Rule of the Fortnight - Elbows

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Mags Payne
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Rule of the Fortnight - Elbows

Post by Mags Payne » Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:18 pm

I'm pretty sure everyone is aware of elbows penalties (and elbows in general - they are the bendy bits in the middle of your arm), but there are some parts of the rules that I'm sure most people actually aren't aware of when it comes to elbows.
5.4.1 - When engaging an opponent, elbows may not be swung with a forward/backward motion.

5.4.2 - When engaging an opponent, elbows may not be swung with an upward or downward motion.
So far, so expected. You're not allowed to ram into folk while flailing your elbows. It's dangerous, after all. And we all know how officials feel about danger.
5.4.3 - The elbow must be bent while blocking with that arm.

So you know that 'whiskers', 'feelers', 'sticking your arm out and contacting an opponent' thing that skaters do a lot that involves a straight arm? If by doing that you impede an opposing skater so they lose relative position, you can be issued an elbows penalty. This is one that (and I include myself in this) is often mistakenly called as a forearms penalty - if the forearm is the bit doing the impeding and the elbow is not bent, technically it should be called as an elbows penalty. The more you know. This has actually been a rule since 2006!! Surprised me the first time I encountered it!
5.4.4 - Contact may not be made exclusively with the point of the elbow (i.e., jabbing).
This is the most common elbows penalty you see called. Remember to keep them tucked in!
5.4.5 - Elbows may not be used to hook an opponent in any way (e.g., by wrapping one’s arm around an opponent’s arm).
This is something that occasionally happens by accident - arms get wrapped up and folk are impeded. But just because something is accidental, doesn't mean it's not a penalty.

No Impact/No Penalty

For our newer readers - No Impact/No Penalty means that this action is technically illegal, but as it does not have an impact, it does not merit a penalty.
5.4.6 - Any illegal contact with the elbow or swinging motion of the elbow that forces the receiving opponent off balance, forward, and/or sideways but does not cause the opponent to lose relative position or the initiator or teammate to gain relative position.
So remember that sneaky straight armed thing above? If you did that to an opponent and didn't affect their relative position, it wouldn't be called as an elbow (if you did impede them, regardless of relative position, it could still be called as forearms!). Same as if you knock someone with your elbow and they lightly stumble but do not fall.

5.4.7 - Any illegal swinging motion of the elbow or illegal elbow contact that causes an opponent to lose relative position, or the initiator or a teammate to gain relative position.
You elbow someone and they fall, go out of bounds, or they lose relative position (or you or a teammate gain relative position) then it's a penalty.
5.4.8 - Use of an elbow or arm to pin or hook an opponent’s arm in a manner as to impede the opponent’s mobility.
Holding onto opponents is bad!

The following egregious acts will be automatic game expulsions. Expulsions will be issued for a conscious and forceful attempt to elbow an opponent egregiously, whether or not the action was successful.

5.4.9 - Negligent, or reckless contact with an opponent by using the elbow in an illegal manner.
Elbowing folk is bad. It's dangerous. And you don't even have to make contact for it to be expulsion worthy. Elbows - not even once.

See! Even in rules where you think you know what's going on, there's wee sneaky bits that can trip you! (Every time I read the rules, I'm sure they've slipped in 3 or 4 new ones when I wasn't looking...).

Any questions, ask away! Refs love questions.
Head Referee, WFTDA Officials rep, WFTDA Rules Committee Member, MRDA Recognised Official.

Good? Bad? I'm the girl with the whistle.

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Re: Rule of the Fortnight - Elbows

Post by Legs11 » Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:26 pm

So you know that 'whiskers', 'feelers', 'sticking your arm out and contacting an opponent' thing that skaters do a lot that involves a straight arm?

^ we don't encourage a straight arm whisker when coaching for this very reason; it's more tracking/holding with the upper arm & armpit, and aiming for soft/bent arms to make the elbow and forearm contact more incidental. But with our new wall set ups, whiskers would only really be used occasionally in one on one blocking/ pair work nowadays which is generally better news for our potential penalties :D
Coach / WFTDA Director


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