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New shirts and discs

Place your order here: bit.ly/shirtsdiscs

These are being sold as a fundraiser so that we can send a Malawi Ultimate team to an international tournament in 2021 (or whenever COVID-19 lets us).

Please tell your friends and family they are welcome to order them if they like them.

I will arrange to make deliveries in Blantyre and we’ll see what we can do about getting them to Lilongwe. Orders to other places are likely to incur a charge for delivery.

If you are a regular player in Blantyre or Lilongwe, contact Asher for a special price for your shirt.

What is a catch?

This seeems like it should be an easy question, but as with all things in a sport where we are all referees, we need a clear, definitive, answer. The question comes from a situation we had in Blantyre a couple of weeks ago:

Ian caught the disk, while his foot was in the endzone, but his momentum was carrying him out of the field and he immediately threw the disc back into the endzone, where no one else caught it.

There was some discussion about whether this was actually a ‘catch’ and therefore a goal. We all agreed that if Ian had held on to the disc it would have been a goal as his initial point of contact with the ground was in the endzone. However, as he only held the disc momentarily, and then threw it – ultimately to the ground – was this not a drop? At the time we agreed to give it as a goal and I said I’d look it up.

Of course, to know if we made the right call on the field, we have to consult the WFDF rules. The key section is the definitions at the end:

Catch: A non-spinning disc trapped between at least two body parts.
If a player initially catches a pass and then, prior to establishing possession, they do not maintain the catch (‘maintain the catch’ means to continue to have a non-spinning disc trapped between at least two body parts), that initial catch is deemed to have ended

WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2021-2024, Definitions, p. 15.

But this requires a further definition! Had Ian ‘established possesion’?

Possession of the disc: A player establishes possession of a pass when:

– they catch a pass and then they maintain that catch for more than one noticeable instant, and

– they maintain the catch throughout all ground contact related to the catch, or until they throw the disc

WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2021-2024, Definitions, p. 16.

We can see from the last words quoted that we made the right decision, and Ian did the right thing in making a throw to establish clear possession.

Establishing possession with your foot

In looking this up I also found out the answer to a question Michael asked yesterday:

If someone kicks or traps a rolling disc from the pull (or at any other point in play), have they established possession? Do they have to pick up the disc?

The answer is ‘no’ the definition is clear that “picking up the disc” establishes possession, so kicking or standing on it does not count.

WFDF announces a new set of Rules of Ultimate and Appendix for 2021-2024

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), following a review by the Rules Sub-Committee, has announced an updated set of the Rules of Ultimate and Championship Appendix for 2021-2024. The WFDF Board of Directors have approved these changes and the new rules come into effect on 1 January 2021.

The WFDF Ultimate Rules Sub-Committee has introduced a number of changes aimed at producing better flow of play, fairer outcomes, and a closer alignment with the USA Ultimate rule set, with the additional goal of enabling self-officiating to work as effectively as possible.

“Self-officiation is an integral part of Ultimate, so having a clear and concise set of Rules is critical,” said Rueben Berg, chair of the WFDF Rules Sub-Committee. “This update to the Rules of Ultimate provides greater clarity around some key aspects of the game, as well as including some changes to ensure fairer outcomes, that will hopefully assist in the self-officiation process.”

Rueben continued, “I encourage all players to learn and understand the changes we have introduced. We have a wealth of resources available on rules.wfdf.sport to assist players with rules knowledge.”

WFDF would like to thank the efforts of those across the globe who have helped contribute to putting this latest update together.

Please find the 2021 versions of the rules, the track changes versions and a summary of changes here:

WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2021-2024

WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2021-2024 – Track changes

WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2021-2024 – Appendix v1

WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2021-2024 – Appendix v1 Track changes

Summary of changes

Additional resources are available here: rules.wfdf.sport

Original press release

What is a pick?

