Thursday, July 11, 2013

6.10.13.2 During a no-pack scenario, the rear-most group must accelerate forward until either they are sprinting and then maintain that speed, or a pack has been reformed. If a pack reformation is imminent, they may make motions to slow in order to enter the pack in a controlled fashion.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows the rule that explains how a major penalty is earned for failure to reform a pack. It is brand new in this version of the rules. This rule explains what the rearmost group in a no pack scenario must do to be considered to be attempting to reform the pack. Previously, there was no direction in the rules for skaters to follow to reform a pack. All that anyone had to go by was that there must be an attempt to reform. So, for the group in front, it was pretty much universally interpreted that they must decrease their speed from what it was before the pack was destroyed, and maintain continue that decrease in speed, coming to a stop if necessary, until the pack was reformed. For the group in rear, it was interpreted that they would have to accelerate until the pack was reformed. However, there wasn't really any standard regarding how much the rearmost group would have to accelerate, or if the acceleration must be constant, etc. About the only universally agreed upon interpretation was that if the rearmost team sped up to reform, and then before the pack was reformed they slowed back down, then they would be considered no longer attempting to reform, and thus earn a penalty. This rule doesn't deviate too much from the previous interpretation. In fact, it just provides more clarification as to what the rearmost pack should do. Like the previous interpretation, the rearmost group needs to accelerate. However, what is more clear is that they must continue to accelerate up to a sprint, and then stay sprinting, if necessary, until the pack has reformed. Certainly, there is no global definition of "sprinting", but there is certainly a difference between sprinting to reform the pack, and loping along barely trying to reform. The idea is that the attempt must show a difference between the previous speed the rearmost group was at, and the speed at which they reform the pack. Of course, if the rearmost group was already sprinting, then that is all they would need to continue doing to reform the pack. Although, that would be a very rare situation indeed, since the pack most usually get destroyed by the front group going faster, and the rear group going slower.

It is widely thought that this rule is part of the WFTDA's attempt to combat the strategy known as "passive offense" without making a major change to the game or rules. This rule, combined with 6.10.13.1, appears to put the majority of the responsibility of pack reformation on the rearmost group, by allowing the front-most group to coast to be considered reforming, and by requiring the rearmost group to continually accelerate up to a sprint until the pack is reformed. Rather than be a change to the rules, this is just more guidance for the existing rules, but may have the desired effect. Certainly, only time will tell.

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