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Checking... a photo.

Checking... a photo.

This is a shot from the Screwston Showdown this past weekend... a little debating going on about the legality.... please chime in..

looks like an elbow to the ribs?


No extension. At least in this picture. Legal, point of impact can be debated.

a video would be more helpful than a still, but i guess this is all we have to go with.

what's the exact wording on what a legal hit is? i didn't see it on the NAH site.

it's not an issue of steering arm, extension/pushing, handlebars..
but it could definitely be bike to bike contact issue, hard to tell from the pic.

One possible issue here (currently not addressed in the rules) is delivering a hard check when the target is close to the boards, but not close enough to brace themselves against the boards. This can result in an awkward face/neck/shoulder plant into the plywood, and should at least be considered a dick move if not a penalty.

Other than that I see no evidence of wrongdoing. The hitter is leading with the upper arm/shoulder and approaching from a good angle, not hitting from behind.

I completely agree with the first part of your post however, the second part is completely wrong.

A "good angle", ideally, is completely parallel despite any height/weight differentials between the players. A good angle doesn't put any experienced player on the ground while the other player rolls away. If this check had been at a good angle, I think he would have been plastered on the boards instead of laying on the ground (which I recall, but being rather drunk at the time, would rather ask for video footage to confirm my memory) Instead, a good angle check would have both players going into the boards with the offensive being pinned, rather than a dab and turnover to the defensive check.

The rules can extend the like contact definition of checks to something as written below:

A shoulder to shoulder check means the upper arm (aka the humerus bone) comes into direct contact with the opposing player's upper arm/humerus bone. If it is seen that a shoulder makes contact with ribs (either front or back) causing the player to dab (but not if the player is pinned to the boards, in which case play will resume) a delayed penalty will be immediately called.
The rules are already written like this, but I think an emphasis on pinning should be placed, where the check is not just a hit meant to level a player but to direct them into the boards.

Nobody got hurt in this picture. So there really is no reason to raise this issue again. The NAH committees are doing a fantastic job at creating rules and it would be better to see them followed in local tournaments. I, for one, would like to see the pictures of a check put on me while going at really full speed, causing me to flip over my bike and the bike to flip over me afterwards. That one felt like a shoulder to the ribs and if I weren't such a badass mofo, I might be in a hospital. Maybe not badass, but lucky?

Anyways, just my daily rant on the league of bike polo coming to a conclusion. Twiggy, you took some tough checks like this in Victoria and unfortunately the boards just didn't make it safe at all. and for that I applaud your badassery.

Max out.

jeffj wrote:

One possible issue here (currently not addressed in the rules) is delivering a hard check when the target is close to the boards, but not close enough to brace themselves against the boards. This can result in an awkward face/neck/shoulder plant into the plywood, and should at least be considered a dick move if not a penalty.

Isn't this why boarding is a penalty in hockey?

Yeah, and i think a separate rule for boarding would be great. All the most dangerous checks i've seen, with the most broken bikes, have resulted from hits delivered about 3 feet away from the boards.

Let's keep hitting people, hard, up against the boards, or in the middle of the court, but not in that danger zone.

jeffj wrote:

One possible issue here (currently not addressed in the rules) is delivering a hard check when the target is close to the boards, but not close enough to brace themselves against the boards. This can result in an awkward face/neck/shoulder plant into the plywood, and should at least be considered a dick move if not a penalty.

Other than that I see no evidence of wrongdoing. The hitter is leading with the upper arm/shoulder and approaching from a good angle, not hitting from behind.

any kind of contract jeffie should be not allowed back off and let him play the ball then defend

two asshole's don't make it right"
BUTT three asshole's make a good team"

1. Hard to see how he can initiate body contact from that approach angle without initiating bike on bike contact. Certainly looks like hitters front wheel it contacting the other guys axle.

2. The point of body contact we can see looks fine. As long as there isn't any interference with the steering arm, the body check is clean.

3. "Unnecessary roughness" (or equivalent) should be on the rule books, specifics to be determined. We should discourage people recklessly going for checks that have the potential to injure.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Not to sound negative, but I wanted to add another thought, who is doing the "debating" of the legality of the check? There's nothing you can do whether or not the decision is collectively or individually declared to be a legal or dirty check. You can't retroactively give a delayed penalty, or change the results of this tournament. It would be a dick move to go up to the player (who will remain unnamed) and say, this picture is proof that you are doing dirty sh!t on the court. All we can do is move on. Call them out at pickup if they do it, and volunteer to referee if you are really that passionate about the subject. The debate about the rules in regards to checking has already happened in fifteen other threads, or more. All we can do is keep playing pickup and communicate that moves like this don't need to happen if the potential exists in harming the player, because that player could be your teammate in the next game, unless they are in the hospital.

I love bike polo. hope you do too

You don't see the steering arm at all... so wouldn't that mean it was from "behind"?

Amen, I love both the players in this to death, but I really really hate blind checks from behind.Granted, Miguel (ball hander) has his head down and should be looking up, but either way the checker is coming from behind, looking at this, and thats dangerous.

Get rad

it looked rough when it went down, and now that i see the photo im trying to figure out how the front wheel isn't striking miguel's bike?

if the defensive player leans their shoulder out just far enough so it strikes the ball handler first before they plow into his bike, does that make a legal check?

the more of this discussion i read on contact rules, the more i'm swayed that intentional contact isn't the type of play the ruleset should allow, since it doesnt really seem to encourage the core skills unique to the game. but the way it is now, if you dont wanna bang, you get run over.


Seems to me that the unwritten rule is not to hit from behind but it's not in the NAH ruleset anywhere. If there is front wheel collision then it would be illegal bike on bike but that's it. There was a vocalized rule at NAs about hitting people in that "dead zone" of the boards that jeffj was talking about. They also said they'd call unnecessary roughness, not sure if I remember seeing it get called though. I'd say by NAH rules it looks like a clean hit, but illegal bike on bike contact.

Awesome picture though!

Looks like a check from behind to me, I would have called it. But that's the opinion of someone looking at a still photo, which isn't the most reliable way of doing it.



AirInHand wrote:

Looks like a check from behind to me, I would have called it.

Unfortunately checking from behind is not in the ruleset, and probably won't be. In v3.3, shoulder to shoulder is not defined anywhere either, but that's a different issue. "Behind" in other sports means something slightly different than the way it's used in polo. We basically use it in this general sense: a player traveling at a higher speed came from a "blind" spot relative to the other players direction of travel and vision, meaning the check was unexpected.

I would argue that if you have possession of the ball in this position, you better be damn ready for this exact check to come at you, based on your assessment of where defending players and teammates are prior to receiving the ball, and before deciding to plow full force towards the net.

I have a small issue with where the check occurs on the court (boarding), but if contact is being made shoulder to shoulder, with no extension, it's entirely fair play. What this very limited perspective shows me is a player with his head down catching a fair check unawares. Too bad.

