Hello Fellow BC Umpires,
We’re weeks away from the Fall Leagues, and that means it’s time to refresh and update our understanding of the rules, current interpretations, and new approaches to umpiring.
While there are no significant rule changes this year, there are clarifications that have raised eyebrows among many plus a whole new take on positioning that comes directly from the FIH. So read on!
For those of you who have yet to download the FIH Rules app onto your phones, do so! This is a great, instant tool, that is always up to date – no more paper books! It contains relevant videos, quizzes, and also allows individual sections to be bookmarked. The app is a terrific way to settle debates on the sideline after a match. You can download it for Android or iPhone here.
But before you sign up for that first appointment this season, read and study the FIH Outdoor Umpires Briefing 2017. This is your ultimate guidance! Pay particular attention to:
Page 7 Management – TALK to the players. Get players 5m at free hits from the beginning
Page 9 Tackling – a sliding tackle that takes a player to the ground is almost always a 10 minute yellow. Also be much more aware of intentional shielding and body blocking, issues that are prevalent in almost every match these days
Page 16 Free Hits – for attacking free hits within 5 metres of the circle there is a common misconception about where defenders may stand. Note: Players inside the circle who were 5 metre or more from the point of the free hit at it’s award are not allowed to move to and remain in a “stationary” position within 5 metres of the ball as the free hit is taken. While at lower levels an umpire may first warn defenders, in the upper divisions any action as described above should quickly be upgraded to a PC
Page 25 Penalty Corners – if the ball fails to travel outside the circle it is NOT an offence to take a shot at goal, only that a goal cannot be scored until the ball travels outside the circle
Page 29 Applying the Rules - you cannot issue a personal penalty (card) inside the 23 against a defender and award only a free hit. An intentional foul by a defender inside the 23 is by definition a PC. You can additionally give a card, if necessary
Page 30 Appealing and Dissent – don’t put up with it, deal with it! Any “crowding” of umpires must not be tolerated
***Here is a great video version of the Briefing, just updated this week***
Finally, the FIH is promoting a new way to look at your positioning.
For years, many of you were taught to think of your field position like a giant hockey stick, run straight down the sidelines and curl into the circle. This style dates back to the days when offside was still part of the game. Analysis shows that this positioning causes many crucial calls to be missed, especially around the far side of the circle and the 23.
Instead, the FIH now stresses that umpires should regard “home base” for play in their end as the backline just a few metres from the post. This allows a clearer view of play on the other side of the circle and 23, as well as critical situations in front of the goal.
If defenders quickly clear the ball then the umpire’s next move is not necessarily out to the sideline but the most direct path to keep a view of play. Often this is a direct line up field. When play comes back the umpire should, if play allows, make a beeline for “home base”. It’s a balance to figure out when to remain at “home base“ and when to move to a better position for the play and to support your colleague. It will take practice.
As the FIH Officials and Appointments Manager, Craig Gribble, likes to say when it comes to goals and critical decisions, “The umpire should always strive to be in the photo.” This new approach means many of you will have to push your comfort zone, but umpires who successfully use it find they run less while affording a better view of play and management of the game.
Hope this is all helpful to you.
Remember to keep up with the latest info and discussions on our private (umpires only) Facebook page, FHBC Umpires.
FHBC Director of Umpiring