Use of the 'forehand edge'
At its meeting on 3/5 March 2006, the Executive Board agreed a proposal from the Hockey Rules Board (HRB) to introduce with immediate effect a rule change specifically forbidding use of the forehand edge of the stick to hit the ball hard. The following rule therefore applies in 2006. It is incorporated in the 2006 Rules of Hockey published on this website (see page 8) and will be fully integrated in the 2007/8 rules when they are published later in the year.
Players must not hit the ball hard on the forehand with the edge of the stick.
The forehand is defined as playing a ball which is to the right of the player in a forwards direction.
This does not prohibit use of the edge of the stick on the forehand in a controlled action in a tackle, when raising the ball in a controlled way over an opponent’s stick or over a goalkeeper who is lying on the ground or when using a long pushing motion along the ground.
The use of the edge of the stick on the backhand has developed as a technical skill and is permitted subject to danger.
This issue was discussed in depth at the December 2005 meeting of the HRB.
The HRB recognised that this is a relatively new technique where the ball is played with the edge of the stick in a similar way to the ‘backhand’. On the forehand, this action is considered to be particularly dangerous. This is because the ball must be hit very precisely at the correct spot, otherwise it is likely that the ball will be raised at high speed and in an uncontrolled manner. Also, the direction of the ball from these hits is not predictable by opponents and in most cases not even by the player hitting the ball. This action can be executed accidentally or can be disguised as a different action so opponents have little or no chance to react if the ball is raised.
As noted in the rule above, this applies only to a hard hit of this type. It is not considered dangerous to use the forehand edge of the stick in the other ways described.