THE EFFECT OF RULE CHANGES ON ATTACKING PLAY TIME AND SUCCESS RATE IN INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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In this study the effects of the free hit rule changes are examined to see what impact they have had on attacking play in international women’s field hockey. It will focus on whether the rule changes have increased the speed of the game while also increasing the amount of short corners and goals. The information from this research should give players and coaches an idea of what tactics are successful when attacking with the current rules. The rules being investigated were introduced in 2009 by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). A free hit can now be taken with the use of a "self pass" and procedures for taking a free hit in the 25 yard area have been adapted. A total of fifteen (n=15) international women’s field hockey games were observed and analysed in changes for the time from when a free hit was taken to when the ball entered the circle. The outcome for each attack that reached the 25 yard area was also recorded with the use of Sportscode (Sportstec Limited, Warriewood, Australia) to analyse how successful the teams were with the rules at the time of play. Results indicate that the rule changes have significantly increased the time for the ball to enter the circle from a free hit within the 25 yard area (1.71s in 2008 to 4.75s in 2009 and 4.15s in 2010), slowing the attack of the game. A Man-Whitney U test showed a significant difference between 2008 compared to 2009 and 10 with a p value lower than0.05. The self pass does allow free hits to be taken quickly to reduce the disruptions to the game but the restriction in the 25 yard area slows attacking play. There was an increase in the number of shots and short corners with the rule changes enforced. This lead to significantly increasing the number of goals scored (16 in 2008 to 21 in 2009) throughout five games of the tournament. Only a one goal increase was recorded in 2010 over the 16 observed in 2008.
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