Womens New Self-Start Rule FAQs

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Start 

Q1.  How do we define a settled stance? 

A settled stance is defined as: both feet are stationary, on the ground, with the ball positioned in the head of the stick, and the player with possession making, at minimum, a momentary pause before restarting play

Q2. When is a self-start NOT an option?

  1. The game clock is stopped for any reason.
  2. Restraining line violation (offsides)
  3. Ball is in Critical Scoring Area (excluding boundary restarts)
  4. Alternate Possession
  5. Inadvertent Whistle
  6. Overtime
  7. After a goal is scored

Q3. Can a player self-start on an illegal draw?


Q4. What does “within playing distance” mean?

Playing distance can be defined as within 1½ stick’s length of where the foul occurred. A player’s momentum may carry them forward this distance (after a whistle has been blown for a foul). Self-starts are permitted within this distance, unless the restart would occur within the critical scoring area

Q5. Is it a foul if the player self-starts beyond “playing distance?”

NO, it is a reset. The official should whistle to stop play and indicate the correct location for the restart. The original ball carrier returns to spot of foul, takes a settled stance and self-starts (no whistle needed.)

Q5. What if a player self-starts when it is not allowed?

They can be given a delay of game penalty or a verbal warning based on the situation. 

Q6. What if the offending player or other players do not try to move 4m away/behind the ball carrier? Does a player wishing to self-start have to wait for other players to move 4m behind/away?

The player with the ball does not have to wait to self-start.  If the ball carrier chooses to commence play with a self-start while players are within 4m of the ball, there is no foul. If, however, the ball carrier chooses to wait to commence play until all players are 4m away and the opposing players do not try to move, a delay of game foul may be considered.

Q7. How do we determine when play has commenced?

Play will commence once the ball carrier steps or passes. A step is defined as the act of lifting and setting down one’s foot. Rocking motions do not commence play. Additionally, movement of the ball carrier’s stick does not commence play.

Q8. Is it a foul if a defender engages the ball carrier prior to her self-start?

YES. The official blows an immediate whistle, signals false start, and instructs the offending player to move 4m behind. All other players remain 4m away.

Q9. What are the requirements for play to be restarted when the ball goes out of bounds?

The team awarded possession may self-start. The closest player from that team may self-start within 2m of where the ball went out of play and within the playing field.  Exception: If the ball goes out of bounds and is awarded to the goalie (who is within her goal circle,) the goalie may NOT self-start. Play is restarted with a whistle.

Q10. Can a player self-start when the ball goes out of bounds as the result of a foul?

Yes. The fouled player is positioned, with the ball, at the spot of the foul (at least 4m from the boundary) and may choose to self-start.

Q11. Are self-starts permitted within the last two minutes of each half (when stopped clock is in effect)?

Self-starts are not permitted when the game clock is stopped. However, if there is a running clock due to a 10-goal differential, self-starts are permitted.

Q12. Is there ever a time when a whistle start should be used when a self-start is allowed?

YES. If the ball carrier does not attempt to self-start in a reasonable period of time, the official may choose to restart play with a whistle. For example, if the ball carrier has waited to ensure all players are 4m away and still does not self-start, the official may start play with the whistle. Or if, in the judgement of the official, a team is deliberately delaying the restart to gain an advantage (e.g., a one-goal game), a whistle start may be used.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *