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 the proper rules and 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).
When play stops after a call, all players must be set up in their appropriate places before the thrower and marker can perform the check. Just like with the check, players can do their part to speed up the game and reduce arguments by repositioning legally and efficiently.
The rules are really clear about positioning after a call, and Rule XVI.C.4 covers just about everything. Players must return to the positions they occupied at one of three possible times:
1) Time of the Call
This happens in two situations. The first is if the thrower stops play by acknowledging the call (assume no throw). See Rule XVI.C.4.a. The second is if the call is made before a throwing attempt, the thrower attempts a pass, and the disc ends up reverting to the thrower when the call is resolved. See Rule XVI.C.4.b)(1)(b) and the two examples below.
Example A: Suppose a closely-guarded receiver cuts through the stack, and the defender stops to avoid a collision and calls a pick. The thrower then completes a pass to the receiver, who catches it 20 yards away from the stack. The defender correctly announces that the pick affected the play, so the disc reverts to the thrower, and all players must return to the positions they occupied at the time of the pick call. This means that the receiver goes back near the stack. In addition, the defender “is then allowed to move to recover the relative position lost because of the pick.” See Rule XVI.I.3.
Example B: Suppose a receiver bumps a defender, who falls down and immediately calls a foul. The thrower then passes it deep to the wide-open receiver. The defender correctly announces that the foul affected the play, so the disc reverts to the thrower. All the players will return to the positions they occupied at the time of the foul call.
2) Time of the Throw
This only happens in one situation. If the thrower attempts a pass and a call is made after the throwing attempt, and the disc ends up reverting to the thrower when the call is resolved, players will return to the positions they occupied at the time of the throw. See Rule XVI.C.4.b)(1)(a).
Example: Suppose a thrower passes it deep to a closely-guarded receiver. There is a lot of contact as the disc floats down, the receiver calls a foul, and the pass is incomplete. The defender contests, and the players send the disc back to the thrower. In this case, all the players will return to the positions they occupied at the time of the throw.
3) Time When Play Stopped
This also only happens in one situation. If the thrower attempts a pass (assume no acknowledgment) and when the call is resolved the outcome of the pass stands, players will return to the positions they occupied when play stopped. See XVI.C.4.b)(2). In this case, it does not matter if the call was made before or after the throw.
Example: Suppose a receiver calls a foul, and then the thrower attempts a deep pass, which is incomplete. The receiver and defender discuss briefly and the receiver agrees that the foul did not affect the play. All players will return to the positions they occupied when play stopped, which was when the pass fell incomplete.
Best practice for repositioning is pretty simple:
1) Convey important information to other players on the field.
2) Quickly return to your approximate position.
3) Come to agreement with your nearest opponents on your relative positions.
4) Get ready for the thrower and marker to perform the check.
The player making the call, the thrower, and the marker are often in good positions to announce the timing of a call, the timing of the throw, or how a call was resolved. Frequently during stoppages of play, players spend a significant amount of time confused, milling around and not returning to the appropriate positions. By quickly conveying important information and hustling back to the right positions, players will help keep stoppages of play brief.
Feature photo by Perry Nacionales www.mapgeek.com