DO IT NOW Pros is the parent company of DO IT NOW Productionz (DO IT NOW Productions) and DO IT NOW Referees. DO IT NOW Dave and his TEAM are ready  to exceed your expectations. Make The Call 954-962-0920  

Welcome Coaches!
Sunrise Soccer 2020 Rules
COVID Temporary Soccer Rules for Safety
City of Sunrise as per USSSA Guidelines
Instead of Throw-Ins when the ball goes out of bounds on the SideLines,
the ball will be Kicked instead. The ball can go NO FURTHER THAN 10 Yards.
Note: Kick Distance on Shorter Fields will be adjusted relative to field size.
Referees Discretion!!!!!
Spitting is a RED CARD Offense, and Player will be Ejected.
Note: This will only carry a one game suspension. Repeat offenders however;
         will receive the normal two game suspension.
Coin Toss
We will only allow one Team Captain, from each team to participate in the Coin Toss.
The Referee will shall always be in possession of the Coin.
No Hand Shakes (or High Fives), Walk Outs, or Team Huddles. Find a creative way to
celebrate that doesn't involve contact
Participants MUST keep Proper Social Distancing from Referees. ONLY the Coach &
Team Captain can approach the Referee forquestions or clarification.
These Rules are Temporary for Safety Reasons, and will remain in effect until further
"official" Notice.
The Coaches Club is designed to help us achieve a better level of consistency. When you pose a question to an Official or Staff,
there's a good chance that others may have a similar question or concern. Instead of relying on word of mouth to "hopefully" 
get that information to all Coaches, we'll share it here for all Coaches to review. Of course, we can only post about issues we're
aware of, so please, feel free share with us, so we can share it with others. We'll even try to make it entertaining ... when possible!

Some of the Articles are copies of what we present to Referees, so you can see what we're addressing, and so you know what to
This Weeks Articles
Substitution Guide … Simplified (City of Sunrise) 
The intent of the Substitution Rule is simple … ensure reasonable play time for ALL.
The wording is about as simple as a rubrics cube. Hope this makes it easier and
Remember:No matter what, all eligible Players 
MUST Play One Quarter in Each Half … MINIMUM!
Both Teams – It’s always Both Teams 

7 Players – Any time before the Start of the 2nd Quarter – 
               No Player Plays 4 Quarters

Less than 7 Players - (either team) after start of 2nd Quarter – 
                                               a Player may Play 4 Quarters
               (Provided ALL Players Play a Minimum of Half of EACH Half)
Shooting-Scoring at the Wrong Basket:

Shooting at the wrong basket happens. If it's the Player's mistake, and scores, the
basket counts for their opponent, but no player gets credit for scoring. It's simply
added to the score and noted on the game sheet. As it is "technically" not a
legitimate shot, the "shooter" cannot be awarded "Shooting Foul".
(You can only shoot at the proper basket  for it to be a legitimate try)
Rule 5 – Section 2 - ART. 3 . . .
If a player scores a field goal in the opponent’s basket, it is not credited to a player, but is indicated in a footnote.
If it's the Referee's error, the play direction is corrected, and all actions/results
will counted as if they were going in the right direction.
Rule 4 – Section 5 - ART. 4 . . .
If by mistake, the officials permit a team to go the wrong direction, when discovered all points scored,
fouls committed, and time consumed shall count as if each team had gone the proper direction.
Play shall resume with each team going the proper direction, based on bench location.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
It’s really easy to get confused, when many of us play, coach,  and/or officiate in
different leagues, at different competition levels, often times simultaneously or
one league right behind another. Each League and/or Division has their own
amended rules, for one reason or another.The result is carry-over confusion. 
It would be nice if we all went by the same rules, but it’s not the reality. None of
us are immune to the carry-over tendency, so keep that in mind when
encountering rules and/or procedural anomalies. While any of us will be prone to
stand firmly on what we believe to be correct, remember that these
misunderstandings are not intentional or malicious. It’s just the result of human
beings dealing with inconsistencies. When such a situation arises, a quick look at
the Rule book or simply verifying with the City Staff can set the record straight.
We’re all human! ... Well ... Most of us anyway.
OverTime Regular Season Games (City of Sunrise):
We do play one Overtime Period in Regular season games that are tied at the end
of regulation time. If it is still tied at the end of the (1) OverTime, the tie stands.              
It is a (2) minute OT, which is started with a “Real” Jump Ball. Full Court Press is
allowed during the entirety of the OT.
Coaches may play any players they choose, as they have satisfied the Substitution
Rules for the Minimum Playing time for each Player, however; they cannot substitute
during OT periods. Once in, Player’s must remain in the game, unless they Foul Out,
are Injured, or ejected, or pulled for Disciplinary issues.
In the case of a Foul Out, the Coach chooses their Replacement Player, just as they
would in standard basketball. Injuries, Ejection or Disciplinary … 
the Opposing Coach chooses.
Time Out before start
Time Out Shall NOT be granted
until after the ball has become live to start the game 
Rule 5 Art 5 Sect 11 
Previous Articles
Flags Up – What’s Up… Ref?
There appear to be some misconceptions regarding the Linesmen and Referee’s
Duties/Calls. Let’s see if we can clear it up a bit.         
The Sideline Ref raises his Flag for a foul or infraction. The Center Ref ignores it,
or waves it off. The Coach and/or Spectators flip’s out. The Sideline Judge points
in one direction, the Center Ref points in the opposite direction … the crowd goes
wild! What’s Up with That?
The Center Ref is the Head Ref in Charge. He/She is ultimately responsible for the
whole game and its flow. The Side Judges are supportive, and offer a more
complete perspective. As a general rule, Linesmen are less experienced, as that’s
usually where Referee’s start. While the Linesmen are well trained, and know their
Rules, Center Referees normally are more experienced, and have a more in depth
knowledge of the Laws of the Game and their application(s). You have to earn your
way to the Center Ref position, primarily through experience.
The Center Referee is in no way required to accept the call of the Linesmen. The
Linesmen are to call the Fouls/Infractions as they see them, without judgement as
to whether it should be a Call or NO CALL. The Center Referee must ultimately
make the decision, and determine the appropriate call. They have a lot more to
take into consideration, such as Playing Advantage, impact on play, better perspective
on the play, etc.
Perspective is also a huge consideration. What you see from the Sideline isn’t always
indicative of what actually happened, and the Center Referee often has a much better
perspective to see what really happened from their position on the Field. If you’ve
ever seen a Linesman seemingly ignore an Out of Bounds call, by not pointing with
the Flag, it’s not because they’re not paying attention, it’s because the Center Referee
obviously had a much better perspective on the play than the Linesman. It doesn’t
make sense to raise the flag and confuse things. Best to let the one with the clearer
view make the call! You’ll often see this when the ball is at the far end of the field,
when a Coach is crowding the sideline … blocking the Linesman’s view, or when there
are Players in the way of a clear view.
Again, the Center Referee is not obligated to mirror the Linesmen’s calls. In fact, it
would be irresponsible of the Center to just blindly make such a call. The Center has
a lot more to take into consideration, and may be in a better position to choose the
appropriate course of action. They should act accordingly. Will it always be the right
call? No, but more times than not, it will be. Sometimes, it’s virtually impossible to be
certain of what happened, even with the best of perspectives. The Ref’s got to make
a call, or no call decision, which puts Referee in the position of having to do a mental
coin toss to make that decision. It’s part of the Referee’s responsibility … it’s part of
the game. Play On!
It’s Out … It’s In! – Goal … No Goal!
While in most sports the lines are OUT, in Soccer the lines are IN, and don’t feel bad,
Ref’s that do multiple sports occasionally get this backwards. In Soccer, the lines are
actually part of the Playing Field, the “Playing Surface”, and the ball must be 100%
past the lines to be out, or in the goal. In other sports, the lines are OUT, as they
are NOT part of the “Playing Surface”. In Soccer, if the ball, or any part of it, is on or
over the line, on the ground, or in the air, it is still IN, and playable.         
This actually stems from the original “Spirit of the Game” rules. When Soccer started
(back in the 1800’s), there were no lines defining the Soccer Pitch. They just had the
Flags defining the boundaries. Soccer was considered a “Gentlemen’s” sport. The
games were recreational activities for corporate executives, and the rather delusional
perception was that such hoity-toity “Gentlemen”, upper class snobs, would NEVER
cheat. Yeah Right, it’s a sport!
The Rule for Throw-Ins was; the Player must be between the Flags when throwing
the ball in and the ball must pass the Flags, within the Goal, to be a goal. Eventually,
due to constant, annoying disputes as to whether the ball was in or out, over the goal
line, etc., the lines were incorporated into the field layout. The lines were painted
INSIDE the Flags, making them part of the Playing Field, or Pitch as it’s called in Soccer.
Hence, the outer edge of the Lines is the boundary beyond the Playing Surface. This is
also why the Rules state that; for a Legal Throw-In the Thrower must have both feet
on the ground, On or Behind the Sideline.
Hopefully, that clarifies the Rule(s), with the added bonus of a little Soccer trivia to
impress your friends with.
Coaches are Responsible for their Spectator’s!
Parental Units get excited during games and some tend to regularly lose sight of the
boundaries between cheering for - and coaching the kids which interferes with the game
… usually contradicting the Coaches instructions. That doesn’t make them bad people,
just overly enthusiastically people, if we’re going to be politically correct. It does however
distract the Players, and either create an unfair advantage, or as is usually the case,
result in an unfair disadvantage for their own team. Parental Units in the Team Areas
or coming onto the field is also a BIG NO NO!         
Don’t get me wrong, we know that Parental Units can be, shall we say, difficult to
manage (again, politically correct), but it is part of the Coaches responsibility, in every
sport and in every league.
The problem exists, and becomes more difficult to manage, because it wasn’t explained
to them at the start of the season, as was suggested in the Coaches Meeting. Had the
expectations been explained at the first practice, with little reminders, as needed,
throughout the season, we wouldn’t have to endure the indignant confrontations in
trying to correct the behavior in the middle of the season. Confronting the issue at
games, embarrassing them in front of others, when the adrenaline is raging, only leads
to unfriendly confrontations. Informing them in the more relaxed and personal
atmosphere, void of excessive adrenaline and ego motivated aggressiveness, gets much
better results.
You can’t expect people to honor expectations they are not aware of. Grab a few
moments in a Practice, or send a message through text, or whatever app you’re
communicating with your team through, and explain the behavioral expectations. Most
will comply. Include the fact that, Referees have the authority to penalize Spectator
misconduct, and if deemed necessary, may result in ejection, and/or forfeiture.
Referees don’t want to issue such penalties, and we certainly prefer not to penalize
the kids for inappropriate behavior of one or two amped up Parental Units. We also
understand that it is extremely annoying, for you as Coaches, to spend so much time
working on your game strategy, only to have a Parental Unit tank your efforts, with
their in the moment, game time brain farts. We prefer the easy solution of informing
participants. It only takes a few minutes to do, and will result in a lot less frustration
for you. Let’s do it!
Daylight UnSavings Time
Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour, at 2:00am on Sunday
Goal Keeper in Possession
A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball when: 
>the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface 
                                 (e.g. ground, own body) 
>or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms except if the ball rebounds
  from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save 
>holding the ball in the outstretched open hand
>bouncing it on the ground or throwing it in the air              
A goalkeeper cannot be challenged by an opponent when in control of the ball with
the hands.
Penalty: Indirect Free Kick
Note:If contact is made, especially if it is excessive, an appropriate, alternate call
        may be made, which may result in a Direct Free Kick which; if in the Penalty
        Box, will result in a Penalty Kick, as the Referee is to call the more Serious
Offsides is in effect for Free Kicks
Offsides is in in full effect on all Free Kicks, Direct or Indirect. I don’t know where the misconception comes from (probably incorrect Referee enforcement), that there is no Offsides on a Free Kick, but the fact of the matter is; Offsides is in effect for all Free Kicks.
The only time Offsides is temporarily suspended, is 
Goal Kicks, Corner Kicks, Throw-Ins, and Drop Balls, 
and it is only temporary, until the ball is in play. Once the ball hits the field, Offsides
immediately goes into effect. I won’t bore you with the “why” details here … 
just know that it’s the rule! If you want to understand why, contact me for the
reason(s). I’m happy to explain it.
Drinks are on us
Substitution time is NOT Coaching time. A one minute time limit is placed on the Substitution/Water Break. This only applies to Saturday Games, as its cool enough in the evenings to make it unnecessary.
Delaying Restart of Play, beyond the one minute allotted, will result in a Delay of Game, Indirect Free Kick to the offending team’s opponent.
I got a call saying that the Referees weren’t allowing the kids to get water, and I
was asked to give a one minute Water Break, which would only apply on
Saturday’s ... cause it’s freaking HOT!
Now, I know my Official’s, and although they’re not supposed to, 
(except for 6U and 8U, for obvious reasons) they’re nice guys/gals. I know that they
give the kids a minute to grab a drink. Not proper, but not worth being a stickler
for the Rules anal.
Knowing this, when I got the call, I checked with all my Referees. Turns out, they
were giving the customary One Minute chance to grab a quick drink. Having been
around the block a few times, and having some tread worn off my tires, I suspected
the reality of the complaint. They were looking for Substitutions to be extra Half Time
Breaks for Coaching.
Soccer, the real Rules, doesn’t provide for a “Drink Break”. There simply is no such
thing. The Rules do however, allow Players to receive water from the sideline, at any
time, provided they don’t Leave the Field of Play, and the water container doesn’t
enter the Field of Play. That’s the Rule(s).
Now, particularly here in Florida, due to the heat, many leagues alter the Rules to
allow for a one minute “Water Break”. Cool! 
Notice, I didn’t say a “grab a bag of chips and a Gatorade and discuss strategy over
a Twinkie break”! The objective is to get the Subs in, grab a quick drink, and get play
re-started, within one minute. It is not a Half Time or a Coaching Break.
The problem is; aside from the short playing times (15 minute max) making a break
absolutely unnecessary; we’re on a tight schedule. Frequently, Coaches get lost in
a Coaching Clinic mentality and consume excessive time in the huddle. This results in
an extra 5 or 10 minutes per half before they get back on the field to restart play. 
That pushes all the subsequent games behind, which results in late starts for
everybody else, especially on Saturdays. Then we get complaints because games
are an hour behind schedule an hour or more. This also caused a lot of forfeits,
because Players, Coaches, and Parental Units, even Referees started showing up late,
because they figured the game wasn’t going to start on time anyway. Why show up
on time? It was a MESS!
The “Water Break” is One Minute. Grab a Drink, get your Subs in, and get back to
the reason we’re here … play the game.
Injuries – Only Serious Injuries Stop Play!
96.9328% of “injuries” on the Field wouldn’t even compare to stubbing your toe on the coffee table in the middle of the night. Sure, it smarts, but it certainly doesn’t warrant medical attention, and it certainly isn’t a serious injury, except in extremely rare instances.
We deal with this every year. Two kids collide, fall down, and the Referee let’s play
continue, as they are supposed to. Then they’re thrown under a bus and chastised
by Coaches and Parental Units bum rushing the field, often times, right in the middle
of a drive to the goal. Now the drive is irretrievably busted up … for a boo boo.
That’s not fair, hence the Rule.
While I absolutely appreciate being protective of our kids, they don’t need to be
comforted over every little boo boo. You’ll know if they’re seriously injured, and
believe me, if they are, the Referee will be quick to stop the game and beckon the
Coach and/or Parental Unit onto the field to tend to it … in a heartbeat.
Don’t come charging on the field for little boo boos, and disrupt the game, and
don’t come unglued when the Referee doesn’t stop the game … because they’re
not supposed to. It’s embarrassing for the kid(s) and totally unnecessary.
Distractions behind the Goals
Nobody is allowed behind the Goals or the Goal Lines during games. While it may seem innocent enough, it is a distraction that interferes with the game. Just the activity alone is a distraction, and it always gets worse. First, the ball they’re kicking around winds up on the field. Then they’re playing on the field … DURING A GAME! Then others see them back there and think “Hey! What a nice view. It’s ok to hang out back there”. NOT! Then there’s the Parental Unit(s) that can’t resist coaching/distracting the GoalKeeper/Players, usually wandering onto the field, contrary to the Coaches carefully thought out instructions, or just generally interfering with play.
If you arrive to a game early, to get a little practice warm up in, be courteous and
don’t cause a distraction by practicing or gathering behind the field. You know how
hard it is to coral and control these fun loving, adventurous little tykes.
The Team’s playing, own the field, which includes behind the Goals & Goal Lines.
Respect their right to play, without unnecessary interference. 
It’s a HAPPY “Do Unto Others” courtesy.
Sideline Coaching
We cannot allow sideline Coaching, except of course, the two authorized Coaches in the Player’s Area. (This does not apply to the Instructional Division in Sunrise)
One of the Coaches’, watching his kid play in a division he wasn’t the Coach for,
very respectfully asked if he could go into the Coaches area to make a suggestion
to his kid’s Coach. He was 'badged-up’ so that wasn’t an issue. He knew the answer,
but hey, you can’t blame him for trying! Of course, I said no, followed by;
“do you like it when Parental Units do it to you?” He instantly got it, chuckled and
said “no”!
In the past, I’ve tried to be courteous and make an exception, but in every case, it
just went wrong, so we don’t do it anymore. Coaches work very hard to make their
team the best they can, and running the team is often about as easy as juggling
bowling balls. Coaches know their Player’s, their Team’s capabilities, and their
competition. They put in a lot of time and effort to put together a solid strategy,
and it’s hard enough to get the Player’s to cooperate in implementing such strategies,
without having to deal with spur of the moment opinions as to how they should do it
better. In fact, nearly every experience I’ve had with this, the Coach and/or the
bearer of an alternative idea, wind up resenting the engagement, no matter how
well-intended it may have been.
Generally, the Spectator coaching moments are just Parental Units getting caught up
in the excitement of the game. That’s just the nature of the game. You’ll know this is
the case when they realize they’ve gotten carried away in the moment, with a gentle
reminder. We don’t need to make a big fuss over these incidents. Where we need to
be concerned is; when Parental Units mistakenly think they can assume a role as an
Assistant Coach. They interfere with the game, distract the Players, move them out
of the position their Coach put them in, and essentially tank the Coaches entire, well
planned strategy. That is infuriating and should be addressed promptly. You’ll know
these types when you meet with resistance, when you politely ask them to refrain
from Coaching.
When you get to the root of their motivation, in almost every case, these overly
motivated Sideline Coaches feel the need to take over, because they don’t like the
way the Coach Is running his show, and/or, they want their kid to be the star!
While we’re all out to win, this behavior is highly disrespectful, and in most cases
negatively affects the team’s progress and game record, the opposite of their
intentions. It’s very important that we set the expectation of the NO Sideline
COACHING Rule, through consistent management. We’ve lost a lot of very good
Coaches, that we’re a really good influence for the kids. The number one reason I
hear for Coaches quitting; is not the game, the kids, or the time and effort it takes
to Coach a team. In virtually every case, it’s the disrespect of Parental Units. This
deprives us of very good Coaches, who now have some real, good experience to
share with the kids, that can make a positive impact in the quality of these kid’s
lives. It is extremely important that we curb this behavior, for the sake of the kid’s
and the program. Let’s DO IT and make a difference.
Coaches Conduct – Set a Good Example
Make no mistake! Parental Units and Players feed off your actions! The way you react situations heavily influences the way that they will react.
I’ve received several reports from concerned Parental Units, Coaches, and Referees,
indicating Coaches behavior contrary to the Coaches Code of Ethics. Now I’m not
talking about the occasional “momentarily lost my ever loving mind kind of incidents.
That’s normal. I’m talking about blatant disrespect or disregard for the Rules or Coaches
Code of Ethics. Remember our motto (on the back of your shirt), 
Play Hard … Play Fair … Have Fun.
Technically speaking, many of the complaints I’ve fielded were just shy of begging for
an Ejection, but my Referees don’t want to penalize the kids for such silliness. If we
can’t correct it though, we will have to remove the problem, unfortunately through 
Please, DO NOT Curse on the field, in front of the children. Reports of F Bombs …
I don’t blame them for getting mad! We wouldn’t want that around our kids …
would we? Let’s keep it clean and respectful.

Aggressively questioning EVERY Call a Ref Makes ... Seriously! Trust me ... they know
more about the Rules than you'd ever care to. While we do have some newby Refs,
(this is where they start) they are all very well trained, and most have years of experience.
They know the Rules and how to apply them. They're also looking at the game from
a completely different and focused perspective. Now, do Referees make mistakes?
Sure they do! In 98% of cases, that Referee you're chastizing is right ... I'll let it go
at that.

