However, the basic tenets of the continuation rule are still the same:
- If a call is made while the disc is in the air (or while the thrower is in the act of throwing), play continues until the outcome of THAT pass (only) is determined;
- If a call is made while the disc is in the possession of a thrower, play continues until the thrower acknowledges the call OR until the outcome of ONE additional pass is determined.
Play CAN continue further in specific situations (described by the contiuation rule), but in those situations players must say "play on".
Also note that it is now clearly stated in the rules (XIX.F) that the thrower MUST acknowledge a call as soon as he or she is aware of it- to not do so is not only cheating but also a violation.
Even with the clarifications we tried to make, the continuation rule may still seem somewhat complicated. Especially if you read it to memorize all the conditions and what the resolution is in each case, it may actually seem somewhat overwhelming.
We realize that, regardless of our wishes and best efforts, some players will not know and/or remember all of the rules. However, given that the design of some continuation rule resolutions is to continue the game without stopping, and player confusion in knowing these parts in particular will keep that from happening, it's important that every one of us understands the continuation rule as best as we can.
Not to mention that it applies every time a call is made, so it's the most commonly-used rule.
With all that in mind, rather than help you only memorize the rule, I'm going to try to help you to understand the why of the rule from a common sense point-of-view, which should increase the likelihood of automatically knowing and suggesting the right resolution on the field.
Before we get into the particular conditions, let's look at the opening lines of the rule:
Play stops when the thrower in possession acknowledges that an infraction has been called. If a call is made when the disc is in the air or the thrower is in the act of throwing, or if the thrower fails to acknowledge the call and subsequently attempts a pass, play continues until the outcome of that pass is determined. [ ... ] Play then either stops or continues according to the following conditions: [11th Ref: XVI.C.]
So, if the thrower acknowledges the call, easy: play stops right there; that's the first sentence. To help players know that the thrower has acknowledged the call, there is now a requirement for the throwers to visibly or audibly show/say they've stopped play [11th Ref: XIX.F.]. It's important for players to know when play stops for a number of reasons, including so players actually stop moving around the field and so should know where they were when play stopped in order to set up properly.
If the thrower instead throws a pass, or if the disc is already in the air, the last sentences essentially say this: (1) first resolve the pass; then depending on whether the pass was complete or not, (2) look to the rest of the continuation rule to see whether play is considered stopped at that point, or whether play continues unstopped.
This is only a one-pass continuation. If a second and third pass is thrown before play stops, what happens for those passes doesn't matter for how the continuation rule is resolved; it's only that first pass that matters.
What are the resolutions?
The resolutions are first split into two conditions, calls made by the thrower, and those made by a non-thrower.
For thrower calls, these are then split between infractions that occur before the throw starts, and those that occur after the throw starts (i.e., that occur during the act of throwing [11th Ref: II.T.3.]).
With thrower calls for infractions before the throw starts, the primary desire is to not allow the thrower to have a free throw, which would happen if the thrower made the call and then made a throw. In these cases, a completed throw comes back (i.e., no free throw) and an incomplete pass stays incomplete. So if you're the thrower and an infraction is made before the throw and you make a call, don't throw it; a completed pass will never stay complete, and you're only risking a turnover. [11th Ref: XVI.C.1.a)]
After the start of the throw (i.e., during the throwing motion), however, the primary desire is that we don't want a valid throw and catch to be taken away, and of course want a do-over if the throw is bad because of it. So the results are opposite when the infraction occurs after the start of the throwing motion. That is, a completed pass stays complete and an incomplete pass is returned. This makes sense considering that in many cases, the thrower is already committed to a throw and cannot stop easily, and regardless, it's unfair to take away the valid opportunity. And for incomplete passes, it's likely the infraction caused, at least partially, the turnover. [11th Ref: XVI.C.1.b)]
Also take particular note that it's whether the infraction was before the call, not the call itself. So delaying the call won't change how it's resolved. This is an improvement over the 10th, where the time of the call was important, and a slight delay in the call could theoretically have changed how it's resolved. That's no longer the case with it being determined instead by the time of the infraction.
So in both instances--infraction before or after the start of the throw--there's a "play on" result where play continues un-halted, and a stoppage result where the disc is returned to the thrower. So when you recognize the "play on" situation, just yell it out right away (and repeat it if you hear others yelling it) and keep right on playing (i.e., turn, burn, strike, and score if you're on offense; or watch for that if on defense). And for a stoppage, if you've heard the call, please echo it, and especially once you realize that play should be stopping so players are more likely to stop faster and to reposition more accurately [11th Ref: XIX.F.].
On to calls made by a non-thrower tomorrow...