5th Malawi Ultimate Battle

With Tropical Storm Gombe battering Southern Malawi, Lilongwe’s intrepid ultimate team ventured down to Blantyre to defend their title as Ultimate Champions of Malawi.

As rain fell and wind blew the two teams attempted to warm up in far from ideal frisbee conditions.

In spite of the weather, the main game was very well contested and high quality, but ultimately Blantyre’s strength in depth saw them (well, us) through as the winners, regaining the Hippo of Victory.

Chris (Blantyre MVP), Yankho and Andrew with the Hippo of Victory

Blantyre took an early lead and managed to maintain it throughout the game with great team play and considered use of substitutions and team make up. As the travelling team, Lilongwe didn’t have the same options available to them.

The game finished Blantyre 15, Lilongwe 12, with Lilongwe having gone into half time 8-4 down.

Keith keeping score

A beautiful point involving the whole Blantyre team, ultimately scored by Julia and assisted by Danny.

After the main game, we had mixed games with mixed teams drawing on players from both Blantyre and Lilongwe: a youth game and then Africa vs North America vs Europe.

The day finished with a prize giving and party, where, amongst other awards, Richard was awarded MVP for Lilongwe, and Chris for Blantyre.

Huge thanks to Chipiliro Wirima for the photos. If you’d like to get him to photograph your event WhatsApp +265 995 54 88 87.

Contact: foul or nah?

In the last two weeks in Blantyre we’ve had some interesting discussions about the rules on physical contact. These arose from a situation where two players clearly collided but no foul was called last week; and this week where players agreed that contact occurred but did not agree on whether it was a foul.

A non-contact sport?

For those of us coming from sports like basketball or football where you can’t deliberately hit or trip a player, but most unintentional contact is allowed, it’s difficult to get into the mindset of calling fouls for contact that may be unintentional, but does affect the play.

However, in ultimate we should. Ultimate calls itself a “non-contact sport” (it’s in rule 1.1.), and this is defined further in rule 12.6:

All players must attempt to avoid contact with other players, and there is no situation where a player may justify initiating contact. This includes avoiding initiating contact with a stationary opponent, or an opponent’s expected position based on their established speed and direction.  “Making a play for the disc” is not a valid excuse for initiating contact with other players.

https://rules.wfdf.sport/rules/2021/85-12-receivers-and-positioning

Which seems pretty clear, but…

There is a recognition that in a sport with 14 players running around, some contact will occur and the rules try to allow for ‘minor contact’. We see this in rule 17.2, about receiving fouls:

17.2.1. A Receiving Foul occurs when a player initiates non-minor contact with an opponent before, while, or directly after, either player makes a play on the disc.
17.2.1.1. Contact with an opponent’s arms or hands, that occurs after the disc has been caught, or after the opponent can no longer make a play on the disc, is not a sufficient basis for a foul, but should be avoided

https://rules.wfdf.sport/rules/2021/90-17-fouls

What is minor contact?

The rules define ‘minor contact’ as:

Contact that involves minimal physical force and does not alter the movements or position of another player. Contact with an opponent’s extended arms or hands that are about to, or already are, contacting the disc, or contact to the throwers hand during the throwing motion, is not considered to be minor contact.

https://rules.wfdf.sport/definitions/100-minor-contact

Some examples

A contested call

In the case of what happened this week:

  1. Player O(ffense) and Player D(efence) where both jumping for the disk.
  2. The disc was dropped.
  3. They agree that contact occurred.
  4. The contact was not strong enough that either were knocked out of position.
  5. Player O felt the contact put them off catching the disc; so called a Foul.
  6. Player D felt that the contact had occurred after the disc was lost, and therefore didn’t affect the play (minor contact); so Contested the Foul call.
  7. The disc was returned to the person who threw it – offence retain the disc.

This is the correct resolution for the situation, which was a genuine and honest difference of opinion on when the contact occurred and how it affected play.

