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Ball Jointing - Sup?

Some talk came up on the thread about shooting regarding modification of the ball jointing rule. I figured I would add it to the list. The main suggestion is that we change the rule so that you can ball joint anywhere on the court for a short amount of time rather than have this rule depend on the half of the court in which you find yourself located. The goal here is to eliminate the flaw in the rule as it stands, in that small ball joints are not called even though it is technically written that all downward pressure on the ball is a foul.

Others might say that they enjoy setting the ball up in a BJ. I know I miss Joe Burge, at least.

The rule as it sits:
§4.3 – Ball jointing
– A ball-joint is when downward pressure is put on a ball with a mallet head.
–Ball-jointing is permitted in the defensive half only.
Ball-jointing in the offensive half will result in a ball turnover.


I would agree with the suggestion, that BJ are limited to 2 seconds, but are allowed anywhere on court.

My reasoning?

1) I don't think the defensive BJ to half court add much to the game.

2) Dustin's point about the sort of BJ to scoop when getting the ball out of the corner, and that it shouldn't be a foul.

3) Allowing a BJ for a small amount of time allows some cool moves, around scooping, in offensive. These sort of happen anyway, and most of the time it's too hard for the ref to see if it's was a BJ, or a pure scoop.

What John said

We've tried the timed ball joint thing, it's a useless addition to the rules.

As it currently stands we have a black and white rule, some refs will always call it, some may use their discretion to avoid calling mini-joints, that seems about right in my opinion as the intention is to remove too much lame ball jointing from our game.

With the addition of a timed element you would effectively excuse every ref from ever making a ball-joint call and would have a huge grey area between how long "two seconds" (or whatever period of time) actually is.. you're also expecting the ref to keep track of something that is pretty dynamic and distracting, which I'm unsure many refs would be capable of doing.

Mini ball joints are still ball joints and players already have been given a green-light to do as much scooping (or whatever) in the offensive half by using centrifugal force... I'm unclear as to why you want to make it easier (lamer?) to do scoop-style skills unless you're also keen to see more ball jointing in general (this would be lame in my opinion)?

If in doubt, keep things black and white, this is not a rule that needs amending as it stands.

It also sounds like the real problem here is ball suck on courts to be honest... triangle-shaped (rather then curved) corners and a more solid construction at the base of the boards (encouraging bounce) would help this.

Have we tried it? I'm sure you are correct, I just don't remember.

I don't like the idea that some refs will call something, some won't. While the wording of the rule is black and white, the implementation isn't, and that should be a concern. Clearly there are differing rules from players on whether it should be.

I'm not sure I agree that the rule would excuse refs from calling it at all. I admit, it could well end up like the NBA travelling rule, which from my limited exposure seems almost never to be called, but is just there as a rule for extreme cases. I don't think the ref would be expected to start timing it every time there is a ball joint.

But maybe writing a rule like that is already flawed, you might be right.

But regarding scoop skills. Yes, I would like to see more of them. Watching someone like Dodi play, I think there is the potential for some really skilled moves, which would provide something different to the usual "pass, pass, shoot" or "block, block, shoot". I don't think we should stifle creativity, as long as one move doesn't become a lot more important than any other. Do you consider scoop skills lame?

I do agree on the court suck issues, but until we can afford to build our own facilities, curved corners are here to stay in hockey and roller-hockey playing countries.

Europe adopted the NA half-court rules approach on ball joints about 2 years ago. Before that time we used a variety of ball joint rules:
You had to make a pass after ball jointing before your team could shoot.
You could only momentarily ball joint (~2 seconds) or the ball would be turned over.
You were allowed to slash a mallet if someone was ball jointing.

All of the above rules led to inconsistent calls and more upsets/arguments as far as I can remember. Personally I feel the half-court rule has been superior, it's easily understood and easily called.

Perhaps there is room for improvement if people would like to see more ball joints in the offensive half, but my opinion is that there's already a good balance of scoop skills (or not) and I get much more joy seeing the centrifugal stuff pulled off (as opposed to the lazy/easy ball-joint-to-scoop approach).

The motivation here isn't to encourage more ball joints in the offensive zone, as ball jointing for 2 seconds is pretty pointless. I'm also not an advocate of making things easier and promoting laziness. I'm not sure how you see a scoop/drag pass as lazy. If a player takes his time making this pass it will be as easy to interrupt as some clown ball jointing down the court. It's got to be quick to be effective.

