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Obstruction v2 - Feedback requested

Due to the length and general tone of the other thread, I opted to start a new conversation. The obstruction rule is in place for this NAH season and the AHBPA has adopted the v4.5 ruleset to use in their competitive tournaments as well. Discussions with the EHBPA have been centered on the clarity of this rule and a lack of general understanding.

My main goals are:
1. Make sure this rule is understood and supported throughout North America, as a priority.
2. Make sure that if different organizations want to utilize the ruleset, but diverge on very important topics, it can only happen after I've put in the effort towards uniformity.
3. Follow through on the promise that we'd continue working on this.

So in order to achieve that, I had to lengthen the rule. There was no way around that. It starts with the philosophical foundation of the rule, which I think is important everywhere people are talking about this. Additionally, we covered some general legitimate areas of concern in a vague enough way to be applied to multiple scenarios, but specific enough to gain clarity.

Please email me at joe@nahardcourt.com with suggestions, questions, or concerns. Constructive feedback below!

Quote:

§8.7 – Obstruction - NEWEST DRAFT

  • §8.7.1 - A player who is not in possession of the ball is entitled to attempt a fair play on the ball/ball carrier, and is entitled to free and open movement on the court to gain offensive/defensive positions.
  • §8.7.2 - An obstruction penalty will be assessed when a player who is not in possession of the ball actively impedes the movement of an opposing player who is not in possession of the ball.
    • §8.7.2.1 – This movement, referred to as ‘screening’ or ‘picking’, will be defined as using bike movement and position to abruptly or continously block an opponent from gaining access to the ball, blocking them from challenging the player in possession of the ball, or peventing them from free and open movement to gain a defensive/offensive position on the court. A player can be in the way, but they cannot get in the way.
    • §8.7.2.2 - The referee will determine obstruction based on:
      • the proximity of the ‘screening’ player to their opponent.
      • the proximity and timing of the ‘screen’ in relation to the play.
      • the duration of the ‘screen’.
      • any abrupt changes in speed and intensity of the ‘screen’.
    • §8.7.2.3 - When the ball leaves the immediate vicinity of the player in possession, that player can no longer be 'screened' and an obstruction penalty will be assessed if the 'screen' is held to prevent them from contesting the loose ball.
    • §8.7.2.4 - When contesting a loose ball, all players challenging for possession must move towards the ball or concede the ball. Natural impedance of a player based on position and movement will not result in an obstruction penalty, however, if a ‘screen’ is used to allow a teammate to gain possession of the ball uncontested an obstruction penalty will be assessed.
  • §8.7.3 - If a ‘screen’ is set that is stationary or momentary an obstruction penalty will not be assessed, however legal bodily contact as described in §10.3 is allowed.

Just FYI AHBPA have not officially adopted 4.5 yet, although that seems to be the direction things are heading.

Technicality!

This is awesome, I think this definition is much clearer and the additions add clarity to those tricky grey areas. This will make it much easier to ref and to play.
Well done and thanks :)

I don't screen or pick...EVER...but I keep track of these rules because of their impact on every game I play that includes teams of douchers so desperate to win that they resort to this kind of embarrassingly ugly and unskilled shit. thank you for heading in the right direction towards FUNNESS!

cannot be ABRUPT or CONTINUOUS...BE in the way but not GET in the way...but in 8.7.3 "if a 'screen' is set that is stationary or momentary an obstruction penalty will not be assessed". stopping is by definition ABRUPT...so any stationary pick should be illegal or is it like basketball where you have to have your feet set to take a charge? how much time/room constitutes non-abruptness by a player slamming on their brakes to set a pick? stopping is not BEING in the way it is actively GETTING in the way. the only way stationary picks are not ABRUPT is if you are tripodding and your ballhandler comes to your stationary position and uses you to shed a defender like using the inanimate goal to shed a defender.

8.7.2.4 players must move towards the ball or concede the ball...a teammate cannot gain the ball via your screen. are you allowed to not move towards the ball and not concede the ball if your teammate doesn't gain possession? can you cut an opponent's path and cause them to wreck by stopping in front of them abruptly instead of going for the ball as long as after they wreck then you and not a teammate gain possession of the ball? can you swerve and deviate from your natural path to cut them off so they fear wrecking and back off so you gain possession of the ball? i got one broken rib and three bruised ribs DURING PICKUP before the midwest championships one year off of a loose ball play of this sort. the rib never healed properly because I didn't have the cash to pay for the ER and it hurts to this day when it's aggravated. we were both going for the ball and they turned sideways and I hit the broadside of their bike...we both wrecked but I landed on my bars and unluckily/luckily just broke and bruised my ribs rather than suffered a life threatening impaling. off the ball/loose ball contact is unpredictable and unpredictable is dangerous and dangerous isn't fun and funness is everything, no?

jason f-off wrote:

but in 8.7.3 "if a 'screen' is set that is stationary or momentary an obstruction penalty will not be assessed". stopping is by definition ABRUPT...so any stationary pick should be illegal

The transition from moving to stopping is not stationary. You have to be stationary prior to the play nearing you. This means you can become stationary, and a teammate can ride towards you to use you as a screen. But you can't ride next to your teammate, wait for your opponent to near the play and then abruptly stop to prevent them from making a fair play on the ball.

I feel this is fairly straightforward in the rule. And I stand by my phrasing at the end, because a stationary screen is possible.

jason f-off wrote:

can you cut an opponent's path and cause them to wreck by stopping in front of them abruptly instead of going for the ball as long as after they wreck then you and not a teammate gain possession of the ball? can you swerve and deviate from your natural path to cut them off so they fear wrecking and back off so you gain possession of the ball?

No.

Also I don't like the language "natural path" as any path would be natural, but let's talk about that scenario. The Kruse on Kremin check that we've talked about for 2 years now is a prime example of this. The ball comes loose and moves down the boards. Kremin goes to get the ball, senses Kruse coming on his back hard, and stops short to prevent Kruse from checking him real hard on the boards. Kruse checks him anyway, wrecks him and gets the ball. In this scenario, Kremin is allowed to ride that line to prevent kruse from getting the ball because he's not creating space for a teammate. He's making a direct play on the ball by NOT making a play on the ball, essentially. Kruse is allowed to check (legally) and we play on. HOWEVER, if kremin had been stopping short of the ball to allow a teammate to get the ball, it would be obstruction. His options at that point aren't stopping or peeling off weird, but continuing forward in a safe straight line.

Vid for reference:https://vimeo.com/82656794

so it's like when the point guard is bringing the ball up shadowing their center who is ahead of them by like 2 feet and the point guard weaves back and forth behind the center making the defender fight through a "moving screen" that isn't a "moving screen" because the center is just walking in a straight line towards the goal with hands up signaling innocence. so it's on the ballhandler to use their teammates as screens. so plays can be scripted so that screens are just as effective BUT at least we won't have as much of what we've been suffering through most recently...tools with both hands on their bars stop/starting like spazzes doing shitty little hops to try to be useful to their team. LESSON: use your teammates as inanimate objects rather than passing options BUT it's a definite improvement over current polo though for sure.

so "stopping short" is allowed in loose ball situations as long as the "short stopper" gains possession of the ball afterwards? I admit I don't like this because I've personally been seriously injured by this exact kind of play but also because it can be used as a time wasting tactic by a team that's up. if you just check, zig zag, short stop and hop in front of loose balls there will be no call because there is no possessing team. so you can "screen" the ball indefinitely...as long as YOU gain possession in the end? a player could make every loose ball take 20-30 seconds or more and make every player on the losing team commit to a double/triple team to win the ball and thus enable a "surprise attack" breakaway goal ala double/triple goalie bad bounce breakaway. once a player got good enough at this "shielding" technique they could let passes go to the wall just to create a time suck situation.

I used "natural" because it was used in the wording of the rule...what I meant was "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line" and therefore any purposeful and deliberate deviation in order to screen/shield is unpredictable and therefore potentially dangerous. there are a lot of things we expect to happen as we ride around with impaling devices pointed at our vital organs...as we gain confidence as players we speed up and the reason we speed up is because we become better at predicting the movements of players and the ball in the game. short stopping, spazz hopping and off ball contact are less predictable and therefore slow the game down both figuratively and literally.

I confess to bias here but I feel the only way this game will ever be watchable is when it is fast, fluid, pass heavy and shot heavy with players spreading the field relying only on ballhandling, bikehandling, passing accuracy, shooting accuracy and ENDURANCE!

jason f-off wrote:

... I admit I don't like this because I've personally been seriously injured by this exact kind of play but also because it can be used as a time wasting tactic by a team that's up.

Just so my story's straight... is this the time you got one broken rib and three bruised ribs DURING PICKUP before the midwest championships one year off of a loose ball play of this sort. the rib never healed properly because you didn't have the cash to pay for the ER and it hurts to this day when it's aggravated. Yall were both going for the ball and they turned sideways and you hit the broadside of their bike...yall wrecked but you landed on your bars and unluckily/luckily just broke and bruised your ribs rather than suffered a life threatening impaling??? Or was it a different one?

I just need some context to process this situation...

it was that one time when that one thing happened...

id say the check is the real problem here.

We aren't trying to identify a problem. The check has a whole separate thread where we dissect that.

Thanks, is "momentary" defined somewhere?

"§8.7.3 - If a ‘screen’ is set that is stationary or momentary an obstruction penalty will not be assessed, however legal bodily contact as described in §10.3 is allowed."

Don't you think that the "or momentary" should be either removed or completed by "or momentary if not voluntary"?

Because I can see why it's good to not call penalty every time a player get "slightly" screened but as writed (and as i undesrand) this sentence lets too much interpretation.

Or I don't get it right.

Thanks for you work.

In the dictionary ;)

But seriously it's there for the reason you say. Sometimes a screen for a "moment" is unavoidable. You are allowed to ride past someone, and if you slow them down it's ok. You just can't stay with them. If we put a specific time or action on it, it will penalise things we don't want penalised, and allow things we don't want to allow.

It's a situational thing, that a ref should be able to understand, from examples, and having played the game.

Proximity, duration and intensity are to be determined by the referee and the standard is to be set by the players.

We can't define these things because players will be counting off their screens, and arguing over distance.