While we understand that part of a Coaches job is to "work the Refs", you have to
be sensible, even strategic about it. They know your working them, and we even
get a kick out of your creativity, but when you take it to a disrespectful level that
interferes with the game, the only kick you'll get ... kicked out of the game. What
do you gain in that? On the other hand, you want a well officiated game, right?
Do you really expect to get that through constantly distracting the game? Do you
really think you're going to get a "could go either way" call in your favor? Another
thing to keep in mind, if you're focused on trying to teach the Ref how to do soccer
your way, what are you not focused on? Think about it.

The Referee has complete authority over the game and the field. Disrespecting the
Ref's is about as wise as driving up to a Police Officer, asking him to hold your
open beer ... You're simply not going to have a good night!
Offsides 8U
We give the 8U teams a break on Offsides, but it hasn't been removed from the Rules.
We're still calling it, but only when it's dramatic, or Coaches are trying to use it to their

Due to the complexity of the Rule, the difficulty getting new Players of this age to
comprehend the Rule, their general skills, and the limited amount of practices they get,
we're being very lenient, as a courtesy, so the kids can play ball. If we didn't, there'd
be more calls  and Bambi eyed stares than plays! BOOO! 
It's just a courtesy ... NOT A RULE CHANGE!

If a 8U Player is a Super Star on a Travel Team, he/she knows better, so that doesn't
qualify for the "Courtesy No Call".Offsides should be called.  If a Coach purposely
plants a kid in the Goal Box, that's taking unfair advantage of the courtesy "No Call",
and that's not acceptable. The call should be made, and the Coach warned against
further incidents.

Again, Offsides is still in effect for the 8U's. We're just being "fair" and not pressing
the issue, due to the circumstances.
Throw In Re-Do's 8U & 10U
Like the Offsides Courtesy/Leniency for 8U's; as a courtesy, both the 8U's and the
10U's are allowed a second chance to correct their Throw-In. For many of them,
this is the first time they've played, so understandably, they generally don't really
understand how to do a proper Throw-In. We make this allowance for about
half the season. By that time, they should have Throw-In's down pat, so we start
calling it the way it's supposed to be, i.e., bad throw = turn over ... not apple.

Again, this is a courtesy, and if a Player obviously has the skill to do a proper
Throw-In, then the second throw courtesy doesn't have to be given. The courtesy
is for those Players that just need a little extra practice to get it right.
Last 2 Minutes – Clock STOPS 
During the last 2 minutes of each half, The Sunrise Rules state that; the Clock Stops last
(2) minutes of the second and fourth quarters for Punting plays and as in regulation
tackle football (incompletion, out-of-bounds). Restart after first downs, penalties, injuries,
change of possession, and dead balls, once the ball has been set. 
There’s a little semantics issue with the way this is written, which we will address with the
City to make it clearer. As Flag Football ordinarily doesn’t have Kick-Offs, the actual rule
would be that the clock restarts with the kick. NIRSA Rules also dictates that the clock is
stopped for Time-Outs (duh), Out of Bounds, Incomplete Pass, Penalties, Injuries and
First Downs, restarting at  the Ball Set & Whistle. For PAT’s (extra points)the clock does
not run, and as we have the added bonus of actual Kick-Offs, the clock doesn’t restart
until … you guessed it … the Kick.
On the Funnier side;
I got this fancy new watch that allows me to switch to a countdown mode for the last 2
minutes. The battery died, which of course meant I had to figure out how to reset
everything. While the 10 minute quarters flew by, the last 2 minutes felt like an eternity!
That's because it was! Everyone noticed it too, but I’m like, “the watch doesn’t lie”, and
pawned it off to the clock stoppages. When I went to bed, reviewing my games as I
always do, the seemingly eternal last 2 minutes thing was bugging the heck out of me.
Then it dawned on me, (recalling the total reset I had to do), bet you set that sucker for
2 hours instead of 2 minutes, ya goof! Sure enough, that’s what I did. I got up, reset it
correctly, and called myself some names synonymous with IDIOT, and committed to
informing the Coaches of my blunder, at their next game. The good news … it’s fixed,
at least until the battery dies again! Thought you'd enjoy a little chuckle at my expense.
Pass or Fumble???           
It’s the tail end of the first half, the 2 Minute Warning already sounded. The ball is
snapped! The Quarterback fades back to pass ... it's blocked. His attacker basically
stuffed him before he could launch the ball. The Referee called it down at the spot
where the ball hit the ground, and announced that the clock was still running. The
Coach objected, as the clock stops for incomplete passes. In truth, it was a judgement
call as to whether the Quarterback had begun the forward motion for the pass, or was
“stuffed” prior to his arm moving forward. It was really close. Who was right? Got a 
coin? The Referee was honed in specifically on the play, and it was so split 1/100th
of a second close, that the Coach was certainly justified in questioning the call however;
the way the defender was draped over the Quarterback upon ball contact, confirmed in
the Referee’s  judgement, that it was the correct call. The Quarterback was bum rushed.
On a Pass attempt, if the throwers arm has not begun forward motion, the ball is
blocked and hits the ground; it is a Fumble, which in Flag Football is an immediate Dead
Ball, remaining in the Offenses possession, unless of course, it was 4th down, which
would result in a natural change of possession. If the throwers arm has begun forward    
motion, it would be deemed an incomplete pass.
Sometimes Right - just Seems Wrong          
We had a play situation that forced us to make an uncomfortable decision. It delt with,
what would ordinarily be deemed incidental contact anywhere else on the field, but in
this case, nearly knocked the kid out in the his own End Zone, which would have
resulted in a Safety. If it was tackle football, there wouldn't have been any question,
but with Flag Footballs NO CONTACT Rules, the awarding of points wasn't exactly
justified. Declining the "Sketchy" Penalty would have resulted in the points being awarded.
We were basically left with two options, and whatever we chose, would be
unfair to one of the teams. The Rules left us no option. We had to either award points
that weren't exactly earned, or call a Penalty that, due to circumstances, was a little
sketchy. Ultimately, we went with the Penalty, which sadly was a 10 yarder.

It didn't seem fair, and even the Coach who benefited, being a good sport, obviously
wasn't feelin too tickled about it either. Both Coaches understood the dilema and were
perfect gentlemen about it, which I give them the Official Kudos Award for that.

As we marched off the 10 yards, the benefiting Coach was visibly disturbed by the
unearned advantage. He didn't want to win in that way. 

This whole thing reminded me of a little known football rule, which I thought of, but
it wouldn't have applied in this situation (would have resulted in a Safety), but it might prove
useful in other similar circumstances ... away from Goal Lines.
 The Rule is;
"The Distance Penalty for any Foul MAY be Declined". Essentially, you can accept the
Penalty, but choose NOT to take the Yardage.
Just thought you'd like to know.
Backwards Pass
NIRSA Rules are very similar to NFL Football in many ways, but there are some squiggly
Rules that can stump ya, as you take a momentary pause and say to yourself, "is that
Rule the same as regular football, or is there some crazy difference for Flag Football. We
ran into one such instance this week on a missed backward pass. We were pretty sure
that it was down at the spot, just like regular football, but we weren't sure. We erred
on the side of caution, as it was only 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage, with a team
that was passing and gaining an average of 15 yards. No harm, no foul (they scored),
but the fact of the matter is, we should have put the ball 3 yards back. To make matters
worse, for the first time I can remember, I didn't have my complete Rule Book to refer
to, as I left it in my other car. Try as we may, try as we might, we haven't achieved
perfection ... yet. We'll keep striving for such perfection!

Remember, a Backwards Pass is treated in the same manner as a fumble or dropped
handoff. The ball is declared dead, and the line of scrimmage is marked at that spot.
That Backward Pass can also be intercepted and advanced. 

A Backward Pass (or fumble) which goes out-of-bounds between the Goal Lines belongs to
the Offenseive Team at the Out-of Bounds spot. If Out-of-Bounds behind a Goal Line, 
it's a Touchback or Safety.
Touchback - Safety - Kick Out-of-Bounds
Touchback = 14 Yard Line (That's that silly, seemingly out of place, giant X between the 20 & Goal Line)
Safety = 20 Yard Line
Out-of-Bounds Kick = 30 Yard Line
Illegal Kick-Off (downed by Kicking Team before traveling 10 Yards = Retake at 35 Yard Line
 <provided of course, Penalty is Accepted>
Have a little FUN with it
The City asked me to ask the Referees to lighten up a bit and have fun doing the
games. Basically, they'd like to see us more engaged, so let's give 'em our sugar
coated side!
Let the Tournament Games Begin
It's gonna be intense! Tournament Games are starting this week. The Tournament
Games have a blue background behind the Division.

All Tournament Games must end with a Winner. If tied at the end of Regulation
Play, we go to OverTime. If still Tied ... Rinse & Repeat until a Winner is determined.

Remember ... 
All OverTimes are 2 Minutes each, start with a Jump Ball, and play the Full 2 Minutes.
Fouls & Time-Outs carry over, and each Team is allowed an additional 30 second
Time-Out for each OverTime.
No Full Court Press if Up By 20
I know it's rare enough that it's easy to forget, but for all divisions ...
If any team is up by 20 points, neither team is allowed to Full Court Press.
Shooting Fouls vs Floor Fouls
Pay close attention and make sure we're not awarding Shooting Fouls for Floor Fouls

A Shooting Foul is awarded when a Personal Foul is committed against and opponent
IN THE PROCESS OF SHOOTING. If fouled in the process of shooting, the Player is
awarded the number of Free Throws that a successful shot, without the foul, would
have scored. If the shot is successful, the Player is awarded one shot.

If the Player wasn't in the actual motion, i.e., taking the shot, it is a floor foul, and
shots are only awarded if they are in the Bonus. Otherwise, the ball is in bounded by
a Throw-In at the sideline or baseline Spot closest to the Foul.
Maintain Consistency Throughout the Games
When a Game is a blow out, or Players are struggling bringing the ball up and the
game gets a little sloppy, here is a tenancy for Officials to just let the kids play.
It makes sense, as calling too many Fouls or being too strict crushes the game.
While loosening up a bit is wise, just giving up and letting it turn into street ball
isn't a good option. Loosen up, but don't give up!
Two Hands on Ball - Call Double Dribble
I know it's right to overlook dribbling coordination challenges for the little kids,
especially the ones who are obviously just starting out. Of course, the ones with
the skills, the ballers, shouldn't get the same leniency, but at this point, it is
proper to expect all but the silliest to be called. 

In all divisions, as soon as two hands simultaneously touch the ball, and they
continue to dribble, call the Travel. 
Baselines = Black - Westpine and Millenium.
In the beginning of the season, the bleachers were the determining factor as to whether
we used the Black or Orange Baselines. We've sinced adjusted Millenium's BLACK Baselines
so that we can have consistancy between gyms. It was causing some confusion with
Officials who were working both gyms. Now it'll be consistently the Black Base Lines for both
gyms. Confusion removed!
Parental Units Shall NEVER Approach Referees  
Only the Head Coach is allowed to address the Officials ... in a respectful manner. We
had a close call that ultimately sealed the outcome of the game. With one second
remaining, in a very close game, two Fouls and two calls were made within nanoseconds
of each other. One Official whistled for a Foul on the Floor, and the second whistle was
for what would have been a Shooting Foul, had the first call not resulted in a Dead Ball.
The Floor Foul was 1 on 1, which was missed, ending the game. One of the Parental Units
somehow got the idea that they had the right to confront the Official ... WRONG!!!!!!!
He was mad and wanted to make sure the Officials felt just as bad. That is uncalled for.
Even if the Parental Unit was correct, they have no business confronting the Referees. 
We all know this; Coaches, Referees, and Spectators have different perspectives, based
on the angle they are viewing the game, not to mention their emotional investment in it.
While Referees are not omnipotent  gods, they do know what they are doing, have good,
impartial eyes on the play, and must call what they see, as they see it.

Everything looks like hacks from the bleachers. The Referee is in the proper position to
see if it is a foul. You cannot see it accurately from the sideline, with the accuracy of an
Official on the floor, looking right at the play. Please help "assertive" Parental Units
understand that they cannot confront the Referees to share their rather partial
opinions. Failure to do so won't change the call, but it may very well change their plans
for the next game ... as in not present, due to an ejection.
Help a Brother/Sister Out
A "How We Doin" survey question was sent out to Coaches by the City. One of the
responses was that Referees refused to explain calls. The City, understandably asked
us to be more responsive to, or more "friendly" towards Coaches inquiries. This is a
reasonable request, and for the most part, Officials are happy to do so, however,
there are some courtesy guidelines.

In most cases, when I see Officials shutting down on Coaches, it's because they are
questioning every call, and/or, rather than asking a question for informational purpose,
they are disputing the Officials call, and often times the Officials integrity. Often times,
it's also an attempt to influence the Officials calls, which ain't gonna happen. With this
type of chastising, a Coach should expect to be shut down by the Officials. They need
to focus on the game first! By the way, by the book, all of the above are virtually
screaming requests for a Technical Foul ... FYI.

Respect breeds respect, and visa versa. If your inquiry is a true attempt to understand
a rule or a call, made at an appropriate time, Officials are more than happy to
respectfully share their insights. If you're screaming at the Official, expecting an instant,
detailed answer, or more pointedly, justification of a call, expect to be tuned out. If an
Official is in the middle of chasing after a fast break ... sorry, you'll have to wait, because
the play is the priority. Hit 'em up at an appropriate lull or break like Half Time, and ask,
don't attack! They'll be happy to respond with the same respect you address them with.

We want to work with you to make this the most FUN and best experience possible.
Mutual respect and consideration for circumstances are the key to making that happen!
Delay of Game query
A Coaches requested clarification of Delay of Game rulings. Between Coach, Player and
even Spectator Delay of Game references, we could spend hours discussing it. The Coach
also insinuated that the Official(s) seemed hesitant to call a Delay of Game Technical Foul,
as if the Official(s) didn't know the Rules. Rather than put everyone through a full blown
class on Delay of Game infractions, let's simplify it with the Spirit of the Rule.

Delay of Game Warnings or Technical Fouls are issued for ANY Unsportsmanlike Conduct
that delays the Restart of Play, even momentarily. Most are acts of defiance, dissension,
or disrespect of the game. Some examples; Chucking the ball across the court or slamming
it down, at the backboard or wall, because you're mad at a call. Dropping the ball on
the ground or throwing it at, rather than handing it to the Referee. Not getting back onto
the court, ready for play before your 30 or 60 second Time Out expires. Holding the ball
so you can yell at the Referee, or to give your players a chance to get into position, etc.

As far as Referees "delaying" before making Delay of Game calls, it's not because they
don't know the Delay of Game Rules, it's because they want to be sensible about it, and
have been asked to keep it realistic. It's kinda like the "count to 10 before you punish"
philosiphy. While some Referees are just plain "Tech Happy", we don't subscribe to that
model. As players and/or Coaches themselves, at one time or another, most of our
Referees understand that emotions run high during any game/sport. They'd rather not
litter the game with punk calls that may unnecessarily effect the outcome of the game,
penalizing the Players for something they can't control. Referees are trained to think,
before jumping to the "Letter of the Rules", and that's exactly what they're supposed to
do. Now, if its perpetual behavour, or there's a healthy side of attitude, you can expect
to get what you earned ... without delay.

Note: The same Coach objected to receiving a DOG Warning, immediately followed by
        an actual DOG Tech. A Warning is a courtesy. If it is received with an "attitude",
        the reward is an actual Tech. The same holds true for Double Tech / Eject
There are three things to consider when granting a time out.
There seems to be a little confusion with when Time-Outs can be called and granted.

1) Dead Ball 2) Live Ball 3) Loose Ball
Dead Ball – Both teams may call for a time out
Live Ball – Only the team in possession can request a time out

Loose Ball – No one can call a time out 
Note: A pending Jump Ball situation falls under Loose Ball, as none one clearly has possession.
        Essentially, both teams are in partial possession, trying to gain full possession.
Remember, Time Outs are requested & granted … NOT Automatic.
An Official should grant an appropriately requested Time Out, but may deny it for a number
of reasons. Of course, the Official has to hear, or see the Time Out request in time.
For example; the defensive team may request a Time Out on a Throw-In, but the Official
has already “put the ball at the disposal of the offensive team. That negates the defenses
eligibility for a Time Out, as the ball is considered “in possession of the Offense”. 
(Newer ruling for fairness in Penalty implementation procedure) 
The question came up regarding Time Outs during Free Throws. Not for nothing, this rule
is often confused, due to the commonly used wording by Officials and the perception on
the court. We hear the defensive team call for a Time Out, and the Official says they must
wait until the second shot. This is often perceived as; they’re not allowed to call a
Time Out on the first shot, when in fact, they can. The Time Out is denied, because the ball
is at, or in the process of being put at the disposal of the shooter. Technically, this is
considered a LIVE ball play, in the  possession of the offensive team, which negates the
defenses eligibility to call a Time Out.
More clearly stated; both teams are allowed to call a Time Out during a Free Throw,
provided the ball is not in the process of being put at, or is already at the disposal of the
shooter. Once the process has begun, the defensive team cannot be awarded a Time Out.
I hope that helps!
Referees aren't Revenge Monsters
I can't even count the number of times, over the past 20+ years I've been Officiating,
that I've heard Officials accused of having it out for a Coach, or favoring one team over
another. Nothing could be farther from the truth. To be honest, the Referees are there
for the game, to do their job, enjoy the game, and get through the night in one piece.
They couldn't care less who wins or loses. While we all start each new day, hoping we
can make everybody happy, the truth is, that's unlikely to happen, especially in sports.

Now, if you were to ask me if an Official has ever stepped onto a field or court, dropped
their head in dread, and thought "this is gonna be a long game", it would be a lie for me
to deny. Like anything else, people who are overbearing or aren't really familiar with the
rules of engagement, kinda make it a chore rather than a pleasant experience.

Back about 15 years ago, I learned from an experience, as a Coach and a Referee, that
really enlightened me. I'll share it, as it might provide a helpful perspective. Maybe you
can relate.

I had finally arrived at being a well rounded Referee. I had game baby, and managed my
games quite well. A Coach was perpetually on my tail, game after game, year after year.
He disputed every single call, had half the rules backwards, insulted my Mother, and was
the focal point of every game. I kept wondering what I'd ever done to him that he hated
me so much (no, I didn't date his sister). He was like this with EVERY Referee. He was the very
definition of game disruption, and he'd finally found my ceiling for patience and tolerance.
That's not an easy thing to do, but he found it in aces.

In this one game, I'd had enough. He was so obnoxious, loud and insulting, I stopped
the game and addressed him. It was like I'd stuck my face in a hornets nest. He didn't
want to hear it and got insanely offensive. It was time to eject him, and this is one of
the few times I would have actually been happy to do so, but he was the only Coach. 
That ejection, though well earned, would have forced the kids to forfeit, and I didn't
want them to suffer for his behavior. I suspended the game and stormed off looking
for City Staff to get this Coach under reasonable control. No Luck. Still not wanting to
ruin it for the kids, I figured I'd take another shot at reasoning with him. He yelled, I
yelled, spit flying, until both our voices began crackling. Then it dawned on me what
was happening, and I shared it with him. 

Coach! You are screaming at me on every play. You are distracting me on every
single play. You yell for whistles and insult me, while I'm in the process of blowing my
datburned whistle, for the foul you're accusing me of not calling. You scream for a foul
that isn't even a foul, I turn and look at you, and miss another foul, or see one of your
players retaliating, and call the foul on you. If you'd just let me do my job, and lay off
and let me think and focus, I could call the game properly. I can't do that with you
constantly barking in my ear, demanding my undivided attention and distracting me.
No wonder the officiating is off. Can you just Coach the game and let me do my job,
or do we have to forfeit?

He stopped, processed it, and said; ya know, you're right. I hadn't thought of it that
way. Of course, he didn't apologize, but that's ok. I wasn't looking one. I just wanted to
let the kids play. From that point forward, he was an awesome Coach, and funny thing
was, his team's performance improved significantly, because he was fully focused on his
team, rather than trying to teach Referees how he thinks they should do it. That son of
a gun started winning games. We actually became friends and were for years, and I was
able to clear up some of the rules for him, that he had misconceptions about.

His kids done grewd up and we've gone our seperate ways, but as I was also a Coach,
I never forgot the lesson I learned with him, both as a Coach and a Referee. I was better
at both, because of the experience.

(If you got nothing out of this little story, I hope it was at least entertaining)
Time to Tighten-Up Calls
When we start any season, it's normal for Teams to be a bit disheveled. They're starting
with a whole new set of Players & Coaches, with various levels of skills, from beginner to
hot shot. Of course, with limited practices, combined with irregular practice attendance, it
takes a bit for Teams to gel, so it's appropriate for Officials to allow some leeway, so we
can actually have a game. We don't want to cripple the games with over officiating,
because that would be absolutely NO FUN, and rather discouraging.

