Ultimate Sunday – The Charge

We had a big turn-out at the field today with plenty of people showing on time for change, what a pleasure.

So while we were waiting for a critical mass, we managed to warm up and do plenty of practice throws.  That will go a long way if we managed to do it before every pick-up session.

The session itself was good, if a little slow paced and was uneventful bar one incident.

Dangerous Play

Dangerous play and aggressive behavior is clearly not Spirit of the Game, but what happens in an incident where dangerous play might occur and whoever avoids it will lose the disc as in this incident?

A huck is flying towards the end-zone but will fall short. A defender is running along the end-zone line toward the corner with the offender running along the out-line. Both jump at about the same time, defender taps it away, offender misses and falls, knocks his head on the defenders cleat.  Offender calls a foul alleging dangerous play citing contact.

The first helpful rule is this one:

12.9. When the disc is in the air, all players must attempt to avoid contact with other players, and there is no situation where a player may justify initiating contact. “Making a play for the disc” is not a valid excuse for initiating contact with other players.

However, it is immediately followed by this one:

12.10. Some incidental contact, not affecting the outcome of the play or safety of players, may occur as two or more players move towards a single point simultaneously. Incidental contact should be minimized but is not considered a foul.

Further down we also encounter this rule, which overrides any other rule:

17.1.1. Reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players regardless of whether or when contact occurs is considered dangerous play and is treated as a foul. This rule is not superseded by any other rule.

And just to add more food for thought:

17.2.1. A Defensive Receiving Foul occurs when a defender initiates contact with a receiver before, or during, an attempt to catch the disc.
17.2.2. After a defensive receiving foul: if in the playing field proper or defending end zone, the receiver gains possession at the point of the infraction; if in the attacking end zone, the receiver gains possession at the nearest point on the goal line, and the fouling player must mark them there; or if the foul is contested, the disc is returned to the thrower.

But similarly the defender could also get the benefit of the doubt:

17.6. Offensive Receiving Fouls:
17.6.1. An Offensive Receiving Foul occurs when a receiver initiates contact with a defensive player before, or during, an attempt to catch the disc.
17.6.2. If the foul is uncontested, the result is a turnover, with the disc at the location where the foul occurred.
17.6.3. If the pass is complete and the foul is contested, the disc returns to the thrower.

So, there’s a lot of interpretation here. First you have to consider and agree on whether or not it was dangerous play, which each player will probably interpret differently.

Then you have to consider if the contact was incidental, ie. did it affect the play? You should also consider who initiated the contact; was it the defender contacting the offender, or the other way around?

However, after all this you will still notice what is the end of any foul call… agree or contest? So even in this situation, regardless of how annoyed or angry the defender or the offender might be, if there is a foul call the question should be: do you agree or contest?

As always, an agreement results in playing on, but a contest sends the disc back to the person who threw last.

MUO is less than 3 weeks away…

Ultimate Tuesday Pickup – The Stack

Great turnout today at Ultimate Tuesday Pick-up on the beach with some recently-not-so-regular players turning up anew and a blast from The Early Days, Louren, showing his face (and not-forgotten-Ultimate-moves) to our great delight.

I have a grass-burn (sand-burn) on my chin and a mild concussion headache from a little collision in the end zone, the fall of which I broke with my face. But rather than harp on the No Contact Rule, I instead would like to highlight something better that spontaneously erupted on the playing field – a Stack.

Well Stacked

I’m not sure how it started, but suddenly the opposing team was forming a stack. Yay! An offensive (attacking) strategy that was executed fairly OK considering that nobody knew exactly what they were doing.

In a minute we’ll have a closer look at the Stack and what it’s all about. Before we can look at the Stack, however, we should first get to know another Ultimate basic, the Force.

The Force is simply when you make somebody throw in a selected direction. You can force in two directions, either Home or Away. Home is the side of the field on which you’ve put your stuff (bags, water, whatever), and Away is the other side.

Right, let’s put 2 imaginary teams on the field. We’ll call them Storm Troopers (ST) and Jedi Knights (JK). JK has the disc, so they are offensive, and ST is defending. ST shouts “Force Home!”.

Forcing Home

The ST Marker will now position themselves so that the JK Handler has to throw the disc towards the Home side of the field.

What is important here is that under no circumstances should the ST Marker allow the JK Handler to throw to the other side. ST is not trying to stop JK from throwing as such (although if they could, bonus), the main mission is to force them to throw in that direction. Why?

Because at the same time, the rest of the ST team is standing on the Home side of every JK player. The idea is that when the JK Handler does eventually throw towards Home, there is an ST player there to catch the disc before any JK player.

On the other hand, you can image that if the JK Handler Breaks Force, that side of the field is without defenders, allowing a JK player to easily catch the disc. And that is why ST should do a Hard Mark. A Hard Mark is when you’re willing to die before letting JK Break Force.

Back to the Stack

In the Stack, the rest of the team makes a line starting from about 10 – 15m away from Handler and spreads out with roughly 5 – 8m between each player.

Predictably JK will be forced by ST to throw Home, and the ST players will stand on the Home side of the JK players. The JK players will now play a game of cat and mouse. Starting from the front (or really any random order, but only if you’ve actual practiced it and everyone knows how it works), JK players will try to beat their Markers whilst cutting Home. Obviously the ST Markers will be expecting this, so fakes and double fakes need to be used here. If the first Cutter doesn’t get the disc, she runs back to the Stack and readies for the next try. In the meantime, the next JK player cuts to try and see if they can do it.

And so it goes down the stack, out and back in, out and back in, until somebody actually gets the disc. Occasionally, if ST is not doing a Hard Mark (which is really very sloppy D, because you’re wasting you and your team’s energy), somebody can cut to the Break Side and try catch the disc there.

What happens if JK succeeds depends on how quick either team is to react. If JK has their shit together and ST does not, JK can quickly move the disc up the field for the score. If, however, ST is relative on the ball, JK might have to form yet another stack and do it all over again.

As with playing offensive against most teams who are better than yours, patience is a virtue. And practice perpetuates patience. Meaning, the more you practice the more patience you have.

And that’s a stack wrap. Hope you can implement the Stack at the next session. Comments are welcome and do ask if you don’t understand anything.


Handy Vocabulary for this Post:

  • The Force – the act of making somebody throw in a particular direction;
  • Break Force – when the handler manages to throw in the other direction;
  • Break Side – the opposite side to the Force;
  • Stack – a popular, basic attacking formation;
  • Marker – the person from the defense trying to block your disc;
  • Hard Mark – absolutely not allowing a Break Force;
  • Handler – in this context, the person who has the disc;
  • Offense – the attacking team / the team with the disc;
  • Defense – the defending team;
  • Cut / Cutting – a fast, all-you-have sprint, usually towards where the disc will be;
  • Cutter – the offensive player who is currently Cutting;
  • Sloppy D – half-arsed defense which is easy to beat;

Borneo Headhunters Hat 2011

Hold on to your hat, because news about Sabah Ultimate Frisbee’s Borneo Headhunters Hat 2011 is coming soon.

At the next official Sabah Ultimate Players Association (SUPA) Committee Meeting, the next Borneo Headhunters Hat is on the agenda, which means that, at a bare minimum, we will be confirming the dates for the next exciting Ultimate Frisbee hat tournament to be held in Sabah, Borneo.

Watch this space.