The additional advantage of doing it this way is that it has more to do with extremes and the outliers should become more obvious as people stop doing it so much, and therefore easier to referee.

Just sent an email about this joe. holler :)

It's like 9 pages long! sweet jebus

Ha, whatever. you asked for feedback. you didn't ask for it to be tl;dr

So if a player is sprinting to a ball and an opponent ahead on the court is going to the same ball but slower. The opponent up ahead looks back and sees the first player. Then looks back ahead then quickly turns into the lane of the faster moving player. What's happens next is both players crash and typically argue. More established players seem to want to blame the faster moving player for a T-Bone/ that was kinda the way the rules used to read. But this is classic example of the new obstruction no? Slower player needs to be stationary for a second at least before contact in order not to be obstructing? I ask because it seems a reoccurring theme in polo games. And these proposed rules seem to cover this subject somewhat explicitly.

Stanks,
Chu Nasty

chu wrote:

So if a player is sprinting to a ball and an opponent ahead on the court is going to the same ball but slower. The opponent up ahead looks back and sees the first player. Then looks back ahead then quickly turns into the lane of the faster moving player. What's happens next is both players crash and typically argue. More established players seem to want to blame the faster moving player for a T-Bone/ that was kinda the way the rules used to read. But this is classic example of the new obstruction no? Slower player needs to be stationary for a second at least before contact in order not to be obstructing? I ask because it seems a reoccurring theme in polo games. And these proposed rules seem to cover this subject somewhat explicitly.

Stanks,
Chu Nasty

If I understand the rule correctly - which I don't claim to do fully.

I think this scenario would depend on how close the ball is at the point of impact. If the ball is close to the slower player (maybe within a mallet's reach) this could be seen as maybe shielding and not obstructing? But if the ball is further away and you block the path of the faster rider it would be obstruction.. Again I could be wrong, but that would be my interpretation.

Looking forward to playing in a tournament where this is (hopefully) called regularly so we can see it in action and get a feel for how it plays.

Chu, in this situation, the faster moving player is called for a t-bone or even charging if they crash. There is no obstruction involved when someone cuts in front while playing the ball-- only if they cut in front of you in order to allow someone else to play the ball. The rule states clearly that you either play the ball or concede it. In the case above, sprinting player should concede the ball even if they are moving faster.

Obstruction is meant to penalize players who act to prevent a player from challenging the ball carrier. The default scenario we think of with obstruction involves three players.

A1 - Ball carrier
A2 - A1's teammate
B1 - An opposing player.

A2 cannot act to prevent B1 from challenging A1. A1 *can* bring the action to a stationary A2 to thwart B1's challenge.

Your question deals with two players where possession is not entirely clear and both players are chasing for the ball.

A1 - The advantaged player nearest the ball, moving slowly
B1 - The disadvantaged player farther from the ball, moving fast

This is *NOT* a matter of obstruction. A1 and B1 colliding was not a matter of B1 being denied the chance to challenge the ball. The action A1 took and the route B1 took were the challenge itself. Naturally all of what they do would be subject to criticism based on other rules, but what you've described is not a matter for Obstruction in the NAH v4.5 ruleset.

Whose fault is it based on what you've wrote? I'm inclined to side with A1. I think it's fair play to force B1 to take a longer/harder route to the ball so that A1 has a greater chance to gain control and clear possession. There's a few very specific instances where I could see it the other way.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

Chu is asking a common question.

This is the spirit of the rule and we addressed this scenario in the update:

You can shield the player from reaching the ball, as long as you are close enough to the ball to have it be considered a play on the ball. The same way a ball carrier can position the ball away from a defender and create space for themselves to move, it's fine.

If you are shielding the player from the ball and are over 10-20 feet away, there's no way anyone could consider that a play on the ball, you are merely impeding.

To use yet another sports analogy. When a ball is about to go out of bounds in soccer a defender will run essentially on top of the ball without touching it, but shield the other player from making a touch on it to keep it in bounds. If they shield the player without the ball being near their feet, it's an interference penalty.

"If you are shielding the player from the ball and are over 10-20 feet away, there's no way anyone could consider that a play on the ball, you are merely impeding."

This is one of the situations where I'd say A1 was at fault. There is no way they were playing the ball if so far from the ball. We are in agreement.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

you reference shameful play in soccer IMO...shielding, flopping and deliberate duplicity need to get red carded out of the game. shielding is legal, flipping is encouraged by coaches and lying about calls is rewarded by refs...WHY DO WE WANT POLO TO ADOPT THE SHITPLAY OF OTHER SPORTS? we can design this sport to be devoid of the garbage play crappibg up other sports.

Woah woah woah, I think grouping the standard play of shielding a ball as it goes out of bounds for a goal/corner/throw-in with flopping is a stretch. And moreover your assertion that I want to ADOPT IT, is ridiculous because the play I described happens at least once in every polo game I've ever watched. Shielding the ball so a player can't get it is super standard already in bike polo.

players that shield the ball do so in situations where they fear they don't have the skill to maintain possession and consider it the "safer" play. players that flop do so because it takes less skill than legitimately beating the defense and potentially leads to a penalty kick which is a higher percentage scoring opportunity. in both scenarios it takes less skill.

shielding the ball takes less skill than collecting and protecting the ball which is why people do it. I don't try to hide my desire to move towards an eventual completely skill based game that anyone of any size can excel at with practice. shielding favors the physically larger player...as much of the flawed ruleset did/does. I'm ecstatic that we are moving to a more egalitarian game.

Most outspoken of spirits @ all the love for fuck off

I don't even want to talk about flopping. It's absurd to compare flopping to shielding the ball so you have enough space to turn around with it.

Shielding is too classy for flopping. True but soooo classist.

All bribing aside!!! Soccer is and always will be the beautiful game. Shielding people from the ball is smart. Flopping is annoying especially cuz C. Ronaldo players also whine more typically. Sir Alex Ferguson probably didn't recommend lots of flopping, (I can't stand em) but Man U's always done alright. The Messi's of the world work harder, whine less, and win more. So keep whining, flopping, and whatever else. You can't design shit behavior out of humans though. So gotta rise above.

WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT FLOPPING!?

because it takes less skill and shites up the game...like obstruction does whether you're obstructing a player from the ball carrier or obstructing the player from the ball itself.

shielding can result in flopping...you shield, initiate contact from behind, purposefully dab and then look to the ref to make a call. do this successfully more than once and in addition to escaping a precarious position courtwise via advantage you also force the ref to call escalation and get that 30 sec powerplay that almost guarantees a goal. I just don't want every loose ball to turn into a potential penalty situation and tberefore handcuff players who ARE willing to attack the ball. IF YOU WANT THE BALL THEN FUCKING PEDAL. it's actually pretty simple.

Dude, you complicate fucking everything. I've never seen anyone flop while playing this dumb game. Seriously, stop making problems where there aren't any.

If I'm ever reffing and see someone flop, they better keep their head up because I'm not calling a damn thing for them.

Play the game, quit trying to change it for your own selfish reasons.

you fear a level playing field...YOU SHOULD. I hope LA7 opened some fucking eyes about heart and skill being so much more entertaining and inspiring than the shit play of a bunch of idiot dudes with very little skill amateurishly ramming into each other. apparently LA1-6 didn't take...fingers crossed for 7.

Dude, I feel like the competitive playing field is pretty level at this point. I think these bitch sessions are really about the fact that you might not be on that level any more.

Haha daaaaaamn, Boston Bike Polo has changed you, Jacques!

BBP changes everyone.

Nick Kruse wrote:

Haha daaaaaamn, Boston Bike Polo has changed you, Jacques!

BBP changes everyone.

Haha I hope for the better.

did someone say BBP? How do I upvote?

changing my signature to "BBP for upvotes"

you're either deliberately obtuse or you really have no concept of "privilege". the shit I complain about is never to make the game PRIVILEGE ME it's to make the game NOT PRIVILEGE ANYONE. I don't feel apologetic in the slightest that the punk in me feels a responsibility to move towards an egalitarian game. I know that it is my responsibility as part of this community to make sure that there isn't unfairness at the heart of something for which so many of us have real love. as long as the ruleset privileges a specific group of players I will continue to be vocal, period. I take it serious that polo is an all ages, all sizes, all races, coed sport and I will fight until our ruleset ensures it stays that way. I will also only play on teams that reflect that shit. next time the majority of you form all male, all white teams I hope you're all forced to think about some of this even if you all instantly dismiss it as "whining". personal attacks about my "level"...whatevs. the ego to think I need your assessment to validate me. I never was on that "level"! under that ruleset I could have been but I would have had to join the ranks of the bros...FUCK THAT. I'm okay with my level...this isn't my one chance to ever be whatever this is for so many "dudes" involved. get over yourselves. the community we are all part of is what is special and your contribution to it is what really matters. a fake win under a flawed ruleset playing a game with a flawed format shouldn't be anyone's ultimate goal. next tournament look around at all the unique individuals surrounding you and think how awesome it would be if there was a level playing field. no more players overlooked because theyre a "physical liability". only your heart and your skill decide the game!

CELEBRATE POLO DIVERSITY!

lmao

.

Level playing field? What the fuck are you talking about? Someone is always better. Someone is always faster. Someone is always stronger. That's the way of the world. Quit being a fucking chump, weak ass turd and play the fucking game.

Quit blowing clubs up and have some fun without whining.

Too much sun on the brain or something fucked in that Florida water.

Quote:

You can shield the player from reaching the ball, as long as you are close enough to the ball to have it be considered a play on the ball.

best way the phrase it. that should be some section or subsection.

edit: being serious. that's the easiest way to describe it.

Oddly enough I have felt an impending argument about making this statement. I'm glad you like it!

Drew,MaxXx,Alias, and Joe thanks for ansurring.

I'm pleased as punch with the update. I think this answers most of the questions the GLR had about it. Thanks for the work!

Not above flopping for the record just all the associated whining that I can't get with. Even been awarded a penalty for flopping so there. That's what yellow cards are for. I more concerned with like biting (Suarez and the such or like Gerrard stepping on people. Which is kinda cool. Go crazy ass soccer actually! Bite, fight, flop, bribe, hatemonger(skins,coaches), the more I think and type about soccer its seem like I'm coming up with the most beautiful examples of the game. League of Soccer!!

