RULES of the GAME of HOCKEY

 - by John McBryde

"Hockey is as exciting as synchronised swimming with chopsticks" Quote by a leading Australian sports columnist as reported in the Dec 94 Hockey Digest World Cup edition by Chris Moore(AS I SAW IT).

 We may not like it, but this is how others perceive our sport. Many hockey enthusiasts are expressing similar sentiments! Why should we not when there were only 143 goals in 42 games (3.4/game) in Sydney and certainly no more than half of these from open play. Less than 2 field goals per game from less than 10 shots at goal is pretty boring stuff, especially when played to the tune of 200 whistles!


 Bob Davidzon summed it up brilliantly at the seminar in Berlin at the November 1994 FIH Meetings. His main point, well articulated and suitably demonstrated, was that there are too few goals and too many whistles. The rules are also far too complex and confusing. He also addressed the concern of breaking tradition. How many of us lament the demise of the roll-in? Yet it took a decade to make the transition to a hit-in via that useless compromise of a push-in. 

(How many school-children were lost to the game due to that one?) TOO FEW GOALS / TOO MANY WHISTLES / RULES TOO COMPLEX


 HERE ARE SOME CHANGES WE MUST MAKE:

 1. ELIMINATE THE PENALTY CORNER. The penalty corner simply must go! It creates too great a distortion to the game. A team which has been defending all day can score a goal from a single shot without actually having reached the circle during field play. We see this happening all the time even at the highest level. It is also too complex and decisions surrounding it (both in awarding the penalty and adjudicating its execution) are far too arbitrary. In its place create a FIELD PLAY situation which gives the attacking team a fair chance of scoring a FIELD GOAL. The probability of scoring should equal the probability that a goal was prevented by the infraction.


 2. NO OFF-SIDE. It has been experimented with. It WORKS! It yields MORE GOALS with FEWER WHISTLES. There is one absolute certainty that never again will there be a goal disallowed for off-side. It also frees the umpire to concentrate on other aspects of the game. 


3. INCREASE THE SCORING ZONE. If there was one thing that stood out abundantly clearly in Sydney, it was that the circle has to go! The scoring zone must be increased dramatically, at least to the 25, and possibly to infinity (no restriction- score from anywhere). It may be necessary to experiment to ensure no danger element arises.


 4. WIDEN THE GOAL. Substantially! At least to 6 metres, possibly to 8 metres. MORE SHOTS will yield MORE GOALS. 


5. In point-scoring systems, reward wins over draws, but especially REWARD GOALS: e.g. W=5, D=2, L=0 +1 point/goal to a MAX of 5.


 John McBryde/1995:01:27 (P.S. METRICATE the rules in next edition).