid a shot at goal before the ball leaves the circle after being 'inserted', nor is a shot at the goal from outside the circle prohibited, but a goal cannot be scored at all if the ball has not gone out of the circle and cannot be scored from a shot from outside the circle if it is not again played by an attacking player before it enters the goal. However, if the ball is deemed to be below backboard height, the ball can be subsequently deflected above this height by another player defender or attacker , providing that this deflection does not lead to danger.

Note that the "Slap" stroke a sweeping motion towards the ball, where the stick is kept on or close to the ground when striking the ball is classed as a hit, and so the first shot at goal must be below backboard height for this type of shot also. If the first shot at goal in a short corner situation is a push, flick or scoop, in particular the drag flick which has become popular at international and national league standards , the shot is permitted to rise above the height of the backboard, as long as the shot is not deemed dangerous to any opponent.

This form of shooting was developed because it is not height restricted in the same way as the first hit shot at the goal and players with good technique are able to drag-flick with as much power as many others can hit a ball. A penalty stroke is awarded when a defender commits a foul in the circle accidental or otherwise that prevents a probable goal or commits a deliberate foul in the circle or if defenders repeatedly run from the back line too early at a penalty corner.

The penalty stroke is taken by a single attacker in the circle, against the goalkeeper, from a spot 6. The ball is played only once at goal by the attacker using a push, flick or scoop stroke. If the shot is saved, play is restarted with a 15 m hit to the defenders. When a goal is scored, play is restarted in the normal way. According to the current Rules of Hockey [31] issued by the FIH there are only two criteria for a dangerously played ball.

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The first is legitimate evasive action by an opponent what constitutes legitimate evasive action is an umpiring judgment. The second is specific to the rule concerning a shot at goal at a penalty corner but is generally, if somewhat inconsistently, applied throughout the game and in all parts of the pitch: it is that a ball lifted above knee height and at an opponent who is within 5m of the ball is certainly dangerous.

The velocity of the ball is not mentioned in the rules concerning a dangerously played ball. A ball that hits a player above the knee may on some occasions not be penalized, this is at the umpire's discretion. A jab tackle, for example, might accidentally lift the ball above knee height into an opponent from close range but at such low velocity as not to be, in the opinion of the umpire, dangerous play. In the same way a high-velocity hit at very close range into an opponent, but below knee height, could be considered to be dangerous or reckless play in the view of the umpire, especially when safer alternatives are open to the striker of the ball.

A ball that has been lifted high so that it will fall among close opponents may be deemed to be potentially dangerous and play may be stopped for that reason. The term "falling ball" is important in what may be termed encroaching offences. It is generally only considered an offence to encroach on an opponent receiving a lifted ball that has been lifted to above head height although the height is not specified in rule and is falling.

So, for example, a lifted shot at the goal which is still rising as it crosses the goal line or would have been rising as it crossed the goal line can be legitimately followed up by any of the attacking team looking for a rebound. In general even potentially dangerous play is not penalised if an opponent is not disadvantaged by it or, obviously, not injured by it so that he cannot continue.

A personal penalty, that is a caution or a suspension, rather than a team penalty, such as a free ball or a penalty corner, may be many would say should be or even must be, but again this is at the umpire's discretion issued to the guilty party after an advantage allowed by the umpire has been played out in any situation where an offence has occurred, including dangerous play but once advantage has been allowed the umpire cannot then call play back and award a team penalty.