Rules for 2009 National Tournament

Rules announced for Nationals.

20th November 2009

Based on Melbourne 2009 Rules and Current Practice.

In additon to reading the rules, please view this important safety video.

Earlier this year we discussed developing a national set of rules for the nationals with input from every city. The feedback from other cities was unanimous that the Melbourne rules should apply as the Nationals were being held here. This is consistent with hardcourt bikepolo around the world.

These rules are based on 2 years of bike polo in Melbourne.  They represent the way we actually play, decisions about these rules are not made by the person who writes them, they are made by everyone who plays polo.

Australian National Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship Rules 2009

Download these rules as an A4 PDF here.

Bike Polo is a game played in good spirit.  The fewer rules and disruptions to play the better, Keep it simple, keep it nice and keep playing polo.
Anything not covered in these rules is subject to the determination of the referee or officials.  The referee’s decision is final.
Rule No. 1
• Don’t be a dickhead.

• No mallets above handlebars near other players, Keep mallets clear of peoples faces.
• No ramming.
• Mallet handle & handlebar ends must be capped.
• No exposed outer chain rings.
• Umpire to stop play after injury.
• No mallet to body or bike contact.
• No throwing mallets.
• Helmets are required.

• No mallets under wheels.
(Repeat intentional offences may be considered a strong penalty)
• Like to like only contact is allowed: mallet on mallet, body on body (hip n shoulder) bike on bike (wheel on wheel).
• No grabbing, No punching, No slapping, No leaning on others people handlebars.
• Play others as they play you (if a player isn’t roughing you up, don’t take them out).

• No dangerous mallet heads. (Group consensus applies)

• Exposed outer chain rings should be removed, filed down or covered.
• You must have a brake.  Fixed gear counts as a brake.
• Limited time outs for mechanical failure (at the referees discretion)
Gameplay Rules
• To start the game, referee calls 3,2,1 (Polo/Go/Kill etc).
• Winner is first to 5 goals or highest score within the time limit.
• Shuffling, dribbling and passing may be done with the side of the mallet or wheels.
• Games are 10 or 15 minutes or first to 5 goals, finals are untimed.
• Games will be timed by the referee.

• There are no special privileges or restrictions for goalies.
• Any player on a team may act as a goalie at any time.

• If your feet touch the ground you cannot play the ball or obstruct other players until you have tapped back in.
• You may put your feet onto a vertical surface, but putting your foot downwards onto the ground, ball, mallet, edge cone or bike counts as a footdown.
• Unless playing the ball directly.  If you mallet another player and they dab, tap in.
• You must hit the tap out directly, or will be asked to circle around and hit it again.
• Tap in points will be setup on either side of the court at the centre line.
• If you are malleted, and you dab, you still have to tap in.

• Goals will be a pair of 1m cones placed 1.5m  apart (centre to centre).
• A height limit of the cones will apply for goals.
• Shots must be struck by the end of the mallet to score.
• Shuffles do not count as a goal.
• Scooping/Ball Jointing/Dragging cannot be used to score
• Own Goals count, including shuffles.
• Deflections off edges and other bikes on the court count.
• A deflection off the back wall does not count. (eg, the ball bounces off the inside of a goalie)

After a Goal
• The conceding team takes possession.
• Both teams to return to their halves.
• The scoring team cannot come back across centre court until the ball or any player of the conceding team has come past centre court.
• Conceding team may not advance till at least 2 opponents have returned to their half and turned to face.
• Scoring team cannot cross half till an attacker or the ball crosses halfway.
• In the case of the ball ricocheting from the goals back across half court immediately after a goal, the referee will instruct for the ball be passed back across half court.
• In the case of either team taking undue time returning to their goal or crossing half, the referee can issue a warning and call ‘game on’.
• Each court will have a scoreboard and score keeper.

Referees and Penalties
• Players should resolve disputes on court. If this can’t happen the Ref has the final decision.
• In some cases referees may issue a “Strong Penalty” for major violations of the rules.
• A Strong Penalty may order a player to:
• Tap In.
• Double Tap In (at both points).
• Give possession to the other team.
• Leave the court till a goal is scored.
• Refs will only make rulings on a score that is contested by players.
• A Ref will appoint a goal spotter at the start of a game and consult them when required.
• Refs are the only ones who can call a TIME OUT for injury, mechanical, etc. If the Ref doesn’t call it, keep playing.
• Ref will stop the game will stop for injury or mechanical failure resulting from a crash.
• Gameplay may not stop for mechanical failure due to poor maintenance or equipment. Referees discretion applies.
• A team may only substitute players in the case of injury, or at the referees discretion for other reasons.
• It is the responsibility of the team playing to have a spare player, bike or wheels available for substitution.

Out of bounds
• Nearest spectator to return the ball to play by throwing gently as if it had bounced off the edge naturally, without favour and not in front of goals.

Ball Replacement
• During extreme heat, balls will be stored on ice and rotated at the start of each game.
• If a ball gets stuck in the wheel or frame of a bike, the referee will stop and restart play.

9 thoughts on “Rules for 2009 National Tournament

  1. Nice,

    A point to clarify, what is defined as a dangerous mallet head?

    Discussion: Helmets are a no-brainer. I will be wearing one. Have you considered venue terms-of-use/ litigation issues?
    We ride with helmets on the road IN CASE we have an accident. In polo you WILL have an accident.
    Also, after seeing that helmets can actually cause injury (Ray vs Rob, Melb, July) I recommend that MTB style visors are removed from helmets.

    Discussion: Maybe with goal scoring, state that goals can only be scored from the court side of the goals with the players bike (one wheel at least) on the court side of the goal line (but not in the goal). Goal not allowed from ball moving from behind goal line(e.g. back wall rebound) unless it is passed from a player to a teammate on the court side. Cannot pass back through goal and then score, Ball must be played around goal and scored from court side
    Your thoughts?

    Airborne ball, play like any ball, goals only off the end (goal of the century award = 2 doz beer of choice)

    Goal height. handle bar height or those tall cylindrical “cones” sound reasonable. Might be hard to ref high(er) goals.


  2. On consideration, the Rules you have already written are perfectly ok. One gripe we sometimes get is people who ride behind the goal and drag/tap the ball towards themselves to score (as long as they dont feed back through the goal first). Hence my reasoning of being on the court side of the goal to score. But if they ever get in a postion to score in that way at a national level then it probably shouldn’t be disallowed.
    However, like you already have in the rules, I dont think it should be a goal if the ball rebounds off the back wall then bounces off the goalie.

    Can you still tell me what constitutes a dangerous mallet head?
    Some might say mine is dangerous but thats because my shots are so sharp. ;-)


  3. Yep, we never really settled on a good differentiation between a/ shuffling the ball through your own goal and b/ unsuccessfully defending your goals when the ball hits the side of your mallet.

    We decided “keep the ball out of your own goals” was much simpler. :)

  4. Hi,

    it seems the rules on bicycles is not mentioned.

    I read somewhere that skidding is discouraged on the flagstaff courts. All the Perth guys have since attached front brakes, but would love to get some confirmation on this. :)

  5. Hey,
    Thanks for the question. There are no hard and fast rules on bikes, fixed or free, brakes front or back or both or neither are all legit. There has been some discussion (and a few notable incidents) involving exposed chainrings. It’s probably worth getting these addressed aysep for your own safety.
    Skidding was a concern that didnt really turn into a bit problem for us. If you’re front braking then you’re definetly in the all clear. The Melburne crew might have to do a little cleanup after the event but there were never any complaints.
    If any of you especially fixie brakeless kids can get a blue rear tyre onto your bike then absolutely go for it! :)

  6. The rules look good. I’ve noticed a little lately the “play others as they play you” principle is falling out of favour. Give as good as you get for sure but let the clean play clean. Also, I haven’t seen anyone dabbing out after malleting someone so they dab… might need to be stated on the day? it’s gonna be fun regardless.

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