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What between 30 seconds out and ball turnover?

Few months ago i had to ref a whole one court tourney in Lyon, France, for the qualification process for the european champs.

What i noticed is that we are missing a penalty for cases where players need more than a simple ball-turnover and less than a 30 seconds box penalty (wich i always think is really hard to enforce due to the lack of staff and materials condition: assistant time keeper, good door, process to get in the game).
Sometime, a ball turnover is clearly not enough, because:

1) the situation was better than a classical 3v3 restart, for example a 3-2.
2) the player who made the fool deserve to get out of the game, but for less than 30 seconds.

So what i did was: taking the player right in front of me (i was in the middle of the court), make him faces the opponent nets, them give him the right to get back in game only AFTER the ball or a opponent crossed the line. The fact that we was in the wrong direction to get back on defense give him extra penalty time, but not so much.
This way really easy to enforce, this avoid the double tap or the penalty box punishment.
I think this system have to be in the ref tool box. We can also imagine a longer penalty by asking the player to goes make a ride behind the opponent net before comming back.

What are you thinking about?

This happens in this game, can't find the minute (probably after mid game) right now but i would write it later:

We are thinking about the same problem. Here is the thread that I started a little while ago about giving possession at the spot of the foul and allowing the team to restart play like a direct/indirect kick in soccer. No one was really interested, but I definitely think that there is room for a different type of penalty. I like your creative solution, as well.


While I don't have much to contribute on the idea I like that you are trying things out clement.

The only reason anyone does anything.
For the lulz.

Blue lines! Yield 2/3 of the court to the fouled team. If you commit a more serious foul, you face a more serious threat. And since everyone can get momentum before someone on the fouled ta team crosses, you could easily think up some cool set plays.

This is brilliant. I think if its used in conjunction with a crease to prevent stacking will present a goal scoring opportunity that isn't as severe as 30 second but, still results in a significant advantage.

- Sincerely
Olsen Aviles

A good defensive team won't be afraid of conceding 2/3 of the court if they can stay on 3v3. It's exactly like a classical restart but with half of a 1/3 of the court less for defensive team, I don't see that as an efficient penalty enough.

As for the example in the video,

Are you talking about the slashing at 10:50?

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Just something that came to my mind:
What about keeping the player in the game but without mallet for a certain time?
The player would have to give the goal ref his mallet and collect it the goal ref again after the penaly time is over.

Fun but
Still don't solve the issue of material ref condition. You will have to have 2 clocks.

For me the major issue in times penalty is the difficulty to enforce them. Otherwise I would promote a 5-10 or 20 seconds penalty.


I know a few players who perform better without a mallet. And I know tons who are effective with or without one. If I was told to play without a mallet, I'd just deliver the cleanest shoulder checks and set picks.

How about combining a ball turnover with a double tap-out, which has to be done after the fouled team crosses the middle line. this gives the team that's been fouled half court and a few seconds of power-play. No second clock needed. I could also think of a tap-out behind the goal of the fouled team. That gives some more time of power-play, as the way to go there, tap and go back is longer..

Yes that's something i would love to see.
Easy to enforce, effective and dynamic. It looks like the simplicity of our tap in rule. Clearly 30 seconds box penalty is something that we don't see because of multiple good reasons: hard to enforce and not always sized to the foul.

having the penalized player going from side to side on the court seems like it would allow plenty of opportunity for her/him to interfere with the play, intentionally or not.

edit: but i do like the idea

Agreed. Also you will have lots of trying to fudge the taps in order to get back into play as quickly as possible.

I think around the opponents goal is the best option. Then the ref doesn't have to worry about making sure he taps (did that mallet really touch?) and only that he disappeared into the ass end of the court for an appropriate amount of time.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

or have the penalized player go the tap in spot nearest to the ref and have them stay there for a 10 count. Ref wouldn't really need a second watch for that.

Secondary Alex wrote:

Agreed. Also you will have lots of trying to fudge the taps in order to get back into play as quickly as possible.

There are goal judges which could take care of that.

Perhaps it would be good to do a double-tap and having to go around the opponent's goal in between. The penalized player has quite a long way to go and is rather moving along the boards and not in the court's centre which means less possible interferance. Also there wouldn't be a situation where the fouled team looses the ball in power-play and the penalized player is free in front of the opposite goal, giving him a big advantage in such a situation, because he would have to go back and tap the wall on the ref's level.

If the player have to go from the ref tap out point, to behind opponent nets before going back to action, he not gonna interfere that much with the game, because the team who get the power play gonna play up probably.
And yes, if the team who get the power play fucked up and give a good pass opportunity to a guy riding next their nets, then they don't have played well and deserve it, same situation in hockey when the team in power play don't take care enough of the guy who's going out the box, right next their blue line.

