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2024 Field Hockey Guide


2024 Field Hockey Guide

  1. Season
    1. Field Hockey has been classified as a fall sport by the VPA according to the VPA definition of the fall season.
    2. The fall season may open Thursday, August 17th, and conclude Saturday, November 4th. The following preseason training procedures have been adopted for the 2024 season.

Teams may use double practices starting the first day of practice, however, the practices cannot total more than 3 ½ hours (maximum of 2 hours for one practice and 1 ½ hours for the other practice). If a team does have a double practice day there must be a minimum of 3 hours of rest between practices to all for rest, for recovery and rehydration. No team shall have consecutive days of double practice.

During the 3-hour rest period, you cannot conduct any active training sessions (no walk-throughs), but you can do a classroom meeting.

Scrimmages can be held at any time. There is no minimum number of practices required to participate in a scrimmage.

A school must complete 10 practices before its first game.

  1. No school shall schedule more than 14 games exclusive of playoffs sanctioned by the VPA.
  2. A maximum of 3 scrimmages are allowed from the first day of practice until the tournament pairings. During the tournament, a team may schedule additional scrimmages.
  3. If a varsity team receives three ejections or disqualifications (of athletes or coaches) during the course of the season, the coach, AD, and/or Principal of the school must meet with the Activities Standards Committee before the school will be admitted to, or allowed to continue, in the VPA post season tournament. The meeting will occur regardless of a team’s standing in the regular season or tournament. The intent of this meeting is to discuss the situations that occurred and the steps being taken to address the situation. Failure to meet with the ASC would result in the school/team being ineligible to participate in the VPA tournament.
  4. Please note that as of the 2024 season, Varsity Officials’ fees are $97.50 per game and sub-Varsity fees are $75 per game. 
  5. 2024 season: The use of 8th graders is permitted at the lowest level offered if there is an articulated need by the school in order to field a team. The request must be sent to the VPA for approval. 8th graders are not permitted to move up to varsity level for playoffs. 
  1. RULES

The official National Federation Rules will be used. Please note especially the rule changes found on the inside cover of the rulebook.

