THE GAME 07 Mar 19
History of Hockey - 1990 onwards
Since the early 1990s, the game of hockey has developed at a fast pace with the introduction of composite technology and synthetic pitches leading to a fast-paced, dynamic sport.
In 1992 the offside rule was abolished to create space in attacking areas in favour of more goals and to make the game more exciting. This coincided with a rule allowing for the use of composite materials in a stick. This meant that the performance levels could be increased in the form of better energy transfer to the ball and lighter weight sticks to enable greater mobility.
The self-pass rule was introduced in 2009. The aim was to decrease the number and duration of interruptions to the flow of play and to increase the length of time the ball is in active play. It enabled the player taking the free hit to play the ball effectively to himself thereby creating more free-flowing hockey.
Controlling the ball in the air
In 2015 players in top leagues were permitted to play or control the ball at any height unless dangerous. Previously it was illegal to raise your stick above shoulder height. The rule was later included in all leagues leading to a more 3D game and opening up new opportunities for goal scoring.
All of this has led to the game we know and love today with more changes inevitable to drive the game forward. More recent experiments to encourage teams to score field goals as opposed to short corner goals involve field goals being counted as 2 goals. Although this has only been adopted in some competitions so far, including the Hockey India League and EHL, there is a growing voice from prominent coaches and officials regarding the abolition of short corners and drag flicks.