10 seconds next to the ref could be easy to enforce too.

refs should carry guns. bitch wyles out? shoot em. duck dynasty style. we got more than enough beards to go around.

Interestingly, I was looking at grass polo rules while wrapping up the document I've been working on and if you look here, under the penalties section, you'll see that the "direct/indirect kick" thing is kind of covered there: http://bicyclepolo.org/ibpfrule.htm#1.%20The%20Cycles:

Also, if you think our rules are at all confusing, read those fucking things. It's like they tried to make that sport as indecipherable as possible.

I'm not convinced of the need for it.

For me there are only two scenarios.

Unfair play has stopped a goal. That disadvantage has to be removed, and as such removing a player is the best way to do it to give a team the best chance to score that goal.

Possession has been taken away unfairly. Possesion needs to be restored = turnover.

Clement, what scenario do you see where another penalty is needed?

I agree completely. Penalties should not retributive. It should be about restoring the play the way it was before the foul was committed. Unless the foul is malicious or exceedingly dangerous, then a penalty should be instituted as a deterrent for that sort of behavior.

But by and large, fouls are just mistakes. I think they should be treated as such. Ball turnover at half is plenty unless it was something like tripping on an open net breakaway, in which case 30s is perfect.

This is the best thought pattern I've heard regarding penalties. Restoring the play is a nice phrase.

If you were really reffing by that mindset, then tripping on an open net break away seems like it would be a penalty shot. Give the defending team a goalie so as to recreate the play as close as possible without giving away a goal. Although 3 on 2 for 30s would be pretty similar in scoring opportunity.

What about when a player on the attacking team fouls the defense and they score?
-unfair play has caused a goal here

Disallow the goal, and give a turnover.

So there is another penalty, disallowed goals.

I don't mean to knit pick, I think you're on the right track.

Categorizing penalties into general groups, lost scoring opportunity, lost possession, disallowed goals, etc...

You don't have to disallow the goal. You just stop the game after the offensive foul, before the goal is shot.. So that's not another penalty, in my opinion.

Well, i saw this scenario in Vienna. I'm not going to name any names, it wasn't called, and probably didn't change the game.

One offensive player is by the goal, with the defenders, and while the defender isn't looking, the attacker knees him in the rear wheel, pushing him over, and causing two defenders to go down. His team mate then scores about a second later.

It was allowed as the ref didn't notice it, but if they had, there wouldn't really have been time to call it before the goal went in.

I don't see disallowing as a real penalty, but yes we have to for sure.
When a goal is scored in a messy situation, the best way as a ref is to stop the game, thinking of what happens, if there is a doubt ask the goal ref, then allow or not the goal. But i can't see that as a penalty applied.
You can call it then going back and say no goal after thinking, if you have right and that you explain it well, then no prob' i think.

In that case the ref has the authority to retroactively say play stopped at the moment of the penalty. It isn't that the goal itself is disallowed, just that the ref says "any play after the specified moment is ignored."

It is the difference between "you scored a goal and now we are taking it away" (new category of punishment)

and "You never scored a goal because anything after the penalty doesn't count" (covered by existing rules).

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Ok, yes, you are right. I see it as taking play back to the moment of the foul, but yes, you are correct, I guess it's a separate action.

A disallowed goal is not a penalty in itself. It comes from the fact that the penalty is called at the moment of the infraction, and the penalized team can not gain any advantage on the court from that moment onward. The penalty is a ball turnover, at the moment of the foul. Anything that happens afterward is just to restore that, including disallowed goals. It's not another type of penalty.

Or a player fouls another player in such a manner that the victim's bike is rendered unfixable?
-unfair play has directly impacted the ability of one team to perform to their fullest

Should the offender be forced to switch bikes too?

I've thought about this for a while, essentially no: each player is expected to bring a suitable strong setup to the court and should be able to switch wheels/fix mechanicals within a few minutes to get them running again in the event of a big crash.

If you give weight-weeny bikes the advantage (both players swap bikes in the event of one mechanical for example) then you can expect more mechanicals in the long-run as everyone may move from super-strong setups to failure-prone setups. This would be very bad in my opinion (more game delays).

Also, it's actually almost impossible to deliberately damage someone's bike without causing a penalty call against you (which in my opinion is enough of a deterrent for most players).

In the unlikely event that you are playing a team that are out to destroy bikes, then you have another option: move the ball around more and avoid any overly physical/messy play.

I guess in an ideal future the top players would have spare bikes to hand anyway (much like other cycle sports), I don't think the rules need changing to cover deliberate/advantageous bike damaging.

Yeah, I've come to agree with Jono on this.

I'm someone who uses ultra light (for polo) front wheels, and they regularly get destroyed (2 destroyed, and 2 tacoed front wheel this year already, sometimes my fault, sometimes not).