This raises a larger issue of referees using 'unsportsmanlike' to call anything that is deemed 'dangerous' and it's something that certainly needs to be defined and enforced consistently. But most importantly it needs to be taught to players and referees alike. You can't just make up a checking from behind rule when it doesn't exist, and I don't think this would qualify even if it did.

I've attached what I would define as a check from behind:

  • Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.41.06 PM.png
  • Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.41.45 PM.png

There are two separate points I think you're making Joe, and it's good to be clear about both things.
#1. This isn't illegal as the rules stand
#2. This is a hit that we should expect to continue to be in the game, because it's fair.

With respect to #1, I'm sure you're right (you know the ruleset much more thoroughly than I).

The real question is about #2, and there I disagree strongly.
Firstly on the facts; this isn't ''shoulder to shoulder'' contact. It just isn't. You can see where black shirt players upper arm (above the elbow) is making contact with Maroon player and it's a hell of a lot closer to their kidney's than their rotator cuff. But even if he were closer to shoulder on shoulder, I still think this is a dicey play.
The real question is not whether it's already illegal, it's whether it should be illegal.
I have no problem at all with physical play (I grew up playing a game a lot more physical than polo and fully recognize the athletic, aesthetic, and first-person joy of good hits), but this is an unsafe hit, and it's unsafe not particularly because of where the players are on the court (although that doesn't help...boarding rules save broken necks people, let's have one), but because of the mechanics of checking someone (or being checked) on a bike as opposed to on your feet/skates.

I broke a rib on a very similar hit to this one in Florida (you can see it happen @7:45 in the Mr Do vid of our game vs We are Animals) and it sucked. Let me be clear, it didn't suck because I got injured (injuries happen in contact sports); it sucked because I could see the hit coming, I braced for it, and I had no chance of not going over the front of my bars (despite outweighing my checker by a good 45lbs I'd wager, and having thrown literally thousands of shoulder-on-shoulder hits in my life).
The force of a player coming at speed into the back portion of another's upper body without the ability for the 'hittee' to put any substantial backward force into the check make it both 'unsporting' (if I may use that term as a reference to fairness) and dangerous. There is no way for the person being hit from behind to 'win' a check like this, there just isn't a way to put enough force into the back of your shoulder with your core muscles to counteract the kinetic force of their weight moving at speed toward you in concert with their upper body moving into the check. The absolute best a player can do being hit like this is absorb the hit by losing position on your bike and maybe stay up (if you've got tremendous balance and abs of steel and can carry that force overtop your bars without carrying your own weight over them), but I've yet to see it happen.
(Kremin, an excellent bike handler who rarely dabs without cause got smoked in similar fashion at NA's this year and went ass-over-teakettle into the side boards, as did Kev Walsh).

In hockey you can get leveled in a check for a number of reasons (head down, worse leverage, not as strong on your skates etc.) but the beauty of the rules of checking are that they allow for each hit to be an open contest decided on these factors, factors that are about the players involved in the hit, not factors about basic geometry of riding bikes and where you can apply force.
In an actual shoulder-to-shoulder collision in polo, these player attributes play out. Little players win checks against much bigger players because of their awareness, timing and spring strength (anyone remember the hit Shitty put on Rory at Echo?) In a hit from behind, they don't and can't. Simple as that.
It may not be illegal as the rules are currently written, but that's to the detriment of the ruleset, not a fact we should get used to.

For the most part, I agree with you.

I said in the original post that dangerous play needs to be defined. There are 4 aspects to this picture being discussed:

1. The location on the body of the check on the player ("Behind" in this case meaning on the ribs)
2. The awareness of the player getting checked.
3. The location of the players relative to the boards.
4. The severity of the check and implications of that.

I think hockey defines these things perfectly depending on the specific infraction and we need to do the same.

#1 Is a matter of opinion without seeing this check in person. Catching a check primarily in the ribs should probably be illegal, but due to a lot of factors some discretion may be necessary in determining this. This photo is showing me some shoulder to shoulder contact. (but it's just a photo!)

#2 You have a responsibility and an assumed risk entering the court. I think it's the beauty of any sport that you need to keep your head up when you have the ball and expect these things. Off-ball contact, on the other hand, needs to be regulated at some point.

#3 Boarding is something being discussed, and was the case with kruse's check on kremin at North Americans. (which by the way I was reffing and happened right below me. It was 100% shoulder to shoulder, a super hard check and kremin went ass over tea-kettle partially due to awesome front disc brakes.) A boarding rule would have made this check illegal, and should be considered.

#4 This is where we need definition in the ruleset. I think a grey-area check "from behind", or slightly behind the shoulder gives the player very little competitive advantage UNLESS it's severe enough to put someone off their bike. I would agree it is a check that the offensive player can do very little to defend against, but if it's soft, they've maintained their position on the ball and can continue play. If it's hard, they risk getting injured and losing the competitive the advantage with no options. This, to me, needs to be in a "Dangerous Play" rule that gives referee discretion, similar to the boarding/checking from behind rule in hockey.

So to address your point: I do NOT feel that it's a hit we should just expect to continue. However, the way it's framed isn't entirely in relation to the offensive player awareness, or even the location of the check on the body, but rather the severity of the check and the implications that has on safety and fair competitive play. This is where I feel we need definition.

On a side note, being super tall is a two way street that I noticed a few issues with: appealing to the referee for steering arm and hits like yours below the shoulder, but also appeals from smaller players for hits on the head and handlebars (because of how high up you are). It's tricky! The hit you took in the we are animals game was one that I feel was almost perfectly executed, but not well enough. The speed at which it occurred is definitely a problem, in my mind.

And I agree with you, for the most part.
To be clear, I do think that 'keep your head up' is a reasonable response to some checks. If we're going to allow physical play sometimes people are gonna get wrecked b/c they're not paying attention. I'm fine with that.

Re: #3 and #4
I have a problem with trying to define a contact rule by outcome.
I'm fine with the suggestion that refs should have discretionary powers to curtail dangerous play not already prohibited, but that's a different rule than defining appropriate contact. The problem with these hits isn't overzealousness, it's structural/intrinsic to the physics of the hit. I think if you want consistent rule application, you can't have a rule that says 'no really hard or fast hits from behind' because then you'll have endless disagreement about whether it really was ''too fast'' or ''too hard''.

I know we're a different sport and all, but hockey really is instructive to us here because the contact is so similar (shoulder to shoulder). Hits from behind are illegal in hockey ostensibly because they are potentially deadly, but they are potentially deadly for the same reasons I outlined above: the 'hittee' cannot win the hit. Ever. Watch the first and fourth hits in this montage to see what I mean (actually, all of them make this point, but i want to talk more about hits 1 and 4)

Collision 1 is entirely 'Shoulder on shoulder' (far more clearly than the photo above or my hit at worlds) and yet clearly a penalty according to the NHL (you can see play stop immediately). The 4th hit in that same montage seems to me very relevantly similar to the Kremin/Kruse hit from NA's. Also clearly a shoulder on shoulder, but the hitter makes contact on the back-half of the hittee's shoulder carrying momentum through the player from back to front. The Blackhawk player does the same thing Kremin did (no disc brakes in sight) because you can't do anything else when you get hit like this. Like I said, physics is not on your side.

