This morning the FIH released their brand new rules app. The app can be downloaded on Android and iOS and is a fantastic move to further the Hockey Revolution. By making the rules easily accessible to the majority of people, a sticking point in a very technical game can be reduced. This will hopefully reduce any confusion around some contentious areas such as the penalty corner and overheads. After my recent post “Uncovering the hatred towards umpires”, hopefully we will have a few players learn some more of the rules or clarify some interpretations that maybe they thought they understood, but actually didn’t.
As an umpire, having a rule book in my pocket that is easily accessible to use to explain a rule or interpretation or to help coach junior umpires is vital. Previously you had to order a physical copy from Switzerland and getting hold of an actual rule book was therefore quite challenging. Having the PDF printed or on your phone somehow didn’t add enough authenticity to your cause and people would still argue.
Playing with the app this morning, I was highly impressed. The rules section is broken down into five clear sections that help you shift through and find the rule section you are looking for quickly. They are:
- Playing the game
- Field Equipment & specifications
Bookmark A Rule Quickly
The app is simple, but has a few incredible features. Firstly, you can bookmark a rule for quick access. This way you can highlight a few rules that players constantly ask about and you can quickly show them the official wording and in 10 seconds before/after a match something can be clarified. I really like this from a speed point of view.
Watch Videos & See Implementation
Something that the game has been crying out for for a very long time has been a collection of short video clips explaining why the blow went a certain way. While many people can often recite the rules, they don’t understand how to implement them within a game situation, and with these clips, you can now quickly watch and understand how a certain call affects the game.
Testing Your Knowledge With A Quiz
This one is a no-brainer as to how important it is to the game. Give the players/future umpires the rules, tools to understand and learn how to interrupt things, but then the most important step is testing them and putting things into practice. The quiz section selects 10 randoms questions, gives you scenarios and then provides you with a few multiple choice answers. While the questions aren’t higher grade, they still test the basics and help you make sure that you should be able to handle a lower level game to begin with.
Overall, I think this is a brilliant move from the FIH and one that the game has been dying for. Next up, we need an update to the app to try and teach you the basics of umpiring in terms of signalling, positioning and how to manage a game. That way we will hopefully be able to grow the group of umpires coming into the game and ensure that our game continues to grow across the globe.