Player knocked to the ground

In the situation last week no foul was called – so this is just my perception of what should have happened:

  1. Player O(ffence) jumped straight up for the disc.
  2. Player D(efence) also jumped for the disc, but jumped diagonally, across Player O.
  3. The disc was dropped (or maybe caught by Player D).
  4. Player O was knocked to the ground.
  5. Player O should have called a foul, which could have been either a Receiving Foul or Dangerous Play.
  6. If Player D accepted the call, the disc would go to Player O; if not it would be returned to the thrower – offence retain the disc.
The player in white (Rich) is jumping straight up, the player in black (Chris) is doing a good job not to commit a foul, but if he were to jump further across and hit Rich, Rich would justifiably call a foul.

Offsetting fouls

Another way of viewing the example above is that if both Player O and Player D were jumping diagonally, into the same space, and the contact was ‘non-minor’, then this could be an ‘offsetting foul’. In which case the disc would go back to the thrower.

17.9. Offsetting Fouls:
17.9.1. If accepted fouls are called by offensive and defensive players on the same play, these are offsetting fouls, and the disc must be returned to the last non-disputed thrower.
17.9.2. If there is non-minor contact that is caused by two or more opposing players moving towards a single point simultaneously, this must be treated as offsetting fouls.

https://rules.wfdf.sport/rules/2021/90-17-fouls
Here, both Frank (white shirt) and Andrew (black shirt) are jumping into the same space. If they make contact with one another, and either fell it stopped them getting the disc, they could call it an offsetting foul and the disc is returned to the thrower,
If Danny (green/black shirt) had dropped the disc here, he could call a foul on Frank (white shirt) as Frank has clearly made contact with him, reaching into the space where Danny was jumping.

Right of way: blocking

I was asked a question this week about fouls caused by two people wanting to run into the same space at the same time. It’s something that can come up quite often as a defender and attacker are heading for the same spot. Does the attacker always have right of way? What about if one of them changes direction?

The answer wasn’t obvious to me, so I looked it up, and there are two relevant rules, 12.5 and 17.4:

12.5. Every player is entitled to occupy any position on the field not occupied by any opposing player, provided that they do not initiate contact in taking such a position, and are not moving in a reckless or dangerously aggressive manner.
12.5.1. However when the disc is in the air a player may not move in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to make a play on the disc.

https://rules.wfdf.sport/rules/2021/85-12-receivers-and-positioning

So once the disc is in the air, you can move wherever you want (in a safe way) as long as you are making a genuine attempt to get to the disc. If that blocks someone else’s route to the frisbee (without initiating contact or making it inevitable) that’s fine.

If you’re cutting to get into position, before the frisbee is thrown, 17.4 is more relevant:

17.4. Blocking Fouls:

17.4.1. A Blocking Foul occurs when a player takes a position that an opponent moving in a legal manner will be unable to avoid, taking into account the opponents expected position based on their established speed and direction, and non-minor contact results. This is to be treated as either a receiving foul or an indirect foul, whichever is applicable.

https://rules.wfdf.sport/rules/2021/90-17-fouls

The key words here are “unable to avoid” and “established speed and direction“. So a defender can move in a way that blocks off where they think the attacker might want to go, as long as it’s not in a way that makes a collision inevitable (or even highly likely).

These two diagrams illustrate a foul by the defender and by the attacker. In both the defender aims to block off the same space, but in the first she steps into the established line of the attacker (in such a way that the attacker does not have time to avoid the collision); in the second they are running parallel and the attacker changes line. This is the attacker’s fault as she tried to cross the defender’s established line.

Lilongwe head to Blantyre to defend their title

This weekend Lilongwe Ultimate will make the trip south to play their old (and only) rivals, Blantyre Ultimate Frisbee. Never a particularly frequent fixture – and made even less so by COVID19 – the Malawi Ultimate Battle returns to Blantyre.

In Lilongwe in 2021 the home team were victorious despite a strong start by the visitors. Blantyre are hoping to regain the crown with their home advantage this time.

Alongside the main event will be a group of other games, including women’s, youth and Malawi vs the world.

Watch this space to find out how it all goes.

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.”