I hardly see anybody ball jointing anymore period in NA, at least in our region. I can't see how messing with the wording a bit is going to cause a craze of laziness and ball joint fever.

All good points by both of you. I think my attraction to the change would be not just for ball suck but other ground moves that I find entertaining and super kewl.

Or maybe we could think about other ways to write the rule to avoid the current contradictions?


Instead of "timed" ball joints, why not distance traveled in a ball joint?

You cant travel a certain amount of feet with a ball joint (kinda like traveling in basketball)
But if you are stationary, you can have the BJ for any amount of time, but need to let it go if you start moving past a certain distance.

I know some players that will hold in a track stand position with a BJ locked in looking for a scoop pass (or whatever it's called) out of the d zone, which I think is fine.

I kinda like that idea.

And of course it is CRUCIALLY important to understand that refs will not be expected to call every single marginal case. If in doubt as to whether the player has traveled more than five feet with the bj, then there is no penalty.

... But if they lock it in and drag twenty feet up court? Yeah, those get called. And they're very easy to see.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

i was oposed to the idea of stationary at first, but the more i thought about it, the more it doesn't matter. it's still easy enough to steal, so i don't see any concern.
but timing, and out loud counting like in wrestling ( i know it's a fake sport) to remind players wouldn't be bad. and hearing refs yeling makes it sound like theyre paying more attention.

i really don't see a problem with either limited ball joint.

kristxw wrote:

...and out loud counting like in wrestling ( i know it's a fake sport)


- Philly Bikepolo

so can you score a goal off a ball joint, or do you still have to pass it?

# of pedal strokes?

kev wrote:

# of pedal strokes?

I was going to suggest that in my post, but that then doesn't include coasting after the pedal strokes..
I think it should be a distance traveled with BJ. Give a rough distance and leave it to the Ref's discretion whether or not they exceeded the distance.

my educated guess is: at least a million.

lasers are obviously the first priority for us, but after we get those you and i will be equipping all competition bicycles with hall effect sensors.

The ball jointing rule was created to discourage people from trapping the ball and dragging it across the court in a fairly safe manner right? I'm for changing the wording of the rule because I don't see a connection between why we created the rule and the scoop and drag passes that also press the ball against the court momentarily before being released. These passes aren't easy or safe. I've thrown the ball away just as many times as I've completed a pass while attempting it. To me the high risk high reward combined with providing another method for getting the ball to a team mate is a good thing. Having this option in your arsenal when somebody is chasing you hard into a corner or wall may completely surprise the defender, and you also may fuck it up and throw the ball right to them. Allow things that may lead to exciting and unpredictable plays by changing the wording in the rules. If people have tried the 2 second rule and had no luck with it, distance travelled or pedal strokes seem like good alternatives.

I think keeping the defensive half BJ is fine, and easier to ref. But I also agree that picking a ball off the boards shouldn't be a foul--even on the offensive half.

What if we worded it such that if a player is not rolling, downward pressure and movement of the ball is legal? Would that help?

If not, I think it's best to just leave the defensive half rule.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

My knee jerk reaction is to hate this because ball joints are boring and easy, and I think that I'm going to stand by that. Seriously... stick handling is not that hard, and every level of player would be doing themselves a favor by never ball jointing again.

HOWEVER, if changing the rule eliminates players dragging the ball from their goal line to the midcourt line in favor of momentary engagement, I can get behind that. The potential for a stationary player to play ball joint keep away makes me want to puke a bit, but if it is used for awesome, allowing momentary ball grabbing could speed up ball movement. Anything that makes the offensive side of the game more exciting is worth a try, IMO. Hell, maybe this will lead to legalizing wrist shots... they're not that far off.

I rarely ball joint, but sometimes I'll do it when I don't need to--just to annoy people. It gets a reaction. I love the face of someone who has stopped caring about intercepting your pass, so they can come disrupt your BJ. I have no idea if this anecdote is relevant.


Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

One of the main points is to differentiate between the classic ball joint (boring and easy), and other moves that involve the same physical action but happen much quicker (awesome and difficult to be accurate with). I don't want this move attached to the rules as balljointing, because the ball is pinned for less than a second 99% of the time. Rewrite the definition of balljointing to exclude this and the problem is solved. Nobody is trying to incorporate MORE balljointing into the game here.