FLOPPING?!

Dumbest thread on LOBP since 2009.

Quote:

Constructive feedback below!

That should be the next NAH shirt. You'll make tens.

Well done. Way to derail a thread.

start a different one...I'll stay out of it.

I drew up a few scenarios that might help us understand the rule better.
there are 2 cut and dry scenarios here that I feel are accurate based on my understanding of the rule, but then there are 2 that have some gray area around them.

Again these are to my understanding of the rules, I don't claim for them to be fact, just figured this could help with clarification.

Scenario 1
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y100/nonviolntresist/scenario_1_zps6nkf...
 photo scenario_1_zps6nkfwv9t.png
Green A and Blue A are both racing for a loose ball, Green A 'screens' or 'shields' the ball from Blue A within a mallets reach of the ball without ever touching it.

I'm not sure what the verdict is on this.

Scenario 2
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y100/nonviolntresist/scenario_2_zps0ts8...
 photo scenario_2_zps0ts8nn4a.png
Green A screens Blue A well away from the ball, but still plays the ball before anyone else does.

In my opinion, this should be obstruction, I think when going for a loose ball you need to keep a straight line until you're within a mallets reach of the ball.

Scenario 3
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y100/nonviolntresist/scenario_3_zpsc4e9...
 photo scenario_3_zpsc4e9l1v4.png
Clearly an obstruction, Green A screens out Blue A so Green B can get the ball.

Scenario 4
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y100/nonviolntresist/scenario_4_zpsuskx...
 photo scenario_4_zpsuskx8qwm.png
Green B has established their position well before the play was brought to her/him setting an effective and legal pick

My interpretations (and hopefully I'll be corrected if I'm wrong)

In scenario 1, are you saying Green never attempts to play the ball? If so, I would call obstruction on Green.

Scenario 2 is legal because both are going for the ball and Blue has plenty of opportunity to slow down and cut to the other side of Green. If Blue slows down to make a move around and Green also begins to slow down (or starts brake checking) to continue the screen, Green is then guilty of obstruction. Personally, this is exactly how I would try to win a deep ball (assuming I'm Green and am shooting on the bottom goal) as it allows me to build space between the defender and the ball and gives me a wide berth back up the middle with the ball on my mallet side.

I don't fully agree with your notion that "you need to keep a straight line until you're within a mallets reach of the ball." Mostly because that's unenforceable, but also because it limits what I can do when I get to the ball. If I'm forced to make straight-line plays at every loose ball, I'm no longer allowed to come "swooping" around to the ball setting myself up with some momentum towards the goal.

Looking at it again, scenario 2 is a matter of degrees. Is it an obvious screen far from the ball? If so, it's obstruction. Is the movement closer to the ball and Green is positioning to actually play the ball? If so, it's probably not obstruction

maybe straight line wasn't the correct wording, but like you said maybe more of the degree of the "screen" and a matter of if they go out of their way to do it.

so the way i envisioned Scenario 2 playing out is Green stops and pins Blue on the board well away from the ball, and then Green peels off to get to the ball first, so at the point of the screen in the example above its a heavy screen not just a kind of swooping play like you described.

(the reason I brought this up was because this exact play was discussed at pickup last night and we couldn't come to an agreement on the play)

Ah. In that case, depending on the time Green pins Blue, it could be either Obstruction or Trapping (§10.9)

"A trapping penalty will be assessed when a player holds an opponent against the boards for an extended period of time, not near the location of the ball, by leaning on them or otherwise impeding their movement."

Here's a slightly better illustration

Scenario 5a
 photo scenario_5a_zpsrgctzldm.png
Green impedes Blues path to the ball by coming to a stop in front of them then moves to the ball

Scenario 5b
 photo scenario_5b_zps3wwnytnh.png
This illustrates the "swoop" as you were talking about without breaking stride

I would assume 5a is illegal and 5b is legal.. would I be right in that assumption?

My interpretation would be that *both* are legal, so long as Green does not "prolong" the screen. Again, it seems to be a matter of degrees.

In reality, this probably won't get called unless it's a Trapping situation or unless a Green B player joins into the mix. The way I see it, Obstruction mostly focuses on a) situations where one team already has the ball or b) 50-50 balls wherein one player creates an obstruction so their teammate can get to the ball (scenario 3)

5b will always be one of those instances where a referee has to decide if Green's play was consistent with the intent of the rule. There is a difference between taking an advantageous position between an opponent and a ball that is up for grabs (while moving mostly towards the ball), and specifically focusing on the impedance of the opponent. I'd like to think that the difference is observable.

The language here is bound to get a bit nebulous. I personally think the thing to remember is that the main goal of this rule is to not perfectly dictate the correct call on every close instance that we can draw up. It's very difficult to approach it that way. The main goal of the rule is to upset a strategy that is essentially "breaking" the game. Egregious violations will disappear, and that's huge. But I can't think of a sport on earth where players don't have to fight through a bit of adversity. Sometimes there's going to be someone who gets away with being in your way on purpose. But you'll get the next ball, and employing this as your main strategy will no longer play a big role in winning games.

It's just too hard to say one way or the other off of a diagram in the situation you are describing. I would generally say that if you can take someone's line and head towards the ball in a "swoopy" manner and end up in front of the opponent with a positional advantage that you are not really obstructing and the ball is yours.

Nick Kruse wrote:

I personally think the thing to remember is that the main goal of this rule is to not perfectly dictate the correct call on every close instance that we can draw up ... The main goal of the rule is to upset a strategy that is essentially "breaking" the game. Egregious violations will disappear, and that's huge

QFT

Think of interference when hockey players dive in on a puck that's sitting along the boards and the kind of ticky tacky shit they get away with. And then think about how often teams who make that the core of their strategy *cough* St Louis Blues *cough* get spanked when it matters. The answer is that the Blues always get spanked when it matters!

It's like that.

nico.p wrote:
Nick Kruse wrote:

I personally think the thing to remember is that the main goal of this rule is to not perfectly dictate the correct call on every close instance that we can draw up ... The main goal of the rule is to upset a strategy that is essentially "breaking" the game. Egregious violations will disappear, and that's huge

QFT

x2

And I want to add that teams in every sport often push the boundaries of what's okay. Some teams play more physically, some play more mentally, some play more mechanically. That's great.

The intention of the rule is to deter players from doing the thing, of course, but mostly to eliminate the action from having significant effects on the outcome of the game. This is to say, ALL rules are enforced based on a variety factors that all fall into the categories of safety, respect or competitive fairness.

Obstructing, like charging or even old school shit like diving off of your bike, shouldn't be the main contributor to winning a game or a tournament. If someone wants to do it, they may get away with it, but let's hope that 99% of the time they win for better reasons.

1, legal
2, legal -- if it's close enough to the ball to be considered a play on the ball (it's basically scenario 1 with a broader line). Player A is eligible to be demolished via a check.
3, illegal
4, legal

Drewcifer wrote:

Scenario 3
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y100/nonviolntresist/scenario_3_zpsc4e9...
 photo scenario_3_zpsc4e9l1v4.png
Clearly an obstruction, Green A screens out Blue A so Green B can get the ball.

Just another question about this scenario. What happens when player A actually is going for the ball (like in scenarion 2) but due to a misscommunication player B comes in and plays it before. Is it always obstruction or can the ref determine it legal if the ref sees that A had the clear intention to play the ball themselves?

I feel like "accidental" isn't a good excuse...any other "accidental" rule breaking isn't overlooked. wheel swipes, crease violation, dolphin slaps, etc...purposeful or not they should get called.

Agreed. Intention should be irrelevant for a foul, and only come into play for the severity of the punishment.

A video example of a play from final of LA7: check on vimeo, i put a mark on 3:22:
https://vimeo.com/131328445
I made screen captures, but for the rythme of the play, you'll have to check the video.

It seems to me that the orange player (Shannon) is braking to make a screen on Erica for Elena who just get the ball. Is that a foul regarding the new obstruction rule?
The last image show that Elena can ride freely after the move.

I have to say that this example is not at all representative of the game itself, there is lot of time where the players in it can screen but continue riding to let defensive players do their job. I'm pretty surprise by the way people get used to this rule quickly. I'm just taking it as an example because I don't get why it's not called here.

Obstruction ? La7

Thanks to Dustin for providing such quality videos.

I´d say its an obstruciton because she used her brake with the intention of blocking the other player. Wouldn´t call it if she would have kept moving without changing her speed.

Other question:
Is Shannon still regarded as the player with possession?
§5.1.1 - Possession
The player who made the last deliberate touch on the ball will be considered to have possession.

In which case the block would have been legal because by the time it was set she was technically still the player in possession.

Related question:
§8.7.2.3 - When the ball leaves the immediate vicinity of the player in possession, that player can no longer be 'screened' and an obstruction penalty will be assessed if the 'screen' is held to prevent them from contesting the loose ball.

This allows a player in possession (last deliberate touch) to set screens on players with no possession while at the same time this player is not allowed to be screened if the ball is not in the immediate vicinity of him/her.
Would that be correct?

I had the same thought some time and I also observed it in games. The player in possession can (simply spoken) make a sreen on whoever they want while passing/dropping the ball to their teammate.

IMO the ballhandler should get called if their "play" includes deliberate obstruction including acceleration, deceleration, course alteration, etc...especially when they are relinquishing their designation as ballhandler.

picture this...ballhandler passes but it's a slow drop and their teammate takes their time collecting it...can that ballhandler obstruct any player, anywhere for any amount of time until their teammate collects the ball (accelerate, decelerate, alter course, etc...)? if so then since they are still the ballhandler up to the point their teammate gains possession they can obstruct without regulation or fear of penalty. when their teammate finally gains possession are they then still allowed to shortstop and set a perpindicular reverse tbone/brush screen? if this is the case then this could be easily exploited via "set plays" and our obstruction rule will barely impact the game. players/teams are gonna find ways to navigate the ruleset to allow them the "surest" path towards a win...historically that's stacking and screening. crease rule is huge towards fucking up permastacking but I think we should maybe revisit/rethink the duration of the ballhandler designation.

awesome to see Europe moving away from stacking and screening as well! some of the best ballhandlers/bikehandlers in the game are from outside of the US and its heartbreaking to see them screening and stacking instead of working their magic on the court through pure finesse and skill. I look forward to seeing some European footage of games where the obstruction and crease rules will be implemented.

jason f-off wrote:

picture this...ballhandler passes but it's a slow drop and their teammate takes their time collecting it...can that ballhandler obstruct any player, anywhere for any amount of time until their teammate collects the ball (accelerate, decelerate, alter course, etc...)? if so then since they are still the ballhandler up to the point their teammate gains possession they can obstruct without regulation or fear of penalty.

