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High (stick) mallet rule. (the way it was called at WHBPC 2013)

WHBPC 2013 was a good way to see how harmonized the rules are, and how some things works or not. Talking about that here is a good thing because people from all around were there so it make a good base to disscuss rules.
Delayed penalty was a really good lesson for myself, and i hope that the whole community began to think that's the way they should be applied everywhere. No more confusion between soccer or hockey style, keep it to hockey, simple and pefectly announced by refs.
(this could be the subject of another thread). I loved the way main refing was taken seriously, so my thread is really about the spirit of the rule and not an attack against the job done by main refs. (Goals ref is another question, who should deserve another thread too, because it was messy).

The high stick rule:
Sorry but i don't get it. I saw several clever play from players get called even if they were not dangerous at all because they where in a safe zone or because their moves were so slow that they can't hurt anybody. And we see some huge swings, go higher, faster, from back to forth, not get called.
One the example is given by the final ( i found this case on the london forum here:
http://www.lfgss.com/post3915382-2113.html and the rules thread talk about too:
http://mrdovideo.com/2013/11/2013-worlds-final/ lasts posts are about this issue).

Watch between 00:38 and 00:45. Brian swing a huge shot and don't get call, then polo play the ball 2 times in a safe zone (nobody in front) and get call.
Im not saying that Brian shot should be called (some thinks that it should be), but im saying that if you don't call Brian, there is no reason to call Paul 3 second later.

I get a warning in our game against JourneyM, because i catch from behind Robbie Ultra Swing by placing my mallet vertically in the way of his mallet. My move can't hurt a fly, and robbie's one can easily cut an head, and I get the call.

What's the logical behind these scenari? Huge shots are worth it and dangerous so they have to be legit. High stick play who are safe shouldn't be?

details regarding the way the rule is written:
High Sticking
§7.2.1 – A high sticking penalty will be assessed in the following situations:
§ – A player attempts to contact an airborne ball with their mallet at a height above the shoulder.
§ – The mallet is brought into contact with an opposing player’s body above the level of the shoulders.

-Wich shoulders are we talking in both 7211 and 7212? every time the player who make the foul, or in 1 the player who try to play and in 2 the player who get hit?

I think with Polo's play he would not have gotten the call if he only punched the ball. He punches, and then taps the ball (above his head) with the mallet end. That is definitely against the rule.

You should not have gotten warned for blocking the mallet on a big slap shot. The rule doesn't say anything about raising a mallet up in the air (to block another mallet), it only talks about two things:
1. Trying to hit a ball (above shoulders)
2. Hitting an opponent's body (above shoulders)

I do not think safe plays like the one Polo made should be penalties, BUT if someone does perform a reckless move high sticking then it needs to be a 30 second minor or more. I've been hit very hard straight in the face mask a couple times by people trying to baseball-swing the ball out of the air (at shoulder height) and that needs to be an automatic 2 minute major. If you do it again you are out for the rest of the game.

Maybe someone out there who has had coffee can re-write such that it incorporates some kind of ref discretion. As the rule is written, Zach made 100% the right call on Polo. It was not up to him to decide at WHBPC that the rules are wrong and he should let it slide. But maybe the rule could be better.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Hah, I was heckling folks with epic swings with "Its not a high stick unless someone gets hit in the head". I was shooting for irony, but it looks like its true...

shotgun your bike!

The way the rule is currently written, that is exactly right: It's only high sticking if contact is made. I had many conversations about this (and a few other rules) and something came up consistently that needs to be addressed:

"You can always call Unsportsmanlike Conduct at your own discretion". - Lots of people in referee meetings.

The rules currently have what is perceived as a 'catch-all' for dangerous play, whether it's high sticking, boarding, blind-siding, fighting, etc - But I'm of the mind that anything specific to athletic play (e.g. swinging and checking) MUST be interpreted according to the way the rule is written regarding that specific infraction, otherwise every game is refereed subjectively and inconsistently.

Basically, I've noticed some referees making up rules and then calling it "unsportsmanlike". This isn't to say you can't write "referee discretion" into a rule. In fact, that's exactly what I would do in this case. It would just provide a guideline in which to frame the infraction, and then the enforcement can be made consistent via education and conversation.

Here is my quick rewrite, feel free to tear it apart:

§7.2 – High Sticking

§7.2.1 – A high sticking penalty will be assessed in the following situations:

§ – A player attempts to contact an airborne ball with their mallet at a height above their shoulder when within a mallets length reach from any other player on the court.

§ – The mallet is brought into contact with an opposing player’s body above the level of the shoulders.