I know it's just a photo and so potentially misleading, but the polo play we've been discussing looks strongly to me like a hit that Maroon could never win (even if they're head was up and they were expecting it). That's the only reason I brought up my hit in the We are Animals game (I'm certainly not trying to call out refs on that one, it was far away and ill-defined in the current rules). I don't think being taller actually disadvantaged me on that one, I think given the angle we collided it was impossible for me to come out of that hit with any semblance of body control. Human muscles just don't work that direction. If the We are Animals player (sorry, don't know his name) hits me at that same speed and force but waits until we're actually level instead of contacting my shoulder/torso from the backside and I wreck, that's on me. He outplayed me in that instance and fair enough if I dab (or get hurt). He clearly still gets the kinetic force advantage because he's coming at a faster speed, but it's at least physically possible for me to stay in control of my bike (even it it means eating the boards).
The problem with that hit (and Kruse on Kremin, and Robbie on Kev etc. etc.) is that 'shoulder to shoulder' when it's the back of the shoulder, is essentially the same as straight into the back (like Dodi on Nick in the pics you provided) with regards to the force being applied. "Just about shoulder to shoulder" is just as dangerous (in terms of an inability to control ones own body when it happens to you) as straight into the back.

The really nice thing about it being such a similar movement to a hockey check is that there is already a ruleset we can crib from. In hockey a hit from behind is any hit where "contact is made on the back part of the body". (NHL rule 43.1) That includes the back of the shoulder.

It's a simple fix really. Copy and paste NHL rule 43.1. Done. (43.1 also addresses Stretch's worry about people ducking out of hits)

( to your point #3, clearly there is still referee discretion involved in the NHL in how these hits are called, and minor contact that just hedged the player towards the boards while making contact to the back of the shoulder is often permitted. We could do the same thing in polo easily. The important thing about the rule is it's clear about what contact is not-allowed regardless of outcome.)

[also, it's never tl;dr for me if it's well written Joe, and I love Minn too]

Man, hit #2 in that video (5 seconds in). That is genuinely scary. Guy could have died.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Fact. I'm actually amazed that no one has died on an NHL rink since Masterton. They are moving at unbelievable speeds that are hard to comprehend unless you see it in person. TV doesn't do it justice.

prairiepunk wrote:

It's a simple fix really. Copy and paste NHL rule 43.1. Done. (43.1 also addresses Stretch's worry about people ducking out of hits)

I definitely see your points in this entire post, and while I would love to simply modify a few of the physical fouls from the NHL ruleset, it's kruse's deal and I'm only contributing where I can.

In terms of implementation, I still think it will be easier to simply define a legal check as principle shoulder to shoulder contact (which would inherently exclude checks to the butt/ribs/head/elbow/steering arm) and then include specific infractions as needed. If you combine this with a Dangerous Play rule that addresses: Velocity, Proximity to the boards/other players, etc, you have an all around easy to understand, concise rule that just needs to be practiced amongst players consistently, and taught to referees.

Sorry I'm at work and might have more to say later!

prairiepunk wrote:

The problem with that hit (and Kruse on Kremin, and Robbie on Kev etc. etc.) is that 'shoulder to shoulder' when it's the back of the shoulder, is essentially the same as straight into the back (like Dodi on Nick in the pics you provided) with regards to the force being applied. "Just about shoulder to shoulder" is just as dangerous (in terms of an inability to control ones own body when it happens to you) as straight into the back.

The really nice thing about it being such a similar movement to a hockey check is that there is already a ruleset we can crib from. In hockey a hit from behind is any hit where "contact is made on the back part of the body". (NHL rule 43.1) That includes the back of the shoulder.

This is the other thing I wanted to address. This is one area I feel is not totally comparable to hockey because we do not have the agility with our bike under us to significantly alter our direction of travel or orientation. Additionally, we don't have the ability to ride directly through someones back due to the rear wheel being there. The dangerous play we see is a hit to the back essentially transferring energy forward, or at such an angle that it adds momentum while taking you off your bike. It's unique in the sense that the hit itself won't snap your neck (like in hockey), but the fall certainly could. This is why I think the velocity of the two players needs to be taken into consideration, rather than the angle of the hit or point of contact. This is because a square shoulder to shoulder hit at speed could have the exact same outcome, as you've said.

This is my current perspective: A check to the "back" of the shoulder at low speed has almost no effect on a players ability to stay in control of the ball and their bike, therefore it is negligible. But a hit to the "back" of the shoulder at high speed has the potential to really hurt a player competitively and physically with no way to protect against it. (just like shoulder to shoulder)

Again, if I were writing the new physical fouls section it would say something like "A legal check is made when the principle contact is made shoulder to shoulder, and doesn't violate any other rules as outlined below" and then go one to make illegal any unique infractions like handlebar and steering arm before discussing Dangerous Play. I'm still hesitant to include language about a hit to the ribs specifically because I'm convinced it has a lot to do with velocity and severity. I don't want to wait for a player to be injured but I also don't want to limit physical play.

tl;dr? I love saskatoon.

Define shoulder to shoulder, add a dangerous play rule. Have fun.

Something I don't believe has been mentioned, but popped into my head as soon as I saw the photo..

The guy getting hit.. it looks quite possible that he leaned forward (ducked down) at the last second to try to avoid the hit.
Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but in cases like this - it's something to consider.
If someone is coming hard and trying to hit you shoulder-to-shoulder.. and you squirm/contort yourself in some way.. you can't blame anyone else for your ribs getting hit, etc.

I don't see the game turning into something where you realize a check is coming in and you turn your back purposefully to get nailed in the ribs in order to draw a penalty. Just think about it, only someone who wants to be injured (at pickup or in a tournament) would do such a thing.

However, I do think the defender coming in to lay a check shouldn't approach it with a single track mind. The point of the game is to play the ball. When the defender decides to come in to lay a check simply for the fact of being physical/laying the check, that defender is not playing the ball, they are playing the player. The smart choice is for a defender to come in and to pin the offensive player to the boards as to limit/prevent the ball movement to offensive teammates and to stop any forward motion of the ball.

When you decide to play the player and not the ball, you are escalating the game from a fluid, pass/shooting friendly game to a physical, stop and go, turn and check game that may not be half as exciting as before. After that, it's up to the other team to retaliate or to show they won't stand for checks that are "legal" right now. But as a result of escalating the game to the physical level, the spectator enjoyment probably will drop a bit from "wow this is an offensive match" to "god, these teams are just hammering each other".