Jep, thats exactly the point I was made earlier.

jason f-off wrote:

look forward to seeing some European footage of games where the obstruction and crease rules will be implemented.

https://www.facebook.com/BikepoloVienna/videos/vb.131459153688733/448263...

.

Post #21

roustem wrote:

Chu is asking a common question.

This is the spirit of the rule and we addressed this scenario in the update:

You can shield the player from reaching the ball, as long as you are close enough to the ball to have it be considered a play on the ball. The same way a ball carrier can position the ball away from a defender and create space for themselves to move, it's fine.

If you are shielding the player from the ball and are over 10-20 feet away, there's no way anyone could consider that a play on the ball, you are merely impeding.

To use yet another sports analogy. When a ball is about to go out of bounds in soccer a defender will run essentially on top of the ball without touching it, but shield the other player from making a touch on it to keep it in bounds. If they shield the player without the ball being near their feet, it's an interference penalty.

So apparently that scenario would not be legal. I think the current rules do suggest otherwise.

I am definitely disagreeing with the words of Joe that you quoted, and I would definitely whistle this. Her intent was purely to impede actively, not to play the ball, I am sorry. Had she not stopped, I would let play.
There is no mention in the rule of a distance from the ball where screening a player not in possession of the ball is ok. The only matter addressed is whether or not the player is the ball carrier. I am actually fairly distraught by the fact that some would interpolate so much.

As for the soccer analogy, we had a discussion a few weeks ago about this and the rules states that it is forbidden to do so, but somewhat tolerated as a matter of habit.

The timing is fine to me, if the rule result in this kind of subtility i'd say it's perfect.

you mean that's not a foul?

Well, it could be called or not for me.
Yes she stop to block be it last less than one second and if shed didn't stop the rest of the action well be the same: elena would have made around the back of the net anyway.

But as i said it could have been called too.

I think it's legal too

I don´t understand why this is legal.

Is it because
-it was only short period of time
-the outcome would have been the same with or without the block (which I don´t agree upon btw)
-Shanon was technically still in posession of the ball so was allowed to screen/block?

Shannon was not in possession. She could not continue moving without running into her teammate.

I think 4 players all wanted to be in the same spot at once, they all stopped at once except for the new ball carrier, and then the 2 defenders and the offensive player all began moving as quickly as possible.

It's a fairly minor unintentional block that would have gone differently in mid-court with more space. These are going to happen.

Disagree with your points Q.
If Shannon was not blocking her, Erica could have challenged Elena.

For me this situation is a foul because the move Shannon made is against all this points:

§8.7.1 - A player who is not in possession of the ball is entitled to attempt a fair play on the ball/ball carrier, and is entitled to free and open movement on the court to gain offensive/defensive positions.
§8.7.2 - An obstruction penalty will be assessed when a player who is not in possession of the ball actively impedes the movement of an opposing player who is not in possession of the ball.
§8.7.2.1 – This movement, referred to as ‘screening’ or ‘picking’, will be defined as using bike movement and position to abruptly or continuously block an opponent from gaining access to the ball, blocking them from challenging the player in possession of the ball, or preventing them from free and open movement to gain a defensive/offensive position on the court. A player can be in the way, but they cannot get in the way.

I get the point that this rule is there to avoid blatant and obvious obstructing tactics, and that if all of the most obvious things disappear the game could become better.
But isn't this move a good illustration of the play that the rule want to ban:

It really looks like Shanon think:
If I stop right there I will be in the exact path that Erica want to take to challenge Elena's play with the ball.
So i should stop, stay there for a small amount of time and then go. Using my bike to obstruct her way to the ball.

What can make this move legit? the time she stay in front of here? If yes, can you guys give me an idea of this time? Because as a ref, if the time limit is not set up, i will mostly take my decision on the intention I suspect. And in that case, for me there is absolutely no way that she could have made this stop with another intention that "i want to block her".

Edit:
After seeing the Video 10 times, I think i could agree that a ref wouldn't call that, as it can looks like she's in the way more than she's getting in the way. And even if Erica is stuck for more than one second, Shannon stop is really short. Anyway it looks like a grey case I think.
Not sure any wording can change that, just need to know if this case can have a clear interpretation.
Anyway, as said earlier and on other (interference) topic, if you choose to play this way, you take the risk to get call and even if you gonna be able to make some really tricky quick illegal plays, the gaming tactic based on obvious screened play will disappear anyway.

uolmo .Clement. wrote:

Edit:
After seeing the Video 10 times, I think i could agree that a ref wouldn't call that, as it can looks like she's in the way more than she's getting in the way. And even if Erica is stuck for more than one second, Shannon stop is really short. Anyway it looks like a grey case I think.
Not sure any wording can change that, just need to know if this case can have a clear interpretation.
Anyway, as said earlier and on other (interference) topic, if you choose to play this way, you take the risk to get call and even if you gonna be able to make some really tricky quick illegal plays, the gaming tactic based on obvious screened play will disappear anyway.

I'm glad you've come around. IMO this is not a super hard grey case. Watched it once and would't have blown the whistle.

But again, as Metriod, SeveM and me think this should be call, as she stop with the intention of blocking the path to a defensive player who try to get the ball, what's the reasons that you guys : Joe, Quentin, and you, make you feel this move is legal?

(there is no doubt on the intention. Erica want to challenge the ball, look where she's looking, and Shannon want to block her path, otherwise she would have just continue here ride)

uolmo .Clement. wrote:

(there is no doubt on the intention. Erica want to challenge the ball, look where she's looking, and Shannon want to block her path, otherwise she would have just continue here ride)

I think she should have kept moving more, but she was being cautious not to run into her teammate. Both players stopped, and then continued moving.

Additionally, not that it matters much: It's at the furthest point from the referee which means slow moving blocks like this look like traffic jams more than screening plays.

The more I watch the action, the more I clearly see it. Blatant obstruction.

Shannon stops for just long enough to impede Erica from getting to a ball she could have easily gained possesion. Albeit, only for a fraction of a second, but she voluntarily stops right in the middle and just long enough for Elena to control the ball and go behind the goal.

If she would have simply rolled through, even slowly, it would have passed, or even if she would have gotten there a second before and stay stationary. But no. Blockity block!

*Somebody please think of the children!!*

I'm not against a more strict rule in which this kind of short timed intentional block will be called but i think right now this is not the spirit of the rule, as Nick K. wrote above

Nick Kruse wrote:

The language here is bound to get a bit nebulous. I personally think the thing to remember is that the main goal of this rule is to not perfectly dictate the correct call on every close instance that we can draw up. It's very difficult to approach it that way. The main goal of the rule is to upset a strategy that is essentially "breaking" the game. Egregious violations will disappear, and that's huge. But I can't think of a sport on earth where players don't have to fight through a bit of adversity. Sometimes there's going to be someone who gets away with being in your way on purpose. But you'll get the next ball, and employing this as your main strategy will no longer play a big role in winning games.

But, again, if a new version of the rule remove any subtle stop/block/screen i would be fine to test it but the current rule allows that behavior in my opinion.

EDIT: but as i was asking here: https://leagueofbikepolo.com/forum/rules/2015/05/23/obstruction-v2-feedb...

A more strict version of the rule should add "if not voluntary" into it, this way anytime a Ref see even a slight intention of screen/block he could call it.

Not want to be playing on word but i can say that stopping right in front of someone to protect your teamate is "a strategy that is essentially "breaking" the game". As Alejandro said that's obviously a block, so why shouldn't it be called if the ref can see it? Some can say that ref should be aware of the rhythm of the game by not stopping it too much, but other can argue that whistling on such a case can send a strong signal to teams, that every intentional way to block an oppenen will be called. And this signal can lead to less fouls into the rest of the game.

To let her reach the Ball Shannon should almost have accelerated to let her follows Elena. I think it's not the spirit of the rule either.

More so, in this case the defender was already late on Elena, so it's why i'd not call it.
And as said before: when almost on the players on the court are on 4x4 square meters around the net it's obvious that slight screen and block will happens.

As the rule is written is not a fault to me and i could live with subtility like that.
As i said on the google survey about it, it should be more clear on the rule for every players, that this kind of situations could/will happen.
Because at this time Clement your are not alone who feel they could call this kind of action, it why maybe a small more words about it on the rule could solve it. I don't know.

I disagree. It's obvious she stops right in the middle with full intent. She even starts braking and making the "amablockyougurl" gesture before she even gets to that place.

I'm not upset it wasn't called. The action was easy to miss (I know I had to re-watch it a couple of times). But if you have the time to properly analyse it, it's an active block on an off-ball player. ***beeeep!*** Obstruction. Ball Hot Honey Biscuits a.k.a. The Ericas.

*Somebody please think of the children!!*

Even if she had continued without braking she would have still executed a block. Applying her brakes made little difference to the impediment and in fact could be seen as avoiding a collision.

Debatable. But even then, you can't read into the future. You have to ref what actually happens not what could have been.

*Somebody please think of the children!!*

exact, for me we are talking on what we see her. If she had made a non-intentional block, then no need to call it.

My claim is that her braking alone cannot be interpreted as an active impediment as the nature of the impediment would have nonetheless occurred had she not applied her brakes. I'm making the claim that the two situations would be an equal impediment, and if so, the braking or non braking is not the issue and the active impediment, if indeed there is one, is Shannon's movement into jessie's space. I think we can all agree that her motion was not an active impediment and falls within the category of getting in the way. We can all agree she happened to be in the way.

D.

