Rules conference '08

As the regional games come together at big tournaments this summer, some of the subtle and gross differences in styles of play will cause some friction. Lets hear from those who've played away from their own courts and have examples, questions, and solutions to offer up for discussion.

The Angelo Shuffle

First issue for me. If I were king of polo and could make decrees, I'd say it's an OK way to move the ball around the court, but it is not a shot.

Yes, technically, the last thing the ball touched would be the shot end of the mallet, which is the LETTER of the rule. But to my mind, if you are using it as a method to move the ball around the court, it's shuffling. You'll have to let it go and take a purposeful shot on goal, which is the SPIRIT of the score-off-the-end rule.

Here's what...

...I'm getting from the St Louis crew: The Angelo shuffle is good, legal, and a shot, no matter how far up the court you dragged it first.

Their argument is that if the equipment allows it, it's legal. Unless and until a standard mallet is decided on; with solid ends, or a inside diameter that won't allow the move, the folk here who do it will continue to do so.

i think it's a cheap way of

i think it's a cheap way of stick-handling the ball without having to learn how to stick-handle.

the argument that "the equipment allows for it" does not do much for me.

Goalie rules

Second: Should there be different rules for a player in goal? I've heard of a three second rule, a lifting of the no t-boning rule, a lifting of the no open court checking (proposed) rule.

I say as long as there is play at the goal, a player can stay in front of it. You are subject to along-side checking and mallet-pulling (NOT hacking), but I feel that the no t-boning ban should be across the board.

A complete discussion of "backwards through the goal" rule ideas can be found at

General Rules

I think these conversations are good, but i want to wait till toronto to move to much on this because i am tending towards a more nationalized standard.

I think the Angelo rule is something that needs to be dealt with immediately because it could provide an advantage but i don't want practice it a bunch and then see it banned.

nat'l standard

I was hoping this could lead to a national standard. It's true that some voices will be missing if we have the debate here, but I'd rather hit Toronto knowing a small consensus opinion than wait until something comes up in an important game and bitch about it afterward.

I've made my opinion on the Angelo Shuffle known, what's your stance?


In Chicago, if a penalty is called (and it can only be called by the injured party) the offended team gets possession at the site of the infraction. It's the easiest to administrate.

There has been discussion here before of soccer-style penalty shots for some violations, but I can't remember it going much further than the idea.

What penalties would we call anyway? Roughness? Cross-checking? T-boning? Disruption of play when you're dabbed and going for the tap-out (legal in some cities, frowned on in others)?

Angelo shuffle

What is an 'angelo shuffle'?

The angelo shuffle... when you trap the ball in the hollow end of the mallet and drag it around the court.

note the similarities

head's-up-only stick-handling, and "flicking" the shot. maybe we should call it the "angelo flick"

Doug's going to kill me for all these references to ice sports

btw, ringette also has forced passing (you can't stick-handle over the blue line) and a shot clock, both of which make it impossible for one player with strong arms and no skills to just drag the ringette all over the ice.

i would hate to have to add more rules to polo, but the "Angelo flick" would probably require these kinds of additions. Also, would we have to implement a maximum mallet diameter to make sure that it's still somewhat difficult to smother the ball completely?

If by kill you mean die laughing

ooh thats funny!
good one.

carrying the ball

My complaint about the angelo shuffle is less about how well one can shoot and more about how it moves the ball around. Can we start using lacrosse "mallets" or wider pvc 'bucket' mallets to carry the ball around?

I like the simplicity of no kicking, no carrying, no etc; just the classic 'shuffle' or a 'shot'.

Clarifying this would also resolve the question of trapping a ball in your spokes and then riding through the goal -- shouldn't be done; even if the ball gets wedged there by a 'shot'.

- max

That happened again... yesterday's games. As well as one time when somehow the ball got wedged in the end of Trent's mallet. Both times the player passed the ball over the line and we counted the goal.

Which is OK for friendly play, score on an awesomcality, but I would definitely want to see a ruling on it before another tournament. Take the ball out of whatever it's stuck in and re-start play from where it happened.

I will start bringing two

I will start bringing two different mallet styles to the regular games/tournaments. It's that easy. It's obviously an advantage that some people apparently need over their opponents. Or just plain ol' wants to be "different" or is a future polo innovator.
My question is though, do you think this would be an issue with grass polo tournies? Players in grass polo often have drastically different styles of wood heads. That could also be seen has advantages or not.
I think there should be votes casted in Toronto, because this is obviously, as we all see a difference in "legal" game play. Would be a great time for city representatives to vote for their local players. Of course, that would mean our local players need to agree too. Ha, yeah right. So it should just be each player votes rather than reps.

