New Footblock Rule

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#1

So, we think we'd like to adjust the wording of the VULS' footblock rule. The wording should make it clear that we don't want people attempting kicks near the thrower's hands without implying any sort of blanket ban on interactions between legs and discs. Ideally, it would reduce the total number of questions we get about footblocks.

Current Rule:
"Footblocks are not allowed. If a footblock is attempted (successfully or not) by a marker within 3 meters of the thrower, the thrower can call a foul."

Suggested Rule:
"Footblocks are not allowed. If a defender (such as a marker) attempts a footblock within 3 meters of the thrower, the thrower may call a violation. Non-incidental contact resulting from a footblock attempt is a foul.

Definition: A footblock is described as a kick or raising of the foot above the ground to deliberately block a throw within 3 meters of the thrower's pivot. Normal movements of the legs (e.g., shuffling, running, jumping) in the course of changing or maintaining legal positions do not constitute footblocks. "

Oops. Found an inconsistency already. See the change below:

"Footblocks are not allowed. If a defender (such as a marker) attempts a footblock within 3 meters of the thrower's pivot, the thrower may call a violation. Non-incidental contact resulting from a footblock attempt is a foul.

Definition: A footblock is described as a kick or raising of the foot above the ground to deliberately block a throw within 3 meters of the thrower's pivot. Normal movements of the legs (e.g., shuffling, running, jumping) in the course of changing or maintaining legal positions do not constitute footblocks. "

Thoughts? Suggestions?

C By C

sounds great! thanks! now how to get everyone to read this?

Why does it matter if the contact was incidental? From my perspective, that should be irrelevant. The purpose of the rule is to prevent injury, so all contact should be a foul.

I like the original's explicit "successful or not." If someone attempts a foot block and doesn't succeed, it's still dangerous.

In the event of no contact or incidental contact (e.g, foot brushes the thrower), the suggested rule would categorize it as a violation callable by the thrower.

Non-incidental contact (e.g., kicking the throwing arm), just changes the category to that of a foul. It hardly bears mentioning, since non-incidental contact is always a foul.

In both cases, there's a stoppage, and the Continuation Rule applies, etc.

"I like the original's explicit "successful or not." If someone attempts a foot block and doesn't succeed, it's still dangerous. "

I would agree with you, IN, but I thought the words were unnecessary, since an "attempt" covers the cases of success, failure, and all those cases where the throw is looked off or no throw is tried at all.

The rule should just be eliminated entirely. Attempting a footblock is not
an inherently dangerous action. Just because some individuals are
reckless is not cause to eliminate the action entirely. Layout D's result in
far, far more injuries than footblocks, are they next up to ban? Why is it
that so many posts here and on OCUA involve people complaining about
footblocks or the dangerous play rule? I've been playing for 10 years and
I can count the number of legitimate dangerous play calls and injuries
from footblock attempts on one hand.

Let me get this strait Alex, you have been playing in a league that bans footblocks for the past 10 years and you have not seen many footblock injuries so we should allow footblocks?

To quote Ralph Wiggum "Coo-Coo, Coo-Coo"

And don't come back with the "Footblocks at tournaments don't cause injuries" beacaue the point is that people who play at a high compeditive level know how to do them (i.e. They don't think a footblock is done by attempting to kick at the persons hand)

I LOVE footblocks, early in my career I lived on them and I have never kicked anyone (because I put my foot in the way of the disc, not in the way of the hand), but too many players don't get that.

The attempt is added to the rule because what use is it to ban the block part and not the foot part. The danger is when the foot starts to kick around, so attempting it should be illegal to prevent the mark from even the attempt.

m2c

No, I've never played in a league that's banned kickblocks, because that
would be silly, as kickblocks are not against the rules and not especially
dangerous.

Lucky you, then. You don't have to put up with our silly rule.

One of the nice things about ultimate is that players and captains can tacitly or explicitly agree to the level of the intensity they're prepared to tolerate. It is very common in Canadian recreational leagues to ban footblocks. Why? Because an awful lot of recreational players would prefer to avoid footblocks. Does that make them wimps? I don't know and I don't care.

Either way, it's a lot easier to have a rule on the books that all parties will understand, defining the terms of the ban. Otherwise, two captains would have to start a game by defining and negotiating what they mean by "footblocks are out." Or, they'll have to argue it when the first one comes up. That's a tedious waste of time. If they don't need this rule, they'll invoke I.C. and enjoy some footblocks -- it happens all the time.

Don't care? Fine, then don't call it. You didn't call that fast count or double-team back there, either.

Scared of footblocks in general? Scared of that special someone's footblocks in particular? Fine, then call it.

Both teams are content to play with footblocks? Great. Captains can lift the ban and shake on it. It's not as if our insurance policy was contingent on the footblock rule.

"Lucky you, then. You don't have to put up with our silly rule."

That's true. However, I still get the trickle-down effect. A player tried to
call me for an "illegal footblock" at a beach tournament. Where I was
barefoot.

It also sets a bad precedent for other leagues, and for future rules
writing.

Of course, footblocks can and always have been an option if captains agree to them. It's a shame that the clause isn't invoked more often, since FBs get labeled as something inherently dangerous (which they're not). In four years of college practices/play where FBs are regularly thrown and the intensity level is arguably much higher than league, I remember only two instances where feet contacted hands; neither resulted in anything more than a mild bruise.

It's also interesting to note that FBs are allowed in high school/junior play. Teams that didn't want them had to explicitly agree beforehand to outlaw them. If high school kids can grasp the concept of footblocking safely, why can't adults?

