Contact on the Catch

9 posts / 0 new
Last post

In a game last week this situation came up. I was running to the disc my defender came in from the side towards the disc. We collided hard enough to push me off the disc and neither one of us caught it. I felt I had better positioning on the disc and that the contact was more than incidental so I called a foul. He contested saying he was playing the disc not me. Fair enough, but I thought this would be covered under the rules covering catching fouls...

"A. A catching foul may be called when there is contact between

opposing players in the process of attempting a catch,

interception, or knock down. A certain amount of incidental

contact during or immediately after the catching attempt is

often unavoidable and is not a foul. "

So what gives, is any amount of contact allowed if both players are 'playing the disc'? Who has the ownus to let up on what is concievably a dangerous play? My gut reason for calling the foul is that this is a non-contact sport, and that was a solid hit (believe me I used to play rugby).

First off, if it affects the play, it's NOT incidental. So if your collision affected your play, those parts (i.e., "incidental contact") of the rules don't apply. It sounds like it affected your ability to play the disc, so it's NOT incidental.

Is ANY amount of contact allowed? Well, XVI.I.1 states, "It is the responsibility of all players to avoid contact in every way possible." So, I'd say "no". Just because someone is "playing the disc" doesn't mean they can just collide with other players. Incidental (i.e., minor and doesn't affect play) contact is a different thing and can't be helped, but that's not what we're talking about here, is it?

XVI.I.2: "In general, the player initiating contact is guilty of a foul." Who initiated contact here? Did both of you collide from different directions, or were you T-boned by him? Regardless of intention, whoever initiated contact fouled the other... if it was both of you colliding with each other, they cancel out, play stands: turnover.

Were you blindsided and he should have known better? Then consider dangerous play. Did you see him coming and knew the collision would've been as hard as it was? Then move and consider dangerous play. In either case, have a calm chat with the person later and help him understand how he could've played safer the next time.

If none of these situations apply and you're still confused, lay out the situation in more detail and we'll help you think through it.

My suggestion -- don't let someone try to tell you the "I was playing the disc" line. While a disc in the air is anyone's disc, you can't go through another player to get to the disc. The way you describe it, Brian, it was a foul on the defender.

As an aside, incidental contact can occur when two players get their legs tangled up, for example, or when players' elbows contact each other while both are trying to reach the disc.


Mortakai reported that:

" if [contact] affects the play, it's NOT incidental"

Is this true? My understanding of the word 'incidental' (one definition anyways) is without inent....nearly synonomys with 'accidental'.

Which definition are the UPA rules using?



The second definition in Merriam Websters is the

one that basically says without intent, but I think

the definition that we'd all agree the 10th ed uses

is the first one:

incidental: being likely to ensue as a chance or

minor consequence <social obligations incidental

to the job>

Incidental contact is contact that is of minor

consequence which may ensue for a simultaneous

bid for the disc.

Might not be a bad idea to have this added to the

official definitions though...

I agree.

Considering that the phrase "incidental contact" is used quite often in the rules, having a clear definition of what this is would be helpful.


It certainly can't mean "accidental". The second sentence of the rules starts with: "It assumed that no Ultimate

player will intentionally violate the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for inadvertent infractions..."

The thread makes sense - except for the line: "if it affects the play, it is not incedental". You can get tangled up on the ground or in the air, both end up on your @sses and the disc floats to the ground - play is affected, but no one is at fault.

K By K

Fault and intent do not factor in; if it affects play, it's not incidental. Just because no one is at fault (or equally responsible), doesn't make the contact incidental.