REC.SPORT.TABLE-SOCCER FAQ 5
USTSA Rules of Play Revised January 1995
Version 1995.1.b: The b revision indicates the addition of the Adrian
Zamora's Rules Clarification from the Officiating Clinic on 8-96.
Submitted to RSTS by Ronald Rockhold (r...@austin.ibm.com)
Table of Contents
1..........Start of Match
4..........Ball in Play
5..........Ball Off the Table
8..........Resuming Play After Time Out
9..........Official Time Out
10.........Point Scored on an In and Out
12.........Change of Positions
13.........Spinning the Rods
16.........Reaching into Playing Area
17.........Alterations to the Table
22.........Time of Possession
23.........Match Time Limit
24.........Delay of Game
27.........Rules Decisions and Appeals
28.........Code of Ethics
...........Four on Four
...........Rules Clarification 8-96
1. To Start a Match
A coin flip shall precede the start of the match. The team that
wins the flip has the choice of table side or first serve. The team
that loses the flip has the remaining option and must also pay for the
first game, with that expense alternating thereafter.
1.1 Once a team has chosen either the table side or the first serve,
they may not change their decision.
1.2 In the event of the loser's bracket winner beating the winner's
bracket team in the first match, the second match will be started in the
same manner as a regular match with the coin flip, etc.
1.3 The match officially starts once the ball has been put into play.
(BUT violations such as cursing, etc. may be called by the official
assigned to judge the match as soon as he and both teams are present at
2. The Serve
A serve through the serving hole is used to put the ball into play
at the start of the match, after a point is scored, or after a ball
leaves the table. The server may attempt to influence the roll of the
ball, but may not allow any part of either hand to be in the play area
once the ball hits the playfield.
2.1 The play area shall be defined as the area above the playing
surface to the height of the side boards of the cabinet.
2.2 Prior to serving the ball, the server may place either hand in the
play area in order to position the ball.
2.3 The ball may not be struck by either team following a serve until
it has touched the playfield, at which time the ball is considered to be
"in play" and the time limits start.
2.4 Spinning the ball shall be allowed in order to influence the
serve, however, no point shall be scored by the serving team unless the
ball is struck by one of the serving team's figures.
2.5 The server must not serve the ball until he has the assurance that
the opposing team is ready for play to begin. The server can signify
that play is about to begin by tapping the ball on the side of the
2.5a If the server has tapped the ball, and the opposing team is
holding their handles, the opposing team shall be deemed to be ready for
play (unless they have specifically stated before the ball hits the playing
surface that they are not ready yet).
2.6 On the first violation of any part of this rule, the ball shall be
re-served by the original server. Subsequent violations, however, shall
result in the ball being put into play by a server of the opposing team.
2.6a If the ball is incorrectly served, but the server has not violated
any part of these rules, the ball is considered in play. In particular,
the player may not reach into the play area to re-serve the ball (see
3. Subsequent Serves
Following the first serve of a match, subsequent serves shall be
made by the team last scored upon. First serves in subsequent games of
a multi-game match shall be made by the team which lost the preceding
3.1 If the ball is served by the wrong team, and the violation is
discovered before the ball is scored, play shall be stopped and the ball
shall be re-served by the proper team. Once the ball is scored, no
protests shall be allowed, and play shall continue as if no infraction
had been committed.
3.2 If a team receives the serve because the opposing team is being
penalized for a rules infraction, and if, after the ball is served, it
goes dead or leaves the table and must be re-served, it shall be re-
served by the team who originally served it prior to the infraction.
4. Ball in Play
Once a ball is put into play by the server (see 2), it shall
remain in play until the ball is hit off the table, a dead ball is
declared, time out is called, or a point is scored.
5. Ball Off the Table
If the ball should leave the playing area and strike the scoring
marker, ash trays, top of the side rails, cabinet ends, or any object
that is not a part of the table, the ball shall be declared off the
table. The ball should be put back into play with a serve by the team
which originally served that ball.
5.1 A ball entering the serving cup and then returning to the
playfield is still considered "in play".
6. Dead Ball
A ball shall be declared a dead ball when it has completely
stopped its motion and is not within reach of any player figure.
6.1 If the ball is declared dead between the goal and two-man rods, it
shall be put back into play by placing the ball in the corner nearest
the spot of the dead ball and releasing it into play from rest.
6.1a The goalie must have the assurance that the opposing team is ready
for play to continue before putting the ball back into play in this
manner (see 2.6). Furthermore, the goalie must then move the ball from
one player figure to another one and then stop the ball for a full
second before the motion of a shot or pass may begin.
6.1b The time limits begin one second after the ball touches the
6.2 If the ball is declared dead anywhere between the two-man rods, it
shall be put back into play with a serve by the team that originally
served that ball.
