Time between pulls?

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Posting on behalf of a Captain who emailed me


Our team had a question regarding the rules for time between pulls (USAU 2020-2021 9.C.).

If the other team goes over the time limits as stated in the rules, what is our proper course of action? If for example our team is pulling and the other team has not signalled readiness, do we initiate the pull anyway once the 30 seconds from when they fielded people has elapsed?

Likewise, if we have signalled readiness and 15 seconds have elapsed, what should we do to alert the other team?

First, if this was me I'd talk with the captain between points once I saw a clear pattern of behavior of being late each pull (which from your description you have). I would seek to clarify their understanding of the rules and my understanding of the rules and the consequences/violations of breaking those rules. In most cases, people haven't read the ENTIRE rulebook and no one corrected them ever. This might be the first time they're hearing of this rule.
I'm re-reading the rules from here. My takeaways for timing from the previous goal:
  • 25 seconds for the gender endzone to signal gender ratio
  • 55 seconds for receiving team to set line up for purposes of the defense to pick checks
  • 70 seconds for the receiving team to signal readiness
  • 85 seconds for the pulling team to release the pull
This next section is copied directly from the rules:
The pulling team must release the pull before the later to occur of:
  1. eighty five (85) seconds after the previous goal was scored; or
  2. thirty (30) seconds after the receiving team lined up; or
  3. fifteen (15) seconds after the receiving team signaled readiness.

To me, this means at 85 seconds you can pull no matter what. The biggest part of this is communicating what you're going to do BEFORE you do it. That conversation should happen at the beginning of the game and look something like

"Hey I'm ____ the captain of _____ nice to meet you. We've been having consistent issues with teams taking a lot of time between points. The rules state if we're pulling, we need to pull within 85 seconds of the previous goal scored. Is that what you've read too?".

Then you can comfortably do that without the other team wondering why a disc is being fired at them before they've signaled readiness (as that is not necessary once you reach the 85 second mark).

Another piece to easing these harder conversations is having the VUL rules page/app open on your phone as a reference when talking about this OR even messaging the captains prior to game day so that they can communicate it to team members.

If you need anything else from me, please let me know.

I don't think that you can pull until the receiving team has signalled readiness (9.B.3). The thing to do is to issue a time violation (9.C.6) - though it's too bad that this rule specifically mentions observers, therefore making it seem like they are the only ones that can issue this violation. While I think that this is a call that is easiest for an observer to make, I don't think that it is an observer-only call. But I do agree with you that this is something that should be discussed with the opposing team on the sideline before trying to enforce the call; especially in VUL play.

The times listed in 9.C.4 (85, 30, 15) work out to always give the pulling team the full amount of time they are allowed, regardless of whether the receiving team is going through their pre-pull steps faster (the 85 second time), or slower (30 seconds after receiving team lines up, or 15 seconds after receiving team readiness) than specified.

For the receiving team (that has to go back across the field to get to their endzone position), it is almost impossible to meet the time limits without at least jogging back. Throw on top of that the possibility of discussing plays/positions/etc. for the upcoming point, and I find that pretty much no teams (mine included) get even close to satisfying the time limits.

This is also something that VUL could address in the VUL-specific rules, especially with 9.C.7: In games where the participants require more time (youth, beginner, or other levels), team captains or tournament organizers (as appropriate) are encouraged to extend the time limits listed above to best suit the level of play.