.edit. I realize that there are moments in the game where you can also screen a defender for your teammate to get an offensive breakaway. These are moments that could technically be what I am talking about above, but they are totally different because they aren't involving a check, just a physical adjustment of the other player's line. This is part of the game that should be recognized by the defensive player too. Guide them into the wall, not onto the ground.
just an edit to get the fact straight. Play more polo and be conscious of what is happening and communicative about what is going to happen if a certain thing is recurring.

Stretch wrote:

Something I don't believe has been mentioned, but popped into my head as soon as I saw the photo..

The guy getting hit.. it looks quite possible that he leaned forward (ducked down) at the last second to try to avoid the hit.
Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but in cases like this - it's something to consider.
If someone is coming hard and trying to hit you shoulder-to-shoulder.. and you squirm/contort yourself in some way.. you can't blame anyone else for your ribs getting hit, etc.

This is the reason why a photo isn't sufficient to deem a check to be clean or not. I'm not prepared to state an opinion for that very reason.

My view is that checking from behind is only possible in a situation where the person being checked is riding slower than the checker who is approaching from behind. There is a responsibility for any checker approaching from behind to draw level and match speeds to some extent before making contact. If however after drawing level and matching speeds, the checker attempts to initiate contact, only to find the checkee has leant over their bars to avoid shoulder to shoulder contact then any disadvantage to the checkee that results from said physical contact is the responsibility of the checkee.


I agree, that's why I think the NHL rule is a nice parallel since it has provisions for responsibility of the 'hitee' in the play. If you duck or turn away and that's why contact is initiated on your back, it's on you (i.e. not a foul).

Nice thread.

I think the targeting of a defenseless player rules from football can also be applied to hits from behind. There is no true way to defend yourself against it if the hit comes from your blindspot. The hockey analogies while theoretically make sense, are not the same type of hit that is being taken. This type of hit can also end your polo "career." I recently took a similar hit that dislocated my shoulder and have to do atleast 3 months of physical therapy before I can play again. There should be rules that protect the safety of players, and this is one of them.


Not everything's about you.

2 cents, I think refing should be focused on fore arm checks because they are
A little easier to define
Way more advantageous

As a larger player I get the forearm a lot and its uncalled, if I give a forearm I believe it's much more likely to be called because there is a larger response. We can't allow checking and then have a safety "seam" around the boards. "Excuse me but you can't check someone of his height between 4'6" and 5'2" s from the boards." A fore arm check requires less risk for more effect. If I am checking someone with my shoulder and commit to it that other person needs to be in the right spot or I am might self dab. This is not the case with forearm checks. Lets keep the rules achievabley plausible.

An example of this is Cody checking that euro scooper, doby? He happened to check him where there was a dangerous pole on the boards. So Cody was only allowed to check him cleanly if it wasn't there?

How checking or any contact from behind is now considered legal is beyond me. The only purpose of it is to knock a player off a bike and often results in a fall, why is this considered OK? Isn't player safety enough of a concern to prevent it?

The NAH needs to see what everyone else is doing as I think it's the only region that allows it.

Not that I do or do not disagree with you in any way but is there any other region that is actively creating/publishing/editing rules? I know some clubs have published rulesets, and many/most tournaments announce a ruleset but from what I have seen over the last couple years is that most of these rulesets are based on or are the NAH ruleset. Do you have a ruleset that clearly defines the illegality of checking from behind? Or is it just an assumed standard much like the don't be a dick "rule"?

I'll let others comment on what Europe and particularly London do as their ruleset is solid and includes this.

I can speak about the Australia and NZ region which has had it's own ruleset since 2009 for our first national champs. In 2011 we created an official board of elected members from around the continent called the AHBPA ("Jedi Council"). Our ruleset is very similar to EU and NAH but leans more towards the London rules as we found the contact section much fairer, logical and safer. We use it for all our tournaments and championships.


# 8.6.1 : A checking from behind penalty will be assessed when a player delivers a check with
the hand, elbow, or shoulder to an opponent's back.

Awesome. Thanks for informing me.

Just FYI, London and Europe used the NAH rules this year.


I recently got to play my first pick up game of ice hockey. I've always wanted to play -- it was super fun. There were some really good players there that had all of the "fundamental skills" of hockey down. They were truly slick. They were good. Obviously, at open hockey, there's no checking going on. Players out of control that ended up colliding always apologized. Players pushing along the boards usually got by. But at its core, they were good hockey players. I'm sure the beer league guys are even BETTER.

I also recently watched about 15 minutes of AAA 16-year-old division hockey, the best kids in the Philly metro. My jaw literally dropped. These kids were fucking banging. They would throw themselves into each other, they would throw themselves in front of the puck, they were using their bodies as finely-tuned weapons. And what I also noticed is that because of this, these kids never ever put themselves in a position in which they were going to get fucked up. They learned how to bounce off checks, they learned how to avoid each other. They learned how to keep themselves safe in a game that is 30 times more dangerous than ours. Watching them was truly thrilling. And yeah, they get hurt sometimes.

I want to be really clear when I say that I'm writing rules for the AAA. There are a lot of hockey players that are really good at hockey and don't want to play AAA hockey. There are a lot of hockey players that are really good and never learn how to play AAA hockey without getting hurt. And there are the players who play the highest echelon of hockey, the best form of the game, and they are really exceptional at it.

The picture above has a couple things going on. If we imagine that there is not bike-on-bike contact here (which there is), and all we are evaluating is the body contact, I want someone to answer me this:

Why, in "AAA" bike polo, should we give protection to this person? Their head is down, they have the ball, and there will be challengers. What if the solution to this is to make off-the-ball checks illegal, and teach AAA players that if they have the ball, they need to move and act in a way that protects themselves?

I am not writing rules for the Screwston Showdown. I consider myself a physical player. I have played against many players who have met my physicality with a level of self-protection and a level of countered physical skill that has rendered me much less effective.

I'm speaking conceptually here, and more specifically I think that there are definitions and precautions that need to be taken in the ruleset regarding physical contact (PENDING), but I remain unconvinced that "checks from behind on players with the ball" is one of them. If you eliminate the arm extension, and you eliminate checks on players without possession, and AAA players learn how to stay on their bikes when faced with a little physical adversity (many alraedy know how to do this), I have trouble seeing how this is a huge problem.

Add to that Joe Rstom's inclusion of a referee with discretion to call overtly dangerous play, and I'm even less inclined to write a specific rule for it.

And I still think my hit on Kremin was solid. I don't know if there's vid, and I've been wrong before obviously, but if someone did that to me I woulda high-fived the fuck out of them after I beat them for making me mad, which is *exactly* what that mother fucker did!!! And it's why he's one of the three best in the world.

Of course I'm open to way more discussion about this.

I really liked what prairiepunk wrote, but this is a great counter-argument.