As we are at the halfway mark, Teams should have worked the bugs out, for the most part,
and Players should have a pretty good grasp of the Rules, and play should be expected to
get more intense. With that in mind; we can, and should begin progressively calling the
game(s) tighter. Use good judgment!!!
Petty Calls - Don't Choke the Game
The expectations of Coaches and Spectators are from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Some want "everything" called, some just want to "let the kids play", and there's a whole
bunch somewhere in between, which is where the Referees should be.

Petty calls, that have no impact on play, do nothing but choke the game. So, if a Referee
says "Coach, No Advantage", they're telling you that it had no impact on play, either way,
and that it would unnecessarily disrupt play. This is a good judgement call, as noone wants
a game full of Mickey Mouse calls ... THEY WANY TO PLAY BALL!!!!!!!!

One such call, which a Coach was heartily pressing, was a 3 second call. Now, let's keep
in mind reason this Rule was implemented in the first place.  The goal was: to reduce the
traffic congestion in front of the bucket, speed up/enhance the game, reduce congestion
injuries, and to keep two story players like Wilt Chamberlin from becoming a virtually
impenetrable, goal denying wall. Imagine a games 106 - 4. Not a lot of fun!
(That's my out of cronological interpretation for entertainment purposes. It was actually initiated in 1936, as a result of
 rather a lopsided game between UK & NYU in 1935) 

Was the Coach correct that Player was in the Key for more than 3 seconds? Absolutely!
Did it matter? Not in the least! It was a loose ball, heading back to Mid-Court, with a pack
of Players shagging after it. Of course, this is a prime, potential foul situation, so guess
where the Officials attention was! No, it wasn't on counting 3 Seconds in the Paint. It was
on the mob pouncing on the ball at Mid-Court, right where it should have been. In fact,
that's where everybodies attention was focused (except one), including ALL the Players. The
Offensive Player "In the Paint" wasn't paying attention to his position, and frankly, it didn't
matter. He was oblivious! There was no play anywhere near him or dependant on his
positioning, so it was a good "NO CALL! 

In fairness, he was dominating the game handsomely, so I don't think he was chirping
because he needed the advantage. I think he just intuitively sees a penalty or foul and,
understandably expects it to be called. Fortunately, the Officials know this would have
been an egregiously inappropriate call, and let the boys play basketball.

You have to consider circumstances, severity, and appropriateness. 
Sometimes a NO CALL is the best call.
Image/Appearance Matters
I can't stress enough, the importance of Image and Appearance! One of the Coaches,
who also happens to be a good Referee, brought it to my attention, once again. While
I didn't see it, as the Officials primped up prior to my arrival, the comment cut through
me like a hot knife through butter.

If you look like you just rolled out of bed, shirt hanging out, shabby untied shoes,
wrinkle clothes, and a Trump wannabe hair style, it shines a bad light on us all, pees
all over your credibility, and generally results in abusive attitudes toward your Officiating.
It's also critical that; you don't present the image that you're "just there for the paycheck"
(even if you are). Remember, we're here for the Kids, the Coaches, and the Parental Units.
Let's not act like we're forced to flip hamburgers at McSlopameals. You certainly would
not appreciate it, so let's remember, and apply the Golden Rule. Be Basketball Ready,
fully engaged, with our head in the game. As I always say: We Want to BE the Referees
We Wish We Had ... NOT the Referees we had to endure!
Referee Positioning
In order to make calls appropriately, we need to be in the proper position. 

Lead Official needs to be at the Baseline, and when there's a play to the basket, the
Official needs to be squared up with the Key where all the action is. That's where the
crowded, not so delicate action is, and Officials need to be in the thick of it so see
exactly what's happening. If you're standing off to the sideline, by the Coaches, then
your perspective is just as dodgy as theirs, and you'll miss, guess, or incorrectly make
the same kind of calls they tend to. It's all in Positioning & Perspective. Get to the Base
Line, and Get to The Key ... so You Can See!

Trailing Officials need to be right behind the trailing player, not hanging out at the
Score Clock, checking the integrity of the electrical connections. The closer you are to
the action, the better the calls you'll make, and the fewer important calls you'll miss.
If you've got 20 feet of blank floor space in front of you, you're too far out. Don't be
afraid to move in towards the pack for a closer look. You'll see much more, with a
significant level of clarity. If it was a Miss Beauty Queen contest, you'd make sure you
were in the best possible, won't get arrested for stalking position to see all. 
Just because they're a bunch of sweaty ball players, with nothing remotely resembling
sexy outfits, doesn't mean that they are not deserving of the same, close, eyes on the
play attitude ... give or take. NO CATCALLS though ... Please Gentlemen!

Also, the Trailing Official should "keep an ear out" for Coaches calling Time-Outs, and
the Lead Official should be regularly glancing over to spot Time-Outs, especially when
you know they're in situations where they are highly likely to be called. We don't want
to rob Coaches of their Time-Outs, particularly when they're highly time sensitive.
On the Spot is VERY Important + Step On - OK - Step Over - NOT so OK
When a Foul is committed, it is crucial that you Mark the Spot and Issue the Ball for
a Throw-In At That Spot! Inaccurate placement of the ball, at the Spot, will either
give the Offense/Defense and advantage/disadvantage. That means somebody
gets JACKED, because of the Official's placement. A few feet, could be a play maker
or play breaker. No Bueno Dudes! 

I'm also seeing a little too much attention up-court, and too little attention on the
lines during Throw-Ins and Free Throws. I know that we expect the Players to know
to and stay within their boundries, so we just turn our focus up court, as we begin
our Visible Count (hint, hint). Unfortunately, this confidence is often proving undeserved,
as many Players are not paying attention to it, and crossing over the line. Check the
Throw-In Mechanics FIRST, then look up court. While this might seem, and in many
cases may very well be inconsequential, this is one of those "petty" calls that definitely
needs to be made. This is part learning experience and competition for out Players.
It'll get called in High School and Travel Games, so let's help our Players develop the
habit of it. 

We don't want them missing a Scolarship Opportunity, or their "Shot at the Pros",
because their HS Coach benched 'em for not knowing the most basic rule/mechanic,
cause we didn't school 'em proper like. How we fixin ta sleep with that?
Fingers Matter - NO POCKETS
There's a reason Basketball shorts have no pockets ... pockets are not allowed. They're
dangerous, to you and other Players. I get it, you're in a hurry, or Mom hasn't gotten to
the laundry, so you just grab a pair of shorts and run out the door. The problem is, you
haven't accomplished your mission, as you won't be allowed to play!

Pockets, especially in close play, tend to get snagged by fingers. That makes it a Safety
Issue. It can result in sprained or broken fingers, hand, or wrist, plus a snagged pocket
can put a Player off balance, especially an airborne Player, and result in an awkward,
sudden jolt that can result in serious injury. Make sure Players DO NOT have pockets.
If they do ... They cannot be allowed to play!

On a similar note: Players T-Shirts cannot be similar to Opponents uniform color.
By the Rules; T-Shirts should be Black, White or Beige, and the entire Team's T-Shirts
should match. While Officials do have some discretional leeway, if the any part of the
uniform causes a distraction, is in poor taste, or is similar to an Opponents uniform,
that article of clothing must be removed, before the Player can play. Remember, the
Officials are identifying foul responsibility by jersey colors. You don't want fouls called
that haven't been earned!
Kudos for Coaches setting the example for Great Sportsmanship
We had an unusual situation that pulled a Coach from their game. That left the team
without a Coach, which would have resulted in a forfeit. That would have been bad
for the kids. A quick scan of the gym for an eligible, badged Coach to fill in, drew a
blank. One of the teams had two Coaches, so I scurried on over to ask if he'd cover,
temporarily. He agreed. Good Man! Another Official spotted another Coach, who had
just finished his game, and we asked him to fill in, so the other Good Sport Coach
could return to his game. The other Coach agreed, and in the end, rather than having
to forfeit, the kids got to play their game. That is just too cool.

Way to go Coaches! Thank you for putting the kids FIRST, and for your TEAM Kids
Spirit. It says a lot about the integrity of our Coaches, who unfortunately, often don't
get the credit they deserve. Well, they get it here!!!! Thank you Coaches, for all you
Did you know that harassing a Referee during Play is a Tech?
I know. We see it on TV all the time. The intense Coach barking out his opinion
of the Officials calls, throughout the game. That is actually grounds for a
Technical Foul, charged to the Coach. The League Rules are also very clear that;
NO Coach may address an Official concerning calls, except during Half Time, or
at Games End. Furthermore, the rules clearly state that ONLY the HEAD COACH
may address Officials, NOT the Assistant Coach, and there's nowhere, anywhere,
that entitles Spectators to address an Official.

While we're not going to go all petty and start throwing Tech's every time you
blurt something out, there needs to be a mutual respect of crossing the line,
especially when your Players and Parental Units are feeding off of and reacting
your actions. Having a little emotional burp is one thing, but perpetually berating
and Official, jumping onto the court to dispute calls, or constantly in the ear of
an Official is not acceptable.

The Referees focus needs to be on the game, not distracted by Coaches telling
them how to Officiate. By the same respect, if your busy teaching the Referee
how you'd like it done, you're not focused on your most important task
... Coaching!

To illustrate: I was watching two games, assessing the Officiating. On the one
court, a Coach was having full blown (one sided) "conversations" with the
nearest Official ... right in his ear, as he passed by. Did he have some valid
points? Some were, as the Official was new, but most were the Coach
misinterpreting what actually happened. It was distracting the Official and
aggrivating him. I had to move the Official away from the Coach, so he could
focus on the game. The Official immediately improved his calls.

On the other court, the Officials, experienced Officials, were making the
appropriate calls for the age/skill level. The Assistant Coach was getting
froggy over every call, and even accused the Ref of favoring the other team.
REALLY! As I was in fact watching, I could see that the Coaches was not in
position to see what actually happened, whereas the Official was in the
optimal position to properly judge the call. The Coach wanted every single
thing called, even the pettiest stuff, and was irate because the Officials
wouldn't OVER OFFICIATE the game. They're NOT SUPPOSED to, especially
this early in the season. That would just choke the game. There wouldn't be
a game, and it wouldn't be any fun for the kids. Before the game even ended,
I had Parental Units reporting the Official to me, with the same accusations
the Coach was verbalizing. This was all unnecessary, inappropriate, and as I
said, took away from the game, and incited Parental Units, who mirrored the
Coaches behavior.

Let's be careful to respect and not cross the line, so Officials don't have to go
to the "Letter of the Rules" and ruin the fun for everyone. Remember, we're
all on the same team ... TEAM KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DON'T Discuss Opponents perceived "Short Comings" publicly
We got unhappy phone calls from Parental Units that overheard a Referees
conversation with a Coach. While it was just a normal game observation chat,
some Parental Units didn't appreciate the conversation, and it certainly wouldn't
have been helpful to the Players confidence, had they overheard it.

While typical "sports talk" is common, it's important that we keep it out of earshot
of participants, especially Players. We're the Parental Units being overly sensitive?
Maybe, but such discussions can have a negative impact, so it's best kept off the
court and out of earshot.lKind of a "Do Unto Others" courtesy thing.s
New Refs "Shadowing"
Every Referee has to start somewhere, and the 8U & 10U games is that starting
point. The classroom training they receive is great, but it's a whole different ball
game once they hit the court. The fast action, animated Coaches, wild Spectators,
the deafiningnoise and the disperity of "Players" experience, plus all the Rules and
Mechanics ... It's a lot to process!

We have implemented a process called Shadowing, to ensure that games are
properly managed, while giving the Newbys a chance to acclimate to the experience.
Shadowing is the pairing of an experienced Official with a Newby, or an Official that
is ready to go to the next level. It is a very effective practice, proven to speed up
Officials progress.

Shadowing Officials should not be left to do the games by themselves. They should be
working directly with their Trainer. The Trainer should allow the Shadower the
opportunity, based on skill level, to make calls, but should back the Shadower up, to 
ensure that calls aren't missed. At some point, the Trainer may allow the Shadower
to do the game solo, if they are ready, but the Trainer shouldn't be too far behind,
and should be ready to jump in, if the Shawower isn't quite up to the task.

Shadowing works, but it is a nerve racking experience. Don't be too hard on them,
or on New Officials, as they really do want to do well, they just need experience.
Let the Official focus on the game, instead of your accessments. Dogging them will
only serve to confuse and fluster them, which directly affects their ability to focus,
which directly effects their ability to make the important calls. Give them the chance
to excel. They'll step up to the challenge.
Full Court Press 8U & 10U
We're doing pretty well with controlling Full Court Press, thanks to Coaches and
Referees teamwork. It's important to remember that; backing the Players off
doesn't start until the Defensive Team has clear possession of the ball. Until
that time, play should continue.

Full Court Violations receive two courtesy warnings, before the enforcement of
a Bench Tech - 1 Shot - Ball at Mid-Court goes into effect. Of course, we recognize
that getting 8 & 10 year olds to remember not to just go after the ball like a heat
seeking missle, is about as easy as herding cats. That being said, depending on
the skill level and/or severity, Officials may, at their discression, be kind enough to
simply remind Players and scoot 'em off to the front court. Please, don't take
offense to such choices of Good Sportsmanship.
Jump Ball vs Traveling - or Personal Foul
We all know what Jump Balls and Traveling are, but there seems to be some
confusion in a few circumstances, so we're offering a little clarity here.

When a Player is on the ground with the ball, and an opponent grabs ahold of the
ball, the Player on the ground's actions determine whether it's a Jump Ball or a
Travel. The Player cannot attempt to get up or it's a Travel. If the Player on the
ground doesn't "TURN" or "ROLL" and the ball is held simultaneously by an
opponent, it is a Jump Ball. If the Player on the floor Turns or Rolls ... That is a
Travel, not a Jump Ball.

If an airborne Player attempting to make a shot or pass, is met by an opponent
who gets a hand firmly on the ball, but not holding it (blocked shot or pass)
preventing said shot or pass, and that Player lands, still in possession of the ball,
it is not a jump ball, it is a Travel. The Player must release the ball before landing
to avoid the call. However, if the ball is held by both Players upon landing, then it
is a Jump Ball.

Now, let's address the common, clumsey mugging that often preceeds a
supposed Jump Ball. While Basketball is certainly a contact sport, running
full blast into a Ball Handler and body slamming him/her to get at the ball, is
a (take your pick) Blocking - Pushing - Holding - or Illegal Use of Hands foul, etc.,
not a Jump Ball situation. Players must go for ball, not bum rush, check, or mug
the ball handler. Sure, there may be some incidental contact, and that's ok, but
if the the Ball Handler is bopped off balance from the impact ... that's a FOUL.
Hope that helps!
Civic Center Bleachers
The FIRST ROW of the Bleachers at the Civic Center are EXCLUSIVELY for PLAYERS &
Coaches. There should be NO Spectators with their feet on the floor. We must inform/remind
Spectators & Coaches at the start of each game, or it becomes significantly more difficult to
manage. Inform nicely and ask the Coaches for help in managing it, and it should be no
problem ... theoretically!

Also, on all other courts, make sure baby strollers or any other objects are well clear of the
baseline boundaries. These objects are dangerous to the Players and the Baby at constant 
risk. On tight courts, this may require the Parental Unit to sit between the two courts. While
that's not the ideal place to sit, it's important for the Baby's and Players safety.
Watch the TRIPLE Teaming
Triple teaming is not allowed. We have to monitor this and enforce the rule. The Penalty for
Triple Teaming is not stated in the rules, so we should simply issue reminders/warnings, and
if ignored/repetitive, stop play and award the opponent the ball, at the spot nearest the

Be careful to distinguish between Triple Teaming and Players that are simply in the same
Zone. Often times, especially in a tight game, Coaches will perceive 3 Players in the same
vicinity as Triple Teaming. This is a misconception. In order for it to be deemed Triple
Teaming, there MUST be 3 Opponents Defending the same Player.
Coaches MAY NOT Coach from the Bleachers
Only 2 Coaches are allowed in the Players area. While teams may have additional Coaches,
they must remain in the Spectator Area. They become Spectators, and CANNOT coach
from there. It gives them an unfair advantage, and it gives other Spectators the impression
that it's ok to interfere with the game. The Coaches already have a tough enough time being
heard, and getting the kids to follow appropriate instructions, without Parental Units piping in
with their coaching preferences. It's important that we enforce this.
Free Throw BackField Players Positioning
If the Free Throw Shooter can feel the breath of the BackField Players, they're too close!!!
BackField Players are to be Behind the 3 Point marks (even if they're imaginary). Watch for
and Enforce this.

Also, while many Coaches teach it (very common), don't let the Lane Players fondle each
other in the Lanes. They must stay within the confines of their Lane, including HANDS
& Arms. Breaching their boundaries, in any way, is a Lane Violation. Remind & Enforce and
Teach the Players the proper procedure. If you can catch and correct it before the shooter
is in the process of taking the shot ... Great. If not ... MAKE the CALL!
Blow that Whistle
A weak whistle is perceived as a lack of confidence, and it's extremely frustrating for the
Coaches, and it makes managing the Players about as easy as trying to nail jello to a tree.

With so much noise in the gym, especially where two games are being played
simultaneously, your whistle needs to be the loudest noise in the gym! Put your little buddies
into the whistle, as if you're trying to warn your friend that they're about to get hit by a car!

If you cheaped out with a flimsey, WalMart toy whistle, get with DO IT NOW Dave for a $10
Fox 40 Whistle. The Fox 40 whistle will get you the volume you need, without having to push
so hard that your little buddies wind up in your throat?!?!??! (metaphorically speaking)
Rotate & Report to the Scorer's Table - Signal Properly
It's important that the Score Book is kept accurate, and the one's keeping the book aren't
full time professionals. In fact, it's often volunteers that have little or no experience. Just
blowing the whistle and expecting Coaches and ScoreKeepers to "just know" doesn't git it.

Rotate to the Scorer's Table, use your Hand Signals and Verbal Calls. Identify the Foul, the
Player who committed the Foul's number, the Penalty to be issued, Number of Shots (if
appropriate), and whether or not a basket is good (if in question). Make sure the Coaches can
hear you. Don't assume the Table knows what you're calling. Clearly communicate it to
them by going to the Table ... within earshot. 
Referees are NOT Equalizers
Referees are there to enforce the rules, ensure safety, and manage the game.
They are not there to level the playing field!!!!!

We often see the expectations of Coaches and Parental Units, for Referees to
compensate for imbalances in age and/or skill levels. Not only is that not their job, it
would be irresponsible for them to do so.

Now, that's not to say that Referees shouldn't Referee the game according to the age
and skill level. In fact, we do just that. If we didn't, the game would be loaded with
game choking, excessive calls, that would turn games into a PE class .... boring!!!!!

We want to let the kids play, but we are not going to award fouls, just because Nemo
collided with Bruce the shark, and fell down. (Yes, I watched it ... and I liked it!!!)

Soccer is a contact sport, and the divisions are pretty well defined and consistent.
Some kids are bigger and stronger. There are going to be respective mismatches.
It's a part of the game, and quite frankly, part of life. This is where they learn to
cope with and overcome it, in a safe environment. To take away this lesson, would
take away valuable character building experience, that prepares children for Real Life.

Referees will call the calls that need to be called, but they're not going to make calls
that punish kids for being bigger, stronger, or more skillful. That would be wrong.

Besides, you'll feel quite differently, when your kid is bigger, stronger, and posses
a higher skill level.
Hand Shake - Games not over, until hands are shook
One of, if not the most important thing a Coach teaches kids is; Good Sportsmanship!
They'll take that with them for the rest of their life. Any Coach that does not build that
Good Sportsmanship attitude into their kids, has done them a critical disservice.

Remember, they are watching ... they are imitating, and you are helping to form a
foundation for how to be a responsible and successful adult. That's the long term
power a Coach has in the life of a child.

We had a couple Coaches refuse to shake hands after their game. Worse yet,
they instructed their players to NOT shake hands. This is the most blatant exercise in
poor sportspersonlike conduct, and it is not the example we want set for our kids. In
fact, it is grounds for a forfeit, but it's usually the losing team that refuses, so the
forfeit becomes a moot point. Any Coach that encourages this unacceptable practice,
especially with kids, is certainly deserving of a suspension.         
Sports are supposed to be competitive on the field, and it's understandable if there's
no love lost on the battle field, but it should never go beyond that. Once the game has
concluded, win, lose or draw, we must congratulate the efforts of both sides, void of
any nasty jabs. Remember, off the field, we're friends, neighbors, etc. We don't need
to foster negative attitudes, that will carry beyond the game.

