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Underwater Hockey- A Unique Game Description

Underwater hockey (also called Octopush) is a non-contact sport in which two teams compete to contrive a puck athwart the bottom of a swimming pool into goals. Underwater hockey is a game of pace that rapidly builds swimming and free diving potential. Underwater hockey is played on the bottom of a swimming pool with two teams each of six or about ten players. Players wear equipments like fins, mask, snorkel, and a protective glove and headgear. The stick used in the game is very short as compared to the stick which is used in ground hockey, and the stick is about 1 feet long, the puck is heavy, around 3 lb., and the goal is 3 meters (9’) in length.

The regulations are "non-contact" and players usually cover "zones" around the puck. Victory (scoring) eventually depends on teamwork, because no single person can hold their breath forever. Strength of an individual is less of a benefit than it is in many other sports. The water nullifies pure mass advantage and highlights clever use of torque. In competition, game is divided into two 15 minute halves, and teams can have up to 4 substitutes on the deck that can enter play on the fly.

The sport was invented in 1954 by Alan Blake and was first played at the club by him and other divers including John Ventham, Jack Willis, and Frank Lilleker in Eastney Swimming Pool, Portsmouth, England. In the beginning it was called "Octopush" the original rules called for teams of eight players (hence "octo-"), a bat evocative of a tiny shuffleboard stick, called a "pusher", an uncoated lead puck called a "squid", and a goal known at first as a "cuttle" but soon thereafter a "gully".

The first rules were tested in a 1954 two-on-two game, and an declaration was made in the November 1954. The purpose of the game was to keep members of South sea Sub-Aqua Club #9 from discarding the new club during the winter months when it was too cold to dive in the sea. The first octopush competition between clubs was a three-way tournament between teams from Southsea, Bournemouth and Brighton in early 1955. Southsea won then, and they are still highly ranked at a national level today.

The considerable changes in equipment, team size, and other factors have helped construct the game as a international sport today, with 44 teams from 17 countries contending at the 14th World Championship in 2006 at Sheffield in the United Kingdom, although sadly rather fewer teams and countries attended the more recent World Championship in 2008 at Durban in the Republic of South Africa.

Rules in the game

The rules of the game hamper the use of brute force and permit small people to compete effectively and equally with larger people. Play is exclusively on the bottom of the pool so your efficiency is also governed by how much time you spend on the bottom. In the game, effort usually shortens bottom time to less than 30 seconds. The underwater hockey sport is defined as non-contact in the identical way basketball is considered non-contact. The person with control of the puck is not allowed to be physically pushed but also may not allege into set opponents.

Rules are simple - no body contact unless your stick is on the puck (i.e., no fore checking or moving screens), no touching the puck with anything but your stick, and no restraining or hindering another player (even if you do have the puck) by pulling off their mask or fins or holding on to them. Passing is very possible and is done by throwing the puck off your stick with a tap of your wrist. This cannot be learned without help, but can be used to cruise the puck more than 10 feet across the bottom and up to 2 feet above it. This technique lets you to break the puck out of a tight spot and send it by opponents.

This sport can be played at many levels from informal pick-up fun to serious competition. It is an incredible work-out, and one that will specifically recover your free-diving skills and diving muscles. Underwater Hockey also provides an immediate conversation starter at dull parties.

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