I guess Four Years of College Play/Practices would equal about week of a VUL Summer League play. The point here (again) is not about stopping experienced players who train from FBs, but stopping less competitive players with little in the way of coaches and/or mentors to use FBs.

High School/Jr play is the same thing. Even more than at College, these teams have experience coaches and mentors teaching them to do things right. I have no problem with FBs executed correctly.

So that is why "kids" can grasp the concept, because they have a coach explaining the concept, most league teams don't. Do you grasp that concept?

Here is another concept - democracy. This rule was put into place by a vote at an AGM (back in the day), if you think it is a bad rule by all means, get some support and have the rule removed.

Alex - Sorry our rules are impacting your life in such a negative way, it is a wonder how you manage to drag yourself out of your parents basement each day in time for your Jr. assistant shift supervisor/fry guy job a McDonalds. Let us know if this 4000+ person league can do anything else to help you out. Courage brother.

m2c

Actually, by default, foot blocks are NOT allowed at junior provincials. And
while they are allowed by default in regular Vancouver High School league,
half the time the captains agree to take it out. So I think it's actually
even kids can grasp the concept of if players don't know how to do it
correctly, it's best to avoid it.

So with the new rule, what is the procedure in the following situations? Consider fbs
are not agreed to by captains and both situation involve a thrower and marker
within 3m.
1- Marker attempts footblock, but disc is not released. Foul called and reset at 0?
Reduce 2 stall counts?
2- Marker gets a footblock. Foul called and reset?

I am sure there will likely be a time period before the rule is finished..but in the
meantime what are the proper results?

In the meantime...

"C. Miscellaneous

Footblocks are not allowed. If a footblock is attempted (successfully or not) by a
marker within 3 meters of the thrower, the thrower can call a foul."

If the suggested wording is adopted:

1 - Thrower may call a violation, resulting in a stoppage. If uncontested, stall count resets to 0; play restarts with a check.

2 - Assuming there is no physical contact between players, thrower may call a violation, stopping play. Violation (footblock) affected the outcome of the play (turnover) so the disc returns to thrower. If uncontested, stall count resets to 0; play restarts with a check.

The new rule is more confusing to me than the existing one and i don't see anything added by the new one. Adding a clarifying statement below it in plain english would probably help the problem that spurred this topic, but the same can be said about every rule, and probably wouldn't be read by the people calling it wrong anyway.

Isn't the second paragraph that clarifying statement?

As far as I can see, the new rule clarifies who isn't allowed to try footblocks, and splits the infraction into violation/foul, depending on contact, which really is how it probably should have been in the first place. Calling a foul when there's no contact doesn't make too much sense.

... Two potential challenges with the suggested rule wording.

If the foot block attempt happens, then the thrower throws it away, since the foot block
violation occurred before the throw, continuation says it stays turned. And a completion will
always come back. Is that the intended resolution?

If the throw happens and then the foot block violation happens, and doesn't touch the disc
or does kick the hand, neither of those affect the play and the result of the play (turnover
or not) shouldl stand. Is that the intended resolution.

I've personally like wording like "... played as if it was a throwing foul committed during
the thrregardless marker." Consistent, simple resolution regardless of when or what...
Return the disc on a turn, play on when completed. Alternately that could be spelled out,
like "...any turnover following an attempted foot block will always bring the disc back to the
thrower, whether the foot block was successful or not." Assuming of course, that is the
intended resolution.

"If the foot block attempt happens, then the thrower throws it away, since the foot block violation occurred before the throw, continuation says it stays turned. And a completion will always come back. Is that the intended resolution?"

Well, yes, that is my intention in both cases (with emphasis on the timing of distinct events in your scenario) -- but of course, both were consequences of the old wording as well, as far as I can see. I haven't changed that.

But it seems to me that most footblock attempts (and most that you throw through) are likely to occur at roughly the same time as a throw, as opposed to distinctly before the throw. In those simultaneous cases, XVI.C.1.b.1 takes effect, and you play on instead. Otherwise, yes, I intend for XVI.C.1.a.2 to be the resolution for those cases when the violation is distinctly before the act of throwing.

"If the throw happens and then the foot block violation happens, and doesn't touch the disc or does kick the hand, neither of those affect the play and the result of the play (turnover or not) shouldl stand. Is that the intended resolution. "

Yes.

Wonderful, and my preference as well.

Play on.

How loose is "affected the play"?

"I had to stretch past your extended foot and I didn't get a good throw off because of it. Therefore, your footblock affected the play (even though it didn't hit the disc or my hand) and the disc should come back."

Is that fair under this rule?

It's not unfair to suggest that an unsuccessful footblock attempt can still affect the outcome of the throw, on the grounds that the throw had to be meaningfully modified/compromised around the footblock. I think this is the intention under both the old and suggested wordings (although the bit about the "foul" in the current rule is a curve ball).

This is true of other violation calls, like picks, for example: "I didn't actually collide with your teammate, but I would have had I pursued you, so I was still obstructed."

Depending on the circumstances and your reasoning, though, the call may be contested by a defender who takes a dim view.

If attempted footblocks are something we'd like to have removed from the game then it should be made clear that an attempted footblock, whether it affects play or not, is an infringement of the rules and can allow the thrower to have the disc back in the event of a turnover. It should be simple.

We could rewrite the footblock rule that way, Master (that sounds so weird in a sentence). But it would mean specifically overruling the Continuation Rule, which is a pretty strong departure from the 11th Edition. After all, we'd like to eliminate fouls and violations of any kind, but all of them are still subject to the Continuation Rule (with few deviations).

Personally, I don't feel so strongly about footblocks that I'd like to make it that complicated.

I kinda feel it's simpler just to say that a footblock attempt is a violation called by the thrower, which everyone should know how to treat.