  1. Varsity Games
    1. Games will consist of four (4), 15-minute quarters (new as of the 2020 season).
    2. A 2-minute break between quarters (1&2, 3&4)
    3. Halftime will be no more than 10 minutes.
    4. One 90-second timeout is allowed
  1. JV Games
    1. Games will consist of four (4), 12-minute minutes quarters, running time.
    2. A 1-minute break between quarters (1&2, 3&4)
    3. Halftime will be no more than 5-minutes
    4. One 90-second timeout is allowed.
  1. If a warm-up clock countdown is on the field, it should count down to no less than 5 minutes prior to game time. This will designate the time captains and coaches will be expected for the coin toss. Players are expected to be on the field ready for the whistle which will blow at game time.
  2. With the adoption of quarters for the 2021 season, it is important to note that players are expected to be on the field ready for the whistle which will blow at the conclusion of the intermission. 
  1. No athlete shall exceed six (6) quarters of play per day.
  1. Regular Season Overtime Procedures
    1. There will be one 10-minute SUDDEN VICTORY overtime period. 
    2. There will be a 5-minute intermission between the end of regulation and the start of the overtime period
    3. The VISITING team will call the coin toss and the winner of the coin toss shall have the choice of possession or direction of attack. The team not winning the toss shall have the remaining choice.
    4. A team will consist of 6 field players and a fully equipped goalkeeper unless a player is still serving a disqualification
    5. All game rules apply with the following modifications:
      1. On penalty corners, the defending team is permitted to have only 4 players behind its goal line (3 field players and a goalkeeper). The penalty corner will be played out as it is during regulation play.
      2. The game is completed as soon as a goal has been scored. If the score is tied at the end of the overtime period, the game will end in a tie.
  1. Minimum Standards for suitable field hockey fields
    1. The field shall be a rectangular area of 100 yds. x 60 yds. See Rule 1-2-1.
    2. The entire playing surface shall be turf or grass of no longer than 1.5 inches per NFHS Rule 1-2-1. Exceptions can be made for small balding areas due to grass dying.
    3. No part of the GRASS field shall contain outstanding field markings for any other sport (football or soccer), softball or baseball infield areas, or any other unnatural obstacles.
    4. The slope of the field shall not be too extreme.
    5. Field markings shall follow the rules set down in the NFHS Rulebook. Pay particular attention to correct circle measurements and construction.
    6. The use of portable lights for night games will not be allowed.
    7. Although a field may be satisfactory for seasonal game use, it may be judged unsuitable for tournament play. Determination and rationale shall be identified by the VPA Field Hockey designees.
    8. The VPA strongly urges restraining facilities to be used at regular season play.
      1. The coaches are restricted to the bench area which is defined as the area between the substation line on the team’s side of the field and the 25-yard line, at least 5 yards back from the sideline.
  1. An administrator or his/her designated assistant MUST be present at all home games and introduced to the game officials.
  1. The HOME TEAM must provide an adult timer and a separate designated scorekeeper. The scorebook must remain at the tech table until it is signed by the officials
  1. The officials are required to check the book at halftime with the scorers and timers who will be at midfield. THE OFFICIALS MUST SIGN THE BOOK.
  1. Mercy Rule – If there is a 5-goal differential in the 3rd quarter, then there will be a running clock for the duration of the 3rd and 4th quarters only. No running clock in the 1st or 2nd quarters, no matter the score. The mercy rule does not apply during the tournament.
    1. To qualify for tournament consideration, a team must have completed at least an 8-game schedule with 3 different schools by the time of the pairings and submit an application.
    2. Game results  NO LATER than 8:00 AM October 20, 2024
      1. The last game to count – is October 19th. 
      2. Pairings – October  20  (pairings will be posted by noon)
      3. First-round playoffs – October 22/23, 2024
      4. Quarterfinals – October 25/26, 2024
      5. Semifinals – Oct 29/30 (conducted on turf fields)
        1. DI – TBA 
        2. DII – TBA 
        3. DIII – TBA 
      6. Finals – November 2, 2024 Site – TBD
        1. Order of finals – TBA 
    1. Field Use
      1. Playdowns and quarterfinals will be played on the field of the higher-seeded team if the field is suitable.
      2. Semifinals will be played on a turf field.
      3. Once the tournament starts, teams will not be allowed to play or practice on fields being used for the semifinal or championship games.
      4. If the higher-seeded team’s field is unsuitable, the higher-seeded team will have the right to find another suitable field to play and will notify the VPA by September 20. If they cannot solidify another field, they will use the lower-seeded team’s field. 
      5. To host a field hockey tournament game, a grass field must be played a minimum of 3 times.
      6. If both fields are unsuitable, the VPA will assign a neutral field. On a neutral field, schools will share expenses. 
  1. Personnel
    1. The home team will pay the officials through the quarterfinals (fee, plus mileage) unless a neutral site is used. When a neutral site is used during the semifinals, the teams share expenses (fees and mileage). If a semifinal is played at one of the member schools, that school pays for both officials.
    2. The home team will provide the timer, official scorer, clock, stopwatch, and game balls for games assigned by the VPA through the semifinals. The officials will be responsible for a scorer and timer at the finals.
