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Uniform Change Highlights 2008-09 Field Hockey Revisions

A major change in uniforms was one of 18 rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Field Hockey Rules Committee at its January 20-21 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Effective in 2011, the home team must wear a single solid white uniform top, and the visiting team must wear a single solid black or dark-colored uniform top.

According to the committee, it has become increasingly difficult for officials to differentiate between home and visiting teams because of the similarity of uniforms. "This new rule should help officials tell the difference,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the NFHS Field Hockey Rules Committee. “We want to give the officials the best opportunity to make rulings and issue penalties."

Revisions were also made to the uniform design, including the position of the team name, decorative accents and side inserts. The committee chose to delay implementation until 2011 to give schools and manufacturers adequate time to update the uniforms.
"Currently, we are preparing follow-up diagrams, pictures and sketches for manufacturers and coaches to understand," Hopkins said.

Rule 1-7-3d was amended to allow the goalkeeper to move the ball away from her body with a stick, protective equipment or any part of her body while on the ground. The change helps reduce the risk of injury by eliminating the opportunity for attackers to drive the ball into the goalkeeper’s body.

Other changes regarding the goalkeeper include Rule 1-7-3e. The phrase “may not propel an aerial ball with her body, hand or stick” was deleted to reinforce the flexibility of the goalkeeper pursuant to Rule 1-7-3d.
To maintain consistency with other playing rules modified for the goalkeeper position, Rule 8-1-1o was changed to include a foul for a “goalkeeper striking and/or kicking in an intimidating manner, playing the ball without the stick in her hand, or placing the ball after a hand stop of an aerial ball.”