Friday, May 27, 2022

Do we need to implement a low tolerance policy for unsportsmanlike conduct?

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Rupert Barker
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.

One of the joys of hockey’s amateur status is that, barring the top echelons of the sport, the players are involved in the sport purely for fun. Competitiveness is a contributing factor to this enjoyment for huge swathes of players and the importance placed on winning is fundamental to their gratification from the sport.

There will undoubtedly be disagreements and controversy as a result of this competitive environment. A fundamental part of hockey, and indeed all sports, should be a handshake at the end of the game to show mutual respect, regardless of what has taken place on the pitch. This spirit of play is embodied by the tradition of match tees and a post-game jug of beer with the opponents.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a growing trend of behaviour that is not in the spirit of the sport.

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  1. Do we really need more ambiguity in the rule book? Why aren’t we as a hockey community calling out our teammates for this sort of behaviour?

    If it’s not ‘part of the game’ yet, and I don’t think it is, then it’s up to us as players to make sure it never gets to be.


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