Ruleset Update for the 2017 Season

I am happy to present the 2017 NAH Ruleset for the 2017 Qualifying Season, NAHBPC and WHBPC. This ruleset is the most significant update since 2014 when NAH introduced version 4.3. Once again, this version ushers in a new delivery format and naming convention as well as a new process for collaborating and play-testing rules. I will first outline a short list of the most relevant changes, then I explain how it will be implemented and updated moving forward, and lastly I will explain how you can contribute to future efforts.

A PDF is available, but you can read the Ruleset on any device here: https://nahbpa.gitbooks.io/nah-ruleset-2017/content/

The 2017 Ruleset includes the following significant changes:

1. Delayed Penalties
Instead of an advantage being played out endlessly, the Referee will blow the whistle and assess the penalty at the point the team in possession of the ball carries it from the offensive half to the space in their defensive half behind their goal line. This is simply to prevent unnecessarily long delayed penalties and give the team who was penalized 50% of the court and a relief of pressure to make line changes and regain the advantage that was lost due to the penalty. We are going to test this in qualifiers, and make adjustments as needed before the NAHBPC.

2. High Sticking
– You still aren’t allowed to swing your mallet above your shoulders. You also aren’t allowed raise your hand above your shoulders. Additionally, if the Referee deems your back-hand, follow-through or scoop pass to be excessively dangerous they can give you a high-sticking penalty. However, if you are further than 10 feet away from an opponent you can raise your mallet straight into the air, or raise your hand straight into the air, to knock the ball down directly below the point you make contact with it. Passes are not allowed above the shoulders in this situation. We are going to test this in qualifiers, and make adjustments as needed before the NAHBPC.

3. Squad Rules / Tournament Rules
These used to be in the appendices, now they are integrated. Additionally, we have identified a transition area around the entrances of the court for substitutions and mechanics for penalizing illegal substitutions. Changes were made throughout the ruleset to accommodate this, from Timeouts to Penalty enforcement.

4. Interference and Obstruction moved into “Technical Penalties”
The penalties overlapped and were so similar, they are now in one rule and simply identified as “bike” vs “body” interference. There is also a mallet interference penalty to prevent off-ball mallet play which would include the goalie.

5. Crease Violation moved into “Technical Penalties”
Originally we had written that it was an automatic Minor Penalty. This has been updated to be assessed in relation to where the ball is on the court when the penalty occurs.

6. Rotor Guards, Handlebar Width
For safety, we’ve required rotor guards for NAH tournaments (do whatever you’d like in local pickup) and a maximum width of handlebars at 12″ (305mm) from the center of the stem, or 24″ (610mm) total. This is to prevent a player from using their bars to draw fouls or create unsafe close-quarters situations.

7. “Bike Contact”
Instead of 7 different rules we now have 1 for all bike contact, with definitions with each for reference, including a new “Pedal Contact” penalty.

8. Possession, Shooting, Scooping
We’ve added clarification surrounding ball possession, shooting and scooping to reflect more accurately how the game is being played and how players are interacting with the ball and one another on the court. We are going to test this in qualifiers, and make adjustments as needed before the NAHBPC.

9. Clarity and Efficiency
Throughout the ruleset we removed unnecessary language, added it where it was needed and did a complete overhaul of where rules were situated and how they were referenced. This is where the majority of the changes were made and you can look at the change log for actual progress

