Friday, January 21, 2022

The stick block pandemic: a grass roots issue yet to be eradicated

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Rupert Barker
Rupert Barker is a former premier league player with University of Edinburgh and has player coached at several clubs across the south of England. He is currently Wallingford 1s player-coach and founder of Hockey21, bringing hockey into the 21st century by creating hockey computer games.

Stick blocking, fencing, and shielding are all terms for a pandemic that has spread throughout the hockey world rapidly and is now endemic within the game, but how do we stop it? 

The rule is undoubtedly one of the hardest to umpire in the modern game. So says TV commentator Simon Mason: “It is an insanely difficult skill to umpire”. Mason is right; the speed at which players move the ball and the small margins involved make the officials’ job incredibly challenging. 

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