Clement - when you say she's "in the way more than getting in the way" is what I would say is the part of this that makes it a legal move. She didn't take this route so she would be in Jessie's way, because from the video it looks like Jessie could have chosen a few different defensive positions to cover Elena. Shannon chose to go around the net and ended up in the space that was between Jessie and Elena. She did not continue to follow Jessie and block her from the play, so no obstruction violation.

cody wrote:

Clement - when you say she's "in the way more than getting in the way" is what I would say is the part of this that makes it a legal move. She didn't take this route so she would be in Jessie's way, because from the video it looks like Jessie could have chosen a few different defensive positions to cover Elena. Shannon chose to go around the net and ended up in the space that was between Jessie and Elena. She did not continue to follow Jessie and block her from the play, so no obstruction violation.

Just to be clear, it's not the being there that we're discussing, it's the breaking to STAY there, even for a half second.

I think shannon's initial intention was to take a line on the right of Jessie because as soon as elena collects the ball shannon assumes that jessie will attack elena. Jessie hesitates and leaves no room on her right so shannon continues straight. Then jessie accelerates and shannon has to slow to avoid a possible collision.

I think if Shannon had continued her pedal could have made significant contact with Jesses wheel which could be deemed a bike contact penalty.

I also would not have called this a penalty. She's not "actively" impeding Jessie's path to the ball and it is momentary and about as "stationary" as can be. I guess it depends on how you define actively. When she went around the net after taking the shot , I would never have guessed her intention was to get in Jessie's way. She happened to cross paths with her and she made a smart, quick pick and moved on. To me, the rule is written to stop players who's obvious intentions are to target a player and remove them from play for more than just a moment.

§8.7.2 - If a “screen” is set that is stationary, momentary and in a safe manner an obstruction
penalty will not be assessed, however, legal bodily contact as described in §10.3 is possible.

She appeared to be going around the net to get back into a play with Elena and happened to cross paths with Jessie. She placed a brief screen and moved on, which to me is the intent of the rule. Brief or stationary screens are permitted while deliberate drawn our screens are not.

I think it's also important to note Jessie's position defending Elena in the stills. In the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th still part of her bike is inside the crease. Perhaps if she had been defending more aggressively Shannon would not have gained position on her to place that screen. Just something to consider

Momentary like this?
http://i.imgur.com/zyaCqMc.gifv

come on!
We all love Shannon, but she just broke the rulez yo.

*Somebody please think of the children!!*

Good point, the Shannon exemple and this one are pretty similar indeed. The way i read the rule, and again i think it should be a bit more explicit, the #1 (the Will's one you point) could be legal to me.

1) http://i.imgur.com/zyaCqMc.gif

But this one is clearly illegal:

2) http://i.imgur.com/aKNDQIT.gif

The way i read the rule is that the spirit of it is about eradicating the #2 and let the #1 in the hand of the referee.

But again, i could live with a more strict rule which makes legal #1 only if Will won't stop at all.

These examples are just not the same. Both CMD players sole intention in those plays are to get in the defensive players way. Shannon ended up in Jessie's way moments after she herself took a shot and placed a block. I would argue she could have had no idea Jessie would take that conservative line to defend Elena, so how when she rounded the goal could her intention have been to obstruct Jessie? Blocks that are not actively pursued as the sole intention of the player placing them are within the spirit of the rule. Obstructing is not a block, obstructing is pursuing a player to remove them from the game. Block #2 in your example placed by polo is a great example of actively impeding a player. When the clip loops back you can even see him turn his bike to continue blocking the defender. That would be obstruction. Shannon did nothing like that. She moved on to get back into play with her team mate.

The rule isn't there to deter smart players from taking advantage of good positioning, it's there to stop players from putting priority on gaining that position. If you stumble upon a good opportunity to make a "brief or stationary block" and can identify that opportunity, I as a ref won't call it because it's smart and legal. Can't say much more on this example to explain it better. I'm sure more will surface eventually :)

Do you think the way the rules are currently written allow this interpretation?
Or do you come to above conclusion after reading several discussions on this topic and feedback given by Nick Kruse and Joe Roustem?

I should clarify that I think it would be *okay* if a ref did call this obstruction. I personally wouldn't, but there are these areas where a ref has personal agency to make different decisions. There are a lot of rules that refs are capable of interpreting to different degrees as long as the gist of it is understood.

cody wrote:

The rule isn't there to deter smart players from taking advantage of good positioning, it's there to stop players from putting priority on gaining that position. If you stumble upon a good opportunity to make a "brief or stationary block" and can identify that opportunity, I as a ref won't call it because it's smart and legal.

Precisely.

It also depends on the speed and intensity of the block being set. In the example, all 4 players are moving fairly slowly, in a tight area. Incidental blocking is bound to happen and none of the players held a block for more than half a second. If this same situation happens at full speed, it might be considered obstruction because it would not only be more dangerous but more effective at creating a competitive advantage.

I'll just post this quote from the page I got the gif.
"Illegal – Obstruction on Will but not Polo. Polo just happens to be in the way while Will put himself in the way"

Found here:
http://www.nahardcourt.com/playtesting-proposed-rule-changes-obstruction/

*Somebody please think of the children!!*

Nailed it mate.

After watching this video a lot of times, because of the proximity of both Shannon and Elena to the ball, both players are making a fair play on the ball even though in the play only Elena gets possession of the ball.

If the same position existed but Elena was not there I might do exactly what Shannon did: accelerate towards the ball, then brake in front of Erica with the ball on the left side of the bike so that I could move my mallet round the back wheel on my offside to take safe possession of the ball.

When the play happened, either player could communicate to the other to leave the ball for them. I think for obstruction to count the obstructing player cannot be a player potentially about to receive position of the ball regardless of whether they actually take possession or not.

^that's not even erica you guys

shiiiiiiiiit... sorry about it. Erica is in net then.

At that level, everyone is Erica.

*Somebody please think of the children!!*

Mind explaining that?

I think the rules allow for this interpretation, but could definitely be more clear. Part of my interpretation is definitely product of conversation and discussion as well as playing in a number of big tourneys reffed by joe himself. I also agree that had this example taken place at mid court rather than behind the net we would either see clear violation of the obstruction rule or a completely different play.

Interesting point. I think here lies the problem why its mostly european players who´d call obstruction on Shannon.

You´d either have to experience the people involved writing the obstruction ref it or read up on / get involved in discussions regarding obstruction to "get the gist of it", especially the comments by Joe and Nick.

I think most players who just read the rules in their current form would call obstruction on Shannon.

I agree that if you just read the rules this particular scenario would be a difficult call. That being said, in North America just reading the rules is far from being qualified to ref during a tournament. Discussions like these are resources for training. Ref meetings before big tournaments are also situations where potential refs discuss how to call difficult scenarios.

We are working out the interpretation of the rules by having these discussions. The rules are generalised descriptions of the component interactions between players but can never be sufficiently detailed so as to remove the need for interpretation.

cody wrote:

I also agree that had this example taken place at mid court rather than behind the net we would either see clear violation of the obstruction rule or a completely different play.

I don't get how mid court is less important/decisive than around the net.... :(

From a central location it's harder to see behind the net and through bikes / wheel covers.

Not much space to choose her route from back there. I say this with the impression that setting a momentary and stationary pick that results from natural positioning rather than "head hunter" mode is within the rule. JOE AM I DOING THIS WRONG?!

I certainly think that's obstruction.

She used her brake. Her teammate had possession. It prevented a legitimate challenge for the ball. I absolutely think this is the violation that should be called.

Had she continued at her pace and blocked Jessi as a natural and convenient side effect of trying to move herself into free space, then it's a no-call situation.

But yeah, this is so funny because I view that as a pretty textbook case in the way that she slowed down intentionally.

some text

I understand the using of the brake thing making people see this as obstruction and also agree with Joe that it could be called. I still wouldn't call it, and don't see it as textbook. My reason is because Shannon took a shot and her momentum from that play carried her directly in front of Jessie, behind the net where she had no space to choose another route other than directly in front of Jessie who was basically posted up in front of the net. This is good positioning and good fortune to me (for Shannon). Unless y'all are thinking we should ban any sort of screen/pick that results from players naturally ending up around each other and the ball, I just can't see this as a good example of "actively" impeding a defender. Super sarcastic joke here, but should she have dove off of her bike/thrown it out of the way and cleared a path for Jessie?! =P I always interpreted obstruction as being similar to setting a pick in basketball. This would have been perfectly legitimate in that case IMO.

cody wrote:

...should she have dove off of her bike/thrown it out of the way and cleared a path for Jessie?! =P I always interpreted obstruction as being similar to setting a pick in basketball. This would have been perfectly legitimate in that case IMO.

I think she should have kept moving at her current pace, or she has to be stopped before Elena passes her and before Jessi arrives at her position, as dictated by the rule. She didn't have to stop there, she chose to because it was beneficial. She's looking at the defender throughout the course of her actions.

In basketball, this would be a penalty. It is akin to a basketball player setting a pick withoutt having both of their feet planted.

These GIFS are on point. I'm encouraged by the other people viewing this the way that I do but I see both sides of it for sure. I'm just interpreting it differently. To me she plants both feet right in front of Jessie! Perhaps too late?

I just think she's not there in time to do that. I think if she was there a half second before, then it's legitimately within the bounds of the rule. But her and Jessi stopped at pretty much the same time, except jessi only stopped because she had to avoid a t-bone.

Sure, we are literally talking about the difference a half-second makes. And maybe in real time, in a real game, this is a borderline call or not visible to the ref or any number of things that make it so it doesn't get called. But upon video review, I believe it to be an infraction.

Think about if she kept moving: the pick would have been effective and legal by everyone's standards, she would have more rapidly moved herself into open space to accept a pass, there's less immobility on the court, more movement, faster game play...

In the end, it didn't decide the game.

Yep.
You can see her intention, both in the move and the way she look at the defensive player. This is against the spirit of the rule, I will call it, and I think we should agree it have too ( if a ref can have such a good view of the play).
I think that every interpretation who saying is legal is a bit too complicated to be understand and justified.

Let's take some other sample and move on!

So, like i said, i think the rule as to be re-worded (is that a verb?) because i wouldn't call it. And more so since you Nick said up there:

"The main goal of the rule is to upset a strategy that is essentially "breaking" the game. Egregious violations will disappear, and that's huge."

§8.7.3 - If a ‘screen’ is set that is stationary or momentary an obstruction penalty will not be assessed, however legal bodily contact as described in §10.3 is allowed.

