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#1

When defending a runner. Do I have to give them a step between us.
Example: when covering a player they stop and cut back into me, my momentum carried me into them. They say foul as they were cutting back and I say no you stopped and ran into me. Someone says I need to give them a step to make a cut, if this is so, how would I be able to knock a disc if I am constantly a step away.

Jon By Jon

Some relevant rules:

XVII.A: Each player is entitled to occupy any position on the field not occupied by an opposing player, unless specifically overridden elsewhere, provided that no personal contact is caused in taking such a position.

XVI.H.3.c.2: A player may not take a position that is unavoidable by a moving opponent when time, distance, and line of sight are considered. Non-incidental contact resulting from taking such a position is a foul on the blocking player.

When defending a receiver, you'll generally find it more useful to choose a parallel line slightly offset by a step (think slightly beside rather than directly behind). Think of it this way: if you are always directly behind the other player, what chance do you ever have to make a play on a disc? Close to zero. If you start behind them but slightly to the side, many players slow down a bit when they catch a disc and if you're behind them you'll run into them, if you're slightly to the side you can pass them, get in front and get your D. Similarly, if they cut back suddenly, there is way less chance of contact. Try that.

There are no prescriptions in the rules about *how* to defend a moving player, let alone any that specify giving a cutter "a step to make a cut." Jon cites the correct rule: any player may occupy or move to occupy any position, near or far.

The scenario that you've described can, depending on the details, constitute a foul on either player. If you are close on the heels of a cutter and he *unavoidably* stops in front of you, then he has arguably committed a blocking foul as per XVI.H.3.c.2 (most defenders don't bother making a call, though, since their own ability to continue play is usually unhindered, and so the contact is incidental under those circumstances by definition). There is a certain reasonable onus that the player about to change direction doesn't change his direction directly into the way of someone who cannot predict the future. On the other hand, there comes a point where the scales tip the other way, when the argument can be made that he stopped in an avoidable position, and you simply clumsily trundle into him. In that instance, you will have committed a foul.

This is the kind of collision that nobody necessarily could have predicted and reasonably results in a contested foul call when it occurs. If you repeatedly run into players as they stop though, chances improve that you're the one doing something odd.