In the end, it's a game, and if you don't like the end result, then prepare
yourselves better, or try harder for the next competition. Don't demean yourselves
with sour grapes temper tantrums. 

Good sportsmanship is more important than any game, and Good Sportsmanship is
the minimum requirement for everybody, Coaches, Players, and Spectators alike.
Without it, nobody would want to play.
Handshake & Referees Presence
At the end of the game, we all shake hands and say "Good Game!". It's more that just
a ritual. It teaches kids respect and Good Sportsmanship. 

A Coach was under the impression that; the Referee was required be present  for the
After Game Hand Shake. He was upset that; after a very intense, conflict rich game,
the Official left the field ... immediately! (wouldn't you?) In this case, the Referee was
absolutely, 100% correct in his decision to vacate, due to the tension throughout the

While I do like to be present during the Hand Shake, to monitor& insure that it is done
in the "spirit" intended, this is my personal preference, and I happen to be very, very
comfortable doing it. In fact, I find it an excellent opportunity to address concerns that
may linger at the conclusion of the game. That's me though, and though I encourage
our Officials to participate in the same manner, it's not mandatory. 

The truth be known, Referees at all levels, are trained to leave immediately after the
match, as a proactive safety measure, to avoid unnecessary conflict and/or never
ending, heated opinion exchanges. 

We live in a crazy world, and Soccer is notorious for over the top passion insanity,
often with the Referees as the target of unbridled emotions. Referees don't need to
invite or encourage such ... passionate exchanges. If the Referee is comfortable
staying, cool. If not, it's actually proper protocol, and in most cases ... just plain wise.
Red Cards
When a Player is issued a Red Card, that Player is to leave the field. They are expelled.
That means "Out of Sight & Earshot" of the game, not on the bench, in the stands, or
behind the field coaching or berating. They are to take no further part in the game, in
any way, shape or form. They are also suspended from the next game.         
As a general rule, Red Cards are issued as a result of utterly disrespectful or violent 
behavior. The consequence of receiving a card, is designed to discourage such
behavior. In most cases, a Card recipient is not happy with the consequence they've
earned, and are highly prone to retaliation. For this reason, again, being proactive,
Red Card recipients and/or any Ejected Participants are to leave the premises within
2 minutes, or forfeit the game.

Remember ... Cards are not given ... they are earned, and they have consequences.
It's best not to earn one.
Tournament Time
Many divisions will be starting their Tournament Games, and we can expect some intense
competition. It should be a lot of fun. Now, unlike regular season play, games cannot end in
a tie in the Tournament. Last year, we had a very uncomfortable seed changing incident,
that cost a team the trophy, all because of a misinterpreted procedure that: whether
intentional or not, caused an action deemed cheating. That deprived them of the winning
goal, and automatically disqualified them. Good bye trophy! The act was absolutely 
intentional, but it was cheating and had to be penalized as such. Now this was a really good
and respectable Coach. I believe that his strategic intention was honorable, but by the Rules,
there was no way around a forced forfeit. That was a extremely unfortunate.

There is a specific set of Rules/Procedures for OverTime Play. I encourage you all to read
and become familiar with this Rule set, to avoid such an unfortunate heartbreaker. Here is
a link to the OT Rules/Procedure Soccer OT Rules & Procedures. You can download the PDF
from this link to your phone. A copy of it will also be placed on the cover of the Scorers
Table Book. Please review and become familiar with it. 
I'd rather not experience deja voodoodoo, through a repeat performance of that
heartbreaking situation. 
Jewelry & Safety Equipment
Check Players In Properly ... Every Game!!!!!

The new & Cool fashion seems to be these brass barrel hair clips, crimped into braids.
They're pretty snazzy, but they cannot be allowed. They are jewelry and have sharp edges. 

Glasses MUST be secured with a lanyard. When I caught this at a game (or two or three),
the response was that "the other Referees let 'em play". While I find it hard to believe that
any DO IT NOW Pros, Referee would allow such a thing, the fact that I caught it 
(a few times), indicates that we're not checking them in as well as we should. Let's give
these types of Safety Issues a much higher priority level. 
That goes for Coaches & Referees!!!
Hangin Out in the Back of the Field & Behind Goals
Many Parental Units seem to treat "Rec Ball" games like a picnic, chillin with their kids. They
interfere with the game, and then get insulted, even angry, when informed that their actions
are not appropriate. They need to understand that; while it is a more friendly competition, it
is still organized sports, and the same rules apply. The Rules are there for a reason.

One such Rule, which is true of every sport, in every league ... nobody is allowed behind the
field/court, unless there is a designated Spectator Area there, and it is allowed by the league.

Parental Units like to wander over behind the field to get away from the crowd, and in most
cases, they want to be there to Coach their kids. NO! NO! NO! Being behind the field,
practicing, chillin out, Coaching your kids, is not appropriate. It is a distraction and should be
deemed interference. That interference can be penalized.

Now, are there Parental Units that sit back there and do nothing to interfere? Yes there are,
but it quickly becomes a problem, because when one does it, others think its ok and wander
into the restricted zone(s) too. Then they start interfering and we wind up with a chaotic
mess to clean up. The bottom line preventative solution ... nobody behind the fields or goals.
Injuries & Drop Balls
We had a couple situations with injuries, where Parental Units and/or Coaches came onto the
field and interupted/stopped the game ... unneccessarily!!! This is flat out game interference
and should be treated as such.

We all know that the game is not stopped for injuries, unless they are "in the Referees
Opinion" serious injuries. We also know that stoppages for injuries require a Drop Ball to
restart play. 

Unfortunately, Parental Units and even Coaches, often deem any injury, or even if a kid just
falls down, justification to stop the game, in the middle of play. The question is, what is the
proper procedure for an incident where a Coach or Parental Unit forced the stoppage of play,
by running onto the field? Do we just do a Drop Ball?

The answer is NO! If the Referee is forced to stop the game, because someone came onto
the field, without the Referees permission, that is  interference and deserving of a penalty. 

What's the procedure?
First, remember that Players are not to be treated on the field, and must be removed from
the field of play immediately. A Player with blood on themselves, or their clothes, must be
removed and may not return until all blood is gone. If someone has to come onto the field
to treat a Player, that Player MUST immediately be removed from the field of play, and may
not return until the Referee clears Him/Her. There's no dusting off and miraculously becoming
ready to play! Any time a Spectator/Coach forces a stoppage of the game, by coming onto the
field without the Referees permission, that is interference and requires a Free Kick to the
opposing team, as opposed to a Drop Ball. 

While in most cases, it would just result in an Indirect Free Kick from the point where the ball
was when play was stopped, the Referee must look at the circumstances, to determine
whether stricter enforcement is in order. If the incident interfered with a drive on goal, or a
goal scoring opportunity, the Referee may issue a Yellow or Red Card to the Captain or
another Player (Never a Coach or Spectator). The Referee may award a Direct Free kick, if the
circumstance warrants it.

Don't just award a Drop Ball when people intentionally force a stopage of play, especially if
its just a player falling down. Penalize the interference, and maybe they'll start thinking twice,
before unnecessarily interfering with the game(s). Also take into consideration the severity of
an injury in making your decision. If a Player is seriously injured and someone forced the
stoppage of the game, don't punish the offense, as it's justified. Just proceed to a Drop Ball.
More Details on Drop Balls
A Drop Ball is a method of restarting play, for interference or circumstances not covered in
the Laws of the Game. Here's the scoop on implementing Drop Balls.

A Drop Ball becomes a live ball as soon as it hits the field. Unlike Free Kicks, the first
Player to touch the ball, can touch it again, and even dribble or shoot it, without being
penalized for a double touch. They cannot however, score a goal directly from the first kick
or touch. It must be kicked a second time, by any player (including the original initial kicker), before
entering the goal. If it goes in the goal directly from the initial kick, a Goal Kick or Corner
Kick is awarded, in the same manner as any ordinary Goal or Corner Kick is awarded.
Tighten Up on Calls - Especially - Throw-Ins
We had a little meeting in one of our leagues, and the question came up; "Can we call the
game like FIFA?" While I explained the downside, I did empathise with the thinking. I 
explained that it wasn't appropriate for us to "Over Officiate", otherwise we'd just choke
the game. I did agree to tighten the calls up and raise our expectations from the Players,
particularly with Throw-Ins. It is pretty bad, and this will also tighten up the expectation of
Coaches, to teach their Players the proper procedure. In fact, we should hold all Players to
a higher standard. They don't bother to do Throw-Ins right, either because they weren't 
taught or because we don't enforce it as strictly as we should. Heck, I've done Mens &
Womens Leagues where half the Players don't know how to or do proper Throw-Ins.

While it is taught in official training, to not make a big deal of Throw-Ins, that doesn't mean
we simply allow atrocious Throw-Ins to slide. A Throw-In is nothing more than a means of
restarting play. It should not allow any advantage from the use of hands. 

A proper Throw-In requires the ball to be thrown in one continuous motion, from directly
behind the head. That means NO SPIKING. Both hands should be on the opposing sides of
the ball. Players should never be allowed to get a hand underneath the ball to throw it like a
basketball. They cannot twist their bodies to get additional leverage underneath either. That
gives them a power advantage, which is negated by having both hands on opposing sides of
the ball. The ball is to be thrown directly onto the field. Both feet MUST be on the ground at
the release of the ball, and the Thrower must be facing the field, not the corner flag.  

One of the telltale signs of an illegal Throw-In, is excessive spin on the ball. Now don't go
banannas on ball spin! Years ago, we had a Referee that called every single ball that had
even the slightest spin on it, an Illegal Throw-In. Talk about CHOKING Games!!!! Well, the
Coaches asked for it, but didn't like it one bit. They immediately called me, apologized, and
asked that I never send that Ref again. They asked me to put it back where it was. 

If you see excessive spin on the ball, twisting, spiking, or any of the other thisngs we've
covered, call it. If it's just a case of them not knowing, and you want to be a good sport and
give them a do-over, I don't have a problem with that, as long as you show them how to do
it right. If after you've shown them, they continue to do it wrong ... sorry Charlie ... balls
turned over.

Maybe if we help them learn it right as youth Players, we won't have to teach them in the
Adult Leagues, and maybe when they become Coaches ... they'll teach the young 
whipersnappers correctly. I said Maybe!!!!
Checking - This is Soccer ... Not Hockey
There's a BIG Difference between viaing for the ball and checking. In Hockey, your expected
to truck your opponent out of nowhere ...AKA Checking. That's why you have 800lbs of
padding and safety equipment on, and an excellent dental plan. In Soccer, there's gonna be
contact, and it's ok, even if it's aggressive contact on the ball. That's the game. It is not ok
to knock your opponent around off ball or to shove them around cause you can't get the
fricken ball away from 'em. If they're going for the ball and banging into each other, because
they're literally trying to occupy the same space, that's Soccer. If they're not even going for
the ball, but banging on their opponent ... just to annoy the bejeebers out of them, that's
a foul that needs to be called. Otherwise ... somebodies going to get clubbed! Oh yeah, and
it gives an unfair advantage.


We've got a lot to  cover, but it's Thanksgiving week.
You deserve a break! We're going  to make some minor changes to the Locker Room too. 
Besides, with all the festivities, you probably won't remember half of it any way. 
Have an Awesome Thanksgiving Week!!!!!!!!!
Handling Injury Situations 
We had a very minor injury, accompanied by an abundance of unnecessary drama.
The injury occurred in a one on one via for the ball. The Coach, from where he was standing, 
was convinced it was a foul, primarily because his player went down, so it must have been
a foul. The Referee, in the proper position to see the play clearly, knew it wasn't a foul ...
the downed Player was simply overpowered. Of course, the sidelines went wild, and the
Referee was chastised for not making a call ... which would have been absolutely wrong for
her to call. That's nothing new. 

It's when the Mom decided to get involved, that it went to foul. When the Referee helped the

Player up, the Mom retorted; Why did you touch my kid? Then she kindly informed the Ref
that; as a Certified Referee, you should know not to touch the kids. Unfortunately, in the
heated moment, the Referee spoke her mind regarding the Players acting skills, in reference
to the injury. That wasn't appropriate.                
The Mom was somewhat correct in her statement. The "recomendation" she referred to was
in regards to injuries. It states that; because we live in a highly litigeous society, it is highly
recommended that Officials do not render assistance to injured Players. That in no way applies
to giving a downed Player a helpful, courtesy hand up, especially in a Rec League. It is also
important to note that; in higher level games, there's normally official medical assistance 
available at the venue. I've never seen a Rec League with that ammenity. 
(That'd triple your league fees)

The Referees action was in no way inappropriate, and certainly didn't warrant such an attack.
While the Referee should have refrained from commenting on the Players acting skills, helping
a Player up is simply a kind act, and should not result in conflict. We Referees tie shoes, console
upset Players, help them up, assure them they are ok when they scrape their knee, and an
assortment of other courteous acts. I encourage them to do so, as it's the sportsmanlike thing
to do. (I think we stop short of wiping runny noses though) They're young and often need reassurance.

We're here for the kids. Let's not twist it into some carnal sin, especially when its just to justify
your anger, because you didn't get a call you wanted. We all work together, to do what's best
for the kids. Let's keep it family friendly!!!!
The mysterious NO CALL 
Hey Ref! Where's the Foul? You gonna make a call?
There are many times when a NO CALL is the right call. 

To start, Referees are in a far better position to make calls, with a much more focused,
impartial view and perception, to see and judge fouls than any Coach, Player, or Spectator.
I can't even count the number of times folks have gotten the call absolutely wrong, but will
argue to the death that they are right, when they weren't even close. I won't even address
the mess that comes from thinking they know a Rule, when they don't have a clue. I've been
doing this for over 20 years, as a Coach and a Referee. I've seen it from both perspectives,
and have learned the hard way ... the sideline view and the Referees view are worlds apart
in accuracy. When I'm standing next to a Coach that thinks a foul should have been called, 
I'm quick to respond with "I'm in just as crappy of a position as you are". I've even yelled at
my Refs, 100% sure I saw them miss a call, only to be given the facts, and wind up

Referees, at least ours, receive intense training, that they wish they could skip. They are
trained to not only know the Rules, but to know when it's appropriate to make calls, and
when it's not. When someone comes to me with the "a Foul is a Foul", "You gotta call it" line,
my Referees, back up, and you can hear them say, oh no, wrong move! They have heard me
debunk that nonsense a million times. A Referee that gets a thrill out of always calling petty
calls, without regards to the big picture of the game, either doesn't understand their role as
an Official, or is a power hungry bully. There's no doubt that Officials are there to enforce the
Rules, but there's more to being a good Official that just rule enforcement.

Officials are there to ensure safety, keep the game moving in a competitive, yet civil manner,
and to call Fouls that actually effect play, or the demeanor of the participants. They need to
factor in the age and skill level in making their decisions. A highly competitive Travel league
Team gets a lot more and longer practices. They should know and understand the game, and
should expect to have more calls made, because of their advanced knowledge of the game,
and skill level. If they are fouling, it's usually intentional to gain an advantage. Not so true in a
Rec League! The higher up you go, the more calls you should expect. Even so, and even in
professional games, Referees let what I call "fruit loop calls" go, because they have no impact
on the game, except to choke the momentum. We get it. You want every call, because you want
that extra free advantage, but calling a NO CALL offense is much worse than missing a call that
needed to be made. If an infraction has no impact on play, expect the Referees to let you play
on, rather than choke the game with petty rule enforcements. 
NO CALL is often the RIGHT CALL!
Kids Cursing and being Disrespectful 
Although you may often find it hard to believe, the truth is, Coaches have a tremendous impact
on kids. Many of the things we teach them become a part of their character for the rest of their
lives. They observe and emulate our attitudes & behaviors. If you're respectful, positive &
supportive, they will be too, for the most part. If you're disrespectful, negative and short fused,
you can expect to see that returned in them. Remember, you are a part of shaping their young
impressionable minds and attitudes. You do MAKE A DIFFERENCE and are an important part of
their lives. 

While Referees will be handing out warnings & Cards for cursing and disrespectful behavior, it
doesn't carry nearly the same weight as your encouraging words. If you shrug it off, they feel
entitled to curse or be disrespectful. If you display your disapproval, they're much more likely to
refrain from such activity. Also, be keenly aware that; your actions as a Coach, during a game,
directly transends to the Players and your Parental Units. If you display a disrespectful or
UnSportsPersonlike attitude, so will they. Let's make a concentrated effort to display the right
example for them to follow. You have the power to Make a Difference.

Excessive - Disruptive Coaching

An excited or intense Coach is a thing of beauty however; a Coach that interferes with the game, by perpetually badgering Official(s), inciting discention from Players or Spectators, should not be allowed to continue doing so. It negatively disrupts the game and ruins it for everyone.

Don't allow it to continue and escalate into a negative experience for everyone else. Coaches that choose to implement such a strategy, should be respectfully asked to curtail such behavior. Should it continue, issue a warning. If that doesn't bring it to a reasonable level, Referees may eject the offending Coach. Coaches are bound by a code of ethics. Good SportsPersonShip is for all participants, including Coaches.

Games not over - Until We Shake Hands

Shaking hands after the game is an important sportsmanship ceremony. The game doesn't end with the final whistle ... it ends with a show of good sportsmanship ... a handshake and the acknowledgement of a game well played. One could argue that; the handshake is more important than the score. Ok! I'd probably lose that argument, but it doesn't disqualify the importance of the Good Game Handshake.

New Earrings - Can't be taken out - means can't play ... and NO, a Band-Aid won't work!

Earrings are strictly prohibited in every sport. This is one of the most emotionally difficult things to enforce by Referees. We absolutely hate it, but we also know the Rule is there for Good Reason. Earrings are a danger to the wearer and other Players. Can we say Beyonce? Unfortunately, many Referees choose to avoid the emotional conflict rather than enforce the Rule. To make matters even worse, the ear piercing people tell unsuspecting Parental Units to just cover the earrings with a band aid and they can play. Well, of course they're going to say that. They don't want your to walk away, and not get paid!!!!!!

While we're not willing to make exceptions at the expense of Players safety, we're not totally insensitive to the emotional turmoil. We get it. The kid wants to play, and the reality is, shall we say ... unpleasant. So, after a little research, in search for a for a Happier solution, we found;

The hole will not close up in an hour. Though removal is rather uncomfortable, there is a procedure that will allow the removal and replacement, with minimal discomfort, in a sanitary manner.

Do this at home - Put alcohol (no, not the drinking kind) in a container, to temporarily store the earring(s). Wash your hands thoroughly, and swab the earring with alcohol. Loosen the earring back, enough to rotate the earring (slowly). Rotate the earring as you gently slide it out. Once out, immediately place in container with alcohol and cover the piercing with a new/clean bandage. To replace it, gently reverse the process, and don't forget to swab the area with alcohol, before you turn 'em loose. It's a bit of a pain in the earring, but it let's 'em play without safety concerns, as well as avoiding hurt feelings at game time.

Don't Stop Drives on Goal at the End of Time

We all know that Time is Time in Soccer. When the clock says time is up, the whistle is blown, and play is stopped. Of course, Referees & Coaches know this, but many Parental Units do not.

Many Rec Leagues, especially where the little ones are concerned, ask that we don't end a quarter, half, or the game on a drive to goal, even though the time has expired. It simply causes a mass disruption of the game, (not to mention a flurry of agitated phone calls) from angry Parental Units that aren't aware of Soccer's Time Rules.

Let the play finish and then blow the whistle. I know it seems unfair to the the team being 
attacked, but we're all playing by the same Rule, so it's even.
Injuries - When to Stop & When to Continue
This  probably should have been included in the article below, but it's a misunderstood rule that warrants its own space. 

The Rules state that: Referees are only to stop the game for serious injuries. Well, that's a subjective term!!! It's also a very common response, to want to immediately run to the aid of a fallen Player, regardless of whether it's a serious injury or not. A swift kick to the shin is an injury, but in most cases, would not be cause to disrupt play. A broken leg would be, but an owie that'll dissipate quickly would not.

Referees are trained to recognize serious injuries vs just hurted Players, and stop play if a Player is down and in danger around the play. They are also trained NOT to stop the game, unless there is a serious injury, especially when there is a drive on goal. Imagine how ticked off you'd be, if you had a clear break away, and a wide open, guaranteed goal, and the stupid Referee blew the whistle and killed the play, just because your opponent twisted an ankle. You'd be more than a little peeved, and rightfully so. (I know first hand, because I've been that stupid Referee, on more than one occasion) Holding the whistle for a few more seconds to let the play "play out", will not have any positive or negative impact on the downed Players treatment. It can wait for a stoppage to be attended to.

