Thursday, February 22, 2007

Throwing Fouls

Having recently gone through marking violations, these are closely related to throwing fouls--most specifically disc space--so throwing fouls is a logical topic to move into.

Before diving in, let me mention that throwing fouls apply to any defensive player near the thrower, whether they're the marker or not. [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(6)]

Right off the top, throwing fouls are a good example of "general vs specific" rules [11th Ref: I.E.]. According to the definition of a foul, it's generally the person who causes (i.e., initiates) the contact who has committed the foul [11th Ref: II.E.]. However, the throwing foul section describes the more specific cases, where the general case doesn't necessarily hold true.

First, let's go through a few terms that are used in throwing fouls, which are important to clearly understand. Two specific terms in the throwing fouls section are: 'body' and 'extended arms and legs'.

"Body" refers to the entire person; in other words, everything included inside the skin (plus hair, nails, etc)... everything. More specific terms are used where a more specific body part is meant; for example, 'torso' is used in the Principle of Verticality rule [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.b)(3)].

"Extended arms and legs" specifically means limbs that are extended away from the midline of the body. Reaching out or forward with your arms, stepping way out with your leg to reach for a hand-block, or kicking up and out with your leg, are examples of extending your arms and legs out. Having your arms hanging down at or near your sides, or standing in a natural position, even if somewhat wide-stanced, are not.

And for further clarity, hands and feet are considered part of the limb they're attached to, so a hand is part of the extended arm. (Assuming, of course, that this is where your hands and feet actually are.)

Okay fine, thanks for the science and language lesson... let's get on with it.

The throwing fouls rules state the different cases where a foul is on the marker or the thrower.

The following 3 cases are fouls on the marker, regardless of whether it's the thrower or marker who initiates the contact:

(1) Contact with the moving OR illegally-positioned extended arms or legs of the marker. That is: if they're moving, it doesn't matter if they're in a legal or illegal position; if they're illegally-positioned, it doesn't matter if they're moving or not. [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(2)]

(2) Contact with an illegally-positioned marker; whether moving or not. [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(3)]

(3) Contact between the marker and thrower if both are moving to the same empty space. [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(3)]

The following 2 cases are examples in which the thrower initiates contact with the marker, and are fouls on the thrower:

(1) Contact with the stationary AND legally-positioned extended arms or legs of the marker. [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(2)]

(2) Contact with a legally-positioned body (excluding extended arms and legs) of the marker. [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(3)]

Legal position... we gotta know the criminal code now?

When talking about being in a legal or illegal position, this means whether the criteria in the disc space marking violation is being met. If the marker is violating disc space, they're in an illegal position. [11th Ref: XIV.B.3.]

And remember that if the thrower is the one who violates disc-space, the marker is not considered in an illegal position, meaning that throwing fouls are resolved as if the marker was in a legal position.

Here's a different way to think about the various options:

- any contact between the thrower and the extended arms/legs of the marker is a foul on the marker, unless those appendages are legally positioned and completely stationary (fairly unlikely, but possible!)

- if the marker is in a legal position, and the thrower initiates contact with the marker’s body (other than extended arms and legs), that’s a foul on the thrower, regardless of whether the marker was completely stationary; so, even if the marker is bouncing up and down, the thrower can’t plow into their body

- if the marker is in an illegal position, then any contact will be a foul on the marker

- vying for the same location is always a foul on the marker; so if the thrower is trying to step around the marker and the marker tries to shift over to take away the breakmark throw, and they knock into each other, it’s a foul on the marker

As with most fouls, a throwing foul shouldn’t be called on incidental contact [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(1)]. (We'll cover the topic of incidental vs non-incidental contact in a future post, but for now understand that it essentially means whether the contact affected the play in any significant manner.)

However, you shouldn’t wait to see the result of the pass before making your call, but rather the foul needs to be called immediately on the contact [11th Ref: XVI.H.1.]. Call it right away as soon as you think your throw was affected and then let the continuation rule take care of whether it's a play-on situation or a stoppage (the continuation rule also to be addressed in a future post) [11th Ref: XVI.C].

