IT’S the ultimate test of nerves on a hockey pitch.
And, if Premier League Hockey president Chris Smith gets his way at next month’s annual general meeting, the penalty shoot-out will become a regular sight in the 2013 season.
Last year Smith and his executive voted to introduce the game-breaker for the finals series.
It proved a great success.
So much so that Smith believes the governing body will unanimously support its continuation for the upcoming winter when it holds its AGM on February 13.
Smith, though, would like to see one amendment.
“I’d like to see penalty shoot-outs in regular season games,” the PLH president said.
“Overseas it has become standard practice to eliminate draws by having penalty shoot-outs in all games.”
Smith cited last year’s PLH men’s grand final as an example of what the concept could do for the competition.
Bathurst St Pat’s clawed their way back from 3-nil down against minor premiers Lithgow Panthers to send the game into extra time.
Neither side could break the deadlock, but St Pat’s held their nerve to claim the shoot-out 3-2, and, with it, the premiership.
Smith believes the cut-throat scenario provides an element of excitement that will only add to the minor premiership.
“It adds another facet to the game for the players and makes it more exciting for the spectators,” Smith said.
“Most of the players have been training for one-on-one situations with the keeper since they were young, so it should be a minor adjustment.”
There is a school of thought that believes shoot-outs are cruel to the losers and based largely on luck.
But Smith can see only benefits for the competition.
“It makes the games more attractive to play and watch,” Smith said.
“Some teams are content to play for draws just to secure some points, and that can lead to negative and boring play,” Smith said.
“When you know that one way or another there will be a result you are more inclined to attack and push for a win.
“That can only advance the standard of attacking play and make the games more enjoyable for spectators.”