Thursday, April 28, 2011

6.12.1 Being forced out of bounds by an opponent’s block.

This is in the no impact/no penalty section of Skating Out Of Bounds. If a skater is blocked out of bounds by an opponent they will not receive a SOOB penalty if they increase or maintain speed while out of bounds. It is to be noted that this rule says "opponent" not "skater" which means that if a skater's teammate knocks her out of bounds, she is eligible to receive a Skating Out Of Bounds penalty.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

3.7.3 Player names on uniforms are optional.

That’s right. Derby names are not required on skater uniforms. This is because officials never refer to skaters by their derby name, only by their number. Since names are unregulated, and numbers are held to a standard (4 characters max, only alphanumeric), numbers are the best way for all officials to refer to all skaters. Thus, only a skater’s official derby number is required on their uniform.

Sunday, April 24, 2011 No more than two Pack Referees will be stationed inside the track.

This is the rule that prevents a 3 inside pack ref, 2 outside pack ref configuration that is preferred by some.

Friday, April 22, 2011

2.4.5 The jam is over when an official calls it off with four short whistle blasts. The jam ends on the fourth whistle, whether or not the whistle were inadvertent or incorrect.

This rule says it all. This is why, unfortunately, when a non-jam ref calls off a jam when they aren’t supposed to (i.e., they see a Jammer trying to call off a jam), the jam is over. Even though it was a mistake, once the 4th whistle of a jam ending signal has blown, the jam is over.

Also, since the jam doesn’t end until the 4th whistle, points are scored up until then, and penalties may be given until then as well. If a Lead Jammer goes out of bounds and calls off the jam, they may get a Cutting The Track penalty if they reenter the track in front of one or more skaters before the 4th whistle has blown.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

6.1 BLOCKING TO THE BACK Hitting an opponent in the back of the torso, back of the legs, or back of the booty is prohibited (see Section 5.2.2 for Illegal Target Zones). Hitting an opponent with a legal blocking zone into a legal target zone while positioned behind said opponent is not blocking to the back and is not illegal.

Today I want to cover Blocking to the Back, or as it is more commonly known, Back Blocking (which is also its verbal cue). Too many times I have heard refs and skater, and even fans, say that any contact to an opponent from behind is Back Blocking. This is very untrue. I can only assume this is why the name of the rule section was changed to “Blocking to the Back” from “Back Blocking and Blocking from Behind.” The old title may have been confusing people. The thing about Back Blocking is that beyond the words of the rule, which outline the areas in which a skater may not be blocked, it references a diagram which clearly shows where a skater may and may not be hit.

The diagram linked above is the Legal Target Zones diagram from the WFTDA rules. The pink shaded parts of the body are the areas where a skater may legally be hit. The areas that are not shaded are areas where a hit on a skater will be considered illegal. The middle figure in the diagram, which shows the backside of a skater, is what is pertinent to Back Blocking. Any hit to skater that is between the pink lines, and also above the thighs and below the shoulders, is a Back Block. If it is a hit below the pink area, it will become a Low Block, and a hit above the pink area will become a High Block.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

‎10.4.1 Skaters may not participate in a bout while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or illegal drugs.

As a reminder, skaters may absolutely not participate in a bout while impaired. Not only are they a danger to themselves, they are a danger to others. Medically necessary drugs would be considered different than recreational drugs that impair a skater.

While some will be celebrating a certain type of substance today, please be reminded that you may not partake before a bout. While the rules only specify bouts, no doubt your own league has their own regulations regarding practice as well. It should be understood that putting skates on anytime one is impaired is a bad idea, and is dangerous to anyone involved.

Monday, April 18, 2011

4.2.3 Non-Pivot Blocker Starting Positions: Blockers line up behind the Pivots as demarked by the hips. If a Pivot is not upright and on the Pivot line, non-Pivot Blockers are not required to line up behind that Pivot.

It has become widely understood that when a Pivot is on the line (meaning touching the Pivot line) at the start of the jam, all non-Pivot Blockers must line up behind them. This rule does not differentiate between opponents and teammates, so Blockers must even line up behind their teammate Pivot's hips. What this rule does explain is that non-Pivot Blockers must line up behind Pivots on the line. Pivots are not required to line up behind each other. Therefore, if one Pivot is on the line, the other Pivot may be in front of their hips.

