Establishing a pivot

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G5 By G5
#1

The rules clearly state "if a player catches the disc while running or jumping the player may release a pass without attempting to stop and without setting a pivot, provided that (2.) the pass is released before three additional points of contact with the ground are made after possession has been established." (Rule XV. C.)

If somebody takes four or five steps, but keeps his/her trailing foot stationary on the last step, is that enough to "establish a pivot?"

Presumably, the pivot only needs to be established during the act of throwing. So as long as one foot is kept in ground contact through the act of throwing, is that enough to establish a pivot?

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II. M. Pivot: The particular part of the body in continuous contact with a single spot on the field during a thrower’s possession once the thrower has come to a stop or has attempted a throw or fake. When there is a definitive spot for putting the disc into play, the part of the body in contact with that spot is the pivot.

You can take as many steps as you reasonably need to take in order to safely stop. If that's 5 or even more, then no problem. Come to a stop, plant your pivot, and then throw. Where you get into trouble is if you a) throw after taking 3 steps while still in motion, or b) change direction while slowing down (you can't make a big turn to get a better position relative to your mark).

"Where you get into trouble is if you a) throw after taking 3 steps while still in motion"

Close. There's no rule that you have to stop moving before throwing. The rule is that you
have
to do your best to slow to a stop, and always have a pivot set during the throw. There's an
exception where you don't have to try to slow
down, but this exception only counts when you release before the third additional ground
contact.

So, if you're doing your best to slow down, but you make more than 3 additional contacts
with
the ground, so long as you have a pivot set throughout the whole throwing motion, you're fine
without necessarily completely stopping your momentum.

However, if you do the exact same motions, but you weren't doing your best to slow to a
stop
during that time, then it's a travel.

It's kind of hard to describe. Is that clear, or could more description help.

What Temple means is that you have to demonstrably be in the process of stopping if you
exceed the third ground contact. So you can't keep sprinting indefinitely, disc in hand, just
because you intend to plant your trailing foot some time in the future and call it a pivot.

If you exceed a third ground contact and your opponent thinks you're still carrying more
momentum than you have right to, he may call a travel on you, regardless of how precise
you've been with your trailing foot. I suppose it depends on how charitable he is feeling at
the time.

My advice: after the third ground contact, and before you throw, you should have lost enough
momentum such that you COULD stop completely on the next ground contact. If you keep to
this rule of thumb, you should be fine.

"My advice: after the third ground contact, and before you throw, you should have lost
enough momentum such that you COULD stop completely on the next ground contact. If you
keep to this rule of thumb, you should be fine."

To be clear, in order to be able to throw after the third additional contact, you have to be
doing your best to slow down from the moment possession is gained, not after 3 contacts, not
after 1, but the whole time you had possession. Otherwise it's a travel.

I'm not wild about your rule of thumb. I can't really seem to match it up to the rules all that
well. Why not use the rule of thumb that's in the rules:

Do your best to slow down and have a pivot set for the whole throw OR release before the
third additional contact.

Nothing in between.

Hey, Temple, I'm saying the same thing you are-- setting a pivot for the whole throw.

It's just that an exaggerated, giant step, by planting your trailing foot, can qualify as setting
a pivot. Many people do this.

Also, you are allowed to run straight out of the follow-through to your throw, as many people
do.

You are not required to make a full stop in order to throw, even after your third contact, but
an opponent will call a travel on you're still running. So, given that you are allowed to be
moving, and you are allowed to move on the follow-through to your throw, what must you do
to avoid a violation?

Hence my rule of thumb.

Well, you've reiterated the issue, but you haven't really explained how your rule of thumb is
better (or all that valuable). There are cases where if somebody learns your rule of thumb, it
will be just another case of incorrect conventional rule 'wisdom'.

I'll explain why your rule of thumb isn't better than what's ever so simple and clear in the
rules.

atanarjuat: "after the third ground contact, and before you throw, you should have lost
enough momentum such that you COULD stop completely on the next ground contact. If you
keep to this rule of thumb, you should be fine."

You see sometimes it takes 6 steps to come to a stop, even when you're trying your best to
slow to a stop, that's just the way it goes sometimes. So in this case where the player is
doing their best to stop the whole time they have possession, imagine that they throw after
the 4th ground contact and keep a pivot throughout the whole throwing motion. They wouldn't
be able to stop after 5 contacts, it would have taken them 6.

