What would you change in Hockey? | Part 2


This is the second of the three parts of the article ‘What would you change in Hockey?’. In mid September we have publish the first part that you can read it here, and now we decided to invite different guests, again from different backgrounds to share their vision about what could change in our sport.


(Netherlands | Former journalist at hockey.nl, current editor of Fox Sports NL)

Well, I think that on the field a lot of changes has been accomplished in the last years. I have the feeling that the rules change every year and that hockey has to be carefull with that,  although I understand that some developments are needed, because of the olympic status.

FIH and the national federations also have to make sure that hockey stays hockey. The game shouldn’t change so much that it loses its identity. That goes in nobody’s favour.

In the time I was writing for hockey.nl (2009- last summer), a lot of rules have been changed. Sometimes a lot of money is involved as Hockey is also a business with professional sides.

The way the clubs handle with media could still be improved. In the Hoofdklasse (Dutch first league – the Premier League of the fielhockey) a lot of clubs don’t have decent match information for the press or a decent place to work as a journalist. Just make sure that there is at least a match sheet, a decent wifi-connection, a workspace/mediaroom (without discomusic…) and someone who looks after their press guests. That would be a good change, I’d really recommend.


(Argentina, FIH Coach – Currently coach of Complutense Madrid)

  • Reducing the vídeo-umpire time, sometimes delays the match a lot. Slows down the game and annoys the viewers
  • Give a plus score to a team that win with difference of 2 goals. This would estimulate a more offensive hockey. Also would eventually create some surprises in the last pool classifications.
  • Playing 2 parts with 11 players and other 2 parts with 10 players. With this format teams would need to prepare different game strategies. During the periods with 10 players there will be bigger spaces, a more physical game where will also generate more 1v1 and 2v1 situations. Basically more dynamic in the game!
  • Would change the current FIH tournament competition format. Although every team is playing for something at basically every match, it is still unfair that a team that didn’t win every match at groups stage have still a chance to play quarter or semi-finals. Too much pressure for the highest ranked team and nothing to lose to the lowest classified at group stage.


(Ireland | Lecturer in Coaching Science & Education, Former HP director and head coach Ireland)


I still feel the penalty corner is too valuable and would go for a 2 point for a field goal one point for a corer goal.

Defences are becoming too tight so would consider making the circle slightly bigger – if you did this the corner rule would need reconsideration.  The other way to solve this is by restricting the number of defensive players in their half or 23m to 8 or 9!

I don’t like the 4 quarters and would go back to two halves as momentum is too easily lost.


The new world leagues system is positive but the continental tournaments have to be played first moving forward.  Ireland should qualify but are now waiting on Australia to beat NZ in Oceania or South Africa ti beat Egypt (when the NOC have said they won’t send their team anyway) when they have already qualified so don’t need to do so.  That’s not a level playing field.  Similarly India wet to World League 3 having qualified and the tournament meant less for them against other teams.  It needs to be the same for all teams. Now look at the Europeans – what does this mean for teams like Netherlands, Belgium, Germany who have already qualified….it could become like the old Champions Trophy – used to trial or possibly a period to rest players. There just needs to be consistency ad I think having the Continental tournaments played before the World League would make a better World and Olympic qualification system.

I also believe another issue is that the first three pool games of most tournaments now are irrelevant unless you are trying to avoid a very top team like the Australian men or the Dutch women.  Whilst knock out games are exciting they are too tight especially to then to go straight to a shoot out – golden goal should come first with say 9v9.  There needs to be more consideration and credit given to the pool winners – many coaches are using the pool matches as warm up games.

I think player welfare is also becoming an issue and the top players are playing too many matches – Boon was poor in Belgium but he’d played Dutch league, HIL, World league 2, EHL etc etc.  In time this will reduce the quality of player as they will not be conditioned or mentally sharp as they should be for the major competitions.

Thank you!


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