      1. The home team will provide an experienced, reliable scorer and an experienced, reliable, non-student adult timer at the table. Ideally, they would be available at least 15 minutes prior to game time so officials have the opportunity to communicate with them.
  1. If the game is interrupted due to darkness or weather, the game will be resumed at the point of interruption on the next available playing date.
    1. For the finals, the tournament director shall be responsible for making the decision, in case of inclement weather, whether or not the game will be played or continued if play has started.
  1. Overtime Procedures
    1. For playdowns, quarterfinals, and semifinals, when regulation ends in a tie, the teams will play up to two 10-minute SUDDEN VICTORY overtime periods (Regular season 7v7 overtime rules will apply). For finals, there will be up to two 5-minute SUDDEN VICTORY.
    2. There will be a 5-minute intermission between the end of regulation and the first overtime period. If a second overtime is needed, there will be a 2-minute intermission with the teams switching ends and the team NOT getting the first ball possession will start with the ball. 
    3. If the end of overtime results in a tie, this tie shall be broken with a 1v1 procedure.
  1. 1v1 Procedures
    1. There will be a 5-minute intermission between the overtime periods and the start of the 1v1 procedure.
    2. The VISITING team will call the coin toss and the winner will choose whether to attack or defend the goal to start. Note – teams should be behind the 40-yard line, Players attacking will start from the 25-yard line.
    3. The officials shall choose which goal to use during the 1v1 procedure. Lighting and proximity to the game clock are important factors in this decision.
    4. Each team shall choose 5 players to take shots on goal in a set order. 
    5. If a player has been red-carded during the game or overtime periods, they are ineligible.
    6. If a player has been yellow-carded within the last 5 minutes of the 2nd overtime period, they are ineligible.
    7. The teams will alternate taking shots in the order listed (1-5).
      1. If a player shoots out of order, that attempt is over and no goal is award
      2. Ex. Red #3 shoots in place of Red #2 and scores, the official shall rule no goal. Red #2’s shot is over and Red #3 will shoot in their correct order.
    8. The first set of shots is NOT a sudden victory, but if there is a numerical impossibility for one team to overcome, the game is ended. Sudden victory is started with the second round of shots and continues as a sudden victory until a winner is determined.
      1. Ex. The red team’s first 3 shooters make their shots, but the blue team’s first three miss their shots. It is impossible for the blue to win. Game is ended. The red team is declared the winner.
    9. If the score is tied after the first 1v1 round, there will be a 2-minute intermission and a second SUDDEN VICTORY 1v1 round will be taken
      1. The shooters and/or order of shots may be changed prior to the start of the second set. 
      2. The team awarded more goals than their opponent, after an equal number of shots have been taken, shall be declared the winner
      3. If necessary, additional SUDDEN VICTORY 1v1 rounds shall be taken until a winner is declared. There will be no intermission between these sets. The shooters and/or order of shots may be changed prior to the start of each set.
    10. Only coaches and remaining team members may be on the field, 10 yards behind the 25-yard line (around the 35-40 yard line).
    11. The teams shall move towards the sidelines, opening up space in front of the goal area.
    12. The adult scorekeeper should be on the field to assist with the recording of the order of the shooters and any goals scored
    13. The adult timer shall place 10 seconds on the clock for each shooter and start the clock with the official’s WHISTLE. An audible device shall sound once the 10 seconds have elapsed.
    14. NFHS rules regarding fouls, violations, and end of procedure:
      1. A foul or violation by the attacker ends the procedure
      2. For an unintentional foul by the goalkeeper, the procedure shall be retaken
      3. For an intentional foul by the goalkeeper, a penalty stroke shall be awarded.
        1. Any player on the approved roster may take the penalty stroke
      4. The procedure ends when:
        1. The 10 seconds have elapsed
        2. A goal is scored
        3. The ball goals out of play over the end line, sideline, or outside the circle
  1. If the game is interrupted due to darkness or weather, the game will be resumed at the point of interruption on the next available playing date.
    1. For the finals, the tournament director shall be responsible for making the decision, in case of inclement weather, whether or not the game will be played or continued if play has started.
  1. There are to be no spectators allowed in the general goal or bench area while the game is going on. The officials will have the right and must stop the game until school authorities clear the goal area.
  1. Medals will be presented to 25 eligible players, plus a manager, plus coach, and an assistant coach for a total of 28.
  1. Schools are responsible for making sure all tournament fields are properly lined and lines are visible.
    1. Any grass fields using multiple lines are considered suitable if the non-field hockey lines are greened out.
  1. These schools’ fields are currently unsuitable for tournament play and they have until October 7, 2024, to inform the VPA office that changes have been made to bring the field up to tournament standards. A representative of the VPA Field Hockey Committee will meet with the Athletic Director and Varsity Field Hockey Coach to inspect the field.
    1. Brattleboro
    2. Rice
  1. If the field remains on the list as unsuitable, be aware of the guidelines defined for “Field Use” under Section IV, Tournament Procedure.