By your rule of thumb, you would call travel. That's wrong. The rules say no travel. You've
made up a new rule in there that you have to be able to come to a complete stop
immediately after you release the throw. There's no basis for that anywhere, it's counter-
productive to even try to remember that.

What's
simpler than what the rules say about it? If you want a really easy to understand rule of
thumb, use this simplified (and accurate) summary of the rules:

Do your best to slow down and have a pivot set for the whole throw, OR release before the
third additional contact.

Making up new rules, just because they're easy to grasp, is just defeating the purpose.

Okay, I'll try to explain why I think my rule of thumb is useful.

Temple, you've already answered the question, "How much do I need to slow down before I
throw?" There is no exact answer. After three ground contacts, you must making your best
effort to stop in a straight line, and as long as you're doing that, it is technically not a travel
to call one of your feet a pivot point.

The trouble is that on the field, your opponents are not omniscient observers, and they may
not be convinced that you were stopping very hard when you threw the disc after your third
ground contact. They may think you were still running too fast, and thus make a travel call.
As the thrower, you may be certain you did not travel (heck, even God may be on your side),
but once the call is made the offense will have to stop, and this is undesirable.

So I am trying to answer a slightly different, but nonetheless practical question: "How much
do I need to slow down to avoid a travel call?"

Hence my advice. Your opponents need to believe you weren't taking liberties with your
speed. If you slow down as much as I recommend before you take off again, I think you'll
avoid a lot of travel calls without having to come to a full stop. I'm not telling anybody what
to should look for when making a call against someone else; I'm offering advice on how to
persuade an audience that you're not cheating.

We know what constitutes a violation; but it also helps to know how to avoid a violation call.
So that's the value I think I'm adding. I don't mean to mislead anyone into thinking these
are the criteria for deciding a call.

I will admit to being a bit lost in this discussion, but one thing seems to be coming out that
strikes me as wrong. It seems to me that you (atanarjuat) are making the argument that if you
throw after, say, your 4th ground contact, you have a foot in contact throughout the throw and
you could have stopped (but presumably didn't) on the next ground contact, then it's not a
travel. That's wrong.

A pivot is defined as contact between body part and a spot on the ground when the player is
stopped. If you haven't stopped, you don't have a pivot, and you've travelled. If you could stop
on the next ground contact but decide to use the next step to "start" running again, then you
haven't stopped and you've travelled.

Maybe we should have posted this earlier:

"Pivot: The particular part of the body in continuous contact with a single spot on the field during a thrower’s possession once the thrower has come to a stop or has attempted a throw or fake."

So the player need not stop to establish a pivot. That fact is the source of the ambiguity discussed above.

Gin-Boh: "A pivot is defined as contact between body part and a spot on the ground when the
player is stopped. If you haven't stopped, you don't have a pivot, and you've travelled. If you
could stop on the next ground contact but decide to use the next step to "start" running again,
then you haven't stopped and you've travelled."

That's not correct GB. You don't have to be stopped to set a pivot. Reference the rule
atanarjuat posted. The pivot is set once you stop, OR once you attempt a throw or fake.

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atanarjuat I see more clearly what you're attempting to do, but I still think it's doing more
harm than good.

Imagine a player learns your rule of thumb. They use that as you intend to know what
movements they can make to avoid a travel call. They apply your rule of thumb perfectly and
the following happens. The player catches on the run, looks for the give and go, but none is
present, they don't start slowing until they've made a couple steps. They start slowing down,
and could have been able to come to a stop on the 5th ground contact, but they release a
throw after the 4th ground contact.

That's a Travel. So, somebody on the opposing team calls it. The player that has learned your
rule of thumb, knows for sure that they could have stopped on the next step, so they Contest
thinking the other player doesn't know the rules and is cheating.

Do you see the problem? Not only will your rule of thumb on how to avoid travel calls create
friction due to disagreements, it will also train people to travel (I certainly try to get every
advantage I can, so long as I'm following the rules). That and I'm sure once a
person has learned your rule of thumb to govern their own play, they're going to make calls
when your rule of thumb's travel criteria aren't met by others, potentially making bad calls.

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I've listed several ways that your rule of thumb causes problems. It introduces a new and
incorrect rule purely for the sake of helping remember the rules (which is about as counter-
productive as you can get). I think every time you 'teach' people your rule of thumb, you're
doing a disservice to the ultimate community (albeit a minor and very common one).

