The indoor rule against playing the free push in the attacking half directly into the circle is similar to outdoor but there's a wrinkle: the side-boards. Get the details in this #RuleyTuesday.
Annoyed by the anarchy around free pushes inside the attacking half into the circle? All will be awesome after this indoor #RuleyTuesday. Let’s do this!
Hey friends! I’m Keely of FHumpires with a hot take on one hockey rule, and yes, we’re still on the hardcourt, keeping our knowledge of indoor rules alive. Brandon Gallichan got in touch on the Instagrams and asked for a video on 13.2(e), and specifically, the conditions around sending a free push into the circle off the sideboards. Let’s get into it.
13.2(e) [F]rom a free push awarded to the attack within the half of the pitch they are attacking, the ball must not be played into the circle until it has travelled at least 3 metres, not necessarily in a single direction, or has been touched by a defending player. The ball may also be played into the circle off the side-boards, providing that it has travelled at least 3 metres before rebounding off them.
The guidance is well over an entire page long here. Sorry, but I didn’t write this mess. I’m going to pull out only the parts of the guidance that deal with what the attackers must do, not the defenders. We’ll deal with that in a separate video because, ain’t nobody got time for that.
If the player taking the free push continues to play the ball (ie no defending player has yet touched it) :
– that player may play the ball any number of times, but
– the ball must travel at least 3 meters, not necessarily in a single direction, before
– that player plays the ball into the circle by pushing the ball again.
– after a defending player has touched the ball, it can be played into the circle by any other player including the player who took the free push
At an attacking free push awarded within 3 metres of the circle, the ball cannot be played into the circle until it has travelled at least 3 metres or it has been touched by a defending player or it has travelled at least 3 metres before being rebounded off the side-boards.
Two things to note: the guidance seems to repeat itself for free pushes that are within the attacking half but outside the 3m dotted line, and those that are inside the dotted line. There’s no difference here from the attackers’ perspective. That makes it easier, right?
Next point: almost all of this mirrors 13.2(f) in outdoor, which governs how to take free hits inside the attacking 23m area. The two differences are: the distance is 3m and not 5m, and we have the pesky little point about playing the ball off the boards.
Start With Why
So what’s our Simon Sinek here? Just like in outdoor, it’s about danger. We don’t want passes being slung at defenders at super high speeds and going off feet and hands because the reward for that reception miss can often be a penalty corner. Is the concern as valid in indoor? I’m not as completely sold as I am in outdoor, but I accept it’s probably a good idea and, let’s face it, keeping the rules synchronized also makes it easier for the whole hockey family to move back and forth between the two true formats of the game.
What's Inside the Attacking Half?
So let’s cover all the bases. What exactly is “within the half of the pitch they are attacking?” It’s anywhere outside the circle and includes the centre line, which means that if the ball goes off the back-line and the last touch is from a defender (unintentionally), the centre-line restart has to comply with the “not directly into the circle” rule.
When Can the Ball Enter the Circle?
Next, when *can* the ball enter the circle?
If the ball is touched by a defending player on its travels, the 3m rule is effectively over. This could happen if the player on the ball sends a free push straight at the circle and a defender attempts an interception but it fails, and the ball continues into the circle. Another could be if a defender closes on the free push and attempts a tackle and touches the ball.
When there’s no defender directly involved as of yet, if the player taking the free push continues to play the ball for a total of 3m, combined, in any and all directions, they may proceed into the circle.
Using the Side-Boards with a Free Push
Finally, here’s the part that trips many people up: using the boards on the circle entry pass.
The previous version of the rule which was in effect in 2016 allowed a free push to enter the circle without any minimum distances of travel whatsoever so long as the ball was played off the boards first. You can see an example here.
As of 2017 and under the current we went through earlier, the rule now requires that a free push played into the circle off the side-board must travel 3m before it rebounds off the board. Here’s the logic: the board acts just like another player. Once the ball has gone 3m and then changes direction, the immediate danger aspect is mitigated and play can continue normally.
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Chau for now!
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