What if the solution to this is to make off-the-ball checks illegal, and teach AAA players that if they have the ball, they need to move and act in a way that protects themselves?

I think this should happen either way.

The fact that it's within the rules to crouch low, and shoulder check goalies in small of the back when they don't have the ball is just ridiculous.

We saw the Means start to exploit the "off the ball checking" hole this year (not always to their benefit) but they probably could have gone a lot further with this than they did, totally within the rules. I appreciate their role in exposing flaws in the ruleset. :p

kev wrote:

I appreciate their role in exposing flaws in the ruleset. :p

This x100. Credit where credit is due, there are going to be a few new rules this year partially due to this team, and I don't mean that in a bad way. The had a way of drawing fouls out of players as well, and making the ref's life really hard and dictating the atmosphere of a game. Looking forward to more of that!

Honorary mention to zach Blackburn for checking dabbed player and forearm punching people in the corners.

Also goalie rules will vastly change in 2014 so let's avoid going there for now!!

I don't think it has to be an either/or.
Why can't we have clear delineation about off-the-ball checking (not ok) AND some clarification about where on the body are acceptable area's to initiate contact.

Let me be clear again; i do not think that shoulder to shoulder is a bad thing. It's a good part of the game. To Joe's point, I think that if you are level with someone and shoulder into them at speed that may well cause a big crash, but that's fine, there are gonna be some of them (with the caveat that Boarding should be a penalty, just like in hockey... if you're in open area you're fine, if you're right along the boards you're fine, it's only when you're 3-5' off the boards that it's dangerous). The dangerous part is hits from behind (and i'm counting everything that's the back of the shoulder as "behind" here), it that the the hittee can't reasonably brace for them.

I guess that's where I disagree with Kruse about player responsibility. I think it's the player's responsibility (AAA level players) to keep their head up and be aware/defensive on any shoulder to shoulder contact. But I don't think hit's from the back side (even if they're ALMOST shoulder to shoulder but still from behind) are things you can be ready for, so it can't be your responsibility.
Here's what I think a good test for a contact rule is:
If the player WAS fully ready, would it ever be possible to come out okay from the hit?
In shoulder to shoulder the answer seems clearly to be yes.
Obviously players won't always be ready and so they'll lose a lot of those hits, and that's on them. ("Keep your head up" -every hockey dad ever)

In hits on the back side of the shoulder, the answer seems pretty clearly to be no.

Look at the hit I take in that We Are Animals game again. I'm fully prepared to lose a hit like that if it's shoulder to shoulder, because the worst that'll happen to me is I'll fall off my bike or fall into the boards close enough to them to not break my neck. But getting hit from behind like that makes the kind of yard-sale-over-the-front-of-your-bike results that i so graciously model there inevitable. If that players waits LITERALLY half a pedal stroke more to initiate contact with me so our shoulders are level instead of back-to-front, it's all good. I probably still lose the hit, but i fall away from the contact into the boards. It's not hard to wait, you're not giving up your advantage, and it's easy to call as a ref (just look at where the hittees end up, they can't go straight forward if you hit them from the side).

Surely it's not so hard to sort that out right?

Legal hits: shoulder to shoulder, no arm extension.

Illegal hits: arm extension, hits to anywhere that isn't the shoulder, hits to the back side of the shoulder, off the ball contact.

Boarding: Dangerous hits that jeopardize player safety within a range close to the boards.

I fully appreciate and respect every point you made here. I think the game created by the outline you've presented is just and competitive.

My only question or point is that some players can take hits that others can not. I think it's hard to separate the body into areas that are "the shoulder" and "not the shoulder". To me it's progressive from a clean hit to not clean. That is why I'm searching for a way to define what is clean without vastly diminishing a players responsibility for themselves and to learn how to avoid getting screwed by a hit that never would have even came to them had they made a better decision with the ball.

Yeah I see that as a valid concern. You don't want the rules to eliminate player responsibility, or make them so tight that players aren't responsible for putting themselves in dicey situations. Sorry to keep going back to hockey, but it does seem relevant to checking cases in particular. In hockey, 'hitting from behind' rules also acknowledge that there is an advantage to be gained from the other team getting a penalty, so it's worded in such a way that the ref has discretion. If the player with the puck sees a hit coming and turns his back on it, it's his responsibility and not a penalty anymore.


I actually think the harder rule to sort out is Boarding.
Just look at the mess the NHL has on their official books.


The NHL ruleset is so tight. I adore it, really. I read it before writing nearly every rule I'm thinking about. I'd love to meet the drafters of it. Technical writing at its finest.

Thanks for your input here, you make a really good case for your stance and it will be seriously considered as a format.

I think if boarding does get defined, it's going to have to include something about whether a player is moving towards or away from the boards to prevent players from just hanging in that alley of protection. If a player pulls the ball off the boards, and is moving back towards center, the likelihood for injury is less than when that player is riding toward the boards and catches the check.

I'm going to watch video of the Kruse/Kremin check and analyze it, but from where I was standing on that play, Kremin appeared to slow his pace, in anticipation of the check, so as to not get pinned against the boards (He's very good at this). He wanted to maintain a rideable line out of the impending hit, but was in the most dangerous spot possible. Is that something we want players having to consider (or even utilize to draw the foul)??

I'm not sure!

Truthfully my angle on that hit was from behind one of the nets so I don't know if it's as prime an example as I thought it was from memory.

I think your point about using the rules to find 'free zones' is a good consideration, and probably why in hockey the rule is explicitly a 'referee discretion' call instead of a specific spot on the ice (although clearly it can only happen close to the boards). I think the point of the rule is to make players steer their checks into the boards instead of smashing them off their feet from 4' away. A similar tact could be taken in polo, where you'd only call it if the player attempted (and succeeded) to rock somebody while they were at an unsafe distance from the boards. It makes the initiator of contact responsible for how hard they come in (you can always still try and make the hit, but it discourages attempts to unseat instead of hedge when the ballcarrier is vulnerable).

Exactly, and there needs to be something preventing me from carrying the ball straight down the court through that lane, knowing that the defenders only option is try to get in front and cut my line. And that could get just as dangerous.


Kruse on Kremin

Damn that's really scary. I think it should be a penalty not for boarding but for checking from behind. I haven't commented yet and I'm sure what I say will be seen as an emotional response to seeing that happen to my teammate but this is always how I've felt. as someone who played competitive hockey for 18 years checking from behind is a very scary play. I've heard of or seen too many stories of serious injuries when an unsuspecting player get nailed into the boards usually head first. I'd this like to not happen in bike polo.

Nick I completely agree with 90% of what you said in your big post here about protecting yourself but I also want to make sure you understand the difference between the AAA players you were referencing and the NHL players you've most likely seen the most examples of. We aren't very good at bike polo, haven't been training everyday for 20 years and perhaps most importantly are the ones footing the bill when we need to go to the ER. Even at our finest, We are even lower on the totem than AAA. We still need to rely on rules and perhaps a bit of caring to make sure we don't have any being stretcheredd away.

