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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rules Clarification - Player Bumped into NVZ

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius...

Players love to talk about rules, especially esoteric rules. i have been posting about some situations that I faced as a referee. Now I will venture beyond my personal experience into the experiences of others. This post relates to the always-confusing momentum rule and the NVZ.

Let's look at a specific situation. Alan and Barry are partners. A ball is hit to them such that Barry thinks he can poach it. However, it is volleyed by Alan before Barry reaches it. In the process of going for the poach, Barry's momentum carries into Alan and they collide after Alan has made the return. The collision knocks Barry into the NVZ after separation between the players occurs. The question is whether this is a NVZ violation. 

Before we discuss the issues and reach the final answer, a review of the applicable rules might be helpful.
9.B. A fault will be declared if, in the act of volleying the ball, a player or anything the player is wearing or carrying touches the non-volley zone or touches any non-volley line. For example, a fault will be declared if, in the act of volleying the ball, one of the player’s feet touches a non-volley line.
IFP Comment: The act of volleying the ball includes the swing, the follow-through, and the momentum from the action. If the paddle touches the non-volley zone during the swing, it is a fault regardless of whether the touch occurred before or after contacting the ball. (Added January 15, 2012)
9.C. A fault will be declared if, in the act of volleying the ball, the player's momentum causes the player or anything the player is wearing or carrying to touch the non-volley zone or touch any non-volley line. It is a fault if the player's momentum causes the player to touch anything that is touching the non-volley zone, including the player’s partner. It is a fault even if the ball is declared dead before the player touches the nonvolley zone.
9.D. A fault will be declared if the player violates the intent of the non-volley zone rule. All volleys must be initiated outside of the non-volley zone. A maneuver such as standing within the non-volley zone, jumping up to hit a volley, and then landing outside the nonvolley zone is prohibited. If a player has touched the non-volley zone for any reason, that player cannot volley the return until both feet have made contact with the playing surface completely outside the non-volley zone. (Revised June 23, 2012)
A good case can be made that the play is a fault. It could be argued that Alan’s momentum forced Barry into the kitchen. While technically Alan nor anything on Alan's body touched the NVZ, 9.D's mentioning of the intent of the momentum seems to leave it open to interpretation.

But an equally good case can be made for no fault. Barry did not hit the ball and was not in the NVZ when he made contact with Alan. Alan is the only player whose momentum is at issue and it never took him into the NVZ. Furher, the player he touched was not in the NVZ either.

The final ruling on the specifics of this situation is that it was not a fault. The ruling was based on a simple concept. Rules are to be enforced as written. No rules should be merged or the logic extended to cover situations not explicitly in the rules. Since no rules explicitly cover the bumping the situation as described, it cannot be ruled a fault.

There is a similar situation that would seem to have the opposite ruling, however. The change in situation is subtle. Instead of Barry going into the NVZ after separating from Alan, Barry goes in while still in contact with Alan. There is an argument that contact means Barry becomes an extension of Alan and thus Barry's NVZ entry is also Alan's entry. If true, this would be a fault. The GIF shown below illustrates this situation. I have not confirmed that this is a fault yet.

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys - thought this video rules page might be of help to some of you.

    Cheers Tom