Travel - stop as quickly as possible?

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Here's a rule that's always confused me:

The travel section (XVI.J.) states that a player travels if that player:
- speeds up, changes direction or does not stop as quickly as possible. (XVI.J.1.a)

EXCEPT, it is not a travel if the player releases a pass before the third ground contact. (XVI.J.2.b)

So, imagine a case where a player is walking at a constant speed. The player catches the disc and continues in the same direction at the same speed for two more steps and then stops and establishes a pivot. Is this a travel?

Instead, imagine the case where the player throws a pass after two steps (but before the third ground contact). Is it a travel?
 

If it is feasible that the person walking could stop in less than 2 steps then it would be a travel. In reality unless they walk by their defender this really doesn't affect play and I wouldn't call it, but that is a judgement call.

For the second case (and assuming the player doesn't violate any travel conditions) it would not be a travel.

Sorry if my contrived example isn't clear. I mean that the person is walking (as in at walking speed) in a straight line. So, once the disc is caught, they could stop immediately. But, they choose to continue walking for two more steps and then stop.

So, in the first case it's a travel. In the second case, it isn't. Does that seem strange to anyone else? If you release the disc, then no problem. But, if you don't release the disc, then travel.

Although, maybe, that's the way it should be to allow give-n-gos but to prevent abuse of moving with the disc when you have no intention of throwing it.

 It's not very confusing, really.  As you catch the disc, you have the opportunity to make a quick decision: (i) catch-and-release before your third ground contact or (ii) stop.

The contrived scenario of the walking pace really splits hairs too fine for serious consideration.  Even at a walking pace, stopping on the second ground contact can prove abrupt; stopping on the third is not likely to be decried as an obvious travel.  In fact, at that speed, it's indistinguishable from a perfectly benign pivoting movement.

I'm not altogether sure how you define a "step," but three ground contacts is three ground contacts at any speed.  And I think that your fixation with the concept of a "step" is the source of your confusion, since you seem to ascribe a pretty high number of steps to three ground contacts.

If you meant that in both cases the player was walking and could stop immediately (without taking anymore steps) then both cases are a travel.

To not travel after a catch all three conditions must be met

- did not speed up

- did not change directions

- did try to stop as soon as possible. 

Then pivot establishment rules come into play. A player must establish a pivot except if they release before the third ground contact. 

Coregen, XV.C. specifically overrides your third case, I don't see why you seem to be overlooking that as you are otherwise paraphrasing from the rule.  If you release before the third ground contact, you do not need to attempt to stop at all let alone as soon as possible, provided your do not speed up or change direction.

Atanarjuat, for the purposes of "counting steps" you have to throw before "three additional points of contact with the ground ... after possession has been established." So unless you were in the air when you gained possession, your first ground contact is not "burned at the time of the catch."

True -- point being, though, that you still burn through your allotted ground contacts in short order.  Two footfalls happen quickly.

Eh, I'm to stress the wording of the rule on that point, Coregen.  If you throw *before* the third ground contact, you don't need to try to stop as soon as possible.

Bear in mind how quickly you use up 2 ground contacts, though.  If you're walking, your first ground contact is already burned at the time of the catch.  Your second is used up as soon as the other foot comes down.  To stop on the first ground contact, you pretty much have to be stationary at the time of the catch.

I guess this is the situation that seems strange to me:

A player catches the disc while moving.
He decides that he is going to throw it to his teammate so does not slow down (or speed up).
This is not yet a travel.
After two footfalls, he realises that the defender is very close so he decides to stop and establish a pivot.
At this point, he has travelled because he didn't stop as quickly as possible.

I'm guessing that the reasoning behind this rule existing (XVI.J.2.b) is to allow give-and-gos - is that correct?

Yes, the rule is intended to permit give-go manoeuvres and similar, skilled movements.

But herein lies my point Zaven -- there is no computer system or litmus test that decisively pronounces whether someone stopped as soon as possible.  On the field, there's no foolproof way to tell, on that second ground-contact, if the player slowed down as soon as he could, if he was carrying his speed, if he changed his mind about throwing, or if he had already decided a pivot and was just pivoting forward. Especially if the player is moving with any more momentum than a placid stroll, it is extremely difficult to distinguish such similar-looking possibilities in 1-2 discrete ground-contacts.  The rule was constructed in this way in part *because* it is so difficult to know what the player was doing in under 3 ground-contacts.

So, we can construct a hypothetical scenario in which we have declared that a player has technically travelled.  But without any means to know or notice on the field, the distinctions are immaterial anyways.