NA Hardcourt 2010 NAHBPC Rules


1 – Teams will consist of three players on the court at one time.
1.2 – Teams will be required to wear matching colors. Please bring a backup color to wear in the event that your opponent is wearing a similar color.

2 – Any common type of bike is allowed. (BMX, road, track, mountain)
2.1 – The bike must have at least one mechanism for stopping. (i.e., handbrake, fixed wheel)
2.2 – You may not add anything to the bike to help block shots (e.g., a bar under your BB, netting in the front triangle) with the exception of wheel covers.
2.3 – Mallets and bikes may not have dangerous protrusions (bolts sticking out, jagged edges, etc.) Handlebars must be capped. Bullhorn handlebars are not allowed.
2.4 – Helmets are mandatory. Pads are recommended.

General Rules of Play

3 – Start of a game:
3.1 – Each team will begin behind his/her own goal line.
3.2 – The ball will be positioned at center court.
3.3 – Play will begin with a “3 – 2 – 1 – Go” from the timekeeper.

4 – Scoring a goal and ball movement
4.1 – A goal must originate as a “shot,” defined as striking the ball with the end of the players mallet.
4.2 – Wrist shots or scoop shots are not considered a “shot,” therefore will not count as a goal. This technique may be used to pass the ball.
4.3 – A “shuffle,” defined as a ball that is struck with the broad side of the mallet, will never count as a goal unless the ball is shuffled by a player into their own net. This is an own goal. If an offensive player
shuffles the the ball into their opponents it will not count. The defending team will get possession of the ball and the offensive team will concede half-court.
4.4 – Ball-joint: Not to be confused with a scoop pass, toss or other ball handling. The ball-joint is defined as pinning the ball between an open end of the mallet head and the playing surface and then dragging
it. Ball-jointing will be allowed ONLY in the player’s defensive zone. Ball jointing in the offensive zone will result in the ball turnover and concession of half-court.
4.5 – If the ball becomes lodged on a player, bicycle or in the spokes of a wheel in such a way that it cannot be played safely, game play will be stopped. The ball will be dislodged and placed on the ground at
the point of incident. The player directly involved in the ball being lodged will get possession and play will resume.
4.6 – The ball cannot be played with the feet. Intentionally touching the ball will be counted as a foot-down or “dab” (see below) and that player will be required to tap-out.

5 – After a goal is scored:
5.1 – The scoring team returns to their half of the court.
5.2 – The conceding team gets possession of the ball.
5.3 – Play will not resume until both teams have returned to their half of court.
5.4 – The defending team may not attack until the ball or an offensive player has crossed half court.

6 – Footdown or “Dab”
6.1 – A foot-down or “dab” is defined as any player placing their foot on any horizontal surface (e.g., the ground, his mallethead, a bike, the ball, another player.)
6.2 – If a player “dabs” that player is out of play and may not interfere with the ball or other players until they “tap in” at one of two designated center court points.
6.3 – If a “dabbed” player stops a shot from going into the net, at the ref’s discretion, it may be ruled a goal. Example: a defending player in front of the net loses their balance and dabs. The defending player
remains in front of the net – intentionally or unintentionally – and blocks an incoming shot. If there is no doubt in the referee’s mind that the shot would have resulted in a goal, the referee can declare a
goal. If it is also determined that the defending player intentionally blocked the net when out of play they will be awarded a two-minute penalty.
6.4 – The “tap-in” area will be located at center court on either side of the court.
6.5 – If a player crashes or falls off their bike, play will continue unless a player is injured. At this point the referee will stop the game and attend to the injured player.

Contact and general court behavior

Like contact between bodies and equipment is permitted. However, depending on the severity, any physical, mallet or bike play that is considered by the referee to be excessive, reckless and potentially dangerous to the safety of the players will result in a warning or a penalty. Essentially, the choice to check/pick/mallet-to-mallet is not the issue. It’s how you do it.

7 – Permitted contact and restrictions:
7.1 – body-to-body – this includes shoulder-to-shoulder contact and the use of forearms.
7.2 – mallet-to-mallet – this includes incidental contact playing the ball and lifting another player’s mallet. Striking another player’s mallet with excessive force, or slashing, will result in a warning or a
7.3 – Holding or otherwise restraining another player by grabbing that player, their clothing or any of their equipment using hands, elbows, feet or mallets is not permitted.
7.4 – Pushing with the hands is not permitted.
7.5 – Pushing or checking someone from behind is not permitted.
7.5 – Mallet-to-body contact is not permitted.
7.6 – Mallet-to-bike contact is not permitted.
7.7 – Body-to-bike contact is not permitted.
7.8 – Incidental bike-to-bike contact is fine. Throwing a rear wheel into another player’s bike and T-boning is not permitted.
7.9 – Any check along the side boards – in this case, boards two feet high or lower – that results in the opposing player going over the boards will be heavily scrutinized. If the check is deemed appropriate and the opposing
player simply could not maintain their balance, play will continue. If, however, the check against the boards is deemed excessive, reckless or otherwise thought to have little regard for the safety of the opposing player,
the referee has the option to issue a warning or a penalty.
7.10 – Clear intent to injure another player is not permitted and will be met with a severe penalty.
7.11 – Throwing of mallets is not allowed at any time, in any situation. Intentionally throwing a mallet will automatically result in at least a 30-second penalty.
7.12 – If a thrown mallet stops a ball from going through the goal the referee may use his discretion to award a goal.


