Something that pops up from time to time at games and recently the AGM is the foot fault. It’s a polarising subject which can get many people hot under the collar. For the record.
Rule 9 states
Each member of the team shall throw 6 sticks each, and may throw under arm or round arm, not over arm and both feet need to be behind the hocking by the time the stick has left the players hand. A stick leaving the players hand while his foot is standing on the hocking, may be declared a no stick.
However, the rules state nothing of who is to police the transgression and when you should point this out. For example should you have another caller type who stands at the hocking end? Does this person call out each error and put off the thrower or should they wait until the end of the throw?
Now what happens when the hocking doesn’t reach to the end of where the thrower is standing so that it’s not easy to see if the rule is broken? What if the hocking is just a line and it’s easy to step on? What if the hocking is 6 inches high and your toes step on and against but not over, does that count.
These are all valid points that make if difficult to make a judgement. Then of course what if the person throwing disagrees with you! Actually forget that,they’re going to aren’t they? Then what, stop the game till they admit it.
So where does this leave us?
I think it’s a little like speeding. Everyone at one point has done it. Maybe you knew you were doing it, possibly even did it deliberately. But maybe you didn’t and it was just a few mph over the limit but you got caught. How annoyed did that make you, I mean you never, ever speed but the one time you did you got caught and fined or you had to attend the speed school.
The point I’m making here is that no matter how whiter than white you are, you will at some point inadvertently foot foul.
About 3 years ago I was accused of doing the same thing. I didn’t do it deliberately and I certainly wasn’t getting more dolls because of it. But I changed my throw because of it and also began keeping an eye on those people thatbelieved it was cheating, I can tell you I saw them foot fault.
My solution then, if there can be one is this.
Can you imagine the bad feelings that would arise as a consequence of a footfault call where there are no defined ways around it
Anyone can make the call and then wait for the shit to hit for the rest of the game.Of one thing you can be certain, the more important the match the greater the tension, the more an issue it will become. The person making the call should first take that into account. Personally if I was captain and the thrower was stepping over and making a good score repeatedly i might speak quietly to the opposing captain.
The rule actually says ‘may be’ declared a no stick. It’s very discretionary but gives everyone the opportunity to air their views.
In the course of writing this post I’ve tried to get a view of what other people think about it, not just my own personal views but more of a consensus. If you are not aggressive or malicious in the way you approach the other captain I believe an agreement can be met where all the views can be accommodated and a satisfactory outcome arrived. If you are not then what is a fun team competition will no longer be that. When all is said and done we are there to have fun.
I hope this goes some way to answering the question of a foot fault, but I know it falls short of a definitive answer because there isn’t one. I would welcome anyone’s take on this.