Travel Calls

30 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1

Recently played in a game where the players on the other team (isn't it always the 'other team') would call travel on players despite poaching and being no where near their mark. The travel calls were questionable, at best, but the call not only stopped the flow of the game, but good luck getting the defense back to their original positions at the time of the call (I am talking pivot foot travels, not too many steps after the catch travels). Not sure how you could address this, but calling 'travel' when you are not in a position, nor any of your teammates, to defend that thrower seems 'unspirited' if the travel is only a movement of inches on the pivot foot (I have played a long time, and if one wanted to, they could call travel on least half the throws during the game if they measured any movement of the pivot foot).

Ah, yes, this is another case of the infamous "tiny travel." It arises whenever opponents with slightly different understandings of the pivot finally meet. Exactly how much pivot movement does one tolerate before calling a travel? The rules do allow some movement of the pivot, although the magnitude is somewhat ambiguous:

"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."

How large is this "spot on the field?" How large is the pivot? We know that the pivot can be large enough to subdivide into "parts" if need be.

There is not much one can do when disagreement arises over travel calls. If the travel calls begin to occur in epidemic proportions, the problem may warrant an honest discussion about where, precisely, your opponents believe your pivot fails to pass muster, and to refer back to the rule for guidance.

Generally, though, if someone genuinely travels on a throw, I will call the travel violation, even if I am not close enough to have stopped the throw. Why am I such a hardass? I'll do so because keeping a legal pivot is a requirement for all of our throws (even undefended ones), and I expect my opponents to demonstrate that skill. That said, I'm rarely watching my opponents' pivots with that kind of hawkish resolve.

The fact that the player calling travel was not guarding the thrower is irrelevant, since it is only marking violations (among violations) that can only be called by specific players. In fact travel, at east for a moving pivot, is much more easily recognized by a non-marker, as their field of vision encompasses the entire thrower and thus is more likely to see the pivot move, and can more easily judge the timing of that with respect to the throw.

I know that to be the rule, and if one wants to call the game under a microscope, they are entitled to do that. I, for one, make calls based on advantage. If the player gained an advantage by committing a violation, then by all means, the violation should be called. By leaving a game to be self-officiated, I think players have a responsibility to only make those calls they are certain of an advantage. Otherwise, those with poor intentions, and I see this number on the rise, make the game miserable for the rest.

"I, for one, make calls based on advantage. If the player gained an advantage by committing
a violation, then by all means, the violation should be called."

I call the game much the same way, however I know that I have no right to expect the game
to be called this way. I know that I have no right to be upset when I break a rule, and
somebody calls it.

What's then the difference between our philosophies? You get upset when you break the rule
(just a little) and are called on it, I do not.

To me, not getting upset when I have the option is preferable to getting upset (forgetting for
a minute that the the rules and SOTG suggest that I have no right to get upset). So I ask,
why do you care that you travel and are called on it?

'It slows the game.' Sure, but only when you break the rule. The 'slowing the game' doesn't
start with the caller, it's starting with you in that case.

--

"By leaving a game to be self-officiated, I think players have a responsibility to only make
those calls they are certain of an advantage. "

Well, that's a valid opinion, but it's not how the rules of Ultimate or SOTG lay out the sport.

Players have to such obligation or responsibility. Actually players *do* have a responsibility to
adhere to the agreed upon rules of the game.

But let's look at that statement as a suggestion for change. This is always good to do, as
change can make our sport even better.

Despite my calling the game much as you do, I don't think it would be good at all if players
were obligated to only make calls when "they are certain of an advantage". That adds a huge
subjective component to *every* rule, one which will likely increase the number of
disagreements and likely arguments (yeah I travelled, but you wouldn't have blocked it
anyway. I would too! etc.).

The same rationale could be applied to whether or not you call OB when it's just a bit OB. I
mean, come on it's not much of an advantage to be *just a smidge* OB, is it? That rule is
just as objective as the Travel rule, and you're not really getting an advantage by getting
away from your D by just that little bit extra are you?

I don't see this change as adding anything beneficial to Ultimate over how we're played now.

What's the problem with the current system? Sometimes people break the rules and get upset
when they get called on it.

There's an easy solution to that problem, it's built into SOTG. Don't break the rules, and don't
get upset if you do break the rules.

If you come from a standpoint of 'yeah I was wrong to do that', it's harder to get upset when
somebody calls you on it. However, if you come from a standpoint of 'there's nothing wrong
with breaking that rule', you're setting yourself up for getting upset at valid calls.

--

Deuce, the important thing to remember is that, whatever your feeling on how the game
should be played, SOTG and the rules agree that there's nothing unspirited about calling a
player for traveling when they're seen to do so. If anything is unspirited in that scenario, it
might be playing with the idea that 'I don't always have to play by the rules'.