We've been asked to downgrade our criteria for serious injuries, so let's be more sensitive and comply, when appropriate. If you notice genuine & significant concern, err on the side of caution and stop play for the injury.

Quirky-Incorrect Rules of the Week:

When you travel around the county, or beyond, doing games, you run into some quirky rule amendments. Some have a sensible purpose, and many are just because someone stuck it in there, usually because they really didn't know the rules that well. Some are just misinterpreted or even called wrong by Officials ... so often, that it seems like it must be the rule! It's one of the reasons we encounter so many "animated discussions". It's just natural to believe what you're brought up with. We addressed three such quirky rules this week. All were were incorrect.

Quirky-Incorrect #1 You can't Jump in front of a Player kicking the ball ... it's dangerous ... There is no such rule. Someone made it up. The only times (I can see), that it might be called - During a Throw-In or a Goalie Punting. You can't block the release of the ball in either case. Other than that, Players may jump to their heart content, unless they jump at, or into a Player. Depending on the circumstances, that'd could easily be interpreted as a request for a Foul.

Quirky-Incorrect #2 On a Kickoff, only two Offensive Players are allowed at the Center Line, Inside the Circle. There is no such rule. Someone made it up.

Although I'm not sure where this came from, if I had to guess, I suspect it came from a league that doesn't keep score, plays short - say 3 v 3 or 5 v 5, and has very inexperienced Players. The truth is, on a Kick-Off, you could put your entire Offense, in the Circle, at the Center Line. Though it's generally not recommended, there is no Rule prohibiting it. In fact, I've done it strategically, but that's a story for another venue. (I can't divulge all my secrets!)

Quirky-Incorrect #3 You can't "Play the Ball while you're on the Ground". There is no such Rule. It's a misinterpretation that I will openly blame on Referees, who've called it like that, since the first caveman started kicking a rock around.

You hear is so often, that many Referees even believe it's a actually a rule. The truth is, a Player could play the whole game sittin on their little butt, and it would be totally legal. The truth is; the only time the Referee should stop play, when a Player is "Playing the Ball on the Ground, is when the Player is in danger of being injured in doing so. Furthermore, there is NO PENALTY or Free Kick for "Playing the Ball on the Ground". It is treated in the same manner as an injury, and if called, play would restart with a Drop Ball, not an Indirect Free Kick.

Now, if we could only stop folks from screamin for a "HandBall" call, every time the ball accidentally whacks a kid on the hand or arm, and he didn't even see it coming ... nah! That's be the equivalent of peeing in a fan!

Alert 10U Girls = 8 Players Maximum on field, 6 Players Minimum In Fairness to teams that are short Players in the 10U Girls, we will be playing 8 V 8.
Sideline Safety We've had a bit of a challenge with Parental Units hanging out too close to the sidelines. This is a Safety and Interference concern, especially when they have umbrellas. The sidelines must remain clear, so you can see to make accurate calls, and also to avoid collisions with Players or LinesPersons. We don't want Spectators Interfering with play(s) or chattering commands to the Players. While it may seem harmless, there are tons of incidents where Players, Spectators and/or Referees have been severely injured by play action, because they were where they weren't supposed to be. One in particular, permanantly paralyzed a Coach. DO NOT Treat this Lightly. Keep the Parental Units BACK!!! Sidelines should have a minimum of 3 feet clearance, and if they have umberllas, they need to be at least 6 feet back, so they don't poke a Player in the eye. There is NO REASON whatsoever to be encroaching the sidelines. That buffer zone is part of the Playing Field, and should only be occupied by Players & Officials. Ask Parental Units to keep the sidelines clear. If they choose to ingnore your request(s), simply stop the game and ask the Coach to explain it to them, and to inform them that we will stop the game each time, to allow them to move back. If they refuse ... we may forfeit the game, for the Kids Safety.

No Threats - Heckling

I received several complaints that Players were Threatening Bodily Harm to opponents. I also received complaints of "Spectators" instructing Players to "take out/cause harm to" better skilled opponents. This WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, and will result in EJECTION and/or Forfeiture.

This kind of poor sportsmanship is unnacceptable in any sports venue, but especially in a Rec League like this. This is a ZERO Tolerance issue.

Coaches - Please inform your Parental Units that this will not be tolerated!!!!!!!

Referees - Enforce with ZERO Tolerance!!!!!!!! We're out here to have a FUN Competition - Let's keep it that way!!!

Gotta Play the Ball, NOT the Player

No matter what anybody tries to tell you, Soccer is a Contact Sport. There is no denying it. Although it is called Football, it's not the same as American Football.

In Soccer, the Contact is only with Players "on the ball". If a Player is banging on an opponent, but not Playing the Ball, that is a Foul all day long. Call it! Players vying for the ball may "check" as they are trying to gain or retain possession, but there is a limit. It is basically two people trying to occupy the same space, so there's going to be contact, and it can get quite intense. There's nothing wrong with that, but they can't push, shove, hold, trip or mug their opponent.

If they are banging away at an opponent, but making no attempt to play the ball, it's not only unfair and unsportspersonlike, it's gonna aggravate the bejeebers out of the ball handler, resulting in words or reactions of an unpleasant and possibly painful nature.

Let's make the calls that "Set the Tone" from the start, and avoid nuckleheaditis as we progress through the season!

DO NOT ALLOW Spectators on Field I know it's oh so tempting and fun to grab a ball and play on the field during breaks and Half-Time. While it's usually harmless, a few untamed individuals have ruined that for us all. In the past, but a little too frequently, silly mortals have abused the privilege, so we had to stop it altogether. The field is reserved for the Teams currently playing and only for those teams. We've had injuries to Players from non-participants, we've had numerous game delays, because individuals didn't respect the game and refused to promptly leave the field, plus we've even fights, instigated by disrespectful individuals who chose to take offense to being asked to move off the field. The result = No unauthorized play during breaks. Sorry ladies & gentlemen. Keep the fields clear of non-participants at all breaks.

Spectator Coaching - Prohibited

Cheering for the Players is very much desired and encouraged. It motivates Players and makes the game more FUN and Exciting. Being Coached from the bleachers ... not so much.

Remember how much you hated your parents distracting you ... telling YOU how to play YOUR Game - from the Sidelines? It was annoying and embarrassing. We won't even bring up the dreaded ride home ... oops, I just did.

I know how difficult it is to resist, and how easy it is to get a little bit too caught up in the game, and YOU WANT TO WIN! That doesn't make it any easier. Of course, we tend to do it because our Parental Units did it, so it seems normal & benign. Well, it's anything but!

There are a number of reasons we should resist that temptation, and it has to do with the kids and the game. First of all, if the Parental Unit is any good at the game, it's flat out cheating. If the Parental Unit isn't that knowledgeable, they give the opposing team an advantage. Either way, Sideline Coaching interferes with the game, so it shouldn't be done. While the Coaching Parental Unit has good intentions, in almost every case, they're telling their kid to do exactly the opposite of what their Coach instructed them to do. They want their kid to shine, so they tell him to reposition, shoot or run, when they were supposed to stay in position and/or pass the ball. Now the whole play is ruined, and the Coach is pulling out what little hair he/she has left. It's disrespectful to the Coach, and it messes up the game plan for the whole team.

The Parental Unit, talking to his/her kid, is distracting their focus from where it needs to be ... in the game. I've seen kids slammed with the ball, or just plain trucked (even injured) , because they weren't paying attention to the game, they were paying attention to their Parental Unit. You'd be amazed at how many times I've heard Parental Units instruct their kids to perform illegal procedures, because they weren't taught the correct rules/procedures when they played, or aren't aware of the Rule changes since they last played. On top of that, most of the other Parental Units, who are there to enjoy the game, wish the wannabe Coaches would just STOP.

Here's the Rule from the Rule Book

Spectator/Sideline Coaching is prohibited. Sideline Coaching is defined as; spectators attempting to influence and gain an advantage in a game through instruction, positioning or alerting players to situations they would not otherwise be aware of. This is a disruption of the game and may cause an unfair advantage. If necessary, the game may be stopped, which may result in ejection or even forfeiture of the game, at the Official’s discretion. Referees/Umpires shall have complete authority over the game, players, coaches and spectators. They may expel any player, coach or spectator for indecent language, unsportsmanlike conduct, or any infraction of rules. Refusal of expelled player, coach or spectator to leave the "playing area" within 2 minutes will constitute a forfeit. Referees are instructed to discuss matters in question ONLY with the Head Coach, NOT an assistant. No coach may address an official concerning a call except during half or games end.

UnSportsPersonLike Conduct

All Leagues - Mocking Players is rude and unnacceptable.

Referees and Coaches need to put a stop to it immediately. If we don't, it will escalate.

We had a game this weekend, with a player who was older, twice the size, strength, and speed of any other kid in the division. He easily out distanced everyone, then proceeded to stop right on the goal line and dance around, before finally entering the end zone for a touchdown. He was intentionally rubbing his superiority in. He was taunting the kids and that is just plain mean. The Officials let it slide, because, hey, kids do silly things. A few plays later, the same Player broke free again, and strutted like an untouchable peacock, all the way to the End Zone. It's demoralizing to the other Players and a perfect example of UnSportsPersonLike Conduct.

That's a well earned Penalty, in all sports, and needs to be called, every time. DON'T BE NICE and just let go. It will only escalate and end poorly. Fortunately, the Coach made it clear that it was unkind and wouldn't be tolerated. Let's nip this behavior in the bud, every time! It has no place in sports.

Spectator Coaching

Because this Flag Football program is more friendly than most other sports or leagues, I haven't seen the need to strictly enforce the NO Spectator Coaching Rule. We don't want to be unnecessarily overbearing. Sure, we have our "armchair coach" yahoos out there, and even though they almost always get it wrong or contradict the Coaches, it was relatively harmless ... with minimal impact.

Well, that benign behavior flew out the window with the first Tournament Game (real Shocker), and because it was Pee Wee (first timers in the league), it's gonna bite me in the rear, cause those Parental Units will think it's hunky dorey to Coach from the sidelines in other sports.

I tried a little experiment, to see if we were making too much of the rule. I let it just take it's course, to see if it would get out of control. BIG MISTAKE! It got out of control alright, and Once it got to the point of going bad, it was going to get ugly bringing it back to reasonable. Kids distracted and brought to the point of tears, plays getting botched from too many incorrect instructions being shouted at the Players, Parental Units crowding the sideline and running onto the field, and complaints from Parental Units, Players and even Grandmas.

Boy, did I feel like I'd dropped the ball. I won't try that again. We will enforce the Rule. Please, in a respectful manner, nip the Sideline Coaching in the bud from the git go. Before the game begins, as part of your Pre Game Meeting, ask the Coaches to remind their Spectators that there is to be no coaching from the sideline, and to stay behind the Spectator Line.

If friendly reminders don''t do the trick, stop the game and have both Coaches reiterate it to their Spectators. If further ignored, issue 10 Yard Interference Penalty's.

We don't want over exuberant, self appointed coach experts ruining the game for the kids, and I certainly don't want Grandma to yell at me again!!!! Let's keep it under control, please.

Stick Your Hands in your Pockets

Pockets & Stipes - the never ending issue.

They are prohibited for good reasons, and sometimes pockets are missed on Check-Ins. Hey, the pockets are usually black on black and hard to spot. One of our Referee's came up with a Schweeeet solution.

On Check-In ... "Stick Your Hands in Your Pockets!" They'll just do it without thinking, or they'll look at you funny, and inform you that they don't have pockets. Either way ... mission accomplished. Schweeeet!

Ball Placement Reminder

On Saturday, in the "Heat of the Moment" (yes, pun intended), it seemed that there was some varying opinions as to where the Down would start on a Touchback. I was delerious enough to have to stop & think about it for a moment. Just in case, here it is;

Touchback = 14 yard line

Out of Bounds = 30 yard line

Safety = 20 Yard Line

Tournament Games Start this week

Sunrise Flag Football OT Procedure PDF Click & Read this, so you know and can Strategize

Tournament Games must have a Winner, so in the event of a Tie, we go into Overtime. Due to the fact that this is a Single Elimination Tournament, Points are not used to Break a Tie. As a result, once a Team has Won, an Untimed Down is not necessary, to accomodate the Points Tie Breaker.

In other words, the game ends when the winner is determined. The Overtime Procedure is in the Locker Room, the Coaches Club and at the Scorer's Table. Use whatever you are most comfortable with, but make sure you go over the Procedure, prior to the start of the OverTime Period. We don't want any surprises!!!!

A Couple Safety Alerts

1) Coconuts are dropping from the trees like crazy. I guess the wind loosened 'em up. Please, keep humans away from these trees, especially the little tykes. Keep an eye out, to make sure folks aren't sitting or playing under them.

2) Saturday was so hot, I saw trees chasing dogs for a little hydration. I, personally, was getting overheated, to the point that I thought I was going to pass out. I was in trouble. I got queezy, disoriented, and concerned I'd pass out. This was quite unusual, but I figured it was the heat, my 12 cups of coffee, and dehydration that was causing it. Turns out, it was something else! It's called Hyponatremia, and it's dangerous. They say to seek medical attention immediately. Well, I'd never heard of this. After the game, as I washed my hands, I noticed they were very swollen. It was wierd enough to cause me to look into it. Many of us are concerned with too much salt in our diets. It's been beaten into our heads that we need to reduce salt intake, to avoid health risks. Well I've almost entirely cut out salt. I figure we get enough ... everything seems to have excess salt ... right? Turns out, that's not necessarily true. Hyponatremia is the result of insufficient salt, or overly diluted salt. When you get overheated, your blood vessels expand to help move the dangerous levels of heat away from your organs ... hence the chubby digits. The blood boogied away from my organs, into my paws to cool off. Of course, I attributed my symptoms to dehydration, so kept chugging water to get myself back to normal. Whooooops! Wrong move! As it turns out, I was just feeding the problem. My salt levels were already too low and far too diluted, so the additional water I was drinking, actually made it progressively worse. The moral of the story; While too much salt is bad, too little can immediately become much worse, even life threatening. Make sure you keep a healthy balance of salt intake and hydration. If water and "chilling" isn't easing the symptoms of what you think is dehydration, stop drinking water, eat something salty, and if you can't, don't be all macho and push it like I did. Sit down in a cool place and relax. You might just prevent a stroke. I'm not a Doctor. Just sharing what I've learned, so you don't have to find out the hard way!

Friendly Caution ... not related to sports

I found a new friend this weekend, while working in the back yard. With all the landscape
debris lying around, there's critters that like to hang out in it. I found one that gave me 
sudden pause ... the slithery, sneaky kind. At first glance, I wasn't sure if it was a Water Snake
or a Water Moccasin. After a closer but respectful look, well, I just couldn't be sure.

Be careful around the brush piles and fallen trees. It's hot out there, and critters favor these
types of cool little hideouts. I'm pretty sure my little friend (though not so little) was an Everglades
Racer (bites, but quite harmless), but it made me think to throw out a word of caution.

I took pictures ... see if you can identify my little, slithery friend. 

Click to see if you can Identify My Slithery Friend

Our Expert Critter Control & Exterminator, Jerry of East Coast Pest Control,
 has Identified my little buddy as a Rat Snake. It was tricky to identify, because it
was Molting, which made it resemble other snakes. Just goes to show that;
Googling doesn't always produce accurate results. If you've got Critters you'd 
like relocated or Bug pests you'd like eliminated,  there's none better or fairer than 
Jerry at East Coast Pest Control! 954-263-0823 Give him a call. You'll be HAPPY you did.

Inadvertant Whistle(s)

Ooooops! Accidentally blew the whistle! What now?

Dead Ball = Immediate Whistle - Penalty dealt with Immdiately

Live or Loose Ball = Flag - Play Continues - Penalty dealt with at the End of the Down

On an Inadvertant Whistle (an Ooooops) Offended Team gets the Choice; Accept the Play or Replay the Down. If the Offended Team Chooses to Replay, they DO NOT GET Penalty Yardage.

Pockets & Stripes

Again with the Pockets and Stripes. Both are Strictly Prohibited!!!!!!

We've received complaints from Parental Units, Coaches & Players.

Referees should not allow Players with Stripes or Pockets to Play. If they come up with a work around, it is purely an act of kindness.

Why? Well, pockets are a Safety Hazard, and flipping the shorts inside out, usually results in extra "fake" flags, dangling in the way or getting tangled up with the official flags. In the heat of Play, Stripes look like Flags (even if they're not the same color), and even the thinnest Stripes cause an optical confusion, complicating eye to hand coordination when reaching for Flag(s)

Please remind Parental Units that; If there are Stripes or Pockets, there is an unacceptably high probability that they will NOT be able to Play.

Keeping Parental Units off the SideLines

We all know that Parental Units cannot be in the Team Areas. This is not just a control issue, though that has significant value ... it's a legal issue, stemming from the Jessica Lunsford Act.

It is to protect the kids. No Badge, No Entry. I've had 6 confrontations this season, with Parental Units, that felt like it was their right to hang out there. They think we're being petty or mean, but there's good reason for it. We need to stress that; they cannot be in the Team Areas during Games. On the Spectator side, we've painted a Boundry Line for Spectators.

This is also for the Safety of the Players and the Spectators, especially when eye pokers ... I mean umbrellas are used. The line is also there to help deter Spectator Interference (10 Yard Penalty). It's all too easy to want to "become involved with play" when you're standing right on the edge of the field.

Please remind Spectators to stay behind the Boundry Line. Don't worry ... it won't interfere with Cheering the Teams on!

Tightening of Calls

We're getting quite a bit of fuss over Referees increasing their calls. This is proper and the Officials have been asked to do so.

When we started the season, we knew that everyone was new, so we went light on many of the calls, prefering to "enlighten" rather than choke the game with minor calls. As we progress, everyone should know at least the basic rules, so we make the calls.

While we're out here to have FUN, this is an Official League, and we are here to teach the kids the game, as well as other important life lessons, through sports. It's our duty. If they learn now, in a friendly setting, then they won't be lost, or playing catch up, when they get to the Travel or High School Level. Our failure here, could result in the poor kids being benched, or not making the Team at all. Though it may seem inconsequential now, it could mean the difference between a scolarship or no scolarship.

Yeah, it's just a game, but we actually look at the impact we may have on the kids future. We want them to have every opportunity to enjoy success, so we're making the appropriate calls. It's the least we can do!

MouthGuards are MANDITORY in Flag Football. It is the Coaches and the Referees
responsibility to ensure that EVERY Player on the field is wearing one. 

I know that Parental Units get all aggravated when they forget the MouthGuard and their
future superstar can't play without one, but it's too important to ignore or make exceptions.
If you've been to the Dentist lately, you know that dental work costs have gone through the
roof. It's crazy expensive to repair or replace teeth. An inexpensive MouthGuard can save a
lot of pain, aggravation, time and money.

The standard answer, when caught, is; "the other Ref's let us play without one", and the
most recent I heard was ... ready for this ... "they said it was optional". (SMH)
The latter response came from a young player, so it's validity is questionable, but either excuse
is highly improbable. Nice Try, but I know my Officials, and none of them would knowingly allow

Please, Remind Parental Units; MouthGuards are MANDITORY!

Now, Referees don't want to penalize the kids, for mistakes like No MouthGuard, if it wasn't
the kid that forgot. It's too important to risk, and kids need the little extra motivation to
remember, so Referees are instructed to enforce the 10 yard penalty, for playing or attempting
to play without a MouthGuard. It's NOT an Option!

Jewelry and Band-Aid - Slight of Hand

Absolutely NO Jewelry Allowed, and putting a band aid over it is strictly prohibited and clearly stated in the Rules. This is a SAFETY Issue. Watch and double check, that Players actually remove their jewelry. We've had several incidents, where Players have been told to remove jewelry, then act like they're doing it, but leave it in. Of course, I spot it immediately, and wonder why it was allowed.

Don't assume they followed instructions ... verify it!!!

Flag Alignment

Please be diligent in checking Flags. We're still seeing Flag Belts being worn improperly. There needs to be a Flag in the back, and one on each side. On several occasions, I've seen Flags in the front, and that could quickly result in a Player unexpectedly being dropped to his knees ... literally!

The Flags need to be properly aligned. It's an unfair advantage, when a Ball Carrier has no Flag on one side. The Penalty for an Improperly Secured Flag Belt is a 10 Yard loss, and an Automatic 1st/Loss of Down, respectively. If deemed "Intentional", it's also comes with a side order of Ejection. Please monitor this at each line up, and correct it before the snap, if possible.

Block & Tackle

No, not the gear for hoisting heavy objects.

We're addressing Illegal Blocks to prevent the Runner from escaping Flag Pulls.