New Format & Version

We began developing the Ruleset on a new platform called Gitbooks that was created specifically for technical documents that require collaboration and version history. With this transition, we decided to end the numbering system (this would have been version 5), and instead move to a year-based numbering system and PDFs will have their date at the end (e.g. NAH_Ruleset_2017_v41317.pdf). This year you’ll have 2017, next year you’ll have 2018. It makes sense right? Additionally, there is a changelog of every single edit that is made, but the notable changes are always made by creating what is called a “branch” or “change request”. Anyone with editing access can create a new “branch” and after they have finalized their update, I can “merge” the change into the master document. There is also the ability to “fork” the ruleset to create your own. This will be useful for Europe, Australasia, and South America to move freely and  continue innovating or clarifying rules for how the game is played in their local championship series. Lastly, these “change requests” can be commented on by anyone for the author to gather feedback. Please email joe@nahardcourt.com if you’d like to learn more about contributing via comments, branches or forks. Major updates/change requests always have an update number marked in parentheses (i.e. #46, #45, etc.) and minor updates are simply logged by the section that was last edited. You can see the full list of incremental changes here: https://www.gitbook.com/book/nahbpa/nah-ruleset-2017/activity

Implementation Plan

The 2017 Ruleset is to be used in all Regional Qualifying Tournaments. Exceptions can be made, but must be communicated to the Tournament Director, Mark, for approval. Minor updates will be made prior to the NAHBPC, but entire rules will only be added or removed if something deemed completely necessary. Following the NAHBPC, we will coordinate with other organizing bodies throughout the world to update the Ruleset for the 2017 WHBPC in Lexington. Again, we hope there will be no major changes made to the ruleset unless absolutely necessary. After the WHBPC concludes we will go back into a rule development phase through November – February to develop new rules and continue refining this process. At this point we will invite contributors to propose significant rule changes and there will be public discussion and voting by regional reps or club reps as necessary.

Conclusion

I hope you are as excited about this update as we are and we hope you read it thoroughly. The new technology we are using should facilitate well-documented progression in the ruleset and we are hoping to combine it with a new communications system to facilitate discussion. Please email me at joe@nahardcourt.com with any actionable feedback or concern, or if you find any typos/errors. This is a work in progress, as always, but I feel this Ruleset is a significant step forward in helping the world bike polo community play a more exciting, competitive, safe and fun game.

Download the PDF
Contribute to the Ruleset

Cheers,

Joe Rstom

Ruleset v4.5 Unanimously Approved for 2015

This page is a companion to the newly published ruleset for 2015. V4.5 can be found here: http://www.nahardcourt.com/rules/

Over the winter the rules committee has been drafting rules, discussing ideas for the future and play-testing early versions of rules. In January a call was put out for clubs to play-test a version of the crease rule, and Boston and Portland both responded with excellent feedback. In addition to that, we utilized this ruleset in two non-NAH events: Fixcraft’s PHBP Momentum event, and Toronto’s GLWC. We used these opportunities to gather real-life feedback from the players who are pushing these rules to their limit. We are confident that we have successfully built upon the foundation of last years comprehensive ruleset in such a way that work can be focused on specific rules efforts such as these. We no longer need to overhaul an entire document and can pour our minds into heavy topics such as the crease and obstruction. We will continue to gather feedback and improve the language of the entire ruleset.

The voting was open to the regions for the period of 7 days and after some lengthy discussion the vote came back unanimously in favor of enacting this ruleset for the 2015. We gave the voting options of: Affirmative. Affirmative with Comments. Negative with Comments. Abstain.

Votes in:

Cascadia: Affirmative
Eastside: Affirmative
Heartland: Affirmative
Great Lakes: Affirmative with comments
Great Plains: Affirmative
Mexico: Affirmative
Northside: Affirmative
South East: Affirmative
South Central: Abstained
South West: Affirmative with comments

For transparency, here are what the various regions responded with for feedback from club representatives:

South West Feedback:
Crease:
minor penalty too harsh – delayed turnover instead,
size of crease too big, also prefer a half circle shape
doesn’t like the no contact against the goalie rule
how will the 3 seconds be counted?

Obstruction:
Needs fleshing out a bit and more precise language before people can get on board completely
Should be contingent on having more than one ref per court
Worries about subjectivity of refs and how that will affect differences in calls from game to game

Other:
Interfering with another player’s mallet when off-ball should be penalized similar to the way off-ball body contact is. Slashing could be called but it’s too limiting an infraction.