Wow. Based on the length of your answer, I would assume that on-field discussions with you would also be as long. Nothing like deconstructing someones's sentences to create a positive atmosphere. And there is a big difference between not playing by the rules and calling those violations that actually are violations.

Sorry I'm still unclear on who can call a travel. Obviously nobody on the sidelines are allowed to. Is it only the marker? Or can anyone else on the field call it (its just unspirited)?

Any player on the field of the infracted team (the defense) can call a travel violation. It is not unspirited for any particular defender to call a travel he/she has observed.

"Wow. Based on the length of your answer, I would assume that on-field discussions with you
would also be as long. "

That'd be a wrong assumption. You see I'm of the belief that there's a forum for having
detailed discussions on the rules. I like to think that the Rules Forum is that place. Any sort
of disagreement about a rule or extended discussion has no place on the field.

I don't get upset when somebody makes a call against me. If I think the call is inaccurate, I
say "contest, Back To Thrower". That's it, done, and I'm happy with a BTT. If I think the
call is accurate, I play on without thinking that 'the other person shouldn't have called it'.

Choosing to see somebody as unspirited because they called you when you travelled is not
accurate. It is not against SOTG (as it's defined, and as you agreed to). It's also probably not
the most fun way to play (you'll be finding a lot more people 'unspirited').

While it's your right to feel that people acting with SOTG are actually being unspirited, I at
least hope you can see that the definition of SOTG that you agreed to, that ultimate is
founded upon doesn't see it that way.

This is pretty much the same discussion being hashed out in the "Out calls" thread. Beware
though, it's really long.

I think you are misinterpreting some of the comments. I don't get upset when someone makes a call against me. I just accept the call as is. This is about the ability, I believe, for some to abuse the rules. A player should not be rewarded for poaching with the ability to call 'travel' from across the field on a call that most would not make. Did the thrower's foot move from the original pivot position? Possibly a little. Do most players move somewhat pivoting from forehand to backhand, for example? Possibly a little. This is not about ignoring the rules or only following some rules. This is about sensibility. And your comparison to out of bounds calls is a little much. Keeping the pivot foot in the same spot after numerous fakes is slightly different than the exact line (if painted) for the field of play. It likes comparing the strike zone to a homerun clearing the wall in baseball. One is slightly easier to call.

I agree with most of what you wrote there, but there are some things that seem a little
inconsistent to me from what I understood was your scenario in the original post.

"Did the thrower's foot move from the original pivot position? Possibly a little. Do most
players move somewhat pivoting from forehand to backhand, for example? Possibly a little.
This is not about ignoring the rules or only following some rules. This is about sensibility."

See that makes me think that you're describing a situation that would not really be
considered a Travel. There is certainly an accepted interpretation of moving a pivot, which I
don't believe includes movements where you retain contact with the same point on the ground
with the same localized part of your foot. For example, if you retain contact with the same
blade of grass with the ball of your foot throughout your possession, I don't think that is
considered a violation of the Travel rules, even if your foot does move absolutely. After all, it
is literally impossible for a human to pivot without moving one finite pivot point from one
finite point on the ground.

That discussion seems to me to not matter to the discussion on whether or not a player can
only call travel when there's an 'advantage', or whether or not they can call travel based on
where they are in relation to the thrower.

Each of those is a different discussion. Let's take the 'that movement isn't even a travel' out
of the discussion.

Let's use this scenario for clarity: Player D sees Player O move their pivot in such a way that
meets the universally agreed intended interpretation of Travel.

In that case, do you still believe that the Player D must be at a certain position on the field,
before he can 'spiritedly' call Travel (remembering that he did see the Travel)? Do you also
believe that it is unspirited for Player D to call Travel even if there is no 'supposed' advantage
gained through the travel?

My interpretation of Deuce's post:

"The other team was calling Travel when we weren't traveling. Why do the rules allow this? What can I do to prevent this?"

The rules don't prevent cheating. If you blatantly cheat, you can abuse the rules. My recommendation would be to talk with the other captain and clarify the rule in question in a respectful manner. You have to assume that the other team is not cheating and that their call is valid, but if you are consistently seeing it differently, then by all means, talk with the captain to sort out the issue.

<tongue in cheek>
Temple's interpretation of Deuce's post:

"The other team was calling Travel when they were poaching. It doesn't matter if I traveled a little bit because the guy was poaching!!"
</tongue in cheek>

I for one am just delighted to know that so many players have such good eyesight that they can
call travels from so far away.