Now I wonder if you would care to explain why you wouldn't change your rule of thumb to the
following (with arguments that don't apply to every rule in the book):

"Do your best to slow down and have a pivot set for the whole throw, OR release before the
third additional contact."

I think it's far better to learn and teach people what a rule actually says and to understand
when somebody makes a bad call, to just contest, than to teach somebody the pervasive
fallacy that commonly gets called in order to avoid that very call. That's just perpetuating the
problem.

I was just looking at rule XV.J.1.a, and all other disagreements aside, I think Gin-Boh may have a point here.

It says that it is a travel if you fail to stop as quickly as possible BEFORE establishing a pivot.

Maybe I should explain my rule of thumb another way.

I am presenting in the context of the rules that we have discussed.

I would summarize the rules a little differently:
"(i) come to a stop as quickly as possible and establish a pivot, or (ii) throw before your third ground contact."

So I am defining what I consider to be a "stop." I thought that your upper body was allowed to carry momentum, such that you could consider yourself "stopped" without being at a "full stop." I thought this since you are allowed to take off running on the follow-through to a throw.

So this has been my rule of thumb:

I think that if you establish a pivot with your trailing foot, then when your leading foot lands, you should be able to stop the last of your momentum with your leading foot. This is how slow I think you should be moving in order to say, "I've established a pivot here" even though your upper body is carrying momentum. So, if you were then to look off the throw, and make a fake instead, your leading foot has caught you, and you still have a pivot at that spot.

On the other hand, if you do make the throw, you are no longer obligated to maintain the pivot, so I thoguht you could carry your momentum forward. I am just suggesting how slow you should be going when you make your throw under option (i).

But, as I said, Gin-Boh may have a point. My advice establishes a pivot at the same time as my loose definition of being stopped. But if the stop has to come an instant BEFORE establishing the pivot . . . maybe you cannot carry any upper body momentum forward.

I had never thought of that before.

"I was just looking at rule XV.J.1.a, and all other disagreements aside, I think Gin-Boh may
have a point here.

It says that it is a travel if you fail to stop as quickly as possible BEFORE establishing a
pivot."

This has been discussed on the UPA 11th Edition group (March 31, 2008) but I'll comment on
it here. There was no dissent to the discussion at that time (not that that in itself is proof
that it is correct, but it does offer weight to the argument). This is why I believe that is the
incorrect interpretation of the Travel rules.

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XVI.J) Traveling: The thrower must establish a pivot at the appropriate spot on the field and
keep all or part of the pivot in contact with that spot until the throw is released. Failure to do
so is a travel and results in a stoppage of play and a check.

XVI.J.1) In addition, each of the following is a travel:

XVI.J.1.A) A player catches the disc and either speeds up, changes direction or does not stop
as quickly as possible before establishing a pivot (XV.B).

The rub comes down to what does "stop as quickly as possible" mean.

Well, one could interpret it semantically literally as 'cease movement as quickly as possible'.
But that would mean that one would have to freeze for at least an instant without leaning,
pivoting, etc. That would mean that any time a player does not become a statue for an
instant after a catch, they have travelled.

That doesn't seem to be the intent of the rules, nor how the game is generally desired to be
played. If not whole body becoming stationary, what then, the centre of gravity (that's not
really stopped during a lean/pivot/etc), why not the pivot?

Let's look at what that "stop as quickly as possible" is most likely attempting to say. Why
does XVI.J.1.A exist, and why are the motions forbidden grouped together?

Well, XVI.J states pretty clearly that 'failing to establish and keep a pivot' is what a travel is.
It says nothing about becoming stationary, and I interpret that to mean that it is the pivot
that is important to a travel (not the center of gravity, or whatever else you want to read into
the Travel rules).

XVI.J alone leaves the door open for cases where a player doesn't take the shortest path and
time possible to establish and keep that pivot. That is the problem that I believe XVI.J.1.A is
solving. If you interpret each of the motions in XVI.J.1.A as a failure to take the shortest
path to establishing the pivot, they all fit together. However, if that's not how you interpret
XVI.J.1.A, then each of the individual motions don't really seem to fit together. How is
turning before establishing a pivot symmetrical with coming to a complete stationary position
before establishing a pivot? Those should be two different rules.

Overall, I think that the rules should be amended to clarify what's intended, that a player is
obligated to establish a pivot as quickly as possible, not necessarily to both establish a piviot
AND become motionless before throwing.