We're back in the shed with one of our favourite indoor-only rules: 3 points of contact (aka playing the ball while lying, or with a knee, hand or arm, on the pitch). Got that? INDOOR. ONLY. Check it out!
Thirsty for thoughts about three points of contact? Be thwarted no longer, this indoor edition of #RuleyTuesday will thread your thinking together thoroughly. Let’s do this!
Hey friends! I’m Keely of FHumpires back with a hot take on one hockey rule. On this indoor #RuleyTuesday, we’re covering the rule which so many hockey people incorrectly think applies in outdoor too: 3 points of contact.
Rule 9.12 looks like this:
9.12 Field players must not play the ball while lying on the pitch or with a knee, arm or hand on the pitch, other than the hand holding the stick.
We describe this as 3 points of contact because our two feet are the first two points, and a hand that is not holding the stick, and therefore considered part of the stick, would be the third. It doesn’t mean that if a player is pulling out a nice flamingo out there they get a pass with a hand going down, so let’s not get carried away.
Why does this rule exist in indoor? As always, the first motivation is safety. The ball spends almost all of its time on the floor so if you’ve got extra appendages down there, they’re likely to get hit more often. From the perspective of creating a better game, it also prevents more frequent interruptions of players “accidentally” playing the ball with their body and taking up more space on the court, which further reduces options in ball movement.
Side note: remember that time at band camp when I mentioned this is an indoor-only rule? It’s true. Although a player lying on the turf can definitely be putting themselves in danger, or by virtue of being on the turf they present a long barrier where they are more likely to use their body to play the ball and break down play, or present a danger by tripping an opponent or be sliding into a tackle and we all know what that means, it’s not a foul in and of itself for a field player in the outdoor format to play with 3, 5 or 17 points on the pitch.
Lying on the Pitch
The most obvious manifestation of 3 points of contact is when a player is no longer on their feet. In this example, a defender has fallen and as the ball carrier dribbles by, the defender decides to throw his stick into a tackle from that position on the court. This is a clear breakdown of play and a penalty corner inside the attacking half is the minimum penalty; a card would often be a good management tool to add in here as well.
More difficult to see are instances where an attacker may be diving into a shot or for a deflection. Remember that you shouldn’t be looking for reasons to blow the whistle but to respect the skill. As a tip, being further away from this decision will give you both the right vantage point to see under the player’s body as they’re diving, but also the ability to see the release of the ball and any extra body points on the pitch within your field of vision simultaneously.
Knee on the Pitch
Extra points of contact can come into play more subtly, like when a crouching defender uses the extra stability afforded by a knee on the ground to maneuver into a tackle, like in this clip.
Hand on the Pitch
A final common example is when the hand is taken off the stick in the process of making a tackle or even deflecting a shot. Again, the hand off the stick offers a stronger base from which a player can move and that’s the advantage gained in breaching the rule. Don’t get too narrowly-focused on that pretty ball; take the whole of the player into consideration and you’ll do just fine.
Thrilled with our thesis in this #RuleyTuesday? Throw us a thumbs-up with a like and give full throat to your thoughts in the comments and replies. If you thrive on these themes, go thither to fhu3t.com and grab a $3 a month FHU Third Team green subscription. We would be thoroughly thankful.
Chau for now!
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