Here comes Speedy Gonzlaez, hugging the ball, dodging and weaving, determined to get that First Down. Joe Noyadon't has other ideas. Joe steps right in front of Speedy, wraps his arms him so he can't escape, grabbing for every flag within reach. As they meet in a thunderous collision, a flag is pulled and the play ends. Now, Mr. Referee has a decision to make.

Do we have a Penalty to call, or was this incidental contact? Defensive Players must grab their opponents flag ... NOT the Opponent or their clothes. In other words, they cannot bear hug the Ball Carrier to trap him/her and stop the momentum, so they can grab a Flag. They cannot wrap their arms around the Ball Carrier, nor can they stick an arm out in the path of the Runner to slow 'em down.

In the same manner as a Legal Screen, a Defensive Player has to position themselves with enough room for an opponent to reasonably avoid contact. The Offensive Player has to make every effort to avoid contact. This is the essence of Blocking or Charge calls. If there is contact, the Referee must determine who, if anyone, was responsible for the contact. If it is determined that either Player caused contact (beyond incidental), then a 10 Yard Penalty must be accessed, either Charging or Illegal Block.

Remember, grab the Flag ... not the Ball Carrier or their clothes.

Silly Rules - Not So Silly
While some of the Rules seem silly or annoying, there are good reasons for them. 
Some are to keep the game FUN & Exciting, some to keep it fair, and many are Safety

Just a little Football History Trivia that puts it into perspective; In 1905, American Gridiron
Football, 18 Players were killed and 159 seriously injured. There were serious attempts to
outlaw Football, but President Roosevelt wasn't having it. He personally intervened and
demanded that the rules be reformed, to make it safer. Say thank you Teddy.

Every Rule serves a purpose. They're not so silly.
We're getting a lot of infractions in these areas. It would be pretty comical, if it wasn't
such a pain in the shorts. It's Flag Football Football. It's hard enough to grab & pull the
flags, without adding  complications. 
Misaligned Flags = Complication. 
Stripes on Shorts = Complication. 
Pockets hanging out like Flags = Complication. 
Pockets = Safety Complication. 
Shirts Untucked, Covering/Blocking Flags = Complication. 

Flags - Flags positions need to be 1 in the back & 1 on each side, not all on one side,
          and certainly NOT one in the front ... talk about a potentially uncomfortable and
          embarrassing COMPLICATION. 
We're seeing one entire side of Ball Carriers with no Flags. That's an unfair advantage,
and by the book  ... a 10 Yard Penalty & Ejection.  Of course, we know that the kids
aren't doing it on purpose, so an ejection would be awfully mean, but a 10 Yard Penalty
would only be fair, as it definitely puts the Defense at a serious disadvantage. 

I know it's about as easy as herding cats, but please make it a point to ensure that the
Flags are positioned reasonably proper like. 

Shirts - Shirts MUST be tucked in at all times. Untucked, they inhibit fair flag access.

Shorts - NO POCKETS - NO Stripes!!!!! 
Stripes  look similar to flags and can cause optical delusions in the heat of play.
Striped shorts are NEVER allowed in Flag Football. 

Pockets - Pockets are a Safety Hazard for opponents, and a likely source of
             embarrassment for ball carriers, who may find their shorts around
             their ankles, should a Defenders hand get snagged in the pocket. 
The Referees are trying to be good sports about the pockets issue, by allowing the kids
with pockets to turn them shorts inside-out. Unfortunately, that often results in inside-out
pockets emulating "Extra Flags", or pockets getting tangled up with flags, making them
harder to grab Flags". 

Please STRESS the NO POCKETS - NO STRIPES Rule to Parental Units. 
Most likely, they're the ones that layed them out for their little ones in the first place.
Ball Set-Whistle-30 Seconds 
That Whistle, signifies the start of your 30 second huddle clock. 
For the start of the season, the Referees have been granting some breathing room on the
30 second limit, but now that you've got your legs, we'll be enforcing it more. 

The Rule - A team has 30 seconds to put the ball in play, once the referee has marked
                the ball and blown the whistle. No play will start until ball is marked and whistle
                is blown. 

While you have a maximum of 30 seconds, you don't have to use the full 30.
The only requirements are that you have a huddle, and don't exceed 30 seconds to snap the
ball. The "Ball Set and Whistle" portion of the Rule, ordinarily seems to have no significance,
until you're trying to run 2 consecutive plays, or your in a race against the clock in a tight
game. Then it gets all real. 

This Rule also serves to allow the Referees to get out of your way and into position, prior to
the snap of the ball. We've had situations where the Offense was in such a hurry to catch
their opponent by surprise, that the Officials interfered with the play,  couldn't see the play,
or were trampled, cause they were in the middle of setting the ball + markers and getting
into position. Guess what! They had to replay the down. 

Always wait for Ball Set & Whistle, and avoid wasting a perfectly good surprise play.
Half the Yardage LOS The Rule:
When the ball is within 5 yards of a first down or the goal line, the defensive restraining
line will be half of the distance. 
Example: If your say 4 yards from a First Down, or from the Endzone, the Markers will be
placed 2 yards apart - or half the distance. 

There are two exceptions; 
1) If you've been pushed back beyond the previous 20 yard mark, you'll have to cross that
20 yard zone, plus the next for a 1st Down. The bags will be placed 5 yards apart in this 
(Not really an exception, as you have 20+ yards to go for a 1st, but is acts like one.)

2) If there is less that 1 yard to the the 1st Down or the End Zone, the Markers will be
    placed 1 Yard apart, even if that puts the Defense into their own End Zone. This is a
    Safety Rule, so the Players don't bash heads.
Kick-Offs & Punts Line-Up
The Kick-Off formation has always been misinterpreted by Coaches & Referees alike.
The Rule: Kick-off receiving team must have at least 3 players on their own 20-yard line
               for all divisions. 
The confusion is in the general interpretation of the Rule.
Coaches of the Kicking and Receiving team just naturally lined up on the 40, and we just
got used to that. Then the Refs told them the Receiving team had to have 3 Players on the
20 yard line. So, though not logical, they complied, and after a couple of years, the Coaches
just quit asking why. 

The confusion is actually in the perception of the Line of Scrimmage. 
Everybody assumed the LOS was the each teams 40 yard line. That is only true of the
Kicking Team. For the Receiving Team, their LOS is their 30 Yard Line. That's only 5 yards
further than the normal Line of Scrimmage, which is just enough additional space to keep
from getting nailed with the full force of the ball on the Kick-Off, and it indicates the
minimum distance a Kick-Off must travel, before the Defense can legally down the ball.

The Receiving Team lines up on the 30 Yard Line, with 3 Players on their 20, as shown in
the diagram below.
The Punt 
The Punt Procedure is often mixed up and confused with the Kick-Off procedure.
The procedure for each, is different, and listed below.

The Defense (Receiving Team) can line up in any formation they choose to. The only thing that
is not mentioned (or clarified) in the Rule, is that the Line of Scrimmage is the same as in normal
play ... 5 Yards. 
The Rule: The punter picks up ball at line of scrimmage, then proceeds to punt ball. No part
               of the punter's body may cross the scrimmage line when making the punt. The
               punting team must stay behind the line of scrimmage until the punt is away.
               There is no minimum number of players that need to be on the defensive
               scrimmage line when receiving a punt. The defense may not block a punt.
Center/QB Sneak - No Way Jose 
When it comes to trying to find a loophole in the Rules, this one RULES Supreme!
There is NO Center/QB Sneak allowed. There is no loophole, so give up trying already!

The only close relative is, as stated in the Rules; 
The Rule: The center may receive a hand-off, if the hand-off is completed at least 1 yd.
                behind the line of scrimmage.
Pass or Lateral
OK! Wrap your mind around this one!
A Pass, Lateral or Handoff beyond the Line of Scrimmage is Allowed!
The Rule: Only one forward pass is permitted per down, regardless of whether or not
               they are still behind the line of scrimmage.
               (This doesn't mean that you can throw a Forward Pass beyond the Line of Scrimmage. A Forward
                      Pass is any pass thrown towards (in the direction of) an opponents goal. It simply means that if
                you've thrown a Forward Pass to a Teammate, who is also behind the Line of Scrimmage, it is still
                     a Forward Pass, and the only one you're allowed during that down) 

               A pass or lateral to a teammate, who is even with or behind the ball carrier,
              is permitted, regardless if the ball is ahead of or behind the line of scrimmage.

NOTE – Any player may hand the ball forward or backward at anytime.

That should open up a few more plays for the Playbook!!!!!

Charging vs Blocking

Flag Football is designed as a non-contact sport. In reality, it is a limited contact sport, as there is no way to eliminate all contact. We call the limited contact "incidental". Charging calls are the result of the Offense being responsible for causing Contact, Blocking is the result of the Defense being responsible for causing contact. The Key phrase is "Responsible for Causing".

We'd all like to be able to just run the ball up the middle and crash our way to a 1st Down, TouchDown or Extra Point, and there's nothing wrong with that, as long as there's actually an opening to go through. Trying to squirt or bash through a couple of Defensive Players standing side by side, could quickly set you back 10 yards from your intended goal ... If there's contact ... say hello to a Charge call.

Field Coach Becomes Spectator

The Rule states: Coaches on the field MAY NOT converse with their players, once the offensive line is set, until the end of the play. Penalty: 5 yds from line of scrimmage. (Offensive Line is considered set when Center lays hand(s) on the ball)

Once you've given them the play and line-up, it's up to your Players to execute the Play. It's their game, and they need to learn how to see plays develop and make strategic adjustments. You already know how. This is how they learn it. Now, if you can't resist chiming in with your expertise, just make sure it's worth the 5 Yard Penalty.

Flag Guarding 10 Yard Penalty

Flag Guarding is in any way "physically shielding" your Flag or Belt, to prevent an opponent from pulling it. Players can only protect from flag pulling by maneuvering beyond the reach of or by misdirecting an opponent, as in deking or spinning, without causing contact.

Blocking the belt with the ball or arm, swiping or pushing the hand, arm, or Player away are all examples of Flag Guarding. Grabbing ahold of the Flag Belt is also Flag Guarding. I see Players instinctively grabbing their Flag Belt in the middle of a run, to see if it's been pulled. While in most cases, they're not holding the belt to prevent a pull, with all that's going on, a Referee may easily mistake it for a Flag Guard.

I highly recommend the stressing "run until they hear the whistle", instead of checking their belt to see if it's been pulled. In most cases, the Players delay and sacrifice yardage anyway, so it's in your best interest to promote the "wait for the whistle" practice.

Don't tie the flag or let it get tangled up in a shirt - Illegally Secured Flag Belt - 10 Yard Penalty plus; Loss of Down on Offense, Automatic First down on Defense

SideLines & End Zones - Keep them Cleared

For the Safety of Players and Spectators alike, Spectators need to be at least 3 feet from the sideline. If you are setting up a lounge chair, set it back far enough so that your feet are 3 yards from the sideline. If you have an umbrella (eye poker), make it 6 feet.

Players are running full steam, looking on the field, to avoid Defenders. They're not paying attention to the chair, human, or umbrella they're about to trip over or slam into. Players and Spectators can get hurt if they're too close. Now, I know you're thinking, "it's ok, I'll move. Well, that dog don't hunt. We get so caught up in the game ... we forget. Let's give 'em plenty of room, and keep 'em safe. Nobody belongs on the Team Sideline, except Coaches & Players ... Period! (Refs & City Staff don't count - They're considered field equipment - how degrading)

Keep the areas clear behind the End Zone. The Teams own the field, and nobody should be back there. It's too easy to forget where you are and accidentally interfere with the game. It is also a distraction that the Players shouldn't have to deal with. I know that it's tempting to practice in behind the end zones, while waiting for a game, but please respect the Teams right to unhindered use of the field, as we will in turn ensure for you.

Referees will ensure non-authorized persons do not enter the field of play. They may stop, suspend, or terminate the match because of outside interference of any kind. We don't wanna, but will if we must.

Spectator Coaching - Prohibited

Cheering for the Players is very much desired and encouraged. It motivates Players and makes the game more FUN and Exciting. Being Coached from the bleachers ... not so much.

Remember how much you hated your parents distracting you ... telling YOU how to play YOUR Game - from the Sidelines? It was annoying and embarrassing. We won't even bring up the dreaded ride home ... oops, I just did.

I know how difficult it is to resist, and how easy it is to get a little bit too caught up in the game, and YOU WANT TO WIN! That doesn't make it any easier. Of course, we tend to do it because our Parental Units did it, so it seems normal & benign. Well, it's anything but! There are a number of reasons we should resist that temptation, and it has to do with the kids and the game.

First of all, if the Parental Unit is any good at the game, it's flat out cheating. If the Parental Unit isn't that knowledgeable, they give the opposing team an advantage. Either way, Sideline Coaching interferes with the game, so it shouldn't be done.

While the Coaching Parental Unit has good intentions, in almost every case, they're telling their kid to do exactly the opposite of what their Coach instructed them to do. They want their kid to shine, so they tell him to reposition, shoot or run, when they were supposed to stay in position and/or pass the ball. Now the whole play is ruined, and the Coach is pulling out what little hair he/she has left. It's disrespectful to the Coach, and it messes up the game plan for the whole team.

The Parental Unit, talking to his/her kid, is distracting their focus from where it needs to be ... in the game. I've seen kids slammed with the ball, or just plain trucked (even injured) , because they weren't paying attention to the game, they were paying attention to their Parental Unit. You'd be amazed at how many times I've heard Parental Units instruct their kids to perform illegal procedures, because they weren't taught the correct rules/procedures when they played, or aren't aware of the Rule changes since they last played.

On top of that, most of the other Parental Units, who are there to enjoy the game, wish the wannabe Coaches would just STOP.

Here's the Rule from the Rule Book Spectator/Sideline Coaching is prohibited. Sideline Coaching is defined as; spectators attempting to influence and gain an advantage in a game through instruction, positioning or alerting players to situations they would not otherwise be aware of. This is a disruption of the game and may cause an unfair advantage. If necessary, the game may be stopped, which may result in ejection or even forfeiture of the game, at the Official’s discretion. Referees/Umpires shall have complete authority over the game, players, coaches and spectators. They may expel any player, coach or spectator for indecent language, unsportsmanlike conduct, or any infraction of rules. Refusal of expelled player, coach or spectator to leave the "playing area" within 2 minutes will constitute a forfeit. Referees are instructed to discuss matters in question ONLY with the Head Coach, NOT an assistant. No coach may address an official concerning a call except during half or games end.

Injury's - Emergency Medical Ploy

When we have legitimate injuries, we want to stop and care for them properly.

The truth is, Real Injuries, worthy of concern, are actually pretty rare. Most often, we encounter "little boo boo" injuries. Technically, they're not injuries ... they're nothing more than little "owies", that; if we don't make a big deal of it, will be gone and forgotten inside of 15 seconds. Well, here comes the Parental Units, and/or the Coach, racing to the rescue, and now we unnecessarily delay the game.

NO SPORT allows Coaches or Parental Units to race onto the field for injuries. The Referee has to request their assistance, or as it's stated in the Rule Book; "unless beckoned by the Referee". When an injury of any significance occurs, believe me, the Referees will immediately "beckon" the Coach onto the Field/Court to handle it. Other than that, stay off the Field/Court.

Also, an injury is not an excuse for a wannabe Coach to find his way to the Team Bench and hang out there, under the pretense that they have to take care of their kid. Even more shady, is the Coach or Parental Unit that uses the "injury" as an excuse to berate the Official(s), without even paying any attention to the supposedly injured Player.

Parental Units do not belong in the Team Area, unless they're toting their kid off to receive medical attention. Do not allow them to "Hang Out" in the Team Area. If the injury is actually that serious, then allow the Parent to pick up their child and take them to receive appropriate medical care.

The Snap - Center Procedure

The ball must be placed and remain on the Line of Scrimmage, the Center must be behind the LOS, and the Center MUST Snap the ball cleanly, in a continuous motion. That's why they call it a Snap ... because it's quick or "Snappy"!

Centers are allowed to side snap the ball, but cannot straddle the ball. They must remain behind it. Any repositioning or movement of the ball, other than a continuous motion snap, can cost you 5 yards, especially if that movement causes the Offense to jump the line early. If a Center moves the ball off the Line of Scrimmage, the Referees will attempt to correct it, before the play starts, to avoid a petty penalty, but if that doesn't work, TWEET!!!! Walk it back 5 Yards!

One of the Coaches was instructing his team to rush when they heard the word "HIKE". While I get why, it's not recommended, in fact, it's risky. The word has nothing to do with when they can legally rush. It's when the ball is physically moved, or snapped, that the Offense can legally rush. I highly recommend instructing Players to Rush on the Snap.

Kick Off - Illegal "Short Kick"

We had a situation; The Kick-Off went Out of Bounds, beyond the 10 Yard Buffer Zone, which makes it a Legal Kick-Off, that would be brought to the 30 Yard Line, for a 1st Down. There was some confusion, and it was thought that the ball should be placed on the Receiving Teams 35 Yard Line. That 5 Yard gift, only applies to an Illegal Kick-Off that; doesn't travel the minimum of 10 yards, provided the RT chooses the Option to Accept the Results of the Kick.

In short, Legal Kick-Off Out of Bounds, (travels 10 or more yards) 30 Yard Line.

Illegal Kick-Off Out of Bounds, (less than 10 yards) 35 Yard Line. (If RT Accepts Result Option)

Actual Kick-Off Rule Language

Kick offs must travel a minimum of 10 yards, before the Kicking Team can "Down the Ball". A kickoff is illegal unless it travels 10 yards (or more) OR is touched by the receiving team. Once touched by the Receiving Team, the kick shall be treated as legal.
Penalty for Kicking Team "Downing the Ball" short of the 10 yards, will result in the Receiving Team having the option to accept the result of the play or a 5 yard penalty to be applied to the re-kick (Kick to be re-taken from kicking team 35 Yard Line). If the Kicking Team Illegally kicks the ball out of bounds, short of 10 yards, they will be penalized 5 yards. The Receiving Team will take possession at receiving team 35 yard line.

Referees shouldn’t have to be escorted out of the gym, 
for doing what they are supposed to!

I'd like to start, by thanking the Coaches & Parental Units who intervened on behalf
of my Official, and prevented any truly regretful escalation. I think you also saved
a guy a stint in the big house, and I ain't talkin about the White House. Now for
a slightly sarcastic, but serious reality check.

Ok Tough Guy! You want to Threaten, Shove or Swing at an Official, because you
don't like the way he/she called the game. You might want to think twice, before
you wind up a member of the "Silver Bracelets Club". Jail & Fines will be the price
you'll pay!

For starters, you have no right, unless you are a Head Coach, to question or
speak to an Official. Secondarily, it's real macho to threaten someone, who you
know is fully restricted by protocall from responding, retalliating or fighting back,
except in extreme self defense. For those who choose not to control themselves,
there are specific rules governing this kind of behavior, before, during and after
the game(s). Last, but not least, the real crime here is, the example we're setting
for the kids.

There are League Rules and State Laws with stiff penalties.
League penalties range from Immediate Ejection and a Minimum (2) Game 
Suspension, to Lifetime Suspension. 

In addition, State Law Penalties range from 1-30 Years in Prison, and/or
$1,000-$10,000 Fines, plus a 1st Degree misdemeanor to a 1st Degree Felony on
your record. If you'd like more details, click this link Jail - Fines - Felonies

                                         Remember --- Play Nice & Think Twice
Cursing & Disrespect equals Tech & Eject
We are experiencing entirely too much cursing and disrespect from
Coaches, Players & Spectators, around the kids! It has to stop!!!!!
It's really sad when Coaches come to inform me that 10 & 12 year old kids are
freely dropping F-Bombs and the like, as if it's ok. After all, they're just emulating
the grown-ups, their rapppp heros, movies & viseo games, but does that make it
ok? Certainly not!!
When I was a kid, it was just understood. If I cursed or was disrespectful, any
adult was authorized to rearrange my dental work on the spot. My parents thanked
them, and when I got home, I got it again, only worse, along with an introduction
to a bar of soap, scraped across my teeth. Somehow, courtesy and respect seems
to have become relics of the past, for many. I've even had Parental Units get mad
because their kid was T'd up for cursing, and say "so what if he cursed". When we
were kids, we learned that there were consequenses when we cursed.
Well, in sports, there are consequenses. Disrespect will earn you a Technical Foul
and Cursing is an automatic Ejection from the game. Anyone who curses or is
disrespectful after the game, is suspended from the next game.

Referees need to catch and penalize cursing, at least with a warning, but with all
the noise and confusion, they often don't hear it, and when they do, they kinda
look like Kevin Hart doing his "Who Hit Me" skit. It's hard to get the right guy or

Let's set the right example and make a point of not cursing around the kids, and
maintaining a zero tolerance cursing policy!!!!
Domino Effect
We all know that Coaches are responsible for their Players & Spectators. We also
know that this is no simple responsibility, but there is something that you can do
to help prevent things from getting out of hand.

