Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Foot Faults And The 2018 PDGA Rule Change


What comes to mind when you hear the words “foot fault”? For those of you who watched coverage from this year’s Memorial, you were probably instantly taken back to hole 11 at Vista del Camino. After his tee shot, Ricky Wysocki stepped up to his lie and threw a smooth forehand line that appeared to be fairly routine.

Yet moments after his release, fellow cardmate Nikko Locastro insisted that Wysocki did not stand within the regulated lie area and called a foot fault on him. None of the other players on the card could confirm or deny the allegation, so the group continued to play as normal.

Why did Nikko think Ricky was out of line and how does the new PDGA rule change play into this event? Let’s look at foot faults in general and then perhaps you can decide for yourself what actually happened in Arizona.

A Flexible Zone

In years past, the PDGA Official Rules of Disc Golf stated that you must have at least one of your supporting points both in contact with and behind your lie when throwing a disc. The exact verbiage, taken from the 2013 booklet, is as follows:

“When the disc is released, a player must: (1) Have at least one supporting point that is in contact with the lie; and, (2) Have no supporting point in contact with the marker disc or any object (including the playing surface) closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc.”

This means that until 2018, all shots thrown behind a mini marker ended with a player’s foot directly behind the lie - not six inches behind, and obviously not in front.

How It’s Changed

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve heard that the PDGA changed the rules regarding your lie in 2018. Instead of having your foot in contact with the lie, you now have a zone to utilize. Measuring 20cm by 30cm, basically a standard size of printing paper, this area is considered to be the legal place where your supporting point must be.

What does that mean? It gives players more wiggle room in all directions when setting up their shot. As long as a portion of your foot is within that zone when you release your disc, you’re good to go. While this rule change makes it easier for players who are learning how to judge their footwork appropriately, it has the potential to create more confusion.

Now that you’re fully aware of the new rule change, apply it to the situation in Arizona. Wysocki was exercising his right to use any part of his 20cm by 30cm zone, and it’s clear that his foot was not directly behind his lie upon release. Yet from where Locastro was standing, he judged that Ricky’s foot was more than 30cm behind his lie and thus called the foot fault. See the issue? Giving more room to throw may actually make it harder to judge whether a player was using the correct footing.

Do you think Wysocki foot faulted on hole 11 or was he within his designated area? How do you feel about the rule change as a whole? We’d love to know your thoughts!
3 comments:
  1. The Rule change is interesting one. To alow a person to gain and advantage behind his lie is strange to be allowed. Moving your foot over even within side the " safe zone " can lead to an easier shot. Just getting out past that one little limb or not having a stance that is on a root or dip in the ground. All things that can be avoided with this safe zone. Toss in the fact that you can choose to either Mark or not Mark your lie and now you have a 40x60cm zone that you can stand in. That is where I start to have a problem with it. The rule should be either A) all players must mark there lie or B) Marking the lie with a mini is done behind the disc not in front. That way we actually play where the disc lies..

    That's my thoughts on it :D

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    1. You must mean a 20x60cm zone. Though most discs are smaller than 30cm diameter, so we'll call it about 20x55cm. Your point is legit, though. On the other hand, I disagree with it.

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  2. He was way more than 30cm (a foot) behind his lie. Nikko was right.

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