I strongly feel that hitting from behind should be illegal. I also would prefer that boarding would be, but don't care about that one as much. I just really don't want to see any of my friends hit in when they didn't see it coming, didn't have a chance to brace themselves, and end up flying head first into a wall.

At 00:11 Nick takes his mallet hand off his bars in what appears to be an attempt to get a better hit with his shoulder. Just before this Kremin appears to be preparing for a hit but Nick has the greater mass, speed and steeper angle. Not to mention his arm being (elbow going out) slightly under Kremins arm as well as the front of his shoulder to Kremins shoulder blade/ribs.

Maybe the rule for checking should be so specific that anything less than a perfect shoulder to shoulder impact is penalized. Why should a potentially dangerous move be available cheap? If you can't execute it properly then don't do it. Try something else. Keep both hands in contact with your own bars, you must only touch the other players shoulder with the equivalent section of your own. If someone ducks or moves to avoid your check and you miss their shoulder then why not be penalized by the risk you took and failed at? Trying to avoid a check is a risk too, do it badly and you might get hurt. But maybe the onus should be on the initiator of the move, not the receiver.

You're completely right. I obviously take this seriously.

Here's what I've written for the draft of the rules this year (even prior to seeing this, I promise!):
§8.1 -- Charging
§8.1.1 – A player that is initiating contact has the responsibility to meet the opposing player “high and even”. Contact to a player’s lower back, kidney or ribs or contact that carries momentum through an opponent from behind will be assessed a Charging penalty.

§8.4 – Flagrance
§5.5.1 – A Flagrance penalty will be assessed when a player uses excessive physical force on an opponent who is deemed by the referee to be defenseless, or if the player forgoes the tactical or strategic use of physical force in a way that causes dangerous play.
§5.5.2 – A Flagrance penalty will be assessed when a player initiates physical contact in an excessive nature such that they cause themselves to crash.

And on top of that, there are new stipulations to a Major, as follows:
§5.2 – Major Penalty
§ – Any infraction listed in S7-S9 that is overtly dangerous or reckless in nature will result in a 2-minute man advantage penalty.

I understand the need to legislate this out of the rules. The above is just a draft and not approved by anyone, but I'm with you guys. Personally, I will try to do better. My bad, Sorry Kremin!

Looks great so far. Good stuff.

This is really really tough. I really don't want to see anyone get hurt in this game and this is a really hard play to analyze. From where I was, looking straight down on this: It looked "High and Even" according to the definition that has now been presented, and I had schultz and simpson sitting up there with me, dead silent and I said "That was clean..." and they agreed.

I feel like Kruse actually executed this really well, but it is at a bad spot on the court, for certain. With the way we are positioned on bicycles, the steering arm side is always going to be more vulnerable for a hit to the upper arm or ribs just by it's nature. I'm not going to say I was right or wrong not making a call, but at the time I was really confident with it. This angle makes me wonder though. New rules vs old rules, this might be a penalty now. The idea is that kruse added enough forward-lateral momentum (i.e. not cleanly lateral) that it caused kremin to accelerate and grab a fistful of disc brake. Ugh!

p.s. there was a 4"x4" square knocked out of the boards but no broken ribs. wow.

exactly. Well said Brian.

Let's acknowledge that no one has possession of the ball (Kremin still has both hands on his bars, even). Before anything else, that is why this is a bad hit.

I am with Brian on this not quite being Boarding. They're a significant distance from the wall (enough for Kremin to have fallen straight over without hitting the boards), and Kremin ends up steering toward the wall because he is fighting the hit. He's not wrong, Nick's momentum is just too great.

To me, it looks like Kremin is going to try to shield the ball from Nick. Nick then responds with contact to neutralize Kremin's attempt to do so. Kremin is pretty close to getting into position, but Nick is chasing on with speed and rides through him. This hit is clearly from behind.

If we want to talk about boarding, may I share this photo from the Midwestern Qualifier?

They are an unsafe distance from the boards for Nick to initiate a hit (especially from behind, while no one has the ball, with both of Ben's hands not making an attempt on the ball, etc.) If Mr. Do has footage, I would love to see it.


Sorry, bud. I'm not trying to bury you in bad press. There are certainly other people out there doing stuff like this, but you always had cameras watching.


It might be a buffer elbow, seriously. Without video, I can't say one way or the other. We could say "if this is the beginning of a check, then..." but it might not actually be anything.

No I totally roasted him on this one.

I was totally joking. Ben ate boards hard. Kruse is a cheater.

Definitely knew you were joking. Definitely assumed as much. Trying out this "innocent until proven guilty by 3 different cameras that caught the act" thing. I mean, look at that photo. Was there camera there that didn't see this one?


Having Played hockey and refereed it for 20 years, that could be called boarding, sending a defenseless player into the boards. However in bike polo I would rather see this called an extension of the elbow. Both players obviously know contact is coming but Nick extends his elbow into the midsection of Kremin and I'm sure he would claim in an attempt to reach for the ball but the elbow allows him to gain position (that could also be called interference in hockey). In hockey if no one has possession of the puck then the only legal play is an attempt to get the puck. Here Nick's first move is an elbow extension block out and then a reach on the ball. Had Kremin been in possession the only call which is touchy would be the extension of the elbow. That coming from someone who likes the rules to be simple "bike on bike, mallet on mallet and body on body=LEGAL", but my two sense would be to allow this type of contact only when possession of the ball has been established not in an effort to gain it.


I can't tell from that photo, but it looks like to me there's also going to be some bike on bike contact that probably would have taken down the person being hit, if the person being hit was somehow able to withstand the shoulder-to-the ribs.

I think this is one of the problem with enforcing our rules, the ref's eyes (and the players' brains) focus on the hit, and whether it's legal, not the very much related 45 degree t-bone, front wheel on front wheel. (i'm not saying that's what happened in the photo, but that's what it looks like).

fact is, you probably can't deliver this kind of hit, with any kind of power, without also coming in at an angle that results in a t-bone.

kev wrote:

fact is, you probably can't deliver this kind of hit, with any kind of power, without also coming in at an angle that results in a t-bone.

I very much agree with this being part of the solution to find a middle ground to this problem.

I always think about a hit you put on me towards the end of the game that knocked us out of NAs, Kev. I immediately called bullshit on you, said it was from behind, I got the call for it and you said "wtf it was shoulder".

The truth lies in the middle, it was your shoulder that hit me and you did approach me from behind (giggity), but the REAL truth is that I gave you the opportunity to challenge me while I was at a physical disadvantage, and better play and more foresight on my part would have taken that ability away from you. I moved too slow, plain and simple. And I'm a better player for learning that in that instance, even if I was being a bitch about it at the time. I want to be careful to avoid a culture in bike polo that says the victim is always right because they are truly not always so right.