Can we add something like: "stationary or momentary AND involuntary" or "stationary or momentary IF not voluntary""

This way when the ref. detect an obvious, even short, screen/block he must call it. For now i think that he "could" call it, not that it "should".

Maybe it's a bit of barrier language here i agree but, we question ourself in Geneva during pickup and during one session every "suspicious" screening/bocking moves were subject to discussion. Either we let the rule like that and we don't argue anymore that a ref could call it or not, or we precise the rule to be more clear.

I think, i may be wrong.

Re-worded is correct. And I agree with you Q. I think there will be scenarios where one ref may call something and another ref may not, and I think that's ok. It won't be often, but it's going to happen.

I don't think there's much language barrier, you guys have an amazing grasp of what joe wrote considering its a second or third language.

I think that the intention of the player has been left out of the description of the penalties when possible in order to define the penalty as a specific action, not a specific motivation of the player. Motivations can be hard to interpret and easy to argue. Actions are solid, concrete.

In that way I'm hesitant to support specifically introducing the motives of a player into the rules in a way that opens it up to wild interpretation.

I think we just have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes this move will be called and sometimes it won't. I think you guys are nervous that you are missing out on some concepts or that there is some part of the rule that you don't understand and from what I've read that just isn't true. You have a strong grasp on it, and we have just reached the point where the disagreement between continents in their understanding is about the same range as the disagreement between clubs or even individuals. I think we just need to allow for a bit of flexibility in learning this for the rest of the season, and I think we have a pretty solid common ground that we can all agree on despite the discussions over these specific instances.

I think changing the philosophy of the body of players is the main goal. I think that has been wildly successful. At this point we should stop asking "what exactly does the rule mean" and more ask "how do WE want to interpret the rule in our tournaments". I don't think the difference will be big enough to make the worlds tournament crash and burn.

are y'all familiar with the old Nash/Marion brush screen/handoff play? you can bring the play to a stationary player and use them as a brush screen but a player can't bring their self to the play to become a stationary screen during the play. it's like nick wrote above about having both feet planted before the play gets there.

I think it's even a little of the loose ball obstruction as well. she shields the loose ball and then a teammate collects it. I think we all kind of universally agree that obstruction "off the ball" is illegal, no?

Yeah I get it and I like the analogy and comparing picks in polo to basketball, but I also think that footwork and bike movement can never been the same so there's gotta be some leeway on when/how quickly the player setting the pick comes to a stop. This may be for a different thread at this point haha

I agree, i'm fine with flexibility and i'm sure it will (and already did) work well.

From now, in Geneva, i'll be more on the "it should be called" side because it's easier to explain to player who are new to the rule or who felt that they have been intentionally screened. Player should know that they are not allowed to do that but inertia, engagement and subtle "border moves" are part of our game and player have the right to challenge some rule's edge since they could be called anytime.
More so on this example: if it's called, a turnover when you have the ball at 1 meter of the opponent goal is a pretty risky move.

When it's comes to rule i'd rather have a more strict foundations and then from there "find the sweet edges" that starting with already "grey" areas. Even if i don't really think there's such areas here but maybe just a bit too much latitude for interpreting the last §.

Anyway as clement said we can move on the next case study (if needed) haha :)

I agree.

I don't see the border that Cody draw between a smart block and an old school interference in this case. For me her move is not smart, it's just breaking to impede the defensive job. I get point that you guys made about the safety of her move, or the fact that this is a good timed move, but i find that all these interpretation go too far, and will be really hard to explain for introducing the rule to people.

I understand that motivation, intentionality, are stuff that can be hard to see sometimes, but when it's obvious i think that a ref will see it. The word "momentary" is way to grey in my opinion, and harder to intepret for a ref than reading the motive of a play. Not really convinced by the way this point is written in the rule (the rest is pretty clear and well done, thanks for that).

I think the motivation of the player is something a ref can use as a tool to make the right call, rather than have it be something that is written text in the ruleset. Teaching refs to watch where the eyes of the players are, where their heads are turned, how angry they seem to be at a particular time, etc...

Maybe "momentary" will need to be revisited and a better wording can be put in its place.

Maybe something like that

"Stationary or fortuitous"

?

Ohh I like it.

Since you had to complicate this Nick, I'm going to give my most vague response ever:

It may be obstruction, but it's not OBSTRUCTION!

Just like sometimes it's a steering arm, but not a STEERING ARM!

knowi'msayin?

If Jessie had got on the gas earlier like she should have she would have gotten in front of Shannon. In fact if you watch shannons head as she enters frame as she comes around behind goal her initial head position and body language suggests she is going to leave the line open to the ball carrier by cutting right of Jessie. Jessie, by not accelerating, as shannon is right to assume she should do, then has no room on jessies right and has to straighten up putting her in the path of jessie. Jessie then accelerates (too late) and essentially makes a mistake which leaves shannons trajectory in front of her. Shannon applies the brake in a way we must interpret charitably as the only thing she could have done given the acceleration of jesse. If Shannon had not applied the brakes and Jesse didn't have her head up shannons could have caused a collision by not slowing her velocity.

Did Shannon have reason to believe that jessie had seen her there? No. We should therefore interpret shannons braking as safe legal play.

This is not obstruction. This is the result of a mistake by Jesse, one which shannon read incorrectly because she assumed, as I would have, that Jesse would get on the gas immediately and attack Elena once Elena gains possession of the ball.

You know what they say about those who make assumptions! (Or maybe you don't. It could just be an American saying...)

I was trying to keep Elena from being able to cut behind me and shoot on her forehand. I wanted her to go behind the net where she'd have to expose her mallet side to mine and I'd have a strong chance of stealing it (my assumption) or if I missed, she'd have to shoot on her backhand/Tina might be there...but I mean these are split second decisions and maybe it was a poor choice. Why bring in all of these arguments about how people *should* play? A couple weeks back, I came out of net on someone last minute who had a breakaway because I knew they assumed I wouldn't and they fumbled the ball because they didn't expect it. Was that wrong? The person almost t-boned me (which would have been an actual example of momentum btw, Cody), but we play a physical sport that is almost entirely a matter of risk, reward and assumption. In fact, most sports are.

...But you're right. I could have been playing more aggressive man to man defense, but that's not really my style. I'm one of those people in soccer who kicks the ball back to the goalie when I come under hard pressure as a defender aka I'm boring. :)

jess wrote:

...But you're right. I could have been playing more aggressive man to man defense, but that's not really my style. I'm one of those people in soccer who kicks the ball back to the goalie when I come under hard pressure as a defender aka I'm boring. :)

Not boring at all ;)

some text

Ugh, that poor guy. Does the defender get to count that as an assist though?

Hmm I believe my example of momentum is also an actual example of how to use the word, or I'm missing your point on that... And I know it's not your style to play aggressive. I'm not trying to say anything about how anyone *should* have played, just explaining why I don't think I would have called obstruction here. Change the players and their play styles and I would still call it the same and the game would go on and it wouldn't be me judging anybody, just calling what I see. I think we've beat that point in enough =p onward !

Ah, my comment was mostly to the guy directly above my response. I just like poking fun at you and Dusty. Don't worry, I have an example that involves you to throw out for discussion later. :)

I would have attacked the ball carrier and I think I am right to assume that were I in Shannon's position I would have aimed to cut right and get past you in between you and the goal. My claim is that she considered cutting right because she anticipated you and you didn't go where she thought. She then takes the only other path, which you then accelerate into. She gets her wheel in front but sees you coming and slows down to avoid a collision rather than extend the block.

Sorry if it seems like criticism. That's because it is. In my opinion the mistake was yours not Shannon's. That's of course an opinion which is based on a hunch and means fuck all in the grand scheme. It's certainly no serious criticism of you as a player.

I certainly didn't mean anything by it other than to contribute to the wider conversation.

D.

On a different note, I appreciated your call out on the other thread about the sexist "joke" to the mallet hole btw.

It's not the criticism, its the language. It felt like you were essentially telling me how I should be playing polo because I don't play like you. I don't think you meant any harm in your response which is why I tried to keep mine pretty lighthearted, but you're never going convince me Shannon's braking was meant for my safety. Agree to disagree.

(That being said, Shannon is a very solid player and I know we both wanted to win. Respect to her!)

Yeah, I see what you mean. Should is probably a bit prescriptive.

You still haven't given your opinion though. Obstruction or no?

D.

Okay, I'll agree she should and could have at least slowed down and kept moving. My earlier point about being behind the net was pointing out the fact that she had very little space to work with, but she probably could have fit without disrupting her team mate. Some takeaways from this example could be that had Shannon arrived fractions of a second sooner this play would not be an infraction, and that if you find yourself blocking a player at the very last minute, keep moving.

I also still think I would not have called the penalty ;) but that's due to the fact that I wouldn't have spent days discussing it on the interwebs and rewatching it dozens of times.

I have a weird scenario from our qualifier this past weekend. No fancy charts or video though :(

Two players were riding next to each other along a wall, player A was clearly trying to obstruct player B from moving away from the wall. Neither of them were aware that the ball was actually moving at the same speed as they were, in the same direction beneath both of their bikes. Both of them could have played it easily, and both of them had a right to be fighting for position to play it. We didn't call obstruction on player A due to the fact that player B was not being obstructed from the ball, even though player A would clearly be committing a foul if the ball hadn't been hit that way right before he started his move. This was complicated, and many people were calling for obstruction. But at the same time, the way the rule applies player A was not stopping player B from playing the ball because it was in between them on the ground, so it wasn't actually obstruction. Thoughts?

Yeah, the ball is there, no obstruction.

Agree, no obstruciton.
Whether or not the player is aware of the ball beeing in the immediate vicinity of them is not something that should be considered.

I agree. The ref can only determine the proximity of the ball, but not the awareness of the players.

This could be obstruction if the player momentarily, and seemingly unawarely, blocks the path to the ball from an opponent but then fails to take possession and a fellow team member of the blocker pushes inside and grabs the ball.

Just to throw this in the mix, doesn't off ball hooking violate the first two parts of the obstruction rule?

I'd like to see off ball hooking called as obstruction as you're impeding a players ability to play the ball. It's ugly, unskilled and often leads to dangerous high sticking.

