Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tournament 10 - Observation 1 - Boo to the new pull rule

While the likes of the Boston Invite was on many people's tournament radar, I had the fortune to head up to Burton-upon-Trent for Mixed Tour 2. Our team had a solid weekend, the party was exceptional for a tour event (hosted by our friends at BlockStack), and the weather was agreeable until our last game that had some hard rain.

Pictured Above: Another nice picture by Marc Hodges from Cleveland No Surf. I like the non-traditional viewpoint of the Grand Trunk pull.

The weather in some way reflected my mood, or my mood reflected the weather. Regardless, I was behaving badly in my final game, and I apologized to my opponents. Playing coed is tough for me, but coed plus the difference between the UK and Canadian style of game gets to me sometime.

I thought I would talk about the value of the party, since I really appreciated the event. I thought it made the tour event that much better. I've always made a big push for dancing at tournaments where your only concern isn't necessarily high level Ultimate. Even when it is, a good party and a reasonable bed time can be a benefit.

Speaking of parties...happy Canada Day. This is the first time I've been outside Canada for the July 1st celebration.

Enough asides - I wanted to talk about the new pull rule in the WFDF. Here's the rule in my own words. If a pull goes out of bounds, you have a choice. Take the disc to the middle brick point or bring the disc to the point on the sideline where it went out. This as opposed to getting to "middle" the disc if it goes out of bounds. You can read the details here (page 4), and if you're going to worlds you should, because those of us who appreciate the UPA rules are going to find some major differences.

My first question is why the change? I've been thinking of a reason why you would want to not keep things the same. My first thought is speed of the game, but there's no real delay of games rule in WFDF so that can't be the reason.

My current thought is to give the defense an advantage. If you're on a team that can't pull deep, then it now makes sense to practice a pull that goes out of bounds and far enough out of bounds that you can set a trap defense.

So, maybe the rules are trying to introduce a tradeoff. As teams begin to pull out of bounds at just pass half a team now has the choice of starting at the brick or trapped.

More questions come to mind:
  • Is this to negate the advantage of teams with good pullers?
  • Is this to make windy games even less exciting?
  • Is this a special rule for when someone makes a horrible pull that goes out right near their own endzone?
  • Is this to get me upset, but give me post material?
  • Is this a typo in the rules?
Well, it's something to think about, and I would love to hear some reasons for the change. As you can tell, I'm not thrilled with the new rule. Pulls should be about keeping the disc in play, and this rule makes other strategic options viable.

Another interesting thing I noticed in the rules is there doesn't seem to be any mention of holding the line before the pull (meaning standing so your opponent can clearly see you). Why can't you clump up, wait to see the opposing team put their arm up, and then form a line and put your arm up to signal readiness. Is it bad spirit if it's not in the rules? Probably.



- said...

Apparently (quoted from Si Hill on britdisc):

"The change is driven by:
1. simplify the rules - even look for opportunities to completely remove
2. speed up the game"

I think it reduces the effect of a bad pull without removing the incentive to have a really good pull. Certainly it had no effect on our games that i saw. I'd really love to discuss this sometime.

Also, the rules _do_ have an anti-clumping rule... in section 7 The offense has to line up with one foot on the line and stay there. Then the pulling team can do what they like. Yes, you could try and line up in a really tight group, but it's fairly pointless.

I don't know the UPA rules at all so I'd be interested to know what's different/better in each set.

John (ABH)

Owen said...

As mentioned, the new pull rule only affects pulls that don't reach the distance of the brick (44m). So its only a significant factor in games where pulls are failing to go that far (i.e. low to medium level ultimate). Beyond 44 metres, its a brick or play it from the nearest point on the playing field proper, as before.

At this level, there are far bigger factors in terms of tactics and skills: ie can we play a strong zone? how can we improve our throwing skills?

The differences between the 2007 and 2008 WFDF rules are here:

Some key differences between WFDF and UPA rules are here:

jdr said...

Diagrams for those interested: http://brisbaneultimatedisc.blogspot.com/2008/06/wfdf2008-ultimate-rules-update-no-more.html

I take the reasoning as what John and Owen have said above. I'd add that I think those crafting the rules are also looking to build things that are effective at all levels of the sport - from Worlds through to teaching beginners for the first time.

Jeters said...

Lots of comments, but I stick with my original opinion - boo. I had a discussion with John on email. I think my last email sums up my opinion:

All points are fair, and tend to question who should the pull benefit. At the same point we could say get rid of the pull. We don't get rid of the pull because the general feeling of the game was that a pull was like a kickoff and is exciting to watch.

Along these lines a pull out of bounds was to be penalized to promote keeping the pull in play. The brick was introduced to penalize a long out of control pull. The middle was to penalize not keeping the disc in regardless of distance since you could always trade off distance for accuracy. This has been removed for no valid reason. That's my problem.

Note the conversation was interesting, and John put some of my original points to rest.