The referee reserves the right to stop game play for any reason. Time-outs will/can be called for the following reasons:

A goal is scored. A time-out can be called for a mechanical, or water, etc.
The ball goes out of play. The game will be paused until the ball can be retrieved. The defending team will then get possession of the ball and play will resume.
Mechanical problem. The team with the mechanical problem may request a timeout only after they take possession of the ball.
Serious injury.


These are the penalties available to the referee. Some infractions have predetermined penalties, such as ball-jointing in the offensive zone (see below). Otherwise, depending on the severity, the referee have the right to use any of these at any time in any order for the infraction in question.

Tap-out: The referee may instruct a player to tap-out at either side of center court. If required, a player must hit the tap-out point with their mallet or they will still be considered “out.” If a player does not physically touch the tap-out with their mallet, they may be asked to tap-out a second time. Tap-outs will always happen without stoppage.

Ball turnover: The penalized team will return to their side. Once the team in possession of the ball crosses half-court, either with a player or the ball, play will resume.

Warnings: For most infractions the referee will issue a verbal warning. Repeating the same behavior will result in a more severe penalty.

30-second penalty: This penalty will follow a verbal warning or will be used to penalize players for a more serious first-time rule violation. When the referee observes an infraction, they will whistle, stop time and call for the offending player to exit the court. The timekeeper will declare when they can re-enter the game. The resulting game play will be 3 on 2 for a full 30 seconds unless the innocent team scores during the power play. At this time, the penalized player may re-enter the court.

Two minute penalty: This is reserved for striking (see below), excessive force or reckless behavior that draws blood or otherwise results in serious injury. The penalized player will remain off the court for the full two minutes, unless the innocent team scores during the power play. After the innocent team scores during a power play, the penalized player may re-enter the court.

IMPORTANT: A delayed penalty can be called. If the innocent team has possession, the referee will blow the whistle when the opposing team gets the ball. The penalized player will then be instructed to exit the court. The ball will be turned over to the innocent team. Each team will return to their side and play will resume. A goal by the innocent team will end the penalty. The penalized player may then return to the court.

Ejection: This is penalty is reserved for fighting and acutely reckless or willfully dangerous play that either results in or is deemed as having the potential to cause serious physical harm. The penalized player will be removed from the game. The game will continue as 3 on 2 until the end of regulation time.

Infractions that will result in a ball turnover:

Tossing the ball out of the court – This is a delay of game penalty. If the ball is shot and deflects off a mallet or other surface, the ball will simply be placed on the court at the point of exit and play will resume with no ball turnover.
Ball-jointing in the offensive zone – Ball jointing is allowed ONLY in the player’s defensive zone. Scooping the ball, throwing the ball is permitted.

Infractions that can result in a Warning, 30-second or Two-minute penalty:

Hooking or holding- Hooking is defined as using a mallet to restrain a bike or player. Holding is grabbing a player, their clothing or their bike with your hand or elbow, a.k.a “chicken winging.”
Cheap shot- Checking, hitting or pushing someone in the back. Physical blows about the neck or head, any punching or kicking will also be penalized as a “cheap shot.”
Striking – A hard strike against someone’s mallet may be called as “striking.” You can defensively hook another player’s mallet, lift it or hold it down with yours, but striking will be called.
Mallet throwing.

Tournament Format:

Two 48 team Swiss Rounds: Rounds will be re-organized after the first day. Teams can expect five matches on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

32 teams will move into the double elimination round on Sunday.

Swiss-round games will last 12 minutes. Games will also end when one team scores 5 goals.

Elimination games will be 15 minutes, they will not end if a team scores 5 goals. If the score is tied at the end of 15 minutes, the game will go to sudden death. Games will get longer for the 4th, 3rd, and final games.


-These rules were developed by North American Hardcourt and the Madison Bike Polo Club for the NAHBPC 2010.

-We decided not to allow wrist shots. Even though ESPI5 allowed them and it did not drastically change the game we felt it was in our best interest to let more regional tournaments experiment with it before legalizing them for NAHBPC.

- We are not going to penalize obstruction. This rule was too hard to enforce at ESPI5 both because of confusion by the refs and players. While it is effective at opening up the game and we can see its usefulness in the future we did not implement this rule during this tournament.

- Penalties are used to enforce the rules. Having experimented with yellow cards and penalties we decided that penalties are a more effective way to enforce our rule base. We plan to give verbal warnings to players who infract on the rules and then use the penalties for the next infraction. We have shortened the penalties to 30 secs so that teams are able to get one goal scoring opportunity during a penalty.

We are open to criticism but please be thoughtful and explain your rational.

Previously: 2010 NAHBPC in Madison

More info: League Of Bike Polo