-Matt Hewitt (former mke player)


matt are you going to toronto? Do you have a team. Might need a player or so for madison.

carrying that ball

So while everyone in madison seems to be pretty against the whole thing as it changes the games especially in terms of dribbling i would like to get a ruling before toronto. I know Kevin thinks it doesn't help anyone to learn this move but i see real tactical advantages and if it is legal in toronto i'm going to be spending some time on the court practicing this move.


i never said it didn't help

i never said it didn't help anyone. i just said it doesn't help the sport.

it will be really boring when everyone is just dragging the ball around with oversized mallet heads. and it will be lame when players who have never learned how to stickhandle start "dribbling" in circles around people who learned the hard way.

jonny if you want to prepare for toronto, just glue a 1"-long section of 4" diameter PVC pipe on the back of your mallet, and angle that end down so that when you're dragging the ball no one will be even be able to see it. and wait for the calls of "bush league" to begin...

i don't see this happening

I think that most of the people who try this are not going to do well with it. it has limited use and limited pay off. It is really easy to whack some newbies mallet and put the ball out of play.

What i worry is that the top teams will start to use it as a tactical advantage in the latter rounds of the tournaments. We already saw that quite a bit at the ESPI's. I agree it is for the worse of the game for it to be allowed more on the dribbling end then on the shooting from my perspective but i think it would be wise to think about who else is going to use this and how.

i wouldn't say "quite a bit".

i wouldn't say "quite a bit". two players out of 60 used it: Angelo and Doug. Doug used it to stickhandle and shoot (the latter he refrained from doing while in Madison i believe) and Angelo used it mainly for clearing it from his zone and occasionally stick-handling.

also, i would agree with Lucky that it's a shuffle in the sense that it's an easier way to score than to shoot "business end", and the business end rule only exists, as far as i know, because it makes it harder to score.

btw, i recognize that there's some skill in this move, but only associated with getting the mallet onto the ball while under pressure. i think that, like hooking a ringette, with a few hours of practice pretty much anyone can do it--regardless of polo experience. so i disagree with you jonny that only experienced players will use it. eventually it'll be one of the first tricks that people practice.

wrong name people

just want to say calling it "the Angelo shuffle" is wrong. there is no shuffle involved. I started calling it "The Angelo" after a move i saw Angelo of Ottawa do. If you were to ask him what it's called, he would say "the ball-joint" Please stop calling it a shuffle.
For now i will hold my thoughts about its validity.

Doug D

Naming rights

I heard that it came from Angelo of Ottawa, and I made it clear that I consider it a shuffle, not a shot. For brevity and lack of a better name, I called the Angelo Shuffle. I will refrain from doing so henceforth.

However: this is a forum expressly for the voicing of opinions on this very subject, and I will thank you to NOT keep your thoughts to yourself.

If the Angelo is a Shuffle , , ,

Lucky, if you're going to consider the Angelo a shuffle, then would you consider a single, purposeful hit off of the side of the mallet a shot? I think that your argument indicates that the style of ball movement is what makes it shuffle. If that is the case a shot could be taken from the side of the mallet.

I think there are very few cases when the angelo is a beneficail tactic. I will continue to use it in those few instances until we decided it is illegal or everyone in St. Louis is fed up with it.

Also, I don't expect the case of the ball actually sticking in my mallet will ever happen again. That goal would not have counted in anything more than a casual pick-up game, but is was great fun.


I admit you have me in a little bit of a logic trap. But I don't care. Rules and referee-wise it would be way easier to administrate from the court an outright ban on the ball joint or a demand that you stop dragging and take a purposeful shot, than to determine if a shuffle was meant as a shot on goal.

The only way I see around the issue would be to say something like, no matter how it came, it can only count as a goal from inside the blue line or half court or where ever. But not everyone plays on a court with lines. So that's another nightmare right there. And it's a dumb idea.

The best solution (IMHO) is to make a ruling on the ball joint. Banned? Shuffle, not a shot? Allowed?

the angelo shuffle

doug, im so sorry you dont like it called a shuffle, but when i think of shuffle, i think more of boogy and groove. i think we need more shuffling in polo and i am just flabbergasted why i am the only one pushing this point.

oh and i think a flat face on the mallet makes a better shot then doug's guffaw


Yes, more shuffles. I am all for moving toward shuffled goals. Thats a few times now I've said it I don't care that almost everyone disagrees.

just asking

I ask this with the most respect but because I don't know you and I'm interested in why you are so pro shuffle. My question is how long have you played polo on a hard court with a small ball, and otherwise. And where do you play and what cities have you played against?
Thank you,
Doug D

just saying


I've been playing on a hockey court in St Louis since last summer. We played for quite a while with a soccer ball and wooden mallets (old midwest style). Lucky came into town one weekend when I was gone and switched the whole St. Louis crew to the small ball standard. I was reluctant to play that style, I really liked the soccer ball. Now that I've played the small ball for a few months I've grown to like it.

