Proper way to react to Violations and Fouls

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When calls are made are we suppose to have conversations each time or just have the option of contest or no contest?

Personally I would prefer to make it clear and not have conversations about calls and just play. I was in a game with a lot of conversations after calls were made and found it frustrating but then maybe I have to accept that is just my opinion.

I was sent this link, so wondering if this should be the way to react to a call:

Personally I would like the VUL to adopt this:
First option: call is made with other team option to contest
Second option if needed: escalate to a captain to captain conversation after the point is over


Calmly contest/no contest. Get on with the game. If there needs to be conversation it's on the sideline and involves or doesn't involve the captains. If you're talking about it on the field, you're taking up at minimum 13 other peoples' playing time. Most protracted "conversations" I've seen have been one person trying to convince another that their view of the situation is correct and the other person's is not. Can be frustrating when they need to do that on the field. My view: any conversation longer than about 5-10sec should take place off the field. Unless someone is new and needs a rule explained, but that's a different issue. Once off the field, if both people involved understand the rule in question and it is a matter of interpretation, both people need to accept that in some instances they won't agree on the same interpretation, come to a resolution and then quickly move on with the game. In cases where they can't agree, this is where two captains talking to each other can become very useful.

Conversation is often necessary to self-officiation. However, this is not the same as persuasion (or dispute).

The blunt calls of "foul, violation, infraction," etc., encompass broad subsets of specific rules, and you will not necessarily know which one you are contesting or accepting on every occasion without seeking prior explanation. Likewise, there are several reasons why someone may contest a call, and sometimes these should be articulated. It is neither good practice nor good etiquette to reduce this interaction to the point of ambiguity.

Make sure you understand what the call is, why it was made, and communicate your stance. Then resolve the play in a timely fashion.

nep By nep

Hi! De-cloaking myself here -- I was one of the people on the other team doing the conversing on the field, and I sent Nick the link as part of our after-game email exchange.

I agree with Nick here in some ways; I don't think long discussions of the rules on the field is the way to go. Unlike the Tall White Guy, I'd probably give people up to 20-30 seconds, especially for a more complicated situation, but in principal, we align.

However, I do think that in a rec league in a lower division, it's friendly, reasonable, and probably even generous to take a moment to explain a call, especially when the other player seems confused about why it was made (i.e. the discussion wasn't in response to a "contest" it was in response to a "how is that a pick?" or "what do you mean, double team?")

Of the conversations I was part of on the field, they were efforts made to ascertain why a call was made, to ask about the current state of the game ("was he in? what was that call?") or to briefly explain rules for calls where the other player seemed confused or uncertain about the rule (picks, disc space, continuation rules).

These multiple conversations came about because we were seeing repeated violations of the same sort, i.e. we called travel on the same person several times, and thought that by taking a moment to explain why we were calling travel, that would let the player change their behavior better, resulting in fewer calls, and a smoother game. (In that case, the player changed their behavior, and the travel calls stopped.)

As Tall White Guy suggests, when rules seem fuzzy to the other team, it just makes things so much nicer when everyone can come to an understanding and a solution right then instead of waiting until the next game!

I also agree with atanarjuat . Self-officiating is not the same as having an official whose whistle is God and whose calls don't need explanation or justification.

I believe with self-officiating it's entirely reasonable to ask the person making a call to then explain more than just "foul" or "violation" (how is that a foul? what is your reasoning behind that double team call?) not to pursuade, but in order that both players might reach a clear and mutually satisfactory understanding of the outcome of a situation.

It may be "acceptable" in sports to be mad at a ref for a bad or wrong call. But I don't think we have to accept that in Ultimate, and it feels much worse to be mad at another player that you're still playing against and who you'll play against in the future, especially when you could take a moment to clear up the mis-understanding.

(On the other hand, it's worse if you try to converse with another player and they just shut you down and say "Look, do you contest or not?" when you are just trying to understand why the call was made.)

Here's an example (that was not from this game): I called "travel" on someone last night because a disc I didn't catch rolled out of bounds in front of me and then back onto the field. The offense didn't see that it had crossed the line, ran to the disc which was quite a ways on the field, picked it up and quickly threw it from where it had stopped rolling. In response to my "travel" call, they simply said "contest." Should I have just let that be the outcome, where they think I'm a dumb player or I'm making deliberately bad calls on them?

I can understand why they contested -- they had definitely established a pivot and thrown correctly -- from the wrong spot. But my call wasn't wrong and I think it would be wrong to let the "contest" call stand. I think it's far more appropriate for we players to be able to discuss why someone called "travel", or why someone said "contest," something like "why did you call travel" or "hey, you're contesting, but I'm 100% certain it's a travel, because it rolled out and then back in" instead of me going to my captain to go to the other captain to explain what happened.

Final note: I feel bad, because despite losing, our team seemed to enjoy the game more than Nick's team. I understand that no team likes having calls made against them and neither team likes having calls turn into lengthy conversations on the field, and I'm sorry about that.

I just think that trying to solve unhappiness by limiting conversation and communication is a difficult path to a solution -- a better way might be to have discussions (like this one!) before or after, about both rules and each team expectations, so that future games can go according to how both teams like to play.

We'll certainly try to limit and shorten our on-field discussions with Nick's team next time; perhaps he can try to encourage his team to learn more of the rules and play within them so that we don't have to make calls in the first place. We'll definitely try to have a spirit circle with them before the next game so that we can set mutual expectations and start things off on a good note.


Hi Travis

My viewpoint is that when this happens, "seeing repeated violations of the same sort, i.e. we called travel on the same person several times". It would be better to have this conversations through captains rather than on the field so everyone waits.


Short conversations about calls are encouraged because in theory, it would allow the different parties to discuss what happened and come to an agreement about what is going to be called during the game. There are enough stoppages in a game of ultimate that taking 30 seconds to have this conversation isn't a big deal in the hope that it will prevent calls later. Atanajurat said it very well. After a call and contest, listen to what your opponent is saying then say your piece. At this point it should be pretty clear if the call is going to be resolved or if the play will have to be done over and go from there.

Agree with Bobo. Short conversations. Once the intent of the conversation veers into persuading the other person, it should stop though. Each person makes an effort to listen to the other as they say their piece, a decision is made, play resumes. Also agree with Travis - people should make an effort to learn the rules. Too often players look to their captains when there is a question on rules. It's not the captain's responsibility to know the rules. That's on every player who steps onto the field. And many protracted calls/discussions, I find, (especially in lower divs) are due to people not taking the time to learn the rules. Would love to see something like a general rules clinic where we go through all the rules, step by step and discuss common points of contention/misapplications. Maybe as part of the next round of clinics?