IMO if the player in question has time to look around and search for an option, the ball has been pinned too long and a balljointing penalty should be called. Pedal strokes and distance travelled are both viable ways to monitor this. If a ref has time to say "that player has the ball pinned to the ground" to himself, that's also a viable way to size up whether it's a ball joint or not. If it doesn't happen so quickly that you hardly realized it happened, by all means call balljointing.

What you are describing (a capture and fling) could actually be called wristing... It is more similar to a hockey wrist shot than polo scooping is. I'm still into it and have been okay with it, even with the old BJ rules. It is a "polo move" in the same way that other sports use an action to regulate certain situations (determining possession in a loss of ball situation in football or how momentary traveling is okay when you are about to dunk, for instance). For me, that has always been different than a BJ. "Wristing" moves the ball somewhere, but ball jointing is traveling. More grab and fling, less pin and drag.

Also, I don't believe you when you say that it is difficult. I'm going to try it to be sure, but come on... You're that dude from that team. BJ passing is hard for you? Do you use a 2500 or a 23whatever?

Edit: Not a diss. It is genuine, respectful disbelief.

It IS more of a "wrister" than a balljoint, which is the whole point of this argument. This takes place so fast it can't be compared to Burging up the court with the ball pinned.

I use a 2375. Don't just try this by yourself and come to a conclusion based on that. Think about grabbing the ball in this manner with Panizzo pressuring you, and nailing your guy at the top of the key with Koyo covering him. Everyones moving at full speed, and the play happens before Joe even realizes a pass has been made.

These types of plays keep the game fluid IMO, and are also exciting in games where the stakes are high. Sometimes you'll choke and turn the ball over, it's not guaranteed your team will maintain possession like ball jointing across the court. It will surely be easier to pull off depending on the circumstances, but that doesn't mean that we should make it illegal because it shares one physical characteristic with balljointing.

Part one: Yep, we agree on all points.

2: I will definitely try it in game, possibly with Matt Lane staring me down and Greg Valentine covering my target. Definitely wasn't going to try to hit the net from 15' before everyone shows up on Sunday. I trust that it's not easy to grab when there is someone stick checking you, I just can't imagine that it's significantly more difficult than drilling lasers or threading needles with the biz end. I lean toward Canadian, but I've got a Magic and both Fixcraft sizes lying around for the good of science. It's all irrelevant because we already agree, but I am curious.

3: x2

I get the Riggs point here.
As ref I would never call this kind of moves a ball joint, but you are right, the rules are not clear.
What we tried to avoid with the bj rules was the boring traveling part, not the passes or the moves to take ball out of boards.
I would keep the rules as they are, but just add few exceptions " quickly get ball out of boards or passing the ball by using this technique isn't considering as a bj".
Ok that's sketchy but you get my point.

Timed rule or distanced one is too formal IMO. A good ref should keep in mind the spirit of the rule and not to complicated definition.

§4.3 – Ball jointing
– A ball-joint is when downward pressure is put on a ball with a mallet head.
–Ball-jointing to reposition the ball as part of a scoop, pass, or deke is permitted.
–Ball-jointing to maintain control of the ball while moving across the court will result in a ball turnover.


what if someone scored a goal from that move?

so let me get this straight...wrist passes are cool but wrist shots are not. any easy explanation why? why is it "tight" to scoop pass this way but not "tight" to scoop shot this way? isn't it the same move? I'm legitimately confused as to what differentiates one from the other. so wristshot grounder shots are tight then, right?

bias warning! I think scooping/bjing is the pinnacle of wackness (up there with double stacking) so take my input with a grain of salt.

yeah, i don't get it either.

lomax and dustin had an interesting exchange up there.

one's comparing wrist shots to 'wrist passes' (lomax) and one's comparing 'wrist passes' to ball jointing (dustin).

not that it matters... but it wasn't an oranges to oranges comparison. but fuck it...


somehow a wrist pass that can be executed pretty much anywhere on the court, pressure or not, is graceful and elegant and adds excitement and glamour and intrigue and spectacle to the sport. a wrist shot, that seems to be generally only effective within 0~10' of the goal (in an equally paired match) on the court is somehow sloppy and too easy to execute.

we can agree to disagree here... but fuck... i'm confused too.

i guess the question is:


can someone score off one of the non-ball-joint [describe it how you want] split-second-pass-things-that-dustin's-describing?

