Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pre-stalls and delay of game

So what's new about this?

One small change is that you always have to announce "disc in" before beginning a stall count early due to a pre-stall or a delay of game.

Next, the easy part, the pre-stall. Only two things have changed:
1. the name. It is not called "delay of game" anymore, it is the pre-stall. This change was made to keep the two concepts apart.
2. You don't have to initiate the pre-stall by some words anymore. It is enough to loudly say "(twenty)...ten...five...disc in stalling one...". It is getting more and more common (at least in elite play) that pre-stalls are counted, go ahead, do it yourself!

And now to the trickier issue, delay of game. The relevant rules here are

XIX.B. It is the responsibility of all players to avoid any delay when starting, restarting, or continuing play. This includes standing over the disc or taking more time than reasonably necessary to put the disc into play.


XIII.A.5. If an offensive player unnecessarily delays putting the disc into play in violation of rule XIX.B, a defender within three meters of the spot the disc is to be put into play may issue a delay of game warning instead of calling a violation. If the behavior in violation of rule XIX.B is not immediately stopped, the marker may initiate and continue a stall count, regardless of the actions of the offense. In order to invoke this rule, after announcing “delay of game,” the marker must give the offense two seconds to react to the warning, and then announce “disc in” before initiating the stall count.

XIX.B tells you that you should not delay the game, and gives a couple explicit scenarios (but there are other situations this rule applies!):
a) don't stand over the disc.
b) don't take more time than reasonably necessary to put the disc into play.

Begs the question: what is reasonable? The rules don't give an explicit answer to this. A good rule of thumb is the following (this is what the WFDF rules now use as standard): When the disc is on the ground, the thrower-to-be should move toward the disc in at least walking pace. Similarly, while carrying the disc to the spot where it is to be put into play, move at least in walking pace at all times.
And what is "standing over the disc"? Well, we had this in the 10th and there were all kinds of different interpretations of this. Don't worry about it in the 11th too much, since in most cases it is covered by b) anyways. The only difference is that no offensive player may stand over the disc due to a) while b) only talks about the thrower-to-be.

So what do you do if you think the other team is violating XIX.B? Two options:
1) Call "Violation" and stop play. This does not really speed up the game, so it is somewhat counter productive. But well, there are times and places for this:
- The thrower-to-be delays the game to have his offense set up. Stopping play here will stop this.
- The other team repeatedly violates this rule and you get the impression that you should stop play to quickly and respectfully remind them of the rule.
2) Invoke XIII.A.5. This is like calling a violation without stopping play (a warning). It has some teeth to it since you are allowed to initiate a stall count if they keep delaying two seconds after the warning. But if they stop delaying immediately, play is continued normally.

What happened to the old "delay of game"?
In the 10th, you could call "delay of game" whenever someone was standing over the disc and start the count immediately, no matter what they did after your call. You don't have this sharp "weapon" anymore. If the offense reacts quickly to your warning, you don't get to start the stall. On the other hand, XIX.B applies to a lot more situations, where there was nothing you could do in the 10th, since there, no one was standing over the disc:
- on a stoppage, the thrower does not present the disc for a check but rather takes some time to call a play;
- the thrower-to-be jumps back and forth from one foot to the other over the disc to call a play and let his team set up;
- carrying a disc back from out of bounds, the thrower uses the full 20 seconds to put the disc into play (waiting just a couple feet from the line) while his team mates cut to get open. On a good cut, he quickly puts the disc into play and throws...
- the thrower-to-be stands 10 (?) feet from the disc waiting for his team to set up;
- ...

So, the new rule applies to many more situations, but in turn your reaction to it is less severe. If one player stands over the disc and runs away from it once you call the warning, there is nothing you can do about it, as long as some other player quickly moves in to pick up the disc. Still, standing over the disc like this IS a violation of XIX.B, so doing this intentionally is a violation of the spirit of the game (=cheating).