Yes, off ball mallet contact can be deemed an active impediment and obstruction should be called when it is so.

the only thing anyone should be doing off the ball is either clogging a passing lane on defense or getting open for a pass on offense. screening, picking/shortstopping, pinning, hooking, etc...is all off the ball play. the less obstruction the better for the game, period.

I totally agree that off ball hooking is ugly, and should go.

But I'm not sure lumping it under obstruction is the best way to do it.

After all, you can still legally screen (momentarily) and even make contact off ball, in certain situations under the obstruction, and interference rules.

We do have the hooking penalty-- but that really only makes sense when someone hooks someone off their bike and not necessarily if the mallet comes out of their hand, or if it's just tough play. There was a lot of chatter at cascadia qualifier about hooking and preventing players from being able to play the ball. It's not necessarily a bad thing but there's got to be a fine line where doing it too much is observable by the ref.

The problem is that any and all mallet hooking is intentional and the momentary nature depends more on the response from the player being hooked than a physical impediment such as a body block. What I don't want to see is people not attempting to escape off ball mallet hooks in the hope that the referee will deem it a sufficient impediment so as to call obstruction.

I will continue to call any and all off ball mallet hooks, which involve no real contest on the ball, as obstruction as I believe that this is in line with the spirit and interpretation of the rule.

We don't need another rule for this. Obstruction works perfectly.

it should be written clearly then, because I doubt that every player get that this is illegal now due to this rule. I'm also pretty sure this wasn't on the table when the draw the sketch of obstruction rule, so it could be helpful to make a clear statement about it.

Yeah, what Clement said.

I think we agree it should be illegal, but it's certainly not clear cut as part of the current rule. Joe has added it to his list.

Fin Fin wrote:

Just to throw this in the mix, doesn't off ball hooking violate the first two parts of the obstruction rule?

I'd like to see off ball hooking called as obstruction as you're impeding a players ability to play the ball. It's ugly, unskilled and often leads to dangerous high sticking.

Define off the ball hooking. Are you talking about grabbing a players mallet while the ball is on the way to them or they are about to take a shot? Or just totally extraneous mallet grabs?

Hooking of a mallet when neither player is in possession (including goalie hooking), impeding someones ability to play/contest the ball. If you're in possession of the ball or trying to shoot that's OK.

I'll use this video as a quick example of the concept I mean: https://vimeo.com/124695535

1:46 - Yellow hooks Grey mallet so he can't make a play for the ball.
3:50 - Yellow tries to hook Grey mallet to stop him chasing a loose ball.
6:20 - Yellow momentarily hooks Grey to stop them challenging the ball carrier.
11.54 - Grey tries to hook Yellow to stop him challenging the ball.

The first one is clear and I think should be called, the others are examples of the tatic. We want people to be playing the ball not sword fighting.

Fin Fin wrote:

6:20 - Yellow momentarily hooks Grey to stop them challenging the ball carrier.

That was to make him lose balance while wheelie turning. I think this should stay legal.

You say that like it's a good thing.

To me that's a cheap ugly play, and no better than off-ball screening (and more dangerous)

cheap and ugly because it's off the ball?

Sure. I don't think it's much better on ball, but especially off ball it's the shitty move of someone who reacted too late (and I say that as someone who uses this)

interesting. I definitely don't think anything should be happening off the ball except for clogging passing lanes or creating passing lanes so I definitely agree with banning it off the ball but I feel like on the ball it's a smart play. I like when someone relies on wheelie turns and pivots because they're especially predictable and therefore susceptible to intelligent defense. so it's not a late reaction...it's seeing the future! why does it feel cheap? is it because it causes a dab? I think bike control should remain one of the hugest part of the game and this exploits someone's weakness in that area of the game.

1:46 - That's a quality defensive play imo. Stick checks/lifts around the ball are great. You would prefer both players just keep their mallets on the ground and jam at the ball for supremacy? I liken this to a situation in hockey where you might be playing defense on a player in front of the net, the puck comes in for a one timer, instead of getting to the puck, you lift their stick so that they can't get the shot off. There are several ways that offensive players can counter this.

3:50 - the ball was far away, yellow's attempt to touch mallets didn't really do anything and it wouldn't really have done anything if he did touch it. Meh. You can't call intent though, only actions.

6:20 - He's hooking a player's mallet who has put himself in a vulnerable situation(by attempting a wheelie turn) this isn't a particularly safe play and I would be fine with a rule against it

11:54 - meh

But seriously, if the first one is what you really have a problem with, I don't know what to say. That looks like good defense to me. Do you not want it to be legal to use your stick to disrupt offensive players at all? The ball is right there, everything about that screams good defense.

Like I said, it's just to give people an idea. These are not perfect examples but I'm not going to spend hours trawling through videos. Think of it like this. How come it's illegal to obstruct someone's bike but not their mallet when neither are in possession of the ball? Sure, mallet hooking is an effective defence, but so is obstruction.

§8.7.1 - A player who is not in possession of the ball is entitled to attempt a fair play on the ball/ball carrier, and is entitled to free and open movement on the court to gain offensive/defensive positions.
§8.7.2 - An obstruction penalty will be assessed when a player who is not in possession of the ball actively impedes the movement of an opposing player who is not in possession of the ball.

To me these rules clearly should be applied to off ball mallet play.

The first example that you gave, where you said it is clear and should be called, they are both right on top of the ball..

Most of the move you Finn think should be called are mine.
6:20 and 11:54 can be called, but honestly I don't think such move are real issues in the game now. In this game they are really light hooking (not any slashing) and every time player avoid them within 1 second, i don't see sword fight here. If you watch an hockey game, players hold opponents stick a long time before the can take a one timer shot, and offensive players deal with it.
I really agree withe Jamesfts on this, if you think my move at 1:46 should be called, then that's really far from what I can understant as a obstruction with mallet play.
I see such a penalty for a play who put as mallet right in front of a bike of a defensive player who try to go do his job, or maybe somebody who hack some players far from the action in a way that seem's completely useless...

Why are active players making the rules? Doesn't happen in any other major sport except NHL (5 active 5 office). what people want to play and what people want to watch are completely different.

Because inactive players don't give one third of a fuck about bike polo...

I think that matters of aesthetics in any game are inextricably linked to the player experience. To what extent? Who knows... My belief however is that our primary aim is to make the game more enjoyable to play. If there are serious discrepancies or imbalances caused by some rule change to playability and watchability then I'd be willing to concede that some discussion needs to be had about this issue.

I don't think it's a serious problem. If we are going to pay any attention to the idea of non-players and the attention they pay our sport our efforts would be best spent on considering how to retain the interest of retired competitive players and making them feel like they have a role off the court that is both enjoyable and beneficial for themselves and the sport they once aimed to conquer.

D.

Active players don't give 2/3 of a fuck....

I'm just curious how more rules make this fake sport more fun.

I don't bite on bullshit.

I'm not trolling you, I'm asking a legitimate question: will more rules make the game better?

You're from a place that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of bike polo. Allahu akbar, dummy.

"My belief however is that our primary aim is to make the game more enjoyable to play."

That is a good goal, but what is enjoyable about bike polo will vary from player to player. Many players have expressed that certain rules make polo *less* enjoyable to play. So we need to acknowledge that rule development is asserting values about what makes polo enjoyable to *some* players is somehow more valid.

The players who aren't pleased are valid in their concerns. Their enjoyment of polo is not less important than yours or mine.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

"The players who aren't pleased are valid in their concerns"

Valid concerns are valid. Concerns are often just concerns.

I think when setting the rules for national and international competition then we should be primarily considering the interested of the competitive players in those arenas. This is how it has worked in every other sport I have been involved in. I'm willing to compromise here but the argument would have to be pretty good.

D.

I gotta disagree with you here...if you weighted opinions based on tournament performance then we'd have no obstruction rule, no crease rule and no steering arm rules. we'd be playing the wackest polo imaginable. you have watched worlds and/or the continental championships, right?

I think the general consensus among the better players is that the rule changes you have mentioned are for the betterment of the game. At least that's what the competitive players I am in contact with say/think.

I think you are drawing a very long bow to claim that we'd be playing the most wacky polo imaginable if the rules were in the hands of the most successful tournament players. In North America that would be the Beavers, Guardians, Control, Portland United etc… I'd trust them with my rules any day. Sure there would be a range of opinions but I think the consensus would be that the new rules are a step in the right direction.

D.

so you are of the opinion that call me daddy and the beavers should be trusted to show us what good polo looks like...we are at an impasse my friend.

I think that the players that make up the top teams do have individual skill but the previous and even current ruleset rewards smart but unskillfull play. which is why we have these 100+ threads about screening, stacking, etc...the ruleset is getting better finally and now so should the level of play.

screening/picking has stunted the development of polo. lack the skill to beat a player 1v1...hide behind a pick/screen instead, lack the skill to catch a pass...set a screen instead, lack the skill to make a pass...set a screen instead, lack the skill to score on a goalie...can-open instead.

imagine american football without passing plays...it wa a thing...for years. it was just too unreliable to risk throwing it and catching it. so players rammed each other and ran the same running plays over and over and the biggest team won. pop weaver invents the spiral at home...game changer. did people fight the passing play...of course. they sucked at it so they fought it tooth and nail. there was no interference rule so they would literally grab and hold players so they couldn't go catch the ball. so pop weaver devises a passing play where a player runs off the field to avoid interference and then comes back on downfield past the defense and catches a beautifully spiraled pass and scores. one of the most memorable moments in sports. without that play they would still be running almost nothing but running plays and throwing the ball end over end and not catching it. that one play led to an out of bounds rule and a pass interference rule. why? because it was beautiful to watch that perfectly thrown ball fly spiraling downfield hanging in the air waiting to be caught with such precision and skill by the outstretched hand of the sprinting receiver. did the players on top fight the evolution of the game? yes, but it didn't matter because too many people recognized the beauty inherent in skill.

in short what I'm saying is FUCK THE STATUS QUO! polo shouldn't be top down...we get enough of that in life.

let's recognize the beauty inherent in skill...let's change the game beautiful.

I don't know how we ended up here. I don't think anything I've said would suggest I believe the following statement:

"that call me daddy and the beavers should be trusted to show us what good polo looks like"

Playing good polo under the previous ruleset was difficult as there were several avenues for players and teams to exploit holes like goal stacking and extended screening/picks. I think it would be unwise to believe that players who were successful at forming strategies to win under an antiquated ruleset are in a worse position than anyone else to rule on how the game could be better. No one asked them to do anything but win.