Something that seems to confuse people, and that isn't a part of this rule, or any other rule in the WFTDA rules, is a requirement for Pivots to skate forward first before anyone else is allowed to. Except for false starting skaters who must yield, at the jam-starting whistle all Blockers may skate forward without waiting for anyone else to move.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

10.3.2 If a skater is bleeding, the skater may not participate in a bout until the bleeding has stopped.

I've heard this rule described as the "don't be a hero" rule. Your team may need you, but if you're bleeding you're a health risk to everyone on or near the track, and also at risk of further injuring yourself. Bleeding is bad, no matter how close a game is. Safety comes first.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 The Jammer will also be awarded points for Blockers on the track and ahead of the Engagement Zone if said Blockers were not previously scored on during that scoring pass.

This rule seems intended to punish skaters who don’t remain in the Engagement Zone and chase the Jammer out of play. As it says, at the end of a jam, skaters that are ahead of the Engagement Zone, who have not already been scored on in that scoring pass, become free points for the opposing Jammer. I say free points, because the Jammer doesn’t have to pass them to score them, nor does the Jammer need to score a point in that scoring pass to score them, as is required for Not On The Track points. That’s why I speculate this rule is a punishment. More accurately, it seems to act as an incentive for Blockers to remain in play, but what punishment isn’t an incentive to not break the rules?

Jam referees must remember this rule and make sure to check the front of the pack for out of play skaters at the end of every jam. Take note, however, that these points are for skaters ahead of the Engagement Zone, not just out of play. So if there is no pack at the end of the jam, there is no Engagement Zone, so no points are scored for this rule. If the Jammer, and thus the Jammer Referee, are at the back of the pack, and it can’t be determined if skaters towards the front are in the Engagement Zone or not, the front inside pack ref should be consulted to make sure points are not missed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

‎6.13 ILLEGAL PROCEDURES Technical infractions that give the offending team an advantage but do not necessarily impact a specific opponent.

I thought it a good idea to post the definition of Illegal Procedures as found in Section 6. A lot of times I have heard people try to use Illegal Procedures as a sort of “catch all” for things they know are penalties, but don’t fit in a particular section. Prior to this rule set where stopped blocks were put in the Direction of Gameplay section, I had heard it argued that stopped blocks should be called as Illegal Procedures, since they were illegal and didn’t fit anywhere else. This is not the case with Illegal procedures.

The definition above is very clear. Illegal Procedure penalties are to be given when a team commits a technical infraction that gives them an advantage over their opponent, that doesn’t necessarily impact a particular opponent. The inclusion of “necessarily” is important here. Examples of Illegal Procedures are attempting to call or successfully calling off the jam when not Lead Jammer, false starts, violations of the Star Pass procedure, reentering the track from the penalty box in front of pack skaters, etc. Some of these are an advantage for one skater/team without impacting a particular opponent. Illegal Star Passes don’t impact an opponent, but they give the offending team an advantage. Attempting to call off, or successfully calling off a jam when not Lead Jammer seems to impact the opposing Jammer, but it really impacts the whole opposing team. Other Illegal Procedures, like too many skaters on the track, improper uniform, or penalized skaters who leave the penalty box during timeouts, impact the opposing team as a whole.

Where the inclusion of “necessarily” comes in is when an Illegal Procedure impacts a particular opponent, but are still appropriately Illegal Procedure penalties. A skater who returns to the track from the penalty box, or after addressing an equipment malfunction mid-jam, in front of one or more pack skaters will be impacting the skater(s) they reentered in front of. False starting skaters, such as non-Pivot Blockers who are lined up at the jam start whistle in front of the hips of a Pivot Blocker who is on the line will be gaining an advantage over that Pivot. Other Illegal Procedures, such as engaging an opponent before the first whistle, or illegally blocking a star pass, impact a particular opponent.

What is to be remembered about Illegal Procedures, as well, is that they are “technical infractions” which means they are penalties for actions that break the rules, but not in such as a way as caused by contact (except in the case of engaging before the first whistle), or skating out of bounds (such as Cutting The Track or Skating Out Of Bounds penalties). The Illegal Procedure section is very extensive, and should be sufficient to cover the included examples and like situations. The rest of the rules sections have been altered in such a way that Illegal Procedures should no longer need to be used as a “catch all” for infractions that don’t seem to fit anywhere else.

Monday, April 4, 2011

‎6.13.28 A skater initiating contact or engaging an opponent before the first whistle that forces the receiving opposing skater out of her established starting position. This includes forcing a skater down or out of bounds.

Piggybacking on yesterday’s no impact/no penalty rule, today’s rule is an Illegal Procedure major. As referenced yesterday, a skater who blocks another skater down or out of bounds before the jam start whistle will get a major penalty. Like any other major penalty, a skater getting this one would be blocking a skater out of their relative position, which includes down or out of bounds.

A skater blocked out of bounds before the jam start whistle will be allowed to skate in that jam.