When the ball goes off the baseline, you will often see the goalkeeper leave their goal to go after it and collect it, to return it to a teammate who will take the free hit. This process means that the defender does not have to go after the ball and gives your team more men and more time to organise for an attack from the back.
If you do not have a ball boy around to get the ball (especially if you do not play to a high level!) and your defence have been pushing up the pitch, then it is often useful for the goalkeeper to go and get the ball. The reason is simple: by the goalkeeper going instead of a defender, there are more defenders/players on the pitch (with that extra man who would otherwise collect the ball) to get organised into positions where they are free to accept a pass. By collecting the ball and returning it to the team, it means that they are in a better position to organise an attack and push forward. Although it sounds trivial, this speeds up things and makes sure your team don’t lose precious time (remember: the element of surprise only works if you are quick organising!).
Setting up the hit taker
When the ball goes off the pitch, you should chase after it (good exercise of your agility!) and use your stick to move it (lowering your stick will help you move the ball around with the head of the stick). You can then kick the ball to the open teammate with an accurate pass, so that you don’t have to pick up the ball and move it to the player. Once you have successfully passed the ball and allowed them to set up for the free hit, you should sprint off back into the goal to get ready and prepare in your ready stance, ready for action.