Zaven: "<tongue in cheek> Temple's interpretation of Deuce's post:

"The other team was calling Travel when they were poaching. It doesn't matter if I traveled a
little bit because the guy was poaching!!" </tongue in cheek>"

Wonder how I could have gotten that impression. Oh yeah from the original post:

Deuce: "calling 'travel' when you are not in a position, nor any of your teammates, to defend
that thrower seems 'unspirited' if the travel is only a movement of inches on the pivot foot"

That's almost exactly what your interpretation of my interpretation said. Not that it is not
valuable to discuss the alternate scenario, where the caller was making the call based on
actions he observed which do not meet the criteria for a travel call. I do agree with what you
wrote in the case where the caller is cheating.

Although, if the caller honestly thinks you moved your pivot illegally (in a way which is
prohibited by the accepted definition of the travel rule), then that's just a case where two
people disagree. That's not cheating, and that's not unspirited.

--

Keam: "I for one am just delighted to know that so many players have such good eyesight
that they can call travels from so far away."

Granted, I'm only reading his posts, but I don't see anywhere to suggest that the caller was
so far away as to make seeing travel unreasonably difficult.

When I read "Poaching", "being nowhere near *their* mark", and "not in a position ... to
defend that thrower", I did not immediately conclude that he was extremely far away. I'm
not sure that's a safe assumption. My assumption, which may be incorrect, was that the caller
was poaching in the throwing lane.

It's not hard to see a travel from the throwing lane. And don't forget that Deuce seems to be
painting a scenario where the thrower did Travel "inches".

I'd <tongue in cheek> love </tongue in cheek> to get into this discussion too... but can I ask for a clarification of what we 'should' be discussing?

Is it: (1) whether a player is in the right position to see a violation; (2) whether any defender can call a travel; or (3) whether it is acceptable to call the most miniscule violations expecially when there is no advantage from the violation?

I'm interpreting the original question as having a bit of all of these choices, and could write a crap-load on each... and would rather save my time. And your eyes.

... btw, how do people speak with one's tongue in one's cheek? I end up biting mine everytime I try!

I think you stick your tongue in your cheek after being 'witty'.

Maybe all our bon-mots should be typed thusly online? <tongue in cheek />

Deuce, reading your posts, several thoughts came to mind:

- Good defenders - poaching or not - spend a lot of time looking at the thrower.

- Although it may not be the philosophy of your team, there is absolutely nothing wrong with poaching.

- Applying your poaching analogy: why should someone with poor throwing fundamentals be rewarded with a free pass to travel?

- Finally, if the travel "really" didn't affect the play then why did the thrower need to do it to get the throw off?

This is not about poor throwing fundamentals or trying to cheat. This is about the real fact that unless you are completely stationary in your throwing position, you are bound to move your pivot foot, even the most tiny amount, when transitioning from backhand to forehand or releasing a backhand huck. If the player that gets 'burned' poaching now decides that a travel call is in order, despite not calling travels at any time earlier in the game for the exact same throw, is, in my opinion, unspirited.

Your frustrations have my sympathy, Deuce.

First, I'll acknowledge that anyone putting in a little effort into their faking is likely to slip their pivots a little. As I mentioned earlier, though, the rules do allow a pivot to slip a little, provided that (paraphrasing) at least part of the pivot remains in contact with the appropriate "spot" on the field (notably, it does not say that the same part of the pivot must remain in contact with the same part of the spot-- that would be a slightly stricter definition). So if you feel that your opponents are consistently holding you to a higher standard than the rules, I would encourage you to discuss their reasoning with them. I know, that can be a difficult discussion to initiate.

But it might be well worthwhile. They may realize that the rule was different from what they thought, or you may discover that you're habitually moving your pivot in an illegal fashion. I had a teammate who played elite ultimate for many years before a spate of travel calls made him realize that he had been pivoting illegally. And conversely, I've more than once discovered that somebody consistently calling travels on me just had a completely incorrect idea of what constituted a travel.

If I understand you correctly, you feel that the travel calls are motivated by embarrassment. That is, defenders who were poaching irresponsibly and who are trying to save face. Well, it's an assumption; you could be right, of course (there may well be jerks among us), but there are other possible explanations.

Deuce: "This is about the real fact that unless you are completely stationary in your throwing
position, you are bound to move your pivot foot, even the most tiny amount, when
transitioning from backhand to forehand or releasing a backhand huck."

As atanarjuat mentioned, there is an accepted definition of travel, which does include some
movement of the pivot. It's purposefully vague, and common sense almost always wins out.

It's a subtle difference, but an important one: calling an action which is not against the rules
is an invalid call, calling an action which is against the rules is a valid call (whether right or
wrong).