There is so much you can do to avoid being slighted. An attitude of perseverance in this sport will make us all better at playing it and it will make the game better. I just believe that.

Oh yeah, great example. I know i was *aiming* for your shoulder. :p You may have evaded the shoulder-on-shoulder, by pedaling or by turning your body, and i ended up getting yer back. You got the call, and i see that i deserved it, but we have to expect that players will continue to do this, even if it results in a ball turnover. i don't think the check was dangerous, open court and it wasn't one of the top-of-the-shoulder-into-kidney. If it's dangerous, it should be more than just a turnover.

Didn't i stay up on this play tho? I don't think our bikes had contact. Chill had just smashed up my teammate Matt pretty hard in a similar way on the boards, Matt was down, and i knew a hard challenge was needed from me. I can still remember your open court pick checks from the first tournament where i met you, MPLS Midwest Open. I was all "who the fuck is this blond guy and why isn't he on the como a team?"

My point was that I think you were right to do what you did, and that if I were a better player at the time I could have avoided it. I thought a lot about that one and I came out better for it.

I don't want the rules to train people that they don't have to consider their own actions. A rule that prohibits checks from behind might have left me justified and prevented me from realizing that my play in that case was far from perfect.

I think players should not be allowed to lean over and deliver a top-of-the-shoulder check to the player's kidney area, simple as that.

It's ugly, indefensible, dangerous, and takes no skill.

Ha, Zach's check, albeit kind of a dick move, completely legit. Also boarding rules would be nice. I'm ok with checks, just need a little room after getting hit without worrying about hitting my head on the boards if I dab.

With most other forms of contact, the receiving player should be able to deal with it, i.e. shoulder to shoulder. The reason why things like t-boning is illegal is because it's dangerous and the receiving player can't do anything to prevent a crash. This is why I feel checks from behind should be dealt with the same way. A light touch can be ignored, but any decent amount of force has too high a risk of coming off the bike.

Contact should be allowed when a player is safely trying to get to the ball. In no way a check from behind is them trying to get to the ball, but purely trying to make the other player loose control of their bike.


Kev, describe what you think was wrong about Phil's hit on you at 2:20. I'm interested to hear your opinion on it.

I was catching up with Phil's teammate, Max, who was on my left with the ball.

last second i see Phil coming from my right. i had a split second to brace for a shoulder check, but received the top of his shoulder to my jawbone. First time in my life i'd been hit in the head in polo in the 9 years i've been playing and he actually hit me again in the head that game, also when i was not in possession of the ball, but so far off the ball that it doesn't appear in the video.

I'm against hitting off the ball, but i'm even more against hitting people in the head. NHL is dealing properly with this these days, pretty much an automatic two game suspension.

At 2:21 it doesn't look like i've leaned my head out, lowered it, or exposed to a check in any way, which would have made it more excusable, but unfortunately the camera angle isn't great.

It sure is a bad angle. I didn't know he hit you in the jaw.

Obviously this is bad. Do you think that if he did not hit you in the jaw but rather it ended up being a shoulder check, that is was still wrong because you were focused on the ball?

I mean, there are many ways that this hit can be made illegal. You did not have the ball, you were effectively defenseless, he blew himself up and crashed the hardest out of anyone which is a big sign that it was flagrantly dangerous, etc...

But my question is more focused on the best way to effectively legislate what was truly wrong about it. Like was it because you didn't have possession, or was it because you were "defenseless", etc... I guess you include all those things and hope the ref catches one of them.

first, i think a specific rule against hits to the head is needed. Copy paste from the NHL Rule 48. (While you're at it, copy paste Rule 47 - headbutting, too). If he was a taller player that i had "chosen" to initiate contact with, and/or i had put my head in the path of an otherwise legal check, the ref should have discretion to not call it a penalty. But in this example a) he initiated contact b) i didn't expose my head. I don't blame Ref Blackburn for not seeing this, he too was on a bad angle, and this is always going to be hard to see with polo. I suppose this could all be covered under "dangerous play", but i think it's worth having a baseline where possible.

Second, i just don't understand why we need off-the-ball body checks. contact, sure, especially given the existence of picks, but initiating a powerful check off the ball is just dumb and dangerous, and i think we still haven't seen teams truly exploit this yet. Sounds like goalies are going to get some protection in 2014 from what you've written recently, but i'm hoping it's more broad? If we keep off-ball checks in the game, we probably at least need some "blind side" caveat or people will increasingly get hurt as teams start exploiting this. There's some language in the NHL interference rule, 57, but as you've said in the past it gets tricky to come up with an equivalent in polo given the legality of setting picks.

Yeah, I've already written more clear head protection into the draft.


This was a check I put on one of the Japanese guys in florida. I'd be interested as to what everyone thinks of this given the current discussion.



great example for the discussion up earlier betweeen joe prariepunk and kruse. check in the back, no arm extension, no bike contact.

First, there absolutely was bike contact here. It is the reason why he crashes. His rear wheel skips out because of the contact from the front wheel of the checker, seen here:

Second, this hit should not be legal regardless of bike contact, even though I think it shows that there most always will be when a check is flagrantly dangerous (edit: unfair more than dangerous. This is not really a dangerous hit, the Japanese guy was far from getting hurt, but it is an unfair one).

I've added a provision for flagrant checks from behind in two places in the ruleset. Y'all convinced me... but I've still given the referee the ability to determine if a player invited the contact in some way. I think it will make everyone happy.

Interesting, explains why the player in red went down so hard, cause as you say the body-on-body isn't really dangerous. i had looked on my phone and couldn't see the bike contact...

If you run it frame by frame his rear wheel lifts of the ground before my bike even comes close to his. It's my belief that our bikes never contacted. The frame in question is several frames after our bodies connected and his rear wheel is already in the air.

I completely agree with the rest of your post however. Whether there was bike contact shouldn't matter as this was a questionable move.


Thanks for posting it!

Is the notion of "hitting from behind" determined by the location of the contact on the body, or the direction of the force vector?

I can put a tricep into someone's ribs and still be pushing perpendicular to their direction of travel.
Similarly a shoulder to the back of my elbow can still push me forward over the bars or force me to jackknife, with no chance to save it.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Don't you think if we make both of those hypotheticals illegal (as in, no contact on the back side of any player, be it ribs, shoulder or elbow) that we'd be better off. What benefit to the game is included in allowing that hypothetical elbow?

(I know you're not proposing it, I just think a clear hitting from behind rule will catch both of these instances, and that's good)

not to mention making it easier to ref.

I'm just going to leave this here
Rules Discussion - Boarding from Mr.Do on Vimeo.


Kremin, I'm going to hit you twice as hard next time if you keep posting to threads you don't read, you goof!

Above video no call. Then this gets a ball turnover


What penalty was called there? Did the ref think it was a handlebar/steering arm hit?