The effect of this whole change is that all these "crafty" delays are now illegal, and hopefully the game will move along quicker without the need of many warnings.



J. Becker said...

This is just a general comment on the rules, and not necessarly reflective of my thoughts on the pre-stall . . .

The intricacies of these rules are getting too convoluded for any mere mortal to master. What is this, the "I Ching"? We need to read the official commentaries to decipher the meaning behind the cryptic verses of the 11th edition?

This progressively fine hair-splitting and philosophizing over the most minute instances of the game is leading us to a day when referees will become inevitable.

Of course, if that doesn't bother you . . .

Anonymous said...

Every sport has rulebooks of equal or greater complexity than this one. I don't see that this necessarily leads to the adoption of referees (a consequence whose merits and disadvantages are mixed, but that's another issue entirely).

While the rules are fairly common sense, there are times when players find themselves stymied or even in conflict with one another because the rules haven't been properly or clearly explained. The purpose of the "hair-splitting" is to avoid any "hair-pulling".

These updates to the rules and explanations are a welcome feature of the sport. It certainly beats everyone standing around a field, shoulders shrugging, heads being scratched, saying "I dunno. It doesn't say anything in the rules."

J. Becker said...

Those other sports to which you allude also have people paid to study and enforce these intricacies.

Another question: What percentage of players . . . heck, UPA MEMBERS do you think actually come here and study up on these clarifications?

I do appreciate the SRC's efforts to try and publicize and clarify the changes (heck, here I am, reading up), but the notion that this blog (or the 11th edition rules, for that matter) is somehow creating a new generation of more informed players is poppycock.

If we want to avoid those head-scratching moments, there should be a rules-test, the passing of which should be mandatory for participating in UPA-sanctioned events. There will be no change without accountability.

If you want us all to be refs, you have to train us properly.

Todd said...

Another question: What percentage of players . . . heck, UPA MEMBERS do you think actually come here and study up on these clarifications?

Your question misses the point. Nobody expects the rules blog to suddenly give ultimate players a burning desire to come here and read the latest clarifications.

But the blog does provide an authoritative place to find guidance for applying the rules to complicated on-field situations. In the past it was difficult to convince other players that the SRC had already provided an explanation of a given situation - even if you could find the relevant thread on RSD, then you would have to convince the other player which of the 63 responses in the thread was correct because it came from someone on the SRC at the time the rules were passed.

The rules blog makes it a lot easier to refer someone to valid rules interpretations. It doesn't mean that suddenly everyone will come here. It does provide consistent, authoritative, and citable answers for those who take the time to study the rules.

If we want to avoid those head-scratching moments, there should be a rules-test, the passing of which should be mandatory for participating in UPA-sanctioned events. There will be no change without accountability.

I agree. Other sports test their officials. In ultimate, self-officiation makes the logistics more difficult but the need greater. Even if only one person per team was rules certified it would go a long way toward reducing confusion on the field.

scrooner said...

This came up at Nationals:

We turn the disc over out the back of the endzone we are attacking. We start giving a 20-second pre-stall count. Opposing team's handler walks very slowly to pick up the disc and take it to the goal line to put the disc in play. At the end of the 20-second pre-stall count, the marker at the goal-line announces delay of game and begins stall counting. He gets to "Stall 3" before the opposing team's handler, who is still at the back of their endzone, calls timeout.

After the timeout, he argues that he should be able to put the disc in at the closest point on the playing field proper, which is now the front of the endzone.

What do you think?

Mortakai said...

Sorry for the extended delay on the response, but it's fully supported by the rules... if that's what you're asking. Now if you're actually asking whether that makes sense and/or what the players want to happen, that this is another question entirely. Although be careful about situations that occur so rarely that even if the rules are change (i.e., made 'more' complicated), still no-one will remember what they should do anyway, so is it really that important?

Box said...

Is there any plan to start this blog up again? I'd love if you guys could go over some specifics of the travel rule.