6.3 A ball that is spinning in place is not considered to be a dead
6.4 A ball that is intentionally made dead in order to advance the
ball or reset the time limits shall be given to the opposing team for a
re-serve (example: the two-man placing the ball just out of reach in
order to re-serve the ball).
6.5 The penalty for illegally putting the ball back into play (as in
6.1) is the opponent's choice of either continuing play from the current
position or re-serving the ball. This includes the cases where a player
either loses the ball or scores on himself before the ball has been put
back into play.
7. Time Out
Each team is allowed two time outs per game during which the
players may leave the table. Such time outs shall not exceed 30
seconds. If the ball is in play, time out may be called only by the
team in possession of the ball, and then only if the ball is completely
stopped. If the ball is not in play, either team may call time out.
7.1 Either team may take the full 30 seconds, even if the team that
called the time out does not wish to take the full allotment.
7.2 Either team may switch positions during a time out (see 12).
7.3 A time out called between games shall apply to the following game
to be played in counting time outs per game.
7.4 A player who removes both hands from the handles and turns
completely away from the table while the ball is in play shall be
considered to have requested a time out.
7.4a A player can take his hands from the handles to wipe them off
before a shot, as long as it doesn't take more than two or three
seconds. However the time limits continue to run while the player wipes
his hands. The team on defense should not relax if the opponent takes
his hand(s) off the rod (see 18.4).
7.5 Either team member may call time out when either he or his partner
has the ball. The time out starts the moment the time out is called.
7.5a If the team with the ball attempts a shot or pass immediately
after requesting a time out, the play shall not count, and the team
shall be charged with a distraction (see 18.2) rather than a time out.
7.6 If the team in possession of the ball calls a time out while the
ball is in play and moving, that team shall lose possession, and the
ball shall be served by the opposing forward. If the team not in
possession of the ball calls a time out when the ball is in play, that
team shall be charged with a distraction (see 18.2).
7.7 If a team is not ready to play at the end of the 30 second period,
that team shall be charged with another time out.
7.8 A team calling and/or charged with more than two time outs per
game shall be charged with an automatic technical foul. The technical
foul shall be shot before the 30 second period is granted.
7.8a A team charged with a time out shall always be given the full
30 second period, even if they have previously taken two time outs, and
either team may switch positions during this time.
7.9 Once a player begins to put the ball back into play following a
time out (by moving the ball), a time out may not be called again until
the ball has left the current rod of possession.
7.9a Penalty for violation of this rule (7.9) is loss of
possession, and the ball shall be served by the opposing forward. The
team shall not be charged with a time out.
7.10 During a time out a player may reach into the play area to
spray the rods, wipe the playfield, etc. The ball may be picked up by
hand, as long as it is returned to its original position before play is
7.11 During a time out the player may not move the ball from man
to man without the permission of the official, as this can be considered
practice (see 19). Penalty for violation of this rule (7.11) is loss of
possession and the ball shall be served by the opposing forward.
If the official present feels that it would be impossible to be sure
of accurately replacing the ball to the exact position it occupied at
the time of a time out, they may deny a request to pick up the ball
(example: a ball precariously perched on the edge of the goal).
8. Resuming Play After Time Out
Following a time out, the ball shall be put back into play by the
player who had possession when the time out was called.
8.1 If the ball was in play when the time out was called, the player
must have the assurance that the opposing team is ready before moving
the ball. The player must then move the ball from one player figure to
another one and then stop the ball for a full second before the motion
of a shot or pass may begin.
8.1a The time limit begins one second after the ball touches the second
8.2 If the ball was not in play when the time out was called, the ball
shall be put back into play with a serve by the team that originally
served that ball.
8.3 The penalty for illegally putting the ball back into play is the
opponent's choice of either continuing play from the current position or
re-serving the ball. This includes the case of a player losing the ball
before touching two men.
9. Official Time out
An official time out does not count towards the two time outs
allowed per team per game. After an official time out, the ball is put
back into play as though a regular time out were called.
9.1 If an official is not present at the start of the match, and a
dispute arises during play, either team may request an official. Such a
request can be made at any point during the match that the ball is
stopped or dead.
9.la The first request for an official is considered an official time
out. The cost for the official will be split between the two teams.
9.1b If the defensive team makes a request for an official while
the ball is in play and stopped, and the offensive team simultaneously
attempts a pass or shot, the request for a time out will be treated as a
distraction by the defensive team. Likewise, a request for an official
while the ball is in motion will also be considered a distraction.
9.2 Any team subsequently requesting an official will automatically be
charged with a time out. Such a request may only be made during a dead
ball. The penalty for requesting another official while the ball is in
play is a technical foul.