I get your point but I think you are erecting a bit of a straw man argument. I never said that the most successful players played the most attractive polo (Guardians excluded). I would however say that there is good reason to believe they understand the game far better than most and would therefore be in a good position to make judgements about rule changes. That is of course provided that the more competitive players can put their egos down for a minute and comment objectively about the effect of the rule change rather than the effect on their teams strength after some rule change renders their current strategy inadequate perhaps.

D.

Consider how far your statements have drifted in only a few comments from "My belief however is that our primary aim is to make the game more enjoyable to play."

You seem to be advocating that the primary aim should be to make the game fit to the desires of the top 10% of players. That's a fine position to take, but it is notably incongruent with the idea that the objective is "enjoyable" to players unless we ignore a lot of players. This is especially valid when polo is in need of growth. We can certainly make the choice to focus on the top, so that a few of us can have a totally awesome time while it lasts.

What I suspect will occur in the future (PLEASE NOT RIGHT NOW), is that we'll see the development of scaled rulesets once we start creating strata in levels of play and tournaments. At that point, it may be more justifiable to create more specific play rules for PRO play, and I'd support that. But I think the base and body of the poloverse needs the most attention right now, not how the final days matches of the WHBPC will look.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

Point taken. Drifting has occurred. Let me clarify a few things then.

I think polo is in need of solidifying its membership and retaining its current players as much as it is in need of new players. What's the point of filling a bag full of holes right? Growth is about retention.

I honestly think that the new rule changes are the best thing to happen to newbie polo! I've had several new players comment on how they feel physically safer on the court and that the games are faster without feeling dangerous.

My comments and their trajectory toward discussion of top tier games and players are a reaction to Jason and though they do form my views overall I don't think it's incongruent to say, nor believe, that the new ruleset works well for both ends of the spectrum. I think that in the future when the rules change that might not be the case and that is where I feel the need to state that NAH make rules for competition. I think anyone considering whinging needs to consider this fact.

I just don't see any substantive criticisms of the rule changes however. I'd love to see a criticism as well worded and reasonable as your criticism of my poor conflation of the enjoyment of the top 10% with the polo community writ large, albeit one I would defend as I have above ; )

My suspicions are that most people who don't like the new ruleset have felt a negative effect on their gameplay and instead of recognising its many advantages, their ego stands up and yells, "this is bullshit." I simply have no time for this and neither should anyone else. There are serious discussions to be had about the new ruleset and they have gone ahead in this post brilliantly. I applaud those who have gone to the effort to draw diagrams and the like. This is all great stuff IMO.

I still contend that not all concerns are valid. I've just been surprised at the negative responses here. Perhaps this is the place to vent those concerns as they seem to be the minority. Minority views have been known to coalesce in forums like this to seek validation…

D.

I pretty much agree here.

I would say, we do write rules for the top end of competition.

If we were just writing for pickup, and fun tournaments "don't be a dick" would still be enough.

But in competition, especially at the highest level, is where people push the limits, and don't feel bad about it (which is fine, the aim is to win). Both obstruction, and the crease rule were written in response to tactics we had seen being especially used in an effective manner at NAs, Euros and Worlds.

If you play pickup hockey/basketball/soccer, whatever, you don't need to know all the rules, or follow them, and it's the same in bike polo.

"[T]he new ruleset works well for both ends of the spectrum."

I agree. However, I did not always agree. Allow me to explain how I came to agree. It wasn't in being told my place in the polo ecosystem, or--bless my heart--how I just failed to see how these rules made for a superior game for those who are having a blast with these new rules. I don't think I would have come to believe these were good rules by being told that not all viewpoints are valid, because tacitly this implies something sort of cruel. What convinced me was me thinking about entire groups of people that polo had left behind. In this case, I thought about youth, and non-cis-bro demographics, and how the sort of warrior sport version of the game we had practiced biased certain traits in a way that was not so obviously unfair.

e.g. - I was resistant to the obstruction rule because I thought that the moving screen was an equalizer between larger and smaller players.

My assumption was built in the idea of a disadvantaged smaller player being put in the position to do moving screens and thus provide a strategic advantage to their team. I decided to challenge that idea by instead reversing the roles, and the new rule became much more appealing. In both considerations, my thoughts have been with making the game more accessible, but challenging what might make a game inviting and enjoyable comes with its own assumptions. I am currently convinced that the new rules expand strategy, and thus provide *more* not less opportunity for innovation (and potentially revisiting previous rules made under a different court environment).

"My suspicions are that most people who don't like the new ruleset have felt a negative effect on their gameplay and instead of recognising its many advantages..."

Time will tell. I don't know how many people avoided polo because of a lack of obstruction and/or crease rules. The Poloverse needs to do some volumetric studies on players, clubs, tournaments, etc. Newer more awesome rules may be correct on paper, but it's a valid argument to say that growth in the sport is so much more important that it would be reasonable to show some temperance at the pace in which we change the sport. The learning curve is already very steep. This part is hard to discuss without metrics. In threads about if bike polo is dead or not, too much of conversation (both dead and alive) rely far too much on subjective measures.

If you're in a slayer club, you might not have a clear view of the state of the union (so to speak) if you're only used to a club that can play any day of the week with a good court infrastructure and lots and lots of veteran players. It is perhaps useful to think about the club with 6 players who get a new player once every 3 months, and it's a coin toss if they will stay through the challenges. It's easy to forget what happens when you don't have numbers for 3v3. We are lying to ourselves if we think more and more and more rules *improve* the likeliness of novice player retention. Things that jeopardize growth (even if perfectly principled, and rationally sound unto themselves), will be treated as a threat for very sober reasons. A rule can be good for polo play, but be the wrong (or poorly timed) for the polo community.

Obstruction and the crease are good rules for the game. I am cautiously optimistic on if they are good for polo right now.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

I think you need to travel to a big tournament Jason. How long has it been since you've seen the beavers play? Have you played against them under the new ruleset? they're one of the most impressive teams in polo and I have a lot of respect for how they play as a team. you've always been pretty idealistic about polo and that's awesome but how you continuously trash people for not playing your way is also pretty whack. miss you at pickup though in all seriousness dude!

I made sure to say that I think most of the "winningest" teams do contain players that are individually skilled. the Beavers performance vs the Corgoyles was much better to watch than any of the less recent videos of them solely screening and hopping in the crease. I like that the phbp was more skill based and if you notice when the game gets more skill based the Beavers folded. I think that if they'd been practicing "good polo" all along they wouldn't have had such a tough transition.

I don't consider what I'm pushing polo towards to be "my way"...it's just the most skillbased way that favors no "group" of people. I don't think pointing out lack of skill or gimmick play to be trash talking. if I discuss any sport I do it the same way...i critique their skill set and team strategy. the hacking in the last nba playoffs...whack. watching a center booty bump until they get a foul...boring. the ballhandling, playmaking and shotmaking of Stephen Curry...fresh. allow more contact in basketball and what happens...no Stephen Currie freshness. I seem harsh because I don't give anyone a pass just because they're my peer. I rip apart my own play just as brutally though.

I've been in some fun games with and against you...look forward to sharing a court with you again sometime.

i'm with you dude. I'm all for pretty much everything you're vocal about, just pointing out that some things are looking good in polo too and it's unfair to judge players for things they did that may have rubbed us the wrong way in the past. also I wouldn't say they "folded". the corgoyles had a freaking stellar performance towards the end of their game vs the beavers and throughout the whole tourney in general. nick sterling and koyo were a brutal line to face, and they put in a lot of minutes in that game. we lost our game vs the beavers that saturday... and it was one of the best all weekend. so fun to play, physically challenging/intense with few penalties called on both sides.

you're a fun dude to play with/ against and I'm pretty sure we want most of the same things for polo. nobody has come to town since you left that's always down to play some hard pickup! maybe i'll make it down south soon for a winter vacay

the obstructions rules are straight bullshit. you peeps ever play hockey? i'm not condoning wrecking a guy but if they're in your way either shove em out, or go around them, but quit fucking weeping about it. this isn't basketball.

Yawn...

Your continent hasn't been under ice in at least 15,000 years. However Halifax...

.

just kidding. i love the reffing.

I encourage you to start a bike hockey league!

I do not doubt that there are quite a few players that would be interested. full contact, screening, etc...pad up and ram each other to your heart's content. no one is stopping you from doing any and all of this on any and every night EXCEPT at NAH sanctioned events. thankfully it's just not the direction NAH polo is headed.

http://www.usahockeyrulebook.com/page/show/1084676-rule-625-interference

except obstruction = interference in hockey.

only if you hit them, or hook, there is no restriction on impeding a person by blocking their path.

Question, can you block a player while making a play on the ball? I was in a tournament in london and the following situation popped up. The opposing player was getting the ball off the back boards near the rear of the goal, i came from the right of the court and got in front of him reaching for the ball, at the same time his team mate came around the back of the goals from the left, he wanted to go around me to offer the pass. As he was going slow i turned my front wheel and blocked him behind the goal while still try to get the ball. I got called for obstruction and i did block his path, but this was while making a play on the ball. Is this still obstruction?

From what I understand its an obstruction. You were blocking a player not fighting for the ball. It doesn't matter if YOU are trying to play the ball at the same time. As long as HE isn't trying to play the ball or go towards the ball you cannot block him.

For me that's not an obstruction at all, in this situation you are there for fighting for the ball, not to think if your in the path of another player.
For me the spirit of the rule is clearly not to call this kind of cases. The rule is mainly there to avoid the offensive screen plays, when we were just keeping the ball when our teammates were opening the way. The situation you describe is nothing like that but incental obstructions while trying to get the ball.

Maybe it is hard to tell without seeing the situation but from what I understand Johnny did it on purpose because he saw the guy coming. What would you do as a ref if you clearly saw Johnny making a move because he noticed the other guy wanting to pass by. I know this is hard to judge, but what if you are 100% sure Johnny knew what he was doing? Still no obstruction?

They will look like they are both trying to play the ball if he make his move while trying to get the ball to the other opponent, no obstruction for me.