Ask an Orange Adult #1 – The Check

by | January 14, 2011, 8:00am 0

(Photo by Kevin Leclaire –

No matter how well you think you know the rules, sometimes you have to call Mom and tell her you need an orange adult. In this series, Skyd hooks up with certified USA Ultimate observers to identify commonly misplayed situations, and provide rules information to address them.  We’ll also share guidance on best practices that will make self-officiated games run more smoothly (with or without observers).

Starting and restarting play with a check is a situation that every player will encounter, and the check is one of the most commonly misplayed situations in the game.  Conducting the check clearly, fairly, and efficiently every time is one of the easiest ways to help speed up play and avoid unnecessary delay and argument.

First, the applicable rules can be found in Section VIII, Starting and Restarting Play.

For a standard check, when a marker is close enough to touch the disc, the following steps are required:

  1. The thrower offers the disc for the marker for a check. (VIII.D.3).
  2. The marker restarts play by touching the disc (VIII.D.3.a).

The check cannot happen if either of these steps is missing. After a marking foul, blurting out “no contest”, tapping the disc and beginning to count is not a check – the thrower has not offered the disc.  Similarly, the thrower slapping the disc against the marker is not the marker “touching the disc” — it is the disc touching the marker.

For a self-check (VIII.D.4&5), the opposing team must acknowledge readiness before you may check the disc into play.  But really, making sure everyone is ready and knows when play will begin should be part of your routine as a thrower or a marker performing any check.  The check is a simple procedure to fairly start play, not a time to gain an edge (or unnecessarily put your own team at a disadvantage).

Best practice performing a check is as follows:

  1. Make sure your downfield teammates and opponents are ready.
  2. Announce where the stall count is resuming.
  3. Make sure the opposing thrower/marker is ready.
  4. Count down “3-2-1” and offer the disc for a check (or touch the offered disc).
  5. Loudly announce “disc in” or “in play” when the disc is touched.

Performing the check incorrectly creates confusion and additional stoppages.  This is a task that every player should be able to perform correctly, without the assistance of an Observer. Avoid surprises and help your games run smoothly by doing this properly and encouraging your teammates to do the same.

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Although Colin is a member of the USA Ultimate Board of Directors and the Standing Rules Committee, this article reflects only his personal views and does not represent the views of USA Ultimate, the Board, or the SRC.  For official Rules Resources, please visit the USA Ultimate Rules Resources page.

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