9.2a The Head Official will decide whether the request for a new
official will be granted. If the request is granted, the team
requesting the official must pay the full cost of the new official. The
two officials will then judge the match. An official may be replaced
only at the discretion of the Head Official.
9.2b If there are already two officials present, any request for a
new official will be denied, and the team will be charged with a
9.3 A team may not switch positions during an official time out,
unless they are otherwise entitled to do so (see 12).
9.4 Table Maintenance - Any necessary table maintenance, such as
changing balls, tightening the men, etc., must be requested before the
start of the match. The only time that a player may call a table
maintenance time out during a match would be in the case of a sudden
alteration to the table, such as a broken man, broken screw, crumbling
bumper, bent rod, etc.
9.4a If a player figure is broken while in contact with the ball,
an official time out will be declared while the rod is fixed. Play will
resume on the rod where the player figure broke.
9.4b If the table lighting fails, play shall immediately stop at
that point (as though an official time out were called).
9.4c Routine maintenance, such as spraying the rods, etc.,
should only be done during time outs and between games.
9.5 Foreign objects on field of play - if an object should fall on the
playfield, play shall immediately stop at that point. There should be
nothing on the ends of the table that could fall onto the playfield.
9.6 Medical time out - a player or team may request a medical time
out. This request must be approved by the Tournament Director, the Head
Official, and a member of the officiating staff. They will determine
the length of the medical time out, up to a maximum or 60 minutes. A
player who is physically unable to continue playing after that time must
forfeit the match.
9.6a If the request for a medical time out is denied, the player
will be charged with a time out. The player may also be penalized for
delay of game (see 24), at the discretion of the official.
9.6b Medical time outs will typically be granted only for
accidental or unexpected injuries incurred during the course of play.
10. Point Scored
A ball entering the goal shall count as a point, as long
as it was legally scored. A ball which enters the goal but returns
to the playing surface and/or leaves the table still counts as a goal.
10.1 If a point is not counted on the scoring markers and both teams
agree that it was previously scored and inadvertently not marked up,
the point shall count. If both teams do not agree that a point was
scored and not marked up, after another ball is scored, that point
shall not be counted.
10.2 If there is a controversy over whether or not the ball entered
the goal, an official should be called.
10.3 Any team intentionally marking up a point not scored shall
not get credit for the point illegally marked up and shall be charged
with a technical foul. Further violations of this rule will be
grounds for forfeiture of game or match (to be determined by the Head
11. Table Sides
At the end of each game, teams must switch sides of the table
before play of the next game can begin. A maximum of 60 seconds is
allowed between games.
11.1 Either team can request the full 60 seconds. If both teams
acknowledge that they are ready to resume play before the full time is
used, play shall continue and the remainder of that 60 seconds is then
11.2 If a team, is not ready to play at the end of the 60 second
period, that team shall be charged with delay of game.
12. Change of Positions
In any doubles event, each player may play only the two rods
normally designated for his position. Once the ball is put into play,
the players must play the same position until a point is scored, a team
requests a time out, or a technical is called.
12.1 Either team may switch positions during a time out, between
points, between games, or before and/or after a technical foul shot.
12.2 Once a team has switched positions, they may not switch back
until after the ball has been put back into play or another time out has
12.2a A team is considered to have switched positions once both
players are in their respective places facing the table.
12.3 Illegally switching positions while the ball is in play will be
judged a distraction.
12.3a In any doubles event any player placing their hand on any rod
normally designated as one played by their partner while the ball is
in play shall be judged as a distraction violations.
13. Spinning the Rods
Spinning of the rods is illegal. Spinning is defined as the
rotation of any soccer figure more than 360 degrees before or after
striking the ball. In calculating the 360 degrees, you do not add the
degrees spun prior to striking the ball to the degrees spun after
striking the ball.
13.1 A ball which is advanced by an illegal spin is replayed as
If the ball goes in the goal, then it will not be counted as a
point and will be put back into play by the goalie as if the ball had
been declared a dead ball between the goal and the nearest two-man rod.
If the ball does not go in the goal, the opposing team will have
the option of continuing play from the current position or re-serving
13.2 Spinning of a rod which does not advance and/or strike the ball
does not constitute an illegal spin. If a player's spinning rod hits
the ball backwards into his own goal, it will count as a goal for the
opposing team. Spinning of a rod away from the ball (when there is no
possession) is not considered an illegal spin, but may be ruled as a
13.3 If an ungrasped rod is spun by the force of a ball hitting a
player figure on the rod, the spin will be considered legal (example: a
two-man shot in singles hitting the three-man).
Any jarring, sliding, or lifting of the table shall be illegal.
