The effect of the offside rule abolition on selected offensive actions, fouls and injuries in field hockey
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The offside rule in Field Hockey was abolished recently by the International Hockey Federation Rule Board (FIHRB). It was assumed that this would shift the balance of power from the defenders to the strikers. Thus, the present study aimed at assessing the effect of this rule change on the technical - tactical factors infield hockey. Twenty eight (28) matches (25%) of the total 112 matches played during the 1995/96 Kenya National Hockey league were randomly sampled (14 before and 14 after offside rule abolition) for this study. The matches were independently observed by two experienced observers who viewed un-edited-pre-recorded video tapes and recorded fouls, crosses, penalty corners, corners, penalty flicks, injuries, attempts at goal and goals scored. Only the actions between the opponents' goal line and the 25-yard line were observed. In relation to injuries, only those that led to temporary stoppage of the game or to substitution of the injured player were registered. The data was analysed descriptively. Among other findings, it was observed that there were more fouls (50.78%), penalty flicks (61.90%), corners (55.09%), injuries (60.90%), attempts at goal (55.17%), goals (57.52%), but crosses (46.91%) and penalty corners (49.07%) decreased with the abolition of the offside rule. The winners had a higher number of all match actions observed compared to losers both before and after the rule abolition. Similarly, more actions were observed in the second half as compared to the first half of matches both before and after the abolition of the offside rule. The findings of this study showed that the abolition of the offside rule made the game more offensive, hence more goals were scored in the matches observed.