Great Lakes Feedback:
Obstruction:
Perhaps add some more clarity that it’s extended offensive off-ball screens that are elimated. A fair amount of people assumed that while on defense you couldn’t screen someone from receiving a pass. This really just boils down to players not understanding the rule.
I would highly recommend adding an appendix (I realize it makes it longer) that describes the type of play that is illegal. I think eventually it could be eliminated but right now it’s just not natural enough for players to understand. When I’ve explained to people what are the type of plays that are now illegal they’ve almost all agreed that it’s ok. Some additional clarity with a list of a few examples would go a long way.
Consider adding an off ball ref for semi-final and final matches. I realize that we already run short on quality refs but if we’re talking about qualifiers, NAs and World’s we can hope that this would be possible. Usually at this point we’ve moved to one court which would make it easier.


We will continue to refine the ruleset and there will be an update this week and potentially more updates before or during the qualifier season as more play-testing is done. As always, plase contact joe@nahardcourt.com if you have constructive input!

Below is some additional clarification on the obstruction rule and some various scenarios that have been brought to our attention over the past months. Thanks to Mr Do for the video used to make the clips.

NAH Ruleset V4.5 – Obstruction Rule

  • §8.7.1 – An obstruction penalty will be assessed when a player actively impedes the movement of an opposing player who is attempting to make a play on the ball.
    §8.7.1.1 – This movement, referred to as “screening” or “picking,” will be defined as blocking an opponent to gain access to the ball, blocking them from challenging the player in possession of the ball, or preventing them from free and open movement to gain a defensive position on the court.
    §8.7.2 – If a “screen” is set that is stationary, momentary and in a safe manner an obstruction penalty will not be assessed, however, legal bodily contact as described in §10.3 is possible.

Examples

We’ve taken clips of games from last year to provide examples of what is legal, what isn’t and some calls which are on the border to best understand that the line is very fine and will only grow more clear over time. There was no such rule when these games were played, so we aren’t suggesting any of these plays were illegal at the time.

Legal


Legal – Eddy (in red) has the opportunity to screen harder but holds back. This is an example of an equally effective block without impeding movement.

 


Legal – Henri (in blue) nearly screens out Daren (in black). He occupied the space early enough to allow the T-Bone to be avoided. Daren accelerated into the screen. This is a great example of being in the way, rather than getting in the way.

 


Legal – Joey (in black) has the ball, therefore Luca (in gray) had the right to stop short on him.

 

Legal – David (in red) pivot turns, plants his rear tire and inadvertently causes a screen while moving into position to defend or make a play on the ball carrier. David was merely playing the ball without intention to screen.

 


Legal – All of the players involved are continuing their movement in order to avoid any active impeding of movement.

Illegal


Illegal – Eddy (in red) uses his brakes to ‘screen’ Luca (in gray) from making a play on the ball/ball carrier. This is an example of when it’s illegal to prevent a player of moving towards an open ball. If Eddy choses to move towards the ball himself, and uses a screen only to give himself space, then it can be done legally.

 


Illegal – Prolonged impeding of movement by Sean, but it’s also in the crease.

 


Illegal – Obstruction on Will (in gray) but not Polo (second screener in gray). Polo just happens to be in the way while Will put himself in the way by using his brakes.
 


Illegal – Obstruction on Henri (in blue), he rides to the front of the net and stops directly in front of the Mosquito’s player. This is also potentially inside of the crease.

 


Illegal – Obstruction, LML (in turquoise tanktop) cut off line from behind the net while braking hard causing a dab. LML needs to continue rolling forward.

 


Illegal – Obstruction and Tail Whip on Forrest (in turquoise), this could potentially be a Minor penalty if it results in a shot on net.

 


Illegal – Obstruction, Polo (in gray) stops short, with eyes off ball and on Joey (in black) which results in a breakaway. Polo has to let Joey attempt to make a play on the ball carrier.