Whether or not the table jarring is done intentionally is of no
consequence. This call must be made by an official. It is not
necessary for a player to lose the ball for jarring to be called on his
14.1 The penalty for violation of this rule:
First offense - the opposing team has the option of continuing
play from the current position, continuing play from the point of
infraction, or re-serving the ball. If an illegal jar causes the player
to lose possession of the ball from a rod, play may be continued from
Subsequent violations - Technical foul. After the technical shot
the non offending team continues to have the options listed under First
14.2 Touching or coming into contact with your opponent's rods in any
way shall be penalized exactly like jarring, sliding, or lifting.
14.3 Jarring of the table may be called even if the ball is not in
play. In particular, slamming the rod after the shot may be considered
If a player has the ball stopped and set up to shoot or pass, and
the ball is unintentionally moved due to jarring by the opponent, the
official present will call "reset" and he will reset all time limits.
The player with the ball has the option of setting the ball up again, or
ignoring the reset call and playing the ball where it is.
15.1 Any movement of the ball, no matter how slight, may be considered
grounds for a reset (example: a ball rocking in place).
15.2 A reset is not considered a distraction, and the player with the
ball may shoot immediately. The defensive team should not, therefore,
relax or look at the official upon hearing the word "reset," but rather
should stay on defense.
15.3 A reset call does not count as jarring infraction, however,
repeated offenses may be grounds for the official present to call a
technical foul on the defensive player causing the reset.
15.3a A reset violation behind the ball shall not be considered a reset
violation. It shall be considered a jarring violation. (Example: if the
opposing forward is judged to have reset his opponent when the
opponent has the ball on the 3 rod.)
15.3b An intentional reset by the team in possession of the ball for the
purposes of attempting to get a reset call from the official shall not
be allowed. The team judged to be in violation of this rule shall lose
possession of the ball and the ball is to be reserved by the other team.
(This is not counted as a reset.)
15.4 A team is allowed one reset call per game. After that, a team
causing two resets during the same point will be charged with a
15.4a If a technical foul is called for excessive resets, the next
reset call shall not result in a technical foul.
15.4b Resets are charged per-team and not per-player.
15.5 If the defender intentionally jars the table, this will not be
considered a reset, and jarring will be called immediately.
16. Reaching Into the Playing Area
It is illegal for a player to reach into the play area while the
ball is in play without first having permission from the opposing team,
whether he touches the ball or not. However, whenever the opposing team
grants a player permission to reach into the playing area, it is legal
for the player to do so.
16.1 A spinning ball is considered "in-play," even if it is not in
reach of a player figure. It is illegal to reach into playing area to
stop a spinning ball, even if done for an opponent.
16.2 A ball which becomes airborne over the table is still in play
until it has hit something not a part of the playing area. Do not catch
a flying ball over the table.
16.3 A ball which has gone dead is considered out of play. The ball
may be freely touched once permission has been granted by the official,
or if no official is present, by the opposing team.
16.3a There is no penalty for touching the ball after it is dead,
regardless of whether or not permission was given to touch the ball.
16.4 A player may wipe shot marks off any part of the table while the
ball is not in play. He does not need to ask permission of the opposing
16.5 The penalty for violation of this rule is as follows:
16.5a If the player has possession of the ball, and the ball is
stopped - loss of possession to the opposing team.
16.5b If the ball is moving in the player's goal area behind the
two-man rod - a point is scored for the opposing team, and the ball is
re-served as if it had gone in the goal.
16.5c Any other case - technical foul.
17. Alterations to the Table
17.1 Playing area - no changes can be made that would affect the
interior playing characteristics of the table by any player. This
includes changes to the men, playing surface, bumpers, etc.
17.1a A player cannot wipe sweat or spit or any foreign substance
on his hand before wiping ball marks off the table.
17.1b Wiping rosin on the table is illegal.
17.1c Any player using a substance on their hands to improve their grip,
for example, must make sure that this substance does not get on the ball.
If this does occur, and the substance is judged to affect the play of the
ball (Example: a ball coated with rosin) that ball and any others in
the table similarly affected shall be cleaned immediately and the team
judged to have caussed this to occur shall be penalized for delay
of game and warned that if this occurs again during the match they
will be prohibited from using the substance.
17.2 Handles - in regard to the use of substances to improve grip, if a
player uses a substance that, upon switching tables sides, has left a
deposit on the handles, he must immediately clean the handles.
17.2a If the time necessary to remove the substance exceeds 60
seconds, the player will be penalized for delay of game, and the player
will be prohibited from using the substance again.
17.2b A player may not place a tube or handle on the table exterior
that inhibits the motion of the rods (example: for limiting the motion
of the goalie rod).
17.2c A player may not switch the handles on the exterior of the
17.3 A request to change balls before the start of the match must be
approved by the official present or the Tournament Director. The
request will be granted only if the playing characteristics of the
existing balls are significantly different from the standard.
