A five-a-side version of hockey that was trialed by Hibiscus Hockey during Level 2 last year (HM June 3, 2020) continues to provide a great way to bring players together for a socially distant game.
Hibiscus Hockey Trust chair Merv Huxford came up with the rules. He says the trial, held on Sunday, November 14, was to introduce younger people as well as adults to five-a-side, and that feedback was very positive.
No tackling and reduced team numbers mean the players are never closer than 2m to each other, so games can be played under Level 3.2 rules, Huxford says.
The game introduces player zones (like netball) to avoid tackles, and time restrictions on scoring (like basketball) – strikers have to score within four seconds of receiving the ball in their zone. Virtually no umpiring is required because there is no tackling, obstruction or dangerous play. The only infringements are if the ball contacts a foot, or a player moves outside their zone.
Huxford says the players, mainly in their teens, were very happy to be back playing sport with their friends.
“They all want the game to be continued regularly because of being able to socialise again, at a distance, with fellow players, and also because of the particular quick vision for passing and receiving that this modified game encourages,” Huxford says.
He says it has been worth developing the game, as it will be useful in any further localised lockdowns.
“Hockey has had to develop these modified games to cope because of Covid-19, and Metro Park’s turf, with its various multisport markings, lends itself well to these variations of the sport.
He hopes that further games of five-a-side will be played at the Hibiscus Hockey turf in Millwater on Sunday afternoons.
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