That's my choice, and I take a spare front with me where I can.

JonoMarshall wrote:

In the unlikely event that you are playing a team that are out to destroy bikes, then you have another option:

This scenario specifically is the reason I think there should be some "nuclear option" clause in the rule set for referees / tournament organizers to straight up DQ a team for exceedingly reckless play.

I don't know if there has ever been a situation where it would have been applied in the past, and hopefully it never comes to that in the future. But if a team is obviously playing recklessly enough to damage bikes in a consistent and predictable manner, and they continue to due so regardless of penalties and warnings administered, there needs to be a bigger ultimatum. Intentionally trying to hurt people or bikes has no place in any sport, and referees / organizers should have the last resort option to say "Fuck it, you guys are being assholes on purpose, you lose game over."

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

I think you both are wrong John and Nick about scenarios.

I saw a lot of situation where ball turnover is not enough, and 30 seconds too much. That's a ref feeling that i get by reffing a lot of game during one week end. you get a 3 vs 2 situation who is broken by a light foul, gettin a 3v3 ball turnover is not enough, and a 30 seconds penalty is too much. There is plenty scenario where giving a ball turnover won't make the situation the same as it was before the foul. (when i say the "same" i don't mean the same exactly, but something more balanced than a 3v3 restart). So giving more opportunity to the ref to "restore" as you said nick, can't be bad.
At the tourney i reffed, i had to enforce this system of keeping the players next to me while opponent crossed the line. It wasn't in the ruleset at all, and any bookworm player could have benn told me that i coulnd't apply something who didn't exist, but the fact that this looked logical and fair for both teams made this decision legit...nobody complained.

And as i said, 30 seconds is a pain in the ass to enforce, and as that's already hard to find ref who are just looking at the game, asking them to being able to enforce a penalty scheme who need two clocks, a door, an assistant is a bad way.
First i liked the 30 second penalty scenario, but with a bit of experience, as player first then as ref, this penalty is not used more than 1 or 2 times per tourney (often never).

We have to find a way to make the reffin easier and more confortable, and im pretty sure having only two way of giving penalty, one who is easy but sometime to light, and another who can be useful, but often too hard, and always hard to enforce, is not a way to make this job confortable.

I'm just of the opinion that when I lose a game, it is first and foremost because I could have played better. We seem to have this notion in bike polo that we can create this perfectly balanced game in which penalties exactly match the infraction and that no one will ever have to persevere through a blown call.

At the battle for the midwest, whenever someone got slighted, their first reaction was to whip their head around and throw their hands in the air and scream about it. But players get slighted in every sport, all the time.

Personally, I just want the ref to give me the ball back and let me try again. If I lost a bit of advantage or a 3 on 2 has become a 3 on 3 reset, that's okay because you can bet I'm going to get it back. And if I lose that game, I won't walk away thinking it's because I only got a ball turnover and not a 10 second advantage. It will be because I could have played better.

Goons don't win at an exceeding rate in this sport. Talent does. It's why I see a ball turnover as enough. You know? But hey, I'm all for you experimenting with new forms of penalties. Nothing wrong with trying shit out.

Im talking also from a ref point of view. I don't think that in polo we are more looking for matching penalty to the foul more than in other sport, i would say, regarding the poor arsenal a ref have that the opposite is true.

what we get:
-Ball turnover
-30 seconds (almost never applied)
-2 minutes (never seen)

Wich make one kind of penalty who is really easy to enforce and often use.

I understand your point about how's your considering the game, but i'm not looking in the same way, and sometimes when it took me time and effort to create a good scoring situation against a good team, i would love to get the possibility to not get fucked up by a fool, even if im sure that the guy who fooled us didn't deserve 30 second out.
Ball turnover is also giving a chance back to the team who made the fool. I mean you break a good opportunity while your teamate is tapping in, youre ass was on fire, goalkeeper in a bad posiotion, opponents in positions ready to score on you, mallet under the wheel, and you just get the right to get your whole team back in position, and opponents in their half?
You can argue that in some of that case you could apply 30 seconds penalty, but that's mostly never the case, because of the points i said:¨
-hard to enforce
-Something to hard regarding the foul.

Again, a good rulset is one who let the ref a decent amount of way to enforce penalties, and right now, im feeling that we are really missing one or two (who are easy to put on).

I agree with you Clement. I think the example you showed in the video - wheel to the wall at the tap out, you can only go after the ball crosses the line - is a perfect penalty.

It puts one defender out of position for a few seconds, and that is all. It basically gives the offense one "play" at a man advantage, and then the game is back to full strength. Other than an around-the-goal ride if they need a longer advantage, I cannot think of a better way to handle that situation.

On top of that it is very easy for the ref to enforce and doesn't require them to move attention away from the ball to do it.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014