Imagine a row of dominoes on the court, leading from the Coaches to the Players,
to the bleachers and back. The Coaches start to get chippy and the first domino is
flicked. The chain reaction begins, as the dominoes clatter their way through the
Players and continue to the Spectators … clickety clack, back and forth, clickety,
clickety clack, and as the momentum builds, they go faster and faster.
The chippier the Coaches get, the more the rows of dominoes begin to clickety
clack out of control.
You might ask; What the heck (couldn't use the other word, or I'd be in violation of the cursing article) 
do dominoes have to do with solving the Spectator/Player Insanity????

That is the type of impact Coaches have on their Players and Spectators. 
Parental Units and Players feed off and mirror your actions. You are the example.
If you're losing your ever lovin mind, cursing up a storm, and going ballistic ...
guess what ... they'll join in. The way they see it, there must be something wrong,
and now they start looking for trouble, even where it doesn't exist. Once the
"dominoes" get going, it’s really hard to stop them, or as the saying goes
… it’s hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Be intense for sure, but sensibly and respectfully. Stay in control. The majority will
follow suite ... and your anxiety medication will likely work better too.

Yes I did. I made this Black and White, just like dominoes.
Three or More Free Throws ... Huh!
There are several somewhat unusual ways to get more Free Throws than we are
accustomed to seeing. Example: A Player could possibly get 5 Free Throws, with a
3 point attempt shooting foul combined with a Tech.
We had such a situation in a game last week. The Coaches told me that the Ref lost
his mind and issued an extra shot, after amissed a shot. Why? How’s that possible? 
When I heard it, the Coach saw the perplexed look on my face, and said "exactly"!
(it was a pretty funny moment) The Coach said he had he same look on his when he saw it
happened. At the time, I was at a loss as to why the Ref would have done that, and
knowing who the Ref was, it didn’t make sense. I was concerned, but Of course, I 
spoke with the Official and found out why.
The rules for Free Throws state that it is not legal to Disconcert the Shooter. 
In layman terms, that means you can’t distract the Free Thrower, in an attempt to
cause a missed shot. I know … Shocker!!!! Everybody does it … right? The fact of the
matter is, yelling and stomping on the bleachers, etc., is actually illegal, if it disconcerts
the Shooter. It’s one of those things that generally doesn’t really affect the shooter, so
it doesn't get called very often. When we see that it goes too far and does disconcert,
the Shooter may be entitled to a literal do over, and we're obligated to issue it. That is
why he issued the additional shot.

It was so ridiculous, that my Referee’s comment was “Michael Jordan couldn’t
have made that shot”.
Looking at the bigger picture, The Players were disrespectfully egging the fans on, to
distract the Shooter and make him miss. That's blatent Unsportshumanlike Conduct and
a Technical Foul for could have, and from what I heard, should have been issued.
(that would have made 5 shots by the way) He didn't, and that's ok, as in his judgement, it wasn't
The bottom line is, if all that rompin and stomping actually does work to Disconcert the
Shooter, it's all fer nuttin, cause the shot should be retaken, or worse yet, an additional
two shots given for a Technical  foul. While it may be fun and seem cool to mess with
the Shooter’s head, it could cost you! I highly recommend removing it from your strategy,
especially when the game is within 1 or 2 points, and the clock is about to put the
proverbial icing on the cake! Just a thought.

Referee Rotation - Why it’s Important

Every time I bring up proper Rotation in training, I get the "well, there's some debate" response. Well, there may be some debates, but there are also good reasons for the proper Rotation procedure.

Why am I burping this topic up now ... yet again. Well, we had a disasterous game this past Friday, almost entirely due to not following these procedures.

Now, we know the Lead Official needs to get his tucas to the baseline. You can't see the bump & grind, touchy feely tactics from off to the side. The Trailing Official needs toget inside the mid-court line, so he can see what's happening in that traffic jam we call the key. It looks really shotty when we've got no better view than the Coaches, plus we miss too much, or get questioned too often on calls of no calls, when out of position.

As for the Rotation on Foul Shots, there are several reasons why that is so important: We need to get to the table and give them the necessary information, so they can hear clearly and get it right. It lets the Coaches be in ear shot, which is helpful to them. It also allows the shots procedure to get under way, without delay, which allows more play, because we're not wasting valuable clock time with "what'd you say? Was that number 5 or 9?" While your at the table, your partner can get the Players lined up and the shots implemented quicker.

Every Referee has a their own unique style of officiating, and I pair Officials with that taken into consideration, to balance game management. Some are very strict, some are more "Let 'em Play and have FUN" oriented and we'll see everything in between. Have you ever heard "Call it BOTH Ways Ref"? Well, rotation is one of the ways we achieve that "Both Ways" objective, even if only in perception. The poor Coach that gets the strict Ref on his end of the court, the whole half, feels like he's getting the short end of the stick, whilst his opposing Coach is living in the lap of luxury. When we Rotate Properly, both Coaches get the best of both worlds, and the Referees don't have to endure hearing "Call it BOTH Ways" (as much anyway). Now it is Both Ways.

Last, but not least, the Ref that issued the Foul, no matter how justified, is in a compromising position, especially if Players "Object". Now, you're the target of their frustration, standing face to face with them. They'll likely feel compelled to "share their feelings or opinions". It's a polititions nightmare. When we Rotate, the target of frustration is removed, hence there's less opportunity for snippy bickering and attitudes. This is especially critical when issuing T's. The Official issuing the T, should never be the Official implementing the shots. It's just too pensive. So please, rotate properly. It's in everybodies best interest.

                                             Rotate - Be in Proper Position

Out of control - Simply Stop the Game (momentarily)

Games get exciting. Heck (see article 2), that's the point of it all. When conditions go to stupid though, sometines the best option is to stop the game and let the Coaches cool off, or diffuse the situation. Games can obviously get pretty nutty. There’s a lot of emotion and excess adrenaline, that only gains momentum as it progresses. Stopping the game, drains insanities momentum. They want to play, so you don't want to make a habit of stopping the game, but stopping the game momentarily, when it's getting out of hand, can kinda reset the emotional clock. It's a great tool.

Sure, they may get aggravated when you stop the game, but it beats trying to deal with a situation while flying by the bench and trying to focus on the game. There is also the added pier pressure motivation to avoid allowing the game to steer towards stupid.


Well actually, yes. I'm concentrating on the game, I've got a hundred fans screaming at 180 decibles, half of which don't know the rules, but think they're a better ref than I am, and a Coach screaming at me for every call that didn't go the way he wanted, and I'm on the opposite end of the court! So yeah! I'm a little hard of hearing at the moment. Sorry dude/dudette.

Referees aren't intentionally ignoring your REQUESTS for Time Out. Yes, I emphasized REQUESTS, as Time Outs are not automatic, but GRANTED. It is rather hard to hear with all the noise, especially when 2 games are running on the same court, and Referees quickly learn to tune out general squawking.

Instead of losing your voice, hoping to be heard above the thunderous noise, and getting frustrated, have your Players signal or echo your Time Out REQUEST. That'll make it easier for everyone.

Tournament Time Sunrise ONLY

It's the start of the Tournament for 8U and on Friday, the 17U.
These are single elimination games, so expect plenty of adrenaline surges and temporary
insanity. It should be a lot of FUN!!!! In Tournament Games, a Winner MUST be determined.
That means games cannot end in a Tie. Should the game be Tied at the end of Regulation Play,
we must break that Tie in OverTime, until we have a Winner.

Each OverTime is (2) Minutes, with the following procedures;

Starts with a "Real" Jump Ball (Each OT)
(1) 30 Second Time-Out (NO Carry Overs - Use It or Lose It)

Full Court Press Allowed during entire OT Period(s), in ALL Divisions
Clock Stops for ALL Dead Ball Situations

Foul Counts Carry Over from Regulation Play, and throughout OT's

Coaches MAY play anyone they choose, but Cannot Sub again until the start of the next OT
(Substitution Rules are Waived during OT- i.e., they can choose their line up to win, rather than ensure equal playing time)
If still Tied at the End of OT, Rinse & Repeat, until a Winner is determined
Allow a Maximum of 2 Minutes between OT Periods

Good Luck to ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coaches & Referees - Control the Perimeter
Tournament games get nutty, because they are the preverbal "money games".
It's just the nature of the game. The Players are psyched, and invite their Grandparents,
buddies, Aunts & Uncles, etc., so it gets even nuttier. Hey, it's one of lifes more exciting
moments. That enthusiasm also attracts kids that are hanging out, and have not been
exposed to the etiquette of the league. This takes nutty to a whole different level.
Combine all this with the time extension of the games that go into Overtime, and we
have a recipe for undesirable safety and interference challenges in managing the gym
and the games. We need to keep Spectators away from the sidelines, out of the Team
Areas and off the courts, througout the games. Some of the Gyms are very limited in
space, and the extra Spectators makes them even more crowded. There are a few
proactive steps we can take to control the situation.

1) I know that between the heat and the probable rain, everyone would rather be in the
air conditioning, but please, if you arrive prior to the end of the previous game, keep
Players & Parental Units outside of the gym, until the games are completed, and the
gym begins to clear out. All the gyms have plenty of overhangs to protect you from
getting soaked. Entering the gym with your posse, leaves them jammed right up onto
the sidelines (safety issue), has them meandering onto the court in the middle of games
and crowding into the Team Areas.
2) Help to inform and re-enforce that; Parental Unitsplayers buddies, etc. cannot hang out
in the Team Areas or on that side of the gym. Ask your Players to help with that, to
make it more uniform and easier.

3) Ask your Players to help, by reminding their "buddies" that they can't jump on the court
to shoot buckets. Only Players of the current game are allowed on the court.They're
more inclined to honor such a request from their friends, especially during your warm
ups, and the offenders during stoppages are generally out there during warm-ups.
4) Once your game is done, and you've shaken paws, guide your posse out of the gym
for the after game festivities. We want to clear the gym out, as quickly as possible,
so the next game can get under way, without delay. Ya know ... Do Unto Others

5) Inform Parental Units that you don't want them interfering with your Coaching strategy,
by Coaching "their way" from the sidelines, and that they are not to "Heckle" or distract
opponents or Officials. They are not to come onto the court ... for any reason!

Work with Coaches on these issues. Watch, and when necessary, clear the sidelines, and
stay on the court during stoppages, to enforce the Current Players Only on the court. If it
can't be controlled through curteous reminders, stop the game to get it back under control.
Get the Coaches assistance, so we can resume as quickly as possible. We all have to focus
on our game, and that makes managing this periferal nonsense a real challenge but,
working together, we can avoid or at least minimize stupid conflicts, and make this an
awesomerer experience for all! (No - Not a typo. I made that word up - for fun)

Who Picks Replacement Players?
It came up several times this past week, and the rule can be a little confusing.

Just like in regular basketball, if a Player "Fouls-Out", his Coach picks his own Replacement
Player. If there is an Injury, or Disiplinary reason for pulling a Player, the opposing Coach
chooses the Replacement Player.
Foul-Out = Choose your own
Injury or Disiplinary = Opposing Coach Chooses
The reason for this rule: Not that any Coach would ever consciously cheat ... but it has
happened, back in ancient times (last year ... but was caught and force forfeited) ... hence the rule ...

This Rule helps Coaches control the potential, primal instinct to replace a Player, by having
them fake an injury or to manufacture a disiplinary excuse to replace a Player, with a Player
deemed more uitable to their objective. Though a Coach could conceivably accomplish the
same circumvention strategy through an Intentional Foul-Out instruction, chances are, it'd
be more trouble than it's worth. Plus with a limited Roster and potential for another more
assertive Player (or two) to conceivably Foul-Out, it could lead to playing short, or even
forfeiting. The Foul-Out has it's own deterant, built in.

The Substitution Rule is in place, to ensure that each Player gets a reasonable amount of
playing time, and doesn't fall prey to "Winning" over "This is For the Kids". Players didn't
sign up to ride the pine, and Parental Units didn't pay good money to watch their kids chill
on the bench. They can do that at home ... for free. Recreational Leagues are designed
as an introduction to sports, to teach the game, develop skills, practice and it's a gateway
to identifying a childs level of interest in persuing sports to the next level, say Travel,
School Ball or possibly working towards a scholarship. If they don't get enough play time,
they lose interest, and we may lose the next Michael Jordan as a result.
This is, after all,
for the kids, much more so than a knotch in the Coaches career stats.
TMI - Maybe - But now you know!

Only the Head Coach may Address the Referee
Okeeeeedokeeee! So one of your Parental Units, with their self proclaimed, vast knowledge
of the game, feels entitled to share their feelings with the Officials, before, during, or after
the game. Who gets the Tech? The Coach. Who gets 2 shots? Your Opponent. While this
hardly seems fair, as you personally didn't do anything wrong, ultimately, Coaches are
responsible for their Spectators behavior. Spectators need to stay out of the way of the
game. They are not in a position to, or objective enough to judge calls (or no calls) with
any accuracy.

Referees cannot issue a Tech to a Spectator. Their only relative option is an ejection,
but our first course of action is to Tech the Bench, in the hopes that will resolve the
situation. We don't really want to eject or even Tech anyone for that matter, however,
they will for repeated fouls or UnSportsPersonLike conduct or Spectator interference.

Please help your Spectators, and Players for that matter, understand that Referees are
not recepticles for their emotional shrapnel, and that there are consequences. An ejection
carries over to missing the next game, and threatening an Official (which happened this
past week) can lead to gaudy silver bracelets. Though Referees would rather not have to
issue Tech's or Ejections, they will when necessary, and that could affect your games.
It's just not worth the instant gratification, and more importantly, it sets a horrible example
for the kids.

ScoreKeepers are NOT Coaches
While we understand the passionate ones overwhelming desire to participate in and
influence the game, volunteering for the Scorekeepers seat does not grant you that
priveledge. The ScoreKeeper is there to keep the score and the stats. That's it!
They are not there to teach the Coaches how to coach or to advise them. They are not
their to coach the Players, and they are certainly not there to supervise and instruct the

Teams Own the Court - All others are Restricted 
Coaches and the City, have once again asked us to prevent Non-Players of each game,
from coming onto the court during stoppages, between quarters, before & after the
games. Keep the courts clear. It may seem petty  and harmless, and feel like we're just
being killjoys. Why not let them have some fun.The truth is, in most cases, they aren't
really doing anything bad, but there's more to it. 

For starters, it interferes with teams warming up, as they are competing for the same
baskets or goals and real estate. Teams paid for, and are entitled to uninhibited  use of
the court/field. It also presents safety hazards, as the unauthorized participants weren't
paying attention to or respecting the right of way of authorized participants. Initially, we
still allowed it, back when respect was the rule, not the exception. It began deteriorating
when we couldn't get them off the court/field to resume play. They'd push it to the limit
and ultimately had to be chased off. To much delaying of games. We still allowed it, until
they routinely started copping an attitude when being asked to clear the field/court, and
when they refused to vacate in a timely manner, they'd get cocky and wanna fight. Then
we experienced "turf" fights, and that was the end of allowing unauthorized participants
to play on courts & fields. 

The Coaches have asked us, and the Cities have always expected it of us. This is an
organized league. If they are not participants in the program, and they are not on the
teams currently playing that game, they are spectators, and have no business being
on the courts/fields. It's part of our job to ensure that they remain outside the playing

Tournament Time already?
Well, not quite, but,we're in the money games now, as we vie for Regular Season positions,
and players should have a pretty good grasp of the game. It's time to tighten up the calls,
while being careful not to choke the games. Newer Referee's are being asked to call
everything they see, while the more experienced Ref's are being asked to call the games
tighter ... so be prepared, and let's have some good, clean FUN!

Midget NBA Simulation

It was the most adorable scene ... and I didn't think to break out my camera ... dagnabbit! 8U Game - a cross between basketball & bumper cars - a frustrated Coach - and little kids working off a fruit punch rush. One of the Coaches wanted calls that would be expected in a bigger kids game, but the skill level just wasn't there to justify it. We're not there to punish the kids for stuff they don't understand yet, but it is a game with rules. How do we find the right balance ... the eternal question.

As I pondered this, empathizing with the Coaches frustration, a potential solution suddenly dawned on me. Kids generally have the desire to do what is asked of them. Their attention span is usually as short as they are, and they have a lot of information and activity to process in learning basketball. What if we gave them clear instructions at each quarter? Could this work? Only one way to find out.

At the beginning of the quarter, I asked for all the players to come have a quick chat with me. They all gathered around, and I basically said; Let's go for the ball, not the Player. Let's get into play ready stance (I imitated it), and let's keep our hands off each other and not grab onto or push each other. They said "ok coach", and off they went to play ball. It took 10 seconds. I'll be dipped! It worked! Every Player lined up in proper position, knees bent, bottom out, eyes on the ball, hands out, ready for play. They looked like NBA midgets out there. We got a full 5 minutes of real basketball, played right. Very little unnecessary contact, and some pretty good ball playing. Of course, it fell apart at the last 2 minutes of the quarter (attention span), but hey, I'll take 5 of 7 minutes any day.

I asked some of the Officials to give it a test run, and we got similar results. Is it possible that we've found the solution to 8U rugby? I don't know, but it got me pretty excited. We're going to continue to implement this and see how effective it turns out to be.

Jump Balls - Elbos Swinging

It expected of Players to "fight" for a Jump Ball, but it is not acceptable to "fight" for it with swinging elbos wildly. That is a foul, and in most cases, a Technical Foul.

When a Player comes out a Jump Ball situation overly aggressive, with elbos raised and swinging, that is unsporting behavior and Officials should call fouls on these Players immediately.

The look on a Players face and their demeanor coming out of the Jump Ball situation is a pretty accurate guage of whether its just a foul or a Technical Foul. Being aggressive is ok, but going balistic is not!!!

Parental Units DO NOT Approach Referees

Only the Head Coach is allowed to address the Officials ... in a respectful manner. We had a situation where Parental Units chose to chastise Officials. I was there, and the Parental Units absolutely read the play(s) and call(s) wrong. The Officials were correct. They were mad and wanted to make sure the Officials felt just as bad. That is uncalled for. Even if they were correct, they have no business confronting the Referees.

We all know this; Coaches, Referees, and Spectators have different perspectives, based on the angle they are viewing the game. Referees are not omnipotent gods, but they do know what they are doing, and they must call what they see, as they see it. Everything looks like hacks from the bleachers. The Referee is in the proper position to see if it is a foul. You cannot see it from the sideline, with the accuracy of the Official standing right in front of the play. Please help keep "assertive" Parental Units understand that they cannot confront the Referees to share their somewhat parcial opinions. It won't change the call, but it may very well change their plans for the next game ... as in not present, due to an ejection.

Keep Players in Check Unsportspersonlike conduct just fuels tempers. While Officials should be proactively diffusing such conduct, they can't see everything, and they don't want to be issuing T's left and right. If Officials are not handling these temperamental moments, please let me know.

Coaches share in this responsibility, just as much as Officials. You know your Players and they respect you. Encourage your Players to control their bad asselves. You know when they are bubbling over, long before the Officials. Please be proactive and avoid injury and/or ejection opportunities.