17.3a New ball - a player may not ask for a new ball while the ball
is in play. During a dead ball, however, a player may request a new
ball from the rack inside the table. Such a request shall be
granted, unless the official present judges that such a request is made
simply for the purpose of stalling play.
17.3b A player requesting a new ball while the ball is in play
shall be charged with a time out, unless the official present judges the
ball to be unplayable, in which case no time out will be charged.
17.4 Unless otherwise specified, penalty for violation of any part of
this rule may be grounds for a technical foul.
Any movement or sound made away from the rod where the ball is in
play may be judged as a distraction. No point made as a result of a
distraction will count. If a player believes he is being distracted, it
is his responsibility to call for an official.
18.1 Banging the five-man rod or any rod prior to, during, or after a
shot is considered a distraction. Moving the five man slightly after
the shot has started is not considered a distraction, however.
18.2 Talking between teammates while the ball is in play may be judged
18.3 It is not considered a distraction, when passing, to move the
catching rod as part of a fake. Excessive motion, however, is grounds
for a distraction.
18.4 It is considered a distraction, after setting up a shot, to remove
a hand from the handle and then shoot the ball. The ball may only be
shot after both hands are on the handles for a full second.
18.5 Penalty for distraction - if a shot is scored as a result of a
distraction by the offensive team, the point will not count and the
opposing team will re-serve the ball. In all other cases, the opposing
team has the option of continuing play from the current position,
continuing play from the point of infraction, or re-serving the ball.
Subsequent violations may be grounds for a technical foul.
Once a match has begun, no player may practice either his serve or
shot on either the table being played or on any other table. This rule
applies during time outs and between games.
19.1 Practice is defined as either moving the ball (by contacting it
with a player figure) or practicing the serve.
19.1a Illegal Practice is a judgement call by the official present
at the table. Inadvertent movement of the ball does not necessarily
19.2 Penalty for this infraction is a technical foul, except in the
case of putting the ball back into play following a time out (see 7.11).
Unsportsmanlike comments made directly or indirectly by a player
are not allowed. Violations of this rule may be grounds for a technical
20.1 Calling the attention of the opposing team away from the game is
not allowed (see 18). Any shouts or sounds made during a match, even if
of an enthusiastic nature, may be grounds for a technical foul.
20.2 Cursing by a player shall not be allowed. Continued cursing by a
player may be cause for forfeiture of games and/or expulsion from the
20.3 The use of a spotter in the audience shall not be allowed.
Furthermore, a member of the audience is not allowed to influence a
match by distracting a player or official. Violation of this rule may
be grounds for expulsion of the person from the tournament site.
20.4 Coaching will be allowed, but only during time outs.
21.1 A pinned ball on the 5 man cannot be directly advanced to the
3 man rod of the same team. It must touch at least two player figures
as it is put into the motion of a pass (Except an accidental stub or
squib pass SEE 21.1c). A pinned ball is one that is pinned to the
wall or playfield.
21.1a A ball whose motion has clearly stopped may be legally
passed if this pass if immediate. Any hesitation befor the
pass and the pass shall be declared illegal. Once a ball has
clearly stopped and is not immediately passed it must then touch at
least two player figures before it can be legally passed.
21.1b Changing the lateral speed or direction of the ball from the
front or back of the man prior to passing the ball is considered to be
an adjustment and is illegal. Changing the speed or direction of the
ball from the side of the man is legal.
21.1c An accidental stub or squib pass is legal. However, if a
ball is stubbed or squibbed by a player figure, released, and then
passed by that player figure before striking another player figure on
that same rod, it is illegal.
21.2 A pinned or stopped ball may be shot on goal, to be considered a
shot, the ball must either go into the goal, be blocked by the opposing
goalie's men, or hit the back wall. If the attempted shot is blocked by
the opposing five-man rod and then caught by the shooter's three-man, It
shall be declared an illegal pass.
21.2a If a pinned or stopped ball from the five-man is shot on
goal, and the ball hits the shooter's three-man row, then the shot would
be legal, provided the ball was not caught by the three-man.
21.2b A caught ball is defined as a ball that is in the possession
of a rod long enough for a controlled pass or shot to be attempted
(examples: pick-up and quick shots).
21.3 Before attempting a pass from the five-man rod, the player cannot
make the ball strike the side wall of the table more than twice. It
makes no difference which wall the ball touches - a total of two times
is all that is allowed. If the ball goes to the wall a third time, it
must be advanced in the motion of a pass or shot.
21.3a Defensive trap - if an opponent's pass or shot is stopped by
trapping it against the side wall, that does not count as one of the two
times allowed to touch the wall by the player who made the trap and is
now in possession of the ball on his five-man rod.
21.3b Once the ball has touched the wall, it will not be counted as
hitting the wall again until the ball has rolled off the side strip (if
present on the table).
21.4 Passing from the two-man and goalie rods - rule 21.1 also applies
to a pass from the two-man or goalie rod to the same team's five-man
rod. However, once a ball is forwarded from either the two-man or the
goalie rods, if it should strike an opposing team's player figures, that
ball is no longer considered a pass but a live ball that may be legally
caught by any player.
21.4a Rule 21.2a also applies here for a stopped shot from the two-
man touched by the five-man.
21.5 It is legal to have just one hand on the rods when playing
defensive (example: right hand on defensive five-man). It is also legal
to use two hands to move a rod (example: defensive five-man).
21.6 Penalty for an illegal pass - if a team violates the above rule of
passing, the opposing team has the option of continuing play from the
current position or re-serving the ball.
22. Time of Possession
22.1 Enforcement of the time of possession rule shall be made only by
an authorized tournament official.
22.2 Possession of the ball at any one rod shall be limited to 15
seconds, except the five-man rod which has a ten second limit, by the
end of which time period the player in possession must advance the ball
to or past at least one rod of the opposing team.
22.3 A spinning ball that is within reach of a player figure shall be
considered to be in that rod's possession and all time limits shall
continue. Players must make an honest effort to gain possession of a
spinning ball that is within reach, however, if the spinning ball is not
within reach, the time limits are not in effect.
22.4 Penalty - penalty for three-man delay is loss of possession to the
opposing goalie. The goalie shall put the ball back into play as if it
had been declared a dead ball. Penalty for delay at any other rod is
loss of possession to the opposing forward for serve.
23. Match Time Limit
Best of five matches shall be limited to one hour of play from the
time the match is started. Best of three matches shall be limited to 35
minutes from the time the match is started.
23.1 If the specified time limit expires before the match has been
completed, an official will announce to the players that a ten minute
overtime period will begin at that time. If the overtime period ends
before the match has been completed, the winner of the match shall be
the player or team which has won the most games, or if the teams have an
equal number of games, it shall be the team that has scored the most
points in the game in progress, after the ball in play at this time that
the overtime period expires has been scored. If the teams have won an
equal number of games and scored an equal number of points after this
ball has been scored, one more ball shall be played to determine the
winner of the match.
23.2 Time outs called within the regular time limit of a match shall be
counted against the total amount of time left to play. However, time
outs do not count against the ten minutes in the overtime period (a time
out would then stop the clock).
23.3 Official time outs do not count against the total amount of time
left to play.
23.4 Enforcement of this rule is the responsibility of the Tournament
24. Delay of Game
Play shall be continuous, except during time outs. A delay of
game penalty may only be called by an official.
24.1 After a delay of game infraction play shall resume in at most 10
seconds. At the end of 10 seconds another delay of game call should
24.2 Taking too much time to serve the ball or to put the ball back
into play may be grounds for delay of game.
24.3 The first infraction of this rule is a warning. Subsequent
infractions will result in the player being charged with a time out.
Example: Player charged with delay of game. If still not ready to resume
play after 10 seconds - time out charged. If after the time out still
not ready, another 10 seconds- second time out charged (Technical -
Once a match has been called, both teams should report immediately
to the designated table. If a team has not reported to the table within
three minutes, they should be recalled. A team, upon being recalled,
must report immediately to the table in order to stop the forfeiture
25.1 A recall is made every three minutes. Penalty for second and
subsequent recalls is forfeiture of a game.
25.2 If a team has forfeited any games due to recalls, they get the
choice of side or serve once play begins.
25.3 Enforcement of this rule is the responsibility of the Tournament
26. Technical Fouls
If, in the judgment of an authorized tournament official, either
team competing in a match is at any time in flagrant or intentional
violation of these rules of play, a technical foul may be called on the
26.1 When a technical foul is called, play shall stop and the ball
awarded to the opponents of the offending team at its three-man rod. One
shot will be taken after which play shall stop. If it scores or not, the
ball shall be put back into play at the spot it was when the technical was
called. If the ball was in motion, it will be put back into play as if it
had been declared dead at that spot. (Except as provided in 14.1).
26.1a A player is considered to have taken a technical foul shot
once ball has left the three-man rod. A player is considered to have
been blocked the shot once the ball has either stopped in or left the
26.2 On a technical foul shot, the ball must be put into play before
shooting (see 8.1). Furthermore, all rules, including time limits and
resets, still apply.
26.2a A team may switch positions before and/or after the technical
foul shot without being charged with a time out (see 12).
26.2b Time outs may be called during a technical shot, as long as
they would otherwise be legal (see 7).
26.2c A point scored on an illegal technical shot shall not be
allowed, and play shall resume at the spot the technical was called.
26.3 If a technical foul shot ends the game, the opposing team gets the
first serve of the next game.
26.4 Further violations of a flagrant or intentional nature shall carry
additional technical fouls. A third technical foul in any one game
shall result in an automatic forfeiture of the game. Also, the official
may announce at any time after the first technical foul is called on a
team that further violation by that team shall be cause for forfeiture
of the game or match.
27. Rules Decisions and Appeals
If a controversy involves a question of judgement, and the
official is present at the time the events in question transpired, his
decision is final and no appeal may be made. If the controversy
involved an interpretation of the rules, or the official was not present
at the time the events in question transpired, the official shall make
the most equitable decision possible under the circumstances. Decisions
of this nature may be appealed, but it must be done immediately in the
manner prescribed below.
27.1 In order to appeal a rule interpretation, a player must file that
appeal with the official before the ball being played at the time of the
controversy is put back into play. An appeal concerning the loss of a
match must be filed before the team that won has begun its next match.
27.2 All rule appeals shall be considered by the Head Official and (if
present) at least two members of the officiating staff. All decisions
on appeals are final.
27.3 A team making an unsuccessful rules appeal of an obvious nature,
or a team that questions a judgment call, will be charged with a time
out. In addition, the team may also be penalized for delay of game, at
the discretion of the official.
27.4 Arguing with a Certified official during a match will not be
allowed. Violation of this rule will be grounds for a delay of game
penalty and/or a violation of the code of ethics.
28. Code of Ethics
Any action of an unsportsmanlike or unethical nature during
tournament play, in the tournament room, or on the grounds of the host
facility, will be considered a violation of the Code of Ethics.
28.1 Penalty - the penalty for breaking the Code or Ethics may be
forfeiture of a game or match, expulsion from the tournament, and/or a
fine. Whether or not the Code of Ethics has been broken, and what is
the appropriate penalty for the infraction will be determined by the
Disciplinary Committee of the USTSA.
29. Tournament Director
29.1 The administration of tournament play shall be the responsibility
of the Tournament Director. This includes making the draws, scheduling
the events, timing matches, etc. The decision of the Tournament
Director in such matters is final.
29.2 All matters pertaining to rules of play (appointing officials,
handling appeals, etc.) shall be the responsibility of the Head
Official. The Tournament Director is responsible for appointing the
Goalie War is a singles specialty event where the three and five-man
rods are lifted up, and the defenders play against each other.
1. The Serve
The ball must touch two men and then be stopped for a full second before a
shot may be attempted. Violation is loss of possession.
1.1 Time limits start one second after the ball has touched the second
In order to shoot the ball and score a point, a player must have
possession of the ball. If the ball is in a player's defensive area, that
player has possession of the ball. However, if the ball is in the center
of the table, the player who last had the ball in his defensive area loses
possession of the ball to the other player.
2.1 A player's defensive area is defined to extend from the back wall
to the end of where the two-man rod reaches. The center of the table is
the remaining area of play.
2.2 A ball that strikes any rod, player figure, or bumper in the
center of the table is still considered a live ball. These rods
play no part in determining possession of the ball.
2.3 If a ball leaves the playing area and strikes a foreign object, the
ball is re-served by the player who originally served the ball. If the ball
goes dead on the table, the ball is re-served by the player
who had possession of the ball.
2.3 If player A shoots a ball that never reaches player B's defensive
area, player A must first stop or control the ball, and then give the
ball back to player B to re-serve. In particular, a shot that bounces
back and goes in the shooter's goal counts, since that player must first
stop and control the ball.
3. Time Limits
There is a ten second possession limit in the defensive area. In
addition, once the ball is stopped or pinned for more than three seconds,
three ball must be moved to another man before a shot is attempted.
4. Time Outs
You are allowed two time outs per game.
FOUR ON FOUR
Four on Four is a specialty event where there are four players on a
side, with each player holding a single rod.
1. Change of Positions
1.1 If a team scores a point, they must rotate positions before the next
point: the player on the three-man rod moves to the goalie-rod, while
the players on the goalie, two-man, and five-man rods move to the two-
man, five-man, and three-man rods respectively.
1.2 A team may also change positions before the start of the match or
between games. However, no other changes of positions will be allowed.
2. Legal Shots
2.1 The game is played rollerball style, i.e., a ball may not be pinned
for more than three seconds or stopped for more than one second, and
there is a ten second time limit per rod.
2.2 Once a ball is stopped or pinned, the player must make sure the ball
touches another man of the same team (on any rod) in order to score a
2.3 If a point is scored illegally, the ball shall be re-served by the
3. You are allowed two time outs per game. However, you may not call
a time out while the ball is in play.
Two-Ball Rollerball is a specialty event played with two balls served at
the beginning of a point.