So, you'll have to tell us, in your scenario (it doesn't really matter what actually happened,
we can't comment on that), did the caller see the thrower move his pivot from the
appropriate spot on the field?

Merely for the sake of convenience, let's say that the rule is that if you move your pivot point
less than 1" total, then it's not a travel and moving more than 1" is a travel. That's a very,
very simplified view and not necessarily accurate (there are all kinds of considerations, like
which part of his foot is the pivot etc), but this simplification can help the discussion.

Now based on that, did he see motion that was .5" or did he see motion that was 2"?

If he saw the later, motion that was a Travel, then he made a valid call, which would not be
in any way against SOTG (even if he was wrong about what he saw!).

If he saw and was calling motion that would not be considered a travel (based on the
accepted interpretation of the travel rules), but thinks it's a travel, then that would not be a
valid call. It's not necessarily unspirited of him if that's done out of ignorance and poor
teaching (though if anything, making calls without knowing the rules would be on the
unspirited side).

... maybe it took 3/4 of the game for an on-field defender to notice the travel.

"calling 'travel' when you are not in a position, nor any of your teammates, to defend that thrower seems 'unspirited'"

Even without a mark, throwing without a pivot can give a considerable advantage. There is a reason that most people don't pull while maintaining a pivot. Also, I usually find it much easier to call "travel" when I'm not on the mark. It's very difficult to watch someone's foot while marking.

Well, it's actually easy to watch the foot while marking, but not so easy while marking at all
effectively. :)

I wonder how some markers are so good at seeing the release of the disc, and the pivot foot at
the exact same time (sometimes even while straddling that pivot foot so that it's actually behind
them).

So to sum up...anyone on the field can call a travel AND a travel or any violation or
infraction (ie. Picks) can be contested?

Can someone quote these 2 rules, please from the 11th edition? Please and thank you!

Way to resurrect a very old discussion. I missed it terribly and have wondered how it was
doing.
Seriously tho' your question will get buried deep into an old thread and won't as easily
benefit someone else with a similar question in the future... They won't read through a
long post like this, especially the way this one went. Possibly would have been better in a
new thread with a descriptive subject.

Anyway...

No, not anyone on the field, but rather any of the 7 players on the other team may call a
travel. That is, you can't call a travel on your own player/team.

And yes, ANY call in the rules may be contested.

These rules are very cleverly hidden way down as the first and second rules in the
cryptically named "violations and fouls" section:

XVI. Violations and Fouls

A. An infraction may only be called by a player on the infracted team who recognizes that
it has occurred, unless specified differently elsewhere. The player must immediately call
violation or the name of the specific infraction loudly.

B. A player called for an infraction may contest that call if that player believes the
infraction did not occur.

... the "unless specified elsewhere" in A is primarily picks and fouls, which each have their
own exception. But they're less cleverly hidden in the rules, and so much more easy to
find, so I'll leave it to you to find and read directly.

If the travelling did not impact the outcome of the play, for instance
because there was no mark, then shouldn't the outcome of the play
stand, as per XVI.C.3?
Who is the infracted player if there was no mark?

There's quite a discussion on this over on the OCUA boards at the
moment... check over there for that. In the rules thread about the Top
3 Misunderstood Rules. Let me say that this Mark Moran character sure
does ramble way too much... see 'www' link, below.

I'm not sure whether a mark was there or not is what really matters for
whether a travel affected the play or not. Some of them anyway. Sure if
the thrower uses the travel to step around the marker, then sure... but
they can still travel without a marker being there...

Perhaps there was no marker, but did the thrower's bad mechanics
allow him to throw an easier throw than if he had not travelled... and if
that's the case, could (/should) this be considered that it MIGHT have
affected the outcome of the play.

I also contend that if the traveling was insignificant (e.g., 1/2" toe
drag, 2 degree turn upfield, or throw right at [or before, couldn't tell]
the instant the third footfall on the run) then the person wouldn't
(/shouldn't) make the call in the first place because it didn't affect the
play.

Why do we care who the infracted player was? Any person on the
infracted team is allowed to make the call. And I suggest they're
already making the call because they have already decided it afffected
the play.

See the OCUA thread for logic about who the infracted player might be.
There are a few interpretations there, if you /really/ need an answer.

OCUA's forums are restricted to OCUA members only....

We could give you a summary if you really want to know. But it is awful . . . so . . . so awful.

Or, you could become an OCUA member. Then you could access the awful in full at your convenience.

Actually, you don't have to be a member of the OCUA, but rather you need to have a
website account. Just as you don't need to be a VUL member to be here.

If you're interested in rules discussions... I'll suggest you DO make an account there. It's
the other 'good/active board in Canada. TUC too, but usually not so much.