Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ready to Ref? - Pack Ref basics part 3/3

Alternative names: --
Objective: This drill combines the skills practiced in the first two pack ref drills, bringing all types of penalties together with calling pack location.
Typical length of drill: 20 min at a time. This drill is very taxing for new refs, so short sessions are the key.
Materials needed: Required: At least 6 skaters (ideally 8) who are willing to help, divided into 2 teams (dark/light shirts). Track or markers simulating a regulation-sized track. Penalty cards from Part 1.
Skill level required: Solid proficiency with skills from Part 1 (Call it NOW!) and Part 2 (Where’s the pack?).

Description: The skaters and refs are briefed together as a group, as follows:
“The skaters are going to randomly select one penalty card each without showing the refs. They will then form a pack and skate at 50% of normal pack speed. This is a no-contact drill with 2 goals: (1) To force the refs to repeatedly track a changing pack, and (2) to simultaneously get them calling penalties clearly and accurately. The skaters are not going to destroy the pack, but they can feel free to change the location (front-back) by changing speeds, stopping suddenly, skating clockwise, or even taking a knee. Once the pack has been moving for 30 seconds or so, ONE skater shows a penalty card and waits for the ref to call that penalty. There is no attempt to physically simulate a penalty other than showing the card, but penalties such as Out of Play should be shown well in front of or behind the pack, CTT should be shown near the track boundary, and contact penalties should be shown while near other skaters. Refs will practice their communication as skaters get near the outer limits of the engagement zone. It is VERY important that only one skater show her card at a time, so the skaters have to communicate. A common error is for multiple skaters to simultaneously show penalties, undermining the goal of learning to make correct penalty calls under stress.”

Advanced Version – Add jammers (no jam refs), who can also carry penalty cards (majors only, since pack refs don’t call minors on jammers). As the refs get really good, skater speed can be increased to 75%, and eventually to 100%.

Additional notes: I don’t know where to start giving credits for this drill or some of the others in this series. They come from inspiration and feedback from many of the awesome zebras I’ve worked with. Special thanks goes out to Ballistic Whistle and his team in London, England http://www.londonrollergirls.com/referees.

Troubleshooting:
Problem #1: (most common) The skaters all want to show their penalty cards simultaneously or too quickly one after another. Slow them down, have them communicate with one another.
If the refs are struggling with any other aspect, simply slow the skaters down, or go back and build a more solid foundation by reviewing “Where’s the Pack” or “Call it NOW!”.
See “Where’s the Pack” for tips on recruiting skaters to assist.


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