1. Time Limits
The game is played rollerball style, i.e., a ball may not be pinned or
stopped for more than one second, and there is a ten second time limit per
rod. A shot may be directly scored from a pinned or stopped position if
it is done immediately.
2. Serving the Ball
2.1 At the start of a point, each forward should serve their ball on
the count of three. Both balls should hit the playfield within one
second of the three count.
2.2 If a ball goes off the table, and no balls have been scored yet, both
balls shall be re-served. Otherwise, the team scored upon serves the
3.1 If each team scores a goal, then neither team receives a point. Two
balls are re-served.
3.2 If a team has scored the first ball, they may stop play any time
they have control of the second ball and take one point. If a team elects
to take the point, two balls are re-served.
3.3 A team that scores both goals gets two points. Two balls are
3.4 A shot that goes "in and out" does not count as a goal scored in
Two-Ball Rollerball (rather, play continues).
4. You are allowed two tie outs per game. However, you may not call a
time out while the ball is in play.
Forward Shootout a singles specialty event where the players alternately
shoot technical foul shots on each other.
1. The Serve
The ball is placed on the three-man, and then must touch two men and be
stopped for a full second before a shot may be attempted. Violation is
loss of possession.
1.2 The first serve of the match is determined in the usual fashion, by
a flip of the coin.
1.3 The serve alternates between players for the remainder of the
The ball is considered to have been shot once it leaves the forward's
three man. The ball is considered to have been blocked once the ball has
either stopped in or left the defender's area.
3. Time Limits
The usual time limit (15 seconds) applies on the three-man. Time
limits start one second after the ball has touched the second man.
4. You are allowed two time outs per game.
Rules Clarification 8-96
By Adrian Zamora
Officiating Clinic at the 1996 USTSA World Championships
There have been repeated questions regarding the interpretation and/or
intent of several rules. To help players and officials better
understand,the following is a list of these rules with their interpretations:
Rule 24 - Continuous play defined:
Between balls, a player shall be allowed to wipe their brow, dry their
hands, adjust their grip, change their stance, or any other activity
they deem necessary to prepare themselves for the play of the next ball,
providing the combination of ALL such activities takes less than 5
Rule 7 - Time Out.
When calling a time out while the ball was in play, a team is allowed to
take a second time out (providing they have one left) as long as they do
not begin to put the ball back into play (by moving the ball). During an
official time out, a team may not request a time out unless they would
have otherwise been allowed to do so had the official time out not been
Rule 18.5 - The last sentence reads - "Subsequent violations may be
grounds for a technical foul."
This does not mean that the second infraction should be a technical
foul. After the first infraction, the offending team will, at minimum,
have to give up the drop to the other team. A technical _should_ be
called when an official feels that the team is flagrantly distracting
their opponent. A technical should also be called in the case of repeated
distractions when the team being distracted has the ball on the three
row (in which case a drop would be of no benefit to the team being
distracted.) In the case where play was in no way affected (loss of
possession or being distracted while shooting or passing) the first
infraction will be a warning.
The problem with this rule is the wording which will be corrected on
the next revision of the rules. The intent of the rule is to avoid
having a player remove their hands from the handles _in a distracting
manner_ and then shooting as soon as they place their hand back on the
handle. The word "grasped" was used in the last sentence of this rule.
In the case of the "Roll-Over" shot, the rod will be considered to be
grasped when on the wrist of the shooter. In an attempt to stay
consistent with the way we have been ruling in the cases where a roll-
over shooter shoots as soon as he slides his wrist on the handle, this
will be legal as long as it is not done in a distracting manner. The way
this is ruled will be looked at by the officiating committee and possibly
changed after the World Championships. The one second on the handle does
not apply in singles except in the case of a set shot on the forward three
row. The European style roll-over straight: This is shot by making the
play figure spin around while rolling the handle from your palm to you
fingertips. It is most common with the European style front pin and a
straight option on a pull shot. This is a legal shot.
Rule 22.3 - The second part of the last sentence reads, "If the spinning
ball is not within reach, the time limits are not in effect."
In the case of this happening in the goalie area, time will be suspended
while the ball is not in reach. The official will add the amount of the
suspended time at the end of the 15 seconds allowed.
Rule 13.1 - Defining advancement:
A ball is considered to have advanced once it is out of reach of the
playing figures on that rod whether it went forward or backwards. In
the case of the goalie area, a ball is considered advanced once out of
reach of the two bar and beyond the goalie area.
No Harm - No Foul:
The "No harm-No foul" rule was implemented in an attempt to give the
officials some latitude in calling infractions, particularly jarring.
This rule has been misinterpreted by some in a way that no jarring, _no
matter how flagrant_, would be called unless play was affected. This
rule should be used on _marginal_ jarring in which play was not
affected in any way.