Another spring; another rule set. What's a girl to do? Alas, it's the sport we play. The rules seem to change like the weather in March, and if you want to enjoy the sport you love and not spend the entire time in the box, then you have to hit the books! Luckily, I've become somewhat familiar with the new rules using my large brain and will gladly give you a run-down of how these new rules affect you. So come, join me, we'll walk through the glorious meadow of new rules together.
The Good: Power jams won't be so brutal. With only 30-35 seconds to score points, a jammer will only be able to make around 3-4 passes if they slice through the pack like buttah, which will only result in around 15-20 points; maybe even less than that depending on how great your wall is. This is a game changer. It will definitely make bouts a little more evenly keeled and better represent the distinguishing qualities between teams.
The Bad: When 30 second penalties were announced, there were praises of joy throughout the land! People danced in the streets! Maidens were kissed by strangers! As great as it is to spend less time in the box, skaters failed to realize right away that they'll fail out way faster, and if your jammer isn't disciplined, she can fail out before the first half ends (and then you're out one of your jammers for the entire second half). This means that your team has to be incredibly disciplined and play clean. I think it's even more important to stay out of the box now than it ever was before, and whoever can stay out of the box will take home the win.
Synopsis: You guessed it! It's the same as it's always been. Stay out of the box.
Yielding: Thank GOODNESS this rule got changed. This was by far the most asinine rule of all time. Having to go back a full lap for having a sliver of a wheel behind the line was lame, and frankly a bit dangerous. Now a player can yield (give enough time for the opposing team to gain position) and then re-enter the engagement zone.
The Good: It makes more sense. Being able to yield instead of going back behind the entire pack while staying in bounds is a lot safer. The old rule set caused a lot of necessary run-ins and collisions.
The Bad: Sometimes an opposing skater isn't paying attention to how close she is to the line, and you can draw that penalty. Now, you can't. She'll just have to wait a few seconds and rejoin the pack.
Synopsis: I like this rule!
The Good: The reason why I like this rule change is because it tried to take into account intent. I intended to yield, and because my intentions were pure, I don't get punished for making a stupid mistake. Now, this rule doesn't actually measure intent per se, but it does give you a break when you're obviously just trying to get to the back of the pack and you're skates just aren't agreeing with you.
The Bad: It's going to be a little harder to draw that track cut penalty now, which can really help a team out. With that, if you manage to draw the track cut penalty, it's a 30 second power jam. Going along with what I said earlier, this will mean less power jams in general and more evenly scored bouts when teams are mostly of the same caliber. Essentially, there will be less bouts where the team has a "bad day" and the score is a blow-out. It's also a lot harder for refs to watch for this, so mistakes will be made, and it might get a little heated because of it.
Synopsis: Hey, don't cut still.
Well that's all I'm going over today, folks. I know not all of the rules were addressed, but make sure to read them over yourself at http://wftda.com/rules/change-summary/rules-2014-03-01. Knowledge is power! And knowing the rules will give you an upper hand in any bout. See you on the track!
The Original Skankster