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