Shhhhh... Don't talk about wrist shots yet! Slowly, but surely, it will come to that.

I'm pretty sure that Dusty and I are just agreeing that on-the-ground wrist passes are OK to us. We could argue about the differences and non-differences in how a ground wrist pass and an air wrist pass are executed, but you don't NEED to BJ the ball to get it in the air... The ground version REQUIRES a momentary BJ, so we're being thorough. Anyways, cup it and fling it all day, just not into the goal. I'm into adopting this if it means that we would outlaw dragging the ball behind you like a dork because I hate that more than the anti-wristshot folks could ever hate scoops, real talk.

If the masses get behind this, I can't see the resistance to certain types of mallet play enduring. This would be a significant change to the game, IMO, and I hope that it would open some people up to further experimenting.

Or we could mandate double capped mallets and say that anything goes.

Edit for Nola Man: I'm pro wrister all day, everyday. I'm trying to avoid bringing them into this because it would polarize responses, and this isn't the time or place. Can't put the cart before the horse.

you basically just gave away our whole plan.

i can't take you anywhere.

If you hadn't replied, I could have edited it out later!

I would love to see a double capped mallet tournament happen! no shuffles though...but watching someone perfectly time a two-touch past a defender or perfectly two-touch to beat a goalie's mallet AND wheel is a thing of beauty to me (at least as as beautiful as a non one-timer goal can be).

no, someone can't score off one of those. at least not yet.

jason - it's never been illegal to pass with a wrist/scoop, it's just not a goal if you throw it into the net. that's all.

Passing with a wrist has been illegal, if it was done with downward pressure.

this has been the target of the discussion Pete.

The target of the discussion is what should be legal, not what has been legal in the past. You're just incorrect to say that wrist passes (with downward pressure) have not been illegal.

right on Pete. I'm more concerned about clarifying the definition of a balljoint (the goal of this discssion) than I am about being correct in the instance you're referring to. I was technically wrong, you're technically right. nice talk.

llIIlllIIIllIlIIllIllIIlIllllIIlIlI wrote:

but fuck it...


Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

Lordy Daniel just busted this shit open. Jason I like wrist shots, and wrist passes. I don't mind beating you with either as long as you can't do both and pretend that both are "whack" even "though" they are as "tight" as your "pants" "oMg" "bikepolo". Productive thread. Sounds like fuck-off just voted for wrist shots.

One step at a time y'all. Wording of rules first, elimination of "laziness" second. Sounds like a recipe for #"excitement" to me.

I feel like a lot of people here are imagining different things but talking like it's the same thing the other person is imagining. Video examples of the things we would like to see legal and the things we would not would probably help this conversation so we could know that we're all on the same page when talking about future hypothetical situations. But they do take a long time to find...


we'll film some hypotheticals at polo today

Here is some footage from my phone that we staged between games. Just an example of how downward pressure on the ball doesn't always mean boring easy ball joint. Is this something many people want to avoid?




Thank you Cody!!!

I think these are realistic scenarios, and I personally believe you've shown ways in which down-pressure passes can be skillful, fast paced and interesting.

I think writing the rule to be time based would not be very hard to enforce. In most cases, a referee wouldn't even have time to start counting because as we can see from these videos, the ball joint lasts a fraction of a second. For the odd and occasional situation in which someone decides to hold it for longer, the rule would state 2 seconds and the referee would have discretion on this. Like in all things, egregious violations are the ones that are important.

Would it be harder to ref than the current rule? Yeah, it would. It seems to be the most significant criticism for a rule change in this situation. We would just have to decide if it's significant enough to force us to keep the rule how it is and continue with reffing that overlooks these slight transgressions.


Nick Kruse wrote:

Would it be harder to ref than the current rule? Yeah, it would.

I'm not even sure that is true. Right now we're asking a ref to distinguish between a scoop off the wall (mallet parallel to the ground) and a BJ off the wall (mallet at an angle, with downward pressure). Distinguishing between those two moves, at the speeds from Cody's video, can super hard to do. One legal, one isnt... what's the ref gonna call?