At our game on Sunday we had a number of questions about picks. It’s always a somewhat confusing and even controversial rule. I wasn’t 100% sure about how to answer some of the questions, so I found this:

Really simple explanation

The rules as written

18.3. “Pick” Violations:

18.3.1. If a defensive player is guarding one offensive player and they are prevented from moving towards/with that player by another player, that defensive player may call “Pick”. However it is not a pick if both the player being guarded and the obstructing player are making a play on the disc.

18.3.1.1. Prior to making the “Pick” call, the defender may delay the call up to two (2) seconds to determine if the obstruction will affect the play.

18.3.2. If play has stopped, the obstructed player may move to the agreed position they would have otherwise occupied if the obstruction had not occurred, unless specified otherwise.

18.3.3. All players should take reasonable efforts to avoid the occurrence of picks.

18.3.3.1. During any stoppage opposing players may agree to slightly adjust their locations to avoid potential picks.

A detailed explanation from WFDF

Ultimate returns to Blantyre

Yes, this Sunday we’ll be taking the field again for our weekly family pick-up game!

Having taken advice from some of our medically-trained members, we’ve made some adjustments and additional rules to try to minimsie the likelihood of us spreading the virus.

Playing safe

The measures below are to help us to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. They check our health before play, encourage us not to breathe heavily on one another and sanitise regularly.

  • Regsiter if you want to play: bit.ly/bufcovid
  • Mark at least 2m away
  • The stall count will be made from the sidelines
  • Every 20 mins, we will take a 5 min break
  • If you’re on the sidelines, keep 2m away from one another
  • Wash your hands and discs every time you take the field
  • No contact: no hugging/handshakes/high fives
  • No sharing of water bottles
  • There will be no bibs, so please bring a light and a dark shirt

Game details

Venue: Blantyre Sport Club (main field)

Cost: FREE

Day: Sunday

Time: Games start at 3.30

Registration: bit.ly/bufcovid
ALL players must register EVERY WEEK.
You will not be allowed to play until you have filled out the form. You can do this online before coming, or ARRIVE EARLY and someone will help you fill it out on their phone. If you arrive late there is no guarantee someone will be able to assist you until there is a break in the games.

We are hiring the field from Blantyre Sports Club, it is free to play because several members have agreed to sponsor it K5,000 each per week. If you are willing to chip in, please email asher@malawiultimate.com or WhatsApp +265 888 055 773.

WFDF approves Cayman Islands and Malawi as national members

Brings membership to 87 Countries

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) is pleased to announce that its Congress has approved the Cayman Islands Ultimate Association and Malawi Flying Disc Federation as its newest Member associations, increasing WFDF’s membership to 87 countries.

“To add Cayman Islands and Malawi to the Flying Disc Family during these difficult times is perhaps a harbinger of the return to the organized practice of Flying Disc sports around the globe and further proof of the effectiveness of the WFDF Development Program,” commented WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch. “To be able to expand our membership in the Carribean and Africa shows how the focus of WFDF’s development efforts are supporting the expansion of Flying Disc in all regions around the world. While efforts are obviously more complicated now, we are looking forward to add other candidates for membership soon despite the difficulties.”

“Cayman Islands Ultimate is extremely proud to be recognised by the WFDF,”  commented Cayman Islands Ultimate Association (CIUA) President Michael Kader. In these difficult times, this is truly comforting news. As we look toward our eventual return to the field, we know that WFDF’s support will aid our efforts to grow the sport of Ultimate in the Cayman Islands.”

Malawi Flying Disc Federation’s (MFDF) Asher Jacobsberg stated “As the representatives of Malawi’s teams, we are excited to have established a federation to further the sport in Malawi. We would like to thank the World Flying Disc Federation for all their support. We are eagerly awaiting the time when we can take Malawian players to international competitions to enjoy this great sport with new people, opening new horizons. ”

The approval was given unanimously by the Congress, comprised of the current WFDF members. WFDF Executive Director and chair of the WFDF Sport for All and Development Commission Volker Bernardi said “This is a great sign of the unity of the Flying Disc family and encourages us very much with our development programs. This brings us closer to our near-term target to have more than 90 members, with a goal of 100 national member Federations by the end of next year.”