§ – The mallet is brought dangerously close to a player’s body above the shoulders, either on a follow-through, back-swing, or while resting on the handlebars; at the discretion of the referee.

Including the motion of shooting into a high sticking penalty is in my opinion, a bad idea!

There is a blast zone. Players should have situational awareness and keep their face out of it. Alternatively, have a face cage. This is not an issue at any elevated level of the game.

Normal shooting motion should be exempt from penalty.

yes! otherwise, why not get a face cage and start putting your head in the way of all of the shots.


By wearing shin pad you can already put your legs into mallet ways and call mallet to body for you. So the play with the face scenario looks unrealistic in my opinion.
Fallowing this logic of weird scenarios and quoting jono, you can say that right now you can hurt people on court by making huge swing, pretending it was for shooting the ball.

If there is no willing to call huge swing, then at least we should get rid of a rule who punish safe play as polo did. Because in the way the rule is written now, that's just completely useless and illogical.
(get hit in the face 4 or 5 times in 4 years, abd 100% were on mallets swinging, no one from a high stick control of the ball. Plus the fact that if you get it on such a move( an airbone control or intercepton) you won't get hurt at all.

I agree with all the sentiments in your original post, and there is definitely room for improvement on either how this rule is written or how it is called. They are out of sync right now in a lot of scenarios and it's something the organization is going to have to improve on for next year by either re-writing the rule to allow for safe play above the shoulders or by beginning to enforce the rule properly in all games.

This is definitely something that will be solved. We know this is one of the bigger issues right now in regards to rules and how the rules are reffed.

But big swings will be legal. It is fundamentally necessary to not give the defense a way to limit the shooting potential of offensive players through the rulebook.

Get it.

In my opinion if you hit someone by making a huge swing in a crowdy area, ref should penalize you. I have to be a the ref discretion to know if the defensive player took too much risk, or if the offensive one provide dangerous play, for me it seems simple to make the difference between a suicidal defense and a highly dangerous attack.
Like this we avoid the right to kill people or the right to defend with your helmet scenarios.

I have mixed feelings about this. In hockey, a high stick on the follow-through of a shot doesn't warrant a penalty, even if someone gets their face cut open. In soccer any "dangerous" can be a foul, whether it makes contact or not.

As per usual i prefer the hockey version.

The only case i feel less clear about are the people who take wild backhands. It's very hard to predict a follow-through on a backhand, and because backhands are often done at high speed (unlike in hockey) the follow-through can have extra power to it. i feel like players need to be able to control the follow-through on a backhand.

Man I totally agree with the backhand thing but it seems silly to me to write "backhand swings are different than forehand swings" in the ruleset. Don't you agree?

Trust me, I think the blast zone idea is totally valid. I wrote "my" version of the rule based on feedback I've gotten from a lot of people. The "Kruse Method".

The argument for it is that there are scenarios where a player is wildly swinging their mallet when they have no shot at all. Their head is down, and people get hit because of it. There's also something to be said about a player lowering their head below handlebar height. But we've heard all these arguments before

I'm completely with you on this, I don't to have to see a shooter think about who is around him, and that if other players are worried they can wear a facecage.

The way I see it, I don't trust anyone else to look after my face anyway, so I wear a facecage without fail, whether that's at a tournament, pickup, whatever.

But not everyone agrees with that. They see a rule which doesn't penalise 90% of face injuries (made up stat), and punishes an action which causes almost no injuries (and rules out some cool plays).

Especially at the lower end of the game, people don't want to have to wear protection, and that's why I think this is such an issue.

I would like to see the current situation on shots continue, but I'd like to see the normal high stick rule reduced so it's only when another player is within a mallets length (on or off the ball)

John H wrote:

I'm completely with you on this, I don't to have to see a shooter think about who is around him, and that if other players are worried they can wear a facecage.

What about other body parts in the "blast zone". Neck, shoulders, chest.
Are you recommending to wear protection for these as well?

That's entirely your personal choice. I'm not going to tell you what you should wear or not.

No mallets above the shoulders.

Ah! look at your profil pic :)

I meant no mallets under your shoulders! =)

What if I hit someone on the follow through of a lofted scoop pass?

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Clever question, but it's not a normal shooting motion. PENALIZED.

I wondering what's the origin of this rule, what's the problem to be solved?
If the problem is the security, is it from the fact that the stick is high or from the fact that the move is dangerous. Dangerous should imply that it involve multiple players, otherwise it doesn't have much sense to me.

For a security point of view i would rather have a rule like:

- Any moves that can make near players in danger will be call by referees.

