Photo by Kevin Leclaire –

The MLU announced today that they have amended their rules effective immediately, shortening the length of timeouts used for mid-field pulls.

Major League Ultimate has changed the 2016 MLU Rulebook to shorten timeouts used for the purpose of a mid-field pull to only 20 seconds.

With the 2015 introduction of the Mid-Field Pull Rule, MLU changed the way that coaches could use timeouts to put their teams in the best position to win.  After a goal, the scoring team’s coaches were given the opportunity to call timeout for the purpose of pulling from the middle of the field. 

The motivation behind this initial rule was to give teams the chance to pin their opponent deep in their own territory, disrupting their offense or increasing the chances of a callahan. During the 2015 MLU Season, teams used the mid-field pull 144 times, increasing the number of callahans from two in 2014 to six.

With the popularity of the mid-field pull strategy, MLU increased the number of allotted timeouts to teams in 2016. While in previous years, each team had been given two timeouts per half, in 2016, teams were given three per half.  (Read more on the rule changes heading into 2016).

During the first weeks of competition under the new rules, the league has noticed that the increased timeouts have lead to a slowing of the pace of play.  While a standard MLU timeout (120 seconds) is perfect for coaches who want to get new lines into a point, or strategize with their team, it became clear to all involved that for the purposes of a mid-field pull, the full 2 minutes was more of a nuisance than a benefit.

With feedback from coaches, players, referees and fans, the MLU Rules Committee and Executive Committee have decided to amend the rule to allow for a more natural pace of play. 

Starting immediately with this weekend’s games (April 30 and May 1), if a timeout is called in-between points (for a mid-field pull) the stoppage will only last 20 seconds instead of the full 120 seconds. During these 20 seconds, players will not need to leave the field. 

One of the benefits of the mid-field pull was to quickly carry over the momentum from a goal into advantageous field position on the next point.  With a full two minute timeout, any momentum gained would suffer. 

Coaches will still have the ability to call a full time out in between points (instead of executing a mid-field pull). In order to do this the team must alert the referees, who will inform fans, players, and staff by signaling the decision by putting their hands on top of their shoulders.

The league hopes that with the shortened timeouts for mid-field pulls, teams will have the same strategic options, without slowing the pace of play down too much. 

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