In reality, the ref won't call either. But if we're talking about the "perfect ref" who enforces every rule to the letter, then he's gonna have to have reaaaal sharp eyes to be able to tell whether there is downward pressure, or if it's a wristing-cup move.

Distinguishing between a "quick" move and a "long" move is not nearly as hard to do. I don't think I have ever had difficulty identifying when someone is dragging the ball around with a BJ.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

As long as we're talking about actual discretion and not a ref asleep at the whistle (and thus default of never calling anything), I'm okay with refs having that power.

Let the refs ref.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

Good to have videos, but you should take your phone horizontally, and no need of others players to get in (especially Koyo who hide a little bit the move). But this is still really helpful to see what we are talking about.

Nick, I wouldn't go for a 2 seconds rules, because of ref discretion, a 2 longs second can maybe be enough to see lazy move. Is that 2 second anywhere or in opponent side? If that's only in opponent side then a player with good speed can take the ball from his own half, cross the middle and almost reach opponent nets in two seconds.
If that's all around court, then it could work, but i still think that keeping the actual rule and adding some exceptions as "scoop passes" and "quick Deke" can work too, because it seems that's the spirit of the rule we want: Kick travelling by ball joint and avoid call on small moves.

Yeah the footage kind of sucks haha. Hopefully it gives more people an idea of what I've been talking about. I'm unsure the best way to reword the super vague rule so that stuff like this is TECHNICALLY legal but we've got plenty of time until the rules would be revised again I guess

It is for this reason that I think a "distance traveled" metric is better than a timed one. I really don't care about the guy sitting alone in his own half, not moving, looking for the open BJ pass. He can sit there for a couple seconds if he wants. I think dragging the BJ around behind you while moving past defenders is the tactic we want to avoid, and for that a distance measure is best.

A ball joint shall not be used by an offensive player to maintain possession of the ball while travelling through the court. A player will be in violation of this rule if he / she maintains a ball joint uninterrupted for more than one revolution of the front wheel, or for more than one "Polo Move" at the referee's discretion.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

I'll take a stab:

"Ball jointing is defined as the application of downward pressure on the ball using any open hole in the player's mallet. Ball jointing is illegal in the offensive half of the court. Exception is made for instances in which a player is momentarily using a ball joint to gain possession of the ball, change the direction of travel of the ball or complete a pass to a teammate.

The referee must discern whether the action is "one motion" from initiation to completion of the ball joint. If the ball joint is extended in either distance of travel or time, a penalty will result."


"Manipulation of the mallet using the open end or for brevity "Open ended manipulation" Is permitted if used without excessive locomotion of the player performing the act. Referees will use their discretion when determining what constitutes excessive."

Add bits about defensive side if you want.

The only reason anyone does anything.
For the lulz.

So, as I was reffing a game at the London Open, Dodi "ball jointed" the ball on the wall all the way to the offensive side. All I could call was "high stick" as he lifted it to pass it to his teammate in front of the goal.
The crowd loved it but I still gave a turn-over.
Is this something we should worry about ?

i'd call that a carry.

§4.5 – Carrying
§4.5.1 – Carrying is defined as picking up the ball and carrying it in the air, in any hole in the mallet head,with
gravity providing the force which binds the ball to the mallet head.
§4.5.2 – Carrying is not permitted and will result in a ball turnover.

The force providing the binding is prependicular to gravity in that case. Without the wall gravity would make the ball drop.

no kidding. that's why the rule needs rewording, but the same intent applies.

But does it matter as much.

Without the gravity rule you can egg-and-spoon it all the way to goal, and volley it into goal at short range (bike lacrosse)

But what can you really do with this that is an unfair advantage?

Maybe take round the back of goal, and use a centrifugal motion, before shooting it in? You can do that now from the ground anyway.

Wall jointing seems like a non-problem, IMO. If we think this needs to be addressed, let's just lump it in with ball jointing and say you can only do it on the defensive side.

I doubt this can upset any sort of balance in the game. It seems more likely a bad move to do than not.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

I don't see any problem with subtly changing the wording of the ball jointing rule to take all surfaces into account.

– A ball-joint is when pressure normal to any court or equipment surface is used to pin the ball with the open end of the mallet.

This covers ground ball joints, wheel cover ball joints, wall ball joints, pedal ball joints (trying this tonight)...

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Not bad.