The Perfect Coach / Referee What do you call a Referee or Coach who says they're perfect? A delusional legend in their own mind! Referees can't always call a perfect game, and neither can Coaches (or Spectators for that matter). Much of how we view fouls and such are dependant on position, perspective and conditions. Just like an accident. You can ask 10 people for an eye witness account, and get 12 different answers. They're not lying, they just saw it from different perspectives. Over the past 20 years, I've learned that Coaches and Referees generally don't lie. They may misinterpret, misjudge or even get a call or two wrong, but they almost always call it as they saw, or believe they saw it. I often have Coaches or Spectators ask me "did you see that" or "you know he blew that call". Now, my answer is "I'm can't make that call. I'm in just as bad of a position to call it as you are", cause that's the truth of the matter. I used to yell at Referees for blowing calls that I saw from the Team area, 50 yards away! In almost every case, I turned out to be wrong. Why? Beacuse, even with my experience, I was out of position to correctly see and make the call, period. After eating crow and becoming intimately familiar with it's flavor, I now ask "what happened?" first, and then either walk away blushing, or educate when appropriate. We all work hard to be good at what we're doing. We don't always get it perfect, but let's not throw stones at each other's glass houses. We all make mistakes, so we should respect each other, and be willing forgive each others imperfunctions. Remember, we're all on the same team ... Team KIDS! Besides, it'll help keep us off of high blood pressure medication!
Good Sportsmanship Good Sportsmanship isn't just for Players, it's for everybody. Making fun of teams, competetors or even teammates is disrespectful, rude and hurtful. Let's encourage good sportspersonship and discourage poor sportsmanship. We all have off days and we can't all be Michael Jordon or Lebron James, but we can all respect each others efforts and have fun. Remember, the Golden Rule. Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.
Phones and other Valuables One of our Officials had his phone stolen at a game. He'd hidden it well enough, or so it seemed. Unfortunately, some clown helped himself to it and boogied. Though it's ridiculous that anyone would help themselves to that which doesn't belong to them, it's nonetheless a reality we have to deal with. It got me to thinking of how we may further protect ourselves from such unscrupulous clowns. The chances of someone being tempted to steal something shiny, cool and easy to swipe, is just too high. They'd be less likely to swipe something that's in plain sight, doesn't display it's value so prominently (i.e., probably worthless), that doesn't appear worth the risk of getting caught. If it's not feasible to keep it on your person, it may be safer to keep it in plain sight, in a plain case/bag, that doesn't scream "I'm valuable". I do this at games and business meetings, and I put my keys with it, so I can't leave without it. It's worked for me. Maybe it'll work for you. Just a hopefully helpfull preventative tip.
Work with the little whippersnappers It is the responsibility of Coaches and Referees to help Players know and understand rules and procedures. Most Coaches and Officials do this well, but if you're not, please do. It doesn't have to be a full blown training clinic, just a quick explaination. If Players aren't lining up properly for Free Throws, help 'em get it right. A little, tiny bit of extra attention to these details can go a long way in eliminating momentum killing foo foo, and make the games more fun and exciting. Remember, those little whippersnapers are the reason we are here. Let's do our part to help them avoid "riding the pine" going forward.
Jewelry - $720,000 Fine That's not the DO IT NOW Fines. That's your potential portion of a denied insurance claim. Every sport has the NO Jewelry Rule, but many don't think it's such a big deal ... until it is! Checking in teams and ensuring there is NO Jewelry, is EVERY Referee's FIRST PRIORITY. Enforcing this rule is exremely important for the players safety, and just as important to protect YOU/Us. If there is an injury from jewelry, that we ignored, the insurance company could deny the claim ... and come after guess who? It was pretty funny, and then disappointing. The first game of my Saturday morning, as usual, I immediately spotted 3 players without lanyards on their glasses. Of course, I dealt with it immediately. I was informed that the league hadn't made the rule clear, and they authorized the offending Players to play for this game only, to allow them to notify the Parental Units. (the glasses were tight and not going anywhere)The Referee that addressed it, told the admin to make sure that I knew of this decision, because he didn't want us to hear "but the other Refs let us" and he didn't want"blondeeee" fining him $3.00. That was the funny part ... Now for the Disappointing part ... My next stop ... a Football Tournament. There was so much jewelry (including bandaided earrings - argggggghhhhh), that if a robber had held us up, he could have retired in Cancun, Puff Daddy style. Ladies & Gentlemen, please, ALWAYS check carefully for jewelry, and enforce this rule, like it's your own kid(s) out there. It really is that important.
Tightening Up The Calls
Each week, as we progress through the season, Referees will be tightening up on
the calls. While we always Officiate to the age & skill level of participants, we
understand the challenges Coaches face in helping players understand and apply
rules. With that in mind, we tend to be sensibly lenient with our calls. If we didn't,
the game would turn into a basketball clinic, with only 30 seconds of actual play.
That's no good! As we move forward, the calls will be tightened up appropriately.
The Right & Wrong Way to Officiate Games While there is no excuse for under officiating a game, it is equally frustrating to endure an over officiated game. We need to seek the middle ground. The sign of a good Official, is knowing when to blow and when to let it go. Safety comes first, followed by game flow. We are absolutely there to enforce the rules, but Officials are to call the game, not be the focus of the game. If a call has no effect on the play, let 'em play. If Spankey obviously doesn't have a clue, let him play through (within reason). We can explain it to him later. Can you imagine if we blew the whistle every time a kid carried/palmed the ball? We'd have no game, and nobody'd want to play next year. Do we see the infractions? Yup! Do we want to call it? Yup! Often times it's in the best interest of the game not to. You have really good Officials, who use discression and do a great job. We're more than happy to provide explainations to the kids, Coaches and even Parental Units. So please, feel free to (respectfully) ask us any questions you may have. We're here to help. PS: My Officials would prefer you send annoyed Parental Units to DO IT NOW Dave, but it's all good ... I'm happy to chat with them.
Yikes!!!! A Compliment? I'd like to thank the Coaches & Parental Units who were kind enough to share their positive feedback, both to myself and to the Referees. The Referees were communicating with the kids, explaining the reason(s) for the whistle and sharing the proper procedure. Your praise is encouraging and appreciated. While it's easy for an Official to just do their game and scramble out of the insanity, our Referees are always encouraged to work with Coaches and the kids to improve the quality of the games, the program, and the overall experience. The better we all understand the rules/procedures, the more fun the action! While some object to us doing this, as they consider it wasting game time, your praise encourages us to do what's best for the kids, and that is appreciated. Besides ... that's the whole point... It's all about the kids! So thank you for your thank you's.
Up By More than 20 ... NO Full Court Press!!! While many have shared their opinion, considering this a silly rule, there is actually a good reason for it. I too, felt it was a real game squasher, until I ran into a situation that made it make sense. It was a Men's game, a complete blow out. The darn game went nuclear in a matter of moments ... guess where? At the baseline, while the behinder team was pressing, testosterone replaced common sense, and we had an all out bloody brawl. The behinder team was REALLY aggrivated, and their opponent was lovin every minute of it. They got dunked on and their opponent just had to rub it in. Before ya knew it, mouths were running, and fists started flying, and we went from basket ball to WWF. What's worse, is that the Official, being in the appropriate position for the play, was nowhere near the comotion, so he couldn't even attempt to break it up, before it went balistic. Not allowing Full Court Press, by either team, suddenly makes sense. Besides, it is what it is!
Close Guarding Call Option There is a 5 second "Closely Guarded" rule that we rarely call in Rec Ball. It's designed to keep play moving, so the Players, Fans, and Officials don't nod off waiting for some excitement. We're still not going to make a big deal of it, however, we almost started to implement it, when I saw a Player just hanging out with the ball, eating up the clock. The odd thing was, the team was waaaaaay behind, so the strategy was quite the mystery. Maybe the Player was waiting for the defense to nod off, hoping for an uncontested lay-up? Mystery aside, we're not going to get all strict with the Closely Guarded calls, but if we see that leniency being abused, don't act all surprised if the Referee decides to return the favor with a Closely Guarded call. Let's keep the ball/game moving. Its more FUN!
Tightening Up The Calls
Each week, as we progress through the season, Referees will be tightening up on
the calls. While we always Officiate to the age & skill level of participants, we
understand the challenges Coaches face in helping players understand and apply
rules. With that in mind, we tend to be sensibly lenient with our calls. If we didn't,
the game would turn into a basketball clinic, with only 30 seconds of actual play.
That's no good! As we move forward, the calls will be tightened up appropriately.
Parental Unit Interference
We had a little tiff on one of the courts, that required an intercession to break up an
impending physical altercation. A couple of spectators were repeatedly racing to the
Scorer's Table to protest the score. They do not belong in the Team Area ... it is the
"Forbidden Zone". When the Referee addressed it, the spectator chose to get
indignant, and invited the Referee to brawl over it. Totally unacceptable!!!

Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their spectators. If spectators are
"acting up", simply stop the game (and clock), ask both Coaches to remind
spectators of the rules, particularly the one(s) being violated. If that doesn't work,
it's time for a Bench Tech, (2) shots, and possession of the ball. For some reason,
shots & points are great corrective motivators. If it persists, the Bench will receive
an additional Tech, which may result in an ejection and/or forfeiture of the game.
If these measures are not effective, eject the offending mortal. Don't forget, that
spectators are NEVER issued Techs!!!!

Remember; to correct situations and avoid potential confrontation, go to the Coach
first, and allow them the opportunity to correct the issue. They have the relationship
with the Parental Units, and the motivation to avoid enduring penalties or forfeitures.
Full Court Violations 8U & 10U
Several Coaches were a bit surprised when "Full Court Press" violations were called.
For the 8U & 10U, there is NO defending in the defensive half of the court, except for
the last (2) minutes of the 2nd and 4th quarters, and Overtimes. As soon as the
opponent gains possession of the ball, immediately scoot the kids to the front court.
The ball and both feet must cross the center line, before opponents can defend.
"Hey Coach! You're too big to play!!!" 
Ya gotta love the passion, but Coaches, try and stay off the court. I know it's easier
said than done, but it tends to get a bit excessive. Also, be aware that the Referees
are instructed to automatically, without question, issue a Technical Foul if they turn
around and find you standing on the court during live play. If you need to come onto
the court, even for an injury, you need the Referees permission.
What Free Throw Line?
As cute as it may be, watching little kids shoot free throws, they still gotta learn to
remain BEHIND the Free Throw Line ... Not on it ... Not over it, but behind it. I saw
a Coach was a little shocked when the Referee called a Lane Violation on his 10U
shooter, who apparently wasn't even aware that the Free Throw Line existed.
While some Referees are pretty lenient with the youngins, some will call it more
"by the book", especially as the season progresses, particularly with Players they've
warned & informed multiple times. Let's put a little focus time into the Free Throw
procedures and avoid Lane Violation calls. As for the older kids, no comment!
We want to keep them in line, not on or over it.
Team Bench's
Players and Coaches are the ONLY ones allowed in the Team Areas. Parental Units
and spectators are never allowed in the Team Areas during games. If they come,
shoo them out, before they get comfortable. If you're playing at the Civic Center,
ONLY teams may occupy the first row of bleachers. Spectators are not to sit in the
first row of bleachers.
T-Shirts, Compression Sleeves/Shorts & Jerseys
Ok! Ya wanna look all cool & stylish, or ya just grabbed whatever was clean...
Well, guess what! You'll be taking it off at the game!!!!
T-shirts, compression sleeves and compression shorts, by rule, are to be black,
white or skin tone, and should be uniform for the whole team. They may not be
similar in color to an opponents jerseys and may not cause confusion or distraction.
That means no necked girl figures or crazy prints. At the Officials discretion, if such
attire is deemed inappropriate, off it comes, in order to play. 
Spectators Disconcerting Free Throwers
While they think it real cute, spectators (or Players) shouting to foul up the free
throw shooter can cost you. It is spectator interference and if the Shooter misses,
it can be called as a Lane Violation, allowing the Shooter a re-try. Be proactive and
nip this in behavior in the bud. Of course, it'll stop after the Referee awards a few
re-tries, but how annoying would that be, losing by one or two points, because a
spectator couldn't resist be all cute and stuff! Booooooooo
It took me hours to write these articles ... but it only took me a second to
accidentally delete them. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve them .... cause I know
how disappointed you'd be if they weren't here.
Delusional ... Maybe ... but I'm a HAPPY Delusional!!!!
Shift & Motion commotion
There has been a bit of commotion regarding Shift & Motion. I have to own up to some of the confusion, as I goofed up in the training. With the similarities between the two, I did the “copy/paste” thing, and left the “Stop for one full second” thing in the Motion rules. Sorry Coaches … my bad! The Officials were simply following my instructions. This has been corrected, both in the training and with the Officials.
The Motion Rule allows one Offensive player to be in motion, but not towards the
opponent’s Goal Line at the snap. All other players must be stationary. The actual
excerpts from the NIRSA Rule Book are listed below for clarification.
SECTION 24. SHIFT Article 1.
A shift is the action of 1 or more offensive players who, after a huddle or after taking
set positions, move to a new set position before the ensuing snap.
SECTION 3. Article 3. Motion.
Only 1 A player may be in motion, but not in motion toward the opponent’s goal line
at the snap. Other A players must be stationary in their positions without movement
of their feet, body, head, or arms. 
Penalty: Illegal Motion, 5 yards (S20).

PLAY. After a huddle, all A players come to a stop and remain stationary for a full
second, then A 2 goes in motion legally and the ball is snapped. RULING. Legal
Kick-Offs ... Ticked Off
Kick-Offs simply don’t exist in “official” flag football. Coaches asked that we include Kick-Offs, cause it’s more real footballish and fun, so we honored that request with an exception for this league. Ordinarily, the ball is just brought to the 20 yard line to start a new series.
With that in mind, (many years back) someone realized that we needed  some
guidelines for Kick-offs. Some basic rules were drafted and included, with the
expectation that the rest would be understood. Whoops! 
As the season(s) progressed, we had to adjust.
Without Kick-Off Rules covered in NIRSA, we had to create a procedure, so we went
to the NFL Rules for guidelines. In tackle football –  NFL, on a Kick-off, the Receiving
Team is to line up 10 yards from the Kick-Off point. The ball must travel at least 10
yards … and then we had to honor NIRSA rules to fill in the rest of the blanks.
Here’s where the confusion comes in. 
Sunrise Rule: Kick-off receiving team must have at least 3 players their own 20 yd.
line for all divisions. 
Now, it doesn’t say the line of scrimmage is 10 yards from the Kick-Off line,
(though it is) so most teams naturally line up their whole team on the 20. If they
know a Kicker can kick far, they may put a few players in the back field, but as a
general rule, most kicks barely make 10 yards, so it’s not so common, and easy to
the actual procedure/rule. So how is that rule to be interpreted?  
It could easily be interpreted as at least 3 players on the 20 and the rest are behind
in the back field, or, if you assume the line of scrimmage is 10 yards from the
Kick-Off line at the 40, (which it is) then that would mean players line up on the 30,
with at least 3 on the 20.
While we do cover this in training, again, it’s rare that we even see it. So let’s clarify;
For the Kick-Offs - The Tee will be placed on the 40 yard line. A bean bag will be
placed (or thrown) on the 30 yard line for the RT Defensive Line. At least 3 Receiving
Team players must be on the 20 yard line. It is ok to place all RT players on the 20,
but that’s a choice, not a requirement. 
Hopefully that’s clearer and we can all be live happily ever after!!!!!!!!!!
I’d like to order an Official, please!
Wouldn’t it be nice to just call in an order for our favorite Official, that saw and did things our way? Not happening! Believe it or not, we’ve had teams that demanded the use of their own personal Refs, and it always resulted in partiality, rather than impartiality. You can’t have an Official, officiating a game for a relative or where his job is dependent on one of the team’s approval of the calls. By the same token, you can’t choose which Officials you like or dislike. That’s equally not fair.
Often times, I get requests (sometimes demands) to assign favored Officials, or to
“never assign that Official to my games again”. Well, you might as well be talking to
the ball, because I will not even acknowledge such requests. While you may not care
for an Official, others like that Official. (No Surveys, Please) In most cases, they’re
actually doing a good job. Thou shalt not attempt to dictate the Officials assigned to
your games, for your benefit.
If you have a problem with an Official, I will listen to and evaluate your request.
If legitimate, I will address it with Officials and take the appropriate actions.
That may very well be a decision not to assign that Official to your games, but only
if I deem it professionally necessary, not because you requested or demanded it.
City of Sunrise Rule: “Coaches shall not demand the removal or the scheduling of a
particular referee/official”.

According to every Coaches Code of Ethics and the Referee Assigner’s Code of Ethics,
a Coach may not request the assignment of, or removal of an Official, and an
Assigner shall in no way consider or honor any such request from a Coach or any
other party.
Don’t even ask me. You’re wasting your breath. I am under oath to ignore any such
request, and such requests put me in a precarious position. I WILL NOT break my
oath, period. If an Official is doing something wrong or offends you inappropriately,
feel free to share that with me and I will address it. If the Official is right and your
grievance is petty or improper, I will share that with you as well.
It is always our goal to resolve problems amicably, as opposed to throwing people
under a bus. The bus option is just too messy. Rest assured, any grievances from
Coaches about Referees, are addressed promptly, just as grievances from Referees
about Coaches are … yeah, it works both ways. 
Any issue brought to us, is taken seriously and addressed promptly. It may not
always go the way we plan, but in most cases, issues are handled properly.
Let’s respect each other, as technically, we’re on the same team … TEAM KIDS!!!!!!
You’re wrong … but it’s not your fault!
This applies to all, including Officials. We often find ourselves in little tussles over rules, and occasionally experience inconsistencies. Though we go to extreme efforts to maintain consistency, sometimes Officials get their leagues mixed up. It’s all too easy to do.
If I had a dollar for every time someone tried to convince me that their interpretation
of a rule was right, when it was wrong, I’d be quite wealthy. There’s a lot of
confusion with sports rules, for everybody, and yes, including Officials!!!!
Now we’re not even going to acknowledge the confusion professional Officials create,
by letting stuff go to make the game more exciting and attract more advertiser’s
… oops! I just did! 
Part of the problem is poor wording of rules; part is due to the poor organization of
rules in rule books. The writers knew what they meant, but failed to set the stage
properly, and you can bet they weren’t professional writers! Many rule nuances are
scattered throughout separate chapters, making it difficult to efficiently learn and
consistently implement rules properly. Looking them up and piecing them together is
often a nightmare. 
To make matters even worse, many rule books have become an income generating
device, only available for a fee. I personally believe the rules should be made openly
available to all, for free, so everyone can learn them. This makes it hard to find an
accurate copy of rules to study, without forking over dough. Careless searches on the 
internet have seriously compounded the spread of incorrect rules and interpretations,
as so many provide incorrect information/opinions. 
Coaches & Referees (with the best of intension's) “teach us” incorrectly, either
because they don’t know, don’t understand, misinterpret, or just don’t concern
themselves as to whether they’re correct. They heard it somewhere and just adopted
it into their “expertise”. As if that is not enough, every league seems to have their little 
amendments or alterations, for reasons that make sense to them, that participant’s
think are part of the actual rules. No wonder there’s so much confusion! The sad part
is, these incorrect rules spread like weeds, and once we’ve learned and accepted
these strange anomalies, it’s hard to unlearn them, especially when that’s how you 
learned it as a kid.
So, try as we may, try as we might, the odds are not exactly on our side ... in our
attempts to maintain consistency. If we all understand that and exercise a bit of
patience with each other, we’ll get it right most of the time. Remember, none of us
are perfect, but we’re on the same team when it comes to the kids. 
Let’s work together, for the sake of that worthy goal.
The Season’s Going Great!
You guys-n-gals are great! We’ve gotten off to a great start, with very few issues. Your contribution is noble and very much appreciated. I want to thank you Coaches that informed their Parental Units that there is to be no Spectator Coaching. It has kept the sidelines from going bezerk and inappropriately affecting play. We only have one die hard wannabe coach disregarding the rule. That’s pretty impressive. It’s a pleasure working with you and we’re looking forward to a lot of fun throughout the rest of the season.
Hot Pockets Topic
NO Pockets – NO Stripes. Please remind your Parental Units - Player’s shorts cannot have pockets or stripes. The pockets are a big safety issue, not to mention the embarrassment of a kid having their shorts dropped in public, especially if it finds its way onto YOUTUBE. (YIKES!) We’ve even had kids crying because they had to wear their shorts inside out. Who knew they’d be fashion conscious at this age! Stripes on shorts camouflage the flags, and can confuse opponents, either causing them to miss or mistakenly grab a handful of shorts, which could easily result in a foul being called. Every night, we have players coming in shorts with pockets. In many cases, we get lucky and turning them inside out remedies the situation. That delays the game, and if it doesn’t work out, can leave a player keeping the bench company for that game. Not good. Let’s remind our Parental Units and work together to eliminate this.
Hold Still so I can Grab Your blasted Flag!
Pulling the flag is to be done with minimal contact. It is not legal to “bear hug” the ball carriers waist to stop the run and then grab the flag. That is a Holding, Illegal Block, or even a potential Tackle Penalty. Pulling the Flag should never result in full contact. If the Defender steps into the Runner’s path, without leaving reasonable room to avoid contact, it is a Defensive Penalty. If the Defender leaves reasonable room, and the Runner “plows” into the Defender, it is a Charging infraction. Simple rule, grab the flag … not the player!
Restraining Lines
For safety reasons, and to avoid any type of interference, we have boundaries. Referees need to enforce these boundaries and Coaches need to remind their Parental Units to respect these boundaries. On the Spectators side, there is a line painted 6-10 feet outside the Out of Bounds line. This is to protect runners from slamming into a Spectator, to avoid injury to Players & Spectators. It is also to avoid interference, as well as put some distance between players and “wannabe” coaches interfering by instructing the players. NO Spectator should ever cross that line. Nobody belongs behind the End Zones, ever! That includes the next games teams warming up. It’s a distraction to the Players, could be an injury risk, and often becomes an irresistible opportunity to “accidentally” influence play. Bench area Coaches are to stay on their Bench