I don't see major flaws with that. Big swig in proximity of other players are not automatically dangerous but blind-backshot in the middle of players may be. I would let the ref make the decision rather that having an highstick rule who makes, in my opinion, not much sense 90% of the time (make up stats too).

For the rest, big tricky scoop pass, mega Rory swigg or catching the ball in the air: don't call it if it's safe.

I mean, if someone try to lob a rather distant defender and this defender catch the ball in the air, would you call it?

I'm against the blast zone concept. Safety first, winning second.

I never saw anybody put any body part to stop a shot or to obtain a advantage from the rules, but I saw many people hit by shot motion. For me, any mallet to body should be a foul.

If players start to put intentionnaly their body in the blast zone, we can add this situation to the rule, and punish it.

As above : safety first.

About the hockey rule, they play with 2 hands on their stick so control it much better than us. They also play with full body protection. Is it what we want for polo?

I'm just gonna leave this here.

Yeah real talk about penalizing teammate on teammate high sticks!!!!!!!!!!

Only kinda sorta related to high sticking,
but it's also not a very interesting discussion so I might as well piggy back.

Right now it is not against the rules to stick your mallet into someone's front wheel Indiana Jones style.
The rule as written is very specific in calling out "hooking" of a wheel as being the only mallet vs bike penalty that can be assessed.

Edit for clarity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpwxdvuOMQA

(This comes up because I have mistakenly told people you aren't allowed to mallet-punch the front of someone's wheel while they're riding at speed causing them to jacknife and dab, but apparently that's still cool.)

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Very interesting, apart from hooking and tripping & "swinging violently", there is no rule against mallet-to-body/bike, beyond the catch-all unsportsmanlike behaviour

I'm gonna start pushing people over with my mallet, in that case (not serious, obviously)

More accidents from mallets in wheels.


Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

Keep it clear and simple. Don't play the ball over your shoulder. That way we never have to think about fuck do I have enough room to swat this out of the air? Consistency is everything. Take it straight from the NHL natural swing is fine. There is nothing natural about a wild un-controled swing.


.kremin. wrote:

Don't play the ball over your shoulder.

Just curious: You mean for both mallets and hands/arms/heads, right?

Krem, if you or Brian try to swing the ball just under your shoulders, it means you have the right shoot the ball at my head heigt.

In the case shoulders heigh means inconstancy.

In the NHL, a high-stick is any time the stick is carried above the height of the opponent's shoulders. This is how I would write it in the coming ruleset, too. I would say something along the lines of "above the height of the shoulders of any opponent in proximity to the play."

.kremin. wrote:

Keep it clear and simple. Don't play the ball over your shoulder.

Says the guy who scored an amazing goal extending his mallet WAY above his head, to catch a flying ball and stick it in the nets, at the worlds in Seattle (as seen in Mr. Do's World Class Polo video) ...
It would be a shame to exclude that kind of play from our sport, I know for sure that it was the ONE moment (well apart from some crashes) that had non-players fascinated when I showed them the video to explain our sport.
Plus as Clement said, 99% of face injuries come from backhands and wild swings, not from precise and measured high ball interceptions.
On an other subject, I'll never understand why anyone would risk loosing teeth or eyes by playing without a face cage, especially in the USA, where healthcare is such an issue.


le car wrote:
.kremin. wrote:

Keep it clear and simple. Don't play the ball over your shoulder.

Says the guy who scored an amazing goal extending his mallet WAY above his head, to catch a flying ball and stick it in the nets.

There was no rule against high sticking until 2013.

this high sticking fake ass rules sucks, every sensed played agreed that the call that was made at Polo at the begining of the final sucks fat cocks. rewrite the rules so the ref doesnt shit his pants when he has to put some of his "discretion" into a call. giving ball turn over at this stage of the game for such thing makes people angry because its not fair -replies like "oh we are not here to make friends / its not about being fair" can *SMB* -

rather than changing the way we "handle" lsuch small grey zone in the rule set every fuckin year, why dont you keep the exact same one from one year to another ? especially when NO ONE EVER GOT FUCKING HIT BY ICE TEA KING

and i love yall NHL lovers *nick kruze* but i cant care about their highsticking rules , we have nothing in common with hockey regarding the sticks motions


what does hurling think about highsticking/blastzone damages ? no gloves + face cage. is it a good option to follow? no they irish

""option 4: High Sticking should be a penalty anytime a player raises their mallet above their shoulders within a predetermined proximity to other players."

damn really ? anytime ? :( i hope the ref discretion is going to be fair on that one. what happen with *dangerous play" ?

Drunken posting ftw.

shotgun your bike!