9 posts / 0 new
Last post

Something that came up in one of my last games was the issue of intimidation, ususally (and in this case specifically) pertaining to men checking women (eg playing zone).

The problem is a large guy on D, moving fast (and sometimes load) towards a female O player can often cause the female player to pull back, slow up or otherwise be "intimidated". This can have very real affect on the play.

I think we can all agree that playing agressive enough to cause a player, any player, to be intimidated is poor sportmanship & potentially dangerous, but are there any rules that govern this? Assume there is no contact & no pick, but that it definitely affects play.

Situations where this can apply include end zone plays (this ties into the discussion of the principle of verticality) where a bigger player in essence "forces" a smaller player not to jump for it for fear of collison or injury, overly aggressive marking & most relevant to my experience, attempting to block a catch. I'm mostly considering male-to-female situations, but any combo would be relevant.

The problem I see is that if tehre isn't any rules, it can be a "useful" tactic by a larger team as many (smart) players will back off to avoid injury & miss opportunities.

In our situation, the 2 teams talked & went on their merry way, but I'd love to see more clarity for next time.

I wonder if I saw the same play you saw, M, or if this just happens a little more than we'd expect. And we manage to see this topic pop up every month or so during the summer. . .

The intent of the defender in this example is key. We can't penalize someone for being big or for making an athletic play on the disc. Did he scream or shout or anything of the sort? THEN it can be called as deliberate intimidation. Were his actions unsafe in any way? THEN there is a call to be made.

I am uncomfortable with suggesting a foul be called based on your wording, "playing agressive enough to cause a player, any player, to be intimidated". If players on the field think it is dangerous play, then by all means call it.

The gender of the players should not come into consideration. Nor should 'O' and 'D'. All players should avoid contact whenever possible.

The throw itself (and the throw choice) might come into the mix as well. A disc in the air is anyone's disc, provided they make a safe play toward the disc. High, floaty throws are called 'hospital passes' for a reason. Players are wise to stay out of the play if contact is likely to occur.

K By K

I think this was mentioned in the old forum. The most relevant rule is XVI.I.4, "Dangerous, aggressive behavior, or reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players or harmful endangerment is always a foul." No contact is required for this foul to be called.

First off, factors such as gender, size, and age cannot be considered. Intimidation is not a foul because it is subjective. It MAY be a case of dangerous play, but if you are going to call fouls when no contact has occurred you better be sure the other guy is being reckless. More experienced players are able to play competitively but still avoid contact.

All players have a right to the disc, so there is no fundamental reason why a large male should back off from a play because it involves a small female. That said, all players also have to try and avoid contact. If you feel the other guy wasn't even TRYING to avoid contact, call the foul on that.

By ths same token (believe me) there are lots of times where large, fast, aggressive players pull up on not fast, not large players to make sure no one gets hurt. In this instance, can the bigger player call a foul (you would have run into me, and you would have been hurt)?

Sounds like we're all in agreement that it's not a

foul to be bigger/faster/taller/maler near

somebody who's not.

We're playing a sport, and you've got to give the

benefit of the doubt that the player is going to

play safe.

As has been mentioned, you don't have to get

clobbered to call a dangerous play. There's a fine

line between playing cautiously and playing over-


Whether or not to call a dangerous play can

sometimes be a tough call. I tend to think of it

this way:

If a significant contact, or chance of harm, could

POSSIBLY occur, it's probably not a dangerous


However, if a significant contact, or chance of

harm, is LIKELY to occur, then it probably is a

dangerous play.

Just what percent chance is "possibly" and what is

"likely" is a grey area too. I wouldn't suggest that

the threshold be that high either. In the end

you've got to use your judgement.

And if you do get called on a DP, when you know

you were in full control, try to remember that it's

just one play, and maybe talk to the person that

called it and reassure them that you're looking

out for them too.

Actually, intimidating someone isn't poor sportsmanship. You can't control someone elses reaction to your presence on the field. If you charge, yell, scream then that's anouther matter.

I wonder if you'd have the same issue if it was a smaller less athletic man shrinking away from a larger more athletic one? You can't make rules for one sex or the other. Just as long as it's not a dangerous or reckless play, then it's not an issue.


The question of intimidation has been dealt with above - I agree that it's not the responsibility of a player to ensure that others feel comfortable with their movements. Rather, it's their responsibility to ensure that others are safe.

One way to avoid the situation is to choose better throws.

Throw to open space, not crowds.

Throw to receivers who are open and going to the disc, not to those who are standing still waiting for their check to catch up.

Don't throw floaty stuff.

Also, encourage your players to differentiate between someone making a play on the disc and someone out of control.

I wrote a resonably thought out response on the topic, but apparently got logged out due to timeout & lost it all. Akk!

So summary: thanks for the comments. OK, so there aren't any rules or custom against what we're terming intimidation. I would argue there are aspects or situations where it does fall into un-sportmanlike behaviour for Ultimate. The topic is a grey area, but has obviously been discussed to death, so to bed it goes. The grey areas are why we have captains & teams discussing things & making calls during the game.



Sounds about right. And always remember that even though the area is grey, a do-over is always acceptable if there's a disagreement. (Even if it's deciding 30m of field, a point, a game).

If you do get called in a situation like this (or even if the smaller person shies away and shoots dirty looks), it can be frustrating if you know that you were playing safely.

But you've got to let it go, and it helps to look at it from the smaller person's perspective. Maybe talk to them, and tell them not to worry about next time, because you're looking out for them.