When we started playing here in St. Louis we didn't allow shuffles, we still don't. We did not allow them because it just seemed like it was the thing to do in a hardcourt game. But everytime I play I can't help but think that the game would benefit from shots off the broadside of the mallet being allowed. I just think that if you can use the instrument of the game to put the ball through the goal a point should go on the scoreboard. That being said, I have been abusing the Angelo move. I am not sure how I feel about it yet. I really think that the only way it should be made illegal is to require closed heads on the mallet. I think if I can move the ball around the court that way and 'fling' it into the goal it should count. Saying it cannot be a shot is saying it is similar to a shuffle. So if I were to take a good single swing at the ball and strike it on the 'shuffle' side that should be considered a shot.

Our first foreign visitors were Lucky and Dumptruck. We then played a grass game in Lexington and I was at the Madison Tournament earlier this month. I have not played much with folks from other cities. I realize that my views on the shuffle differ from just about everyone in every city but I think it is good to discuss these things, even if my views don't end up as part of the 'nat'l standard rule set'

Does it take anyone else 3 or 4 tries to get the Captcha Validation correct?

hmm i'll work on the captcha thing.

but yer best off getting yerself an account, cause then you don't need to fill out no stinking captcha...

hmm i just tested it and i

hmm i just tested it and i was 5 for 5. anyone else having problems?

the ball joint

first angelo of the mallets of mayhem in ottawa created it. he called it the ball joint. he should get to name the thing.

second in ottawa you have to release it then shoot. it is not considered a shot. given that the man who invented it had decided it's fate from the get go. respect it!



...I feel validated.

My humble opinion

Im just a newbie but someone above said to voice our opinion, so I guess I will. The Angelo ball joint is very unlike original polo, so for that reason alone it probably shouldn't be used. Just like in the original polo, there's honor in dribbling circles around someone the old fashioned way.

It is damn cool though and makes the game faster so I suppose I would hold final judgement until I saw a game with 6 good players, all able to use Angelo well. Then we'd see where it would take the game.

The Angelo / Ball-Joint and a Goalie/Defender Question

I see no problem with somebody using the ball-joint or "The Angelo" to get the ball around. If you can find the time to hook in, and have the skill to use it to your advantage, go for it. I just don't think it should count for a shot.

I think that Ottawa not counting it as a shot says a lot too. Its an awesome move, its very innovative. I don't think it should be outlawed, but it definitely shouldn't be a shot.

If people start making mallets that can trap the ball, then there might need to be a standard for the diameter of mallet heads.

Speaking of standardization of mallets:
In DC, there has been speak of "is there a length that your mallet head can not exceed?"
Right now, the answer is no. If you come out with a foot long mallet head and sit in the goal, people are gonna think you're a dick and try to break your mallet. Obviously at the moment, nobody is doing it, but if it becomes a problem where somebody is using a really wide, long piece of pipe (say... 6" diameter, 16" length) obviously they have a defensive advantage, but their shooting would probably suck.

This question is probably being asked way before it needs to be, but have other cities thought of a mallet head standard?


ball joint

I thought I would put this on the record for those who care. The CMWC tournament is going to allow the ball joint. It will not count as a goal unless you release it and then hit it. It is for passing/stick handling. The same will apply at the North Side Invite in Ottawa.

Also I think the only reason people are discussing this is because it is a new thing for most of you. In Ottawa it has been around for some time now. There are many ways to counter it. Not all of the Ottawa players even use it. Once you have played with it for a while you will find that it is not such a big deal. Really it is just a way to get some extra energy on a pass and be able to move with your head up.
AS far as shuffles go, I don't think they have ever counted in the hardcourt game. Kev is right the reason being is that it is just too easy to score. Having to make the shot off the business end is for that reason.
Last year at the North Side the MKE boys had that very issue of not being able to get there shot down because of being used to shuffling it in. Joe did not seem to have any problems shooting at the ESPI this year. Go find a wall and practice it doesn't take long.

Have fun,
Also for any one coming to Toronto I am going to need you to register so I can finalize the scedule. I don't care if you register with the CMWC right away, just send me an email if you wish @

go find hole

and sit in it.

the shuffle is akin to the head but in soccer, the layup in basket ball, the whatever people do in hokey, and the bunt in baseball.

learn to play defense if you think to many goals are scored.

if you cant score with it

its a shuffle,i dont give a rats ass who first started playing with it, angie? is that a girls name.

oh, and drunk unk trash talks starts off the court. shit starts on the court

the shuffle is silly

I think the shuffle to score is a silly rule.
The hard court sport looks silly enough as it is.
I admit, I have not yet had the opportunity to play the hard court game, but coming from an athletic background it just seems silly.
What is the reasoning behind the shuffle to score rule?
Is it a saftey thing?
I cant wait to play me a game of hardcourt someday.