And for a final word, which is about contact on the follow-through that occurs after the disc is released [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(5)]. This is not in itself a foul, and is consistent with the concept of whether the contact affected the play or not. Contact after the disc is released, in virtually all cases, will not affect either the throw (it's already happened) or the marker's ability to block it (the disc will already have passed by the time the marker reacts to the contact).

Now having said that, if the thrower knows you're right in the path of the follow-through and knows you'll be hit, especially if it'll be hard (e.g., on a huck) and throws anyway, there is certainly grounds for a valid 'dangerous play' foul. However, if the marker is moving across to block as the thrower is throwing, and the thrower did not expect to hit the marker, but there is contact, that's not dangerous play, even though the contact may be significant and potentially injurious. More on this rule in the future as well. [11th Ref: XVI.H.4.]

Overall, we hope that with the changes in the disc space rule (see disc space post), there will be fewer throwing fouls and less follow-through contact. The former resulting in fewer stoppages, which is always good for the game; and the latter of course being good for the players' safety.


Justin said...


[...] contact on the follow-through that occurs after the disc is released [11th Ref: XVI.H.3.a)(5)]. This is not in itself a foul, and is consistent with the concept of whether the contact affected the play or not. Contact after the disc is released, in virtually all cases, will not affect [...] the marker's ability to block it (the disc will already have passed by the time the marker reacts to the contact).

I'm a little confused here. If the thrower can only get off a huck by backhanding a marker, isn't it a foul because by definition, the contact after the foul was a necessary part of the throw?

It's easy to imagine the same scenario on the field, where a player lays out into the path of another player, gets to the disc but causes significant contact. [assume not harmful endangerment]. if the contact was an inevitable consequence of the bid, it would seem to effect the play.

If you want to make a play on the disc or a throw, you gotta figure out a way to do it without significant contact. Otherwise, you've just created a "i got there first" exception to the rule on fouls where the contacted party's only recourse is to the harmful endangerment rule.

Jon said...

Any course of action that would likely result in significant (i.e., dangerous) impact is considered harmful endangerment and that supersedes all other rules.

This rule is not saying it's OK for the thrower to clock the marker, it's saying that minor contact on the follow through isn't a foul.

Similarly, it is not OK to move in a way that you know will cause significant impact with an opponent, even if you know you can get to the disc first.

Rob said...

I believe the above post makes it clear that major contact on the follow through is only a foul if said contact was foreseen by the thrower. In situations where a defender is running across the thrower to make a play, contact after the throw can be hard, unforeseen (by the thrower) and therefore not a foul.

michael said...

the following scenario occurred during my league game tonight:

i'm marking backhand. the thrower steps out to huck, so i step out too. he smashes through my outstretched hand and calls a foul. assume he was still in possession and it was not contact during the follow-through. i feel like i should have contested it long enough to ask for a rule clarification at least. the throw was caught for a goal though, so it became irrelevant. i didn't want to argue for the sake of arguing, so i merely asserted that my arm was stationary and my legs were not and i didn't know what that meant.

to be clear, in relation to my shoulder and every other point of my upper body, my arm (and hand) was motionless. no change in elevation or inclination. the only movement i made was to sidestep. is this considered a "completely" stationary extended limb, even if it was moving relative to the field? in relation to myself, and to a lesser extent the thrower's torso, head and vision, it was effectively stationary.

i don't know that i would agree that we were vying for the same open space, as my intent was to go for the open space a disc's length or so in front of him and he started his throw after i was already moving towards it.

i personally love XVI.H.3.a.2, but can someone clarify what the marker limbs need to be stationary in relation to, be it his body, the thrower's pivot, or the field?

does XVI.H.3.a.3 apply here? i previously assumed it was meant to protect the thrower's right to pivot without being bumped by an active marker, and the use of "vying simultaneously" in the FAQ makes me think it is irrelevant since i was moving for that space before he was, so technically it wasn't open to him. am i wrong?