The Pull

In Blantyre, we’ve had a few discussion recently about what happens when the disc goes out on the pull (the first throw used to start and restart the game) and/or lands in the end zone.

I think the rules for this have been updated over the years, and may be/have been different in the USA and the rest of the world. We’re using the most recent WFDF rules (2021).

The rules about the pull in detail are here: https://rules.wfdf.org/rules/2017/13-7-the-pull

But essentially:

  • If it stops or is caught in the field of play (including the end zone) play it from there.
  • If it lands in play but rolls out, play it from where it rolled out (or the closest point not in the end zone).
  • If it goes straight out, either play from where it crossed the line, or the brick mark (centre of the field about 18m from the goal line). If you want to play from the brick mark you should raise your arm overhead and say, “brick” (the rule changed from clapping about 10 years ago).

For a great pictorial explanation, grab this PDF or have a look at the slideshow below (‘OB’= ‘out of bounds’):

Delay of play

Two related rules issues came up last Sunday, both about how quickly play needs to restart; so I had a look at the rule book to give some definitive answers.

How quickly do you have to pick the disc up after a turnover or pull?

Essentially the answer is: as quickly as possible.

The aim being to keep the game moving at pace.

Attacking players need to (at least) walk to the disc and when there pick it up and play. If they don’t the defending team can call ‘Delay of play’ and if the attackers don’t stop delaying the defenders can start the stall count.

  • 8.5. After a turnover, and after the pull, the team that has gained possession of the disc must continue play without delay.
    • 8.5.1. An offensive player must move at walking pace or faster to directly retrieve the disc and establish a pivot.
    • 8.5.2. In addition to 8.5.1, after a turnover the offence must put the disc into play within the following time limits, if the disc did not become out-of-bounds, and the discs location is:
      • 8.5.2.1. in the central zone – within ten (10) seconds of the disc coming to rest.
      • 8.5.2.2. in an end zone – within twenty (20) seconds of the disc coming to rest.
    • 8.5.3. If the offence breaches 8.5 the defence may give a verbal warning (“Delay of Game”) or may call a “Violation”.
    • 8.5.4. If an offensive player is within three (3) metres of the pivot point and, after the verbal warning, the offence continues to breach 8.5 the marker may commence the stall count.
Taken from: WFDF – Rules of Ultimate

USA Ultimate’s current rule is essentially the same – see XIX.B.

What happens if the pull is delayed after a ready signal?

The rules we use (WFDF) do not really specify, but, again, the idea here is to get play restarted as quickly as possible:

7.1.1. Teams must prepare for the pull without unreasonable delay.

WFDF – Rules of Ultimate

The USA Ultimate Rules go into some detail about how much time can be taken and penalties for going beyond this, but as we use the WFDF rules, I won’t go into those – if you want to, look at VIII.C.

One thing that we might note is the order suggested by the WFDF rules:

  1. Receiving team signals that they are ready.
  2. Receiving team stays still, each player with a foot on the goal line – so pulling (defending) team can pick who to mark.
  3. Pulling team signals readiness – pulling team all need to be in their endzone.
  4. Once the pull is thrown all players may leave their endzones.

How we should play

I just watched this really interesting video by Ryan Lowe; it’s ostensibly about picking a team, which may not really seem relevant in Malawi, but actually he talks about what makes a great experience for people new to the game.

There’s loads of advice in here both for those of us who are more experienced, and for those who aren’t. I think if we use it to reflect on how each of us plays we’ll all get better quicker and have fun doing it. We do lots of this already, but emphasising it will only help.

One bit of jargon he uses is the term ‘handler’: this just means one of the key throwers (often a more experienced player with a good throw).

I’m particularly impressed by what he says about:

  • Passing to open players
  • Understanding when you aren’t really open – although you might think you are
  • When to ‘dump’ and when to try trickier throws
  • Time with the disc

What do you think? Add a comment below.

(BTW, Ryan has loads of other really useful tutorial videos on his YouTube channel and website.)