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

man I played against Burge for 6 years bring it!


wow, i'm still chewing on this thread. there are a lot of good points brought up.

Keep your standards low, and morale high.

I just want to chime in to second what Dillman said. Even at the highest level we are a bunch of amateurs. It's about time we have a ruleset and refs to tone down dangerous play and protect players in vulnerable positions.

We saw too many dislocated shoulders and broken bones this past year. The hits are just getting bigger and players are getting more reckless.

Kudos to Kruse and NAH for making player safety a major concern in this new ruleset.

I like hockey analogies because they can really be helpful, but lets keep in mind that "AAA" you were talking about wear tons of shit to protect themselves, shoulders, elbows, hips, back etc. regarding to them we just are naked dumbs on bikes, that's a big part of the problems I see in the way we are playing and are going to continue to play checking.
That's also why there is no checks in pick up hockey, because that's shit to bring all these sweaty gears with you.
Also bikes on wooden board have really hazardous way to respond, the often stop really badly because of the pedal touching the wood, or causing jackknife because of handlebar on board, wich is different in hockey.

This should be in mind every time we use hockey to write contacts rules.

We get a rule when we where still playing with fence wich was if you are in front of a player (by at least around half a wheel) you can cut his way to not let him go between the fence on you. But as soon as your are in the same level on the field or behind him, pushing him to the fence was a foul. Maybe this was safer than the actual play and was still high speed polo.

I'm trying to play inline hockey in a serious club these days, and despite the fact that they are wearing all bottom gears plus hockey elbows pads and hockey helmets (no chest gear), they ban checks.
Im gonna see how they handle the fact that the sport is like hocky but without the checking. If their ruslet get proper rules or is more a ice hockey one with the negation of checks part.
They play all other kind of contacts anyway, and the game is still entertaining and fun to play and watch.

This is a very reasonable posting.

I think that the discussion checking/no checking is ridiculous as long as people don't play with full chest protection. I have no intention in breaking a rib playing polo. Of course hard checks should be illegal but as long as some kind of check is allowed it is likely that somebody hits me where he didn't plan to trying to make a legal check. I have no problems with pushing and blocking. Checking is something way else in my opinion and a lot more can go wrong.

I'm sure it's explained somewhere already but for us slow on the uptake...why not just ban all steering arm checks? if the steerer/ball handler (screeners are a different story) initiates contact on a mallet arm with their steering arm then contact is allowed but never can any player initiate steering arm contact on an opponent. am I missing an exploitable tactical advantage in suggesting not allowing ANY steering arm/blindside hits?

This won't make disappear some of the dirties/toughest checks no? You still can come from behind on a mallet side and crush somebody with your idea.

Also, By "no contact" you mean no checks or no contacts at all?

I remember an old rule, often more a oral one that an official, who was saying you can push on somebody after the contact is made. Wich mean you have to first got as close as possible in a gentle way to a player before trying to push him out of position. Hit were not permitted but you could still push people around.

In the (cream of the crop) video of kruse and krem, posted before, this would mean that kruse have to go first shoulder on shoulder without hitting before trying to push kremin on board or out I the position. For that he had to reduce his lateral speed, wich providing a less hazardous reactions from kremin, and also let him the time to see things coming, and maybe refuse to go further by braking.

I know there is flaws in this, as how you define the maximum lateral force you can use to get in contact without providing a "hit".
But something around this can let the sport a contact one that we love, and avoid crazy cheks.

can you post a video for this thread of a mallet side/strong side hit that was from behind or dangerous...it's almost always steering arm/blindside hits and especially those that come from behind that cause jackknifing. a steering arm initiated hit isn't compounded with an extended arm or push which is why it's usually less injurious. if a hit to someone's mallet side/strong side results in a wreck it's gonna be because it was from behind or because there was bike on bike and not because of excessive force generated by a steering arm.

Seems like you need a good deal of anatomy or physics knowledge.

Just say that contact with excessive or malicious force is illegal and be done with it.

Then the question becomes, is this hit excessive? The same issue exists, now with a now question.

If you're gonna make a rule, you want it to be as clear as possible. Having a catch-all like "excessive or malicious force" has a lot of room for interpretation which makes having consistent calls among refs more difficult

Yeah otherwise "don't be a dick" would have be our only contact rule.

You guys want this to still be a contact sport, but want to limit the amount of contact.

Thats crazy, if you dont want anyone to touch, bump, check, screen, pick, or whatever: go play tennis.

What if I want to touch, bump, screen, and pick, but not check? Is there a sport for me?

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014


Also, how many of these big 'checks' actually happen?

Are we limiting how we wreck now too?

Every contact sport put limits between what's is an acceptable contact and what isn't. Actually bike polo is an sketchy period about this, and some feels the need to make the rules more clear, to keep this sport in a good balance between safety and contacts.
The popularity of such thread is a proof of interest around these questions.

And I one thousand percent agree that limits need to be set in regards to blows to the back, head, and steering arm.

I also think / agree there should be a boarding / charging style penalty. Make it severe.

But there should be some checking. And people can be tactful at the same time.

Leave it in the game and give refs the ability to call a game.

i think a lot of the worry about safety and the style of play being expressed can be addressed with nothing more than a couple of cleanly written rules on hitting from behind and/or boarding. Give refs the rulebook necessary to call these hits and they'll leave the game IF (and i know this is the other big part of this discussion) they are consistently called.

me i never have ever use my shoulder/ elbow/ or hands then again i never been to na"s or the worlds
but as a east van player i was told and i always stick with what i was told is play the ball not the person
some of these photo clearley show the disreguard for the other persons safety shoulder checking some one in and on the boards i think is ok if you are in a stop motion trying to get the ball hopping so on so forth but then you are prepared for it shoulder checking some one from behind you are not perpared for it and results in loseing you balance hence injury yes shoulder - ing some one from behind is just being a DICK and if you have to do that kind of polo playing well you are not a polo player

i beleive that the game is play alot better when AND ALOT MORE FUN when you can get on your bike get on the court and play the game like it is meant to be played with mallet and bike there are lot of people out i think that would agree with that shoulder checking/ t boneing/ cutting people off on the line/ thats not the game
the game is played bye useing you head (ie ball control hopping useing you mallet to defend the ball blocking
out defenders i have played beside some of the best polo players there are and i and see them play they winn because they dont play like dicks

pieter bloccker told me once he said rob if you want to be a good play u have use you head not your body be conserveative about how you play back off let then get the ball off the boards then back in play use you mallet bike your handleing skills to play the game thats how i play to this day

for those dont play like DICKS you will be on the podeum and for those that play like dicks you will go back home with you tail between yer legs

two asshole's don't make it right"
BUTT three asshole's make a good team"

I'm just glad I live in Florida where we are way too sweaty to go around smashing into each other. Keep checking on the ice!

Seriously though I don't how people play so physical without breaking something all the time.

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