 


Illegal – First Eddy (in red) interferes, at which point Polo (in gray) protests for a call. Then Eddy Obstructs Polo by cutting his line and stopping short. This results in a 1-on-1 situation with the goalie which means this obstruction could be considered a Minor penalty.

 


The factor’s at play here are the duration of the screen and intensity of braking, but essentially Polo (in gray) is preventing a player without the ball from getting up court into a position. This is illegal, but since it has little effect on the play a referee could let it go with a warning.

 


This is a clear obstruction on Polo (in gray) as he accelerates into a position to deliberately force physical contact with the player in red. If he were already in the position to block, it’s legal, but since he had to move deliberately and held the screen, it’s Obstruction. Moreover, it results in a shot on net that wasn’t fairly won..

German translation of NAH Ruleset

Thanks to Graz Bike Polo, in Austria, who have translated the NAH rules into German.

The original English ruleset is the only one applicable to NAH tournaments (we hope to change this sooner rather than later, at least for Spanish and French), this may be very useful for those whose first language is German, and would like to use our ruleset.

http://graz.bikepolo.at/cms/wp-content/uploads/NAH_4.3-Deutsch-BPA-Version_final.pdf.

2014 Referee Certification + More

1. Version 4.2 of the Rules

We’ve updated §3.3 – Overtime.

It has reverted to the overtime rule of prior seasons: Instead of five minutes followed by first-goal-wins, it will simply be first-goal-wins after a rejoust. You can find the updated pdf here, or on the Rules page.

NAH Ruleset v4.2

2. NAH Referee Requirements for Qualifiers and Supplemental Support

Staffing 

A minimum of two paid and certified referees per court, available to be scheduled throughout the duration of the tournament. The names of these certified referees should also be sent to the Referee Committee prior to the qualifier. So, for a qualifier with two courts, four names should be submitted. These certified referees do not need be scheduled the entirety of the weekend. It is recommended that a certified referee oversee the scheduling responsibilities. This underpins what will be a single-referee system throughout swiss rounds and early bracket games, moving to a double-referee system later in the bracket.

After the meeting the basic requirements above, if the organizer wants to schedule unpaid, uncertified referees, that is their prerogative. It is also recommended to have certified referees scheduled for all winners bracket / late losers bracket games, especially when moving to a double-referee system. If a region has significantly less teams, NAH will make exceptions to this requirement case-by-case.

Compensation

A minimum of $20/day for paid referees, for which NAH will provide supplemental support. In lieu of a membership system, the additional $10 per player tournament fee is going primarily towards this expense. The amount you receive will be based on the number of participants. If a region has significantly less teams, NAH will make exceptions to this requirement case-by-case.

3. 2014 Certification Material + Supplemental Education

After several months of development, NAH is releasing the 2014 certification test which can be found here. It includes individual quizzes on each section of the rules, as well as a final section of long-answer questions that all require video analysis. The tests for most sections are not meant to be easy. A high success rate will require careful analysis of the exact wording of the rules.

In contrast to the tests, the Referee Committee also wrote explanations for each section of the rules in a conversational tone for those players who want more insight into how rules were developed and will be applied. This also features an additional section of instructions for referee conduct. The education materials can be found here.

Certification Course

Education Material

4. Qualifier Referee Signup including Out-Of-Region Referee Share

NAH, through organizer suggestion, has created a google form to collect referee signups for people who would like to signup in their own regions, as well as travel out of region to other qualifiers. This list will be shared with tournament organizers, who can then reimburse travel expense, if their budget allows. Organizers are encouraged to find non-playing referees but nothing is required at this time as resources are limited.

Referee Signup Google Form

Please contact joe@nahardcourt.com with any questions, thoughts, concerns. Also, if you’d like to help revise and add to this for 2015, please drop a line.

A special thanks go out to Bruce, Crusher and Kruse for their help with this project. Also huge thanks to our long-time partner, Fixcraft, who has demonstrated continued support with a contribution of referee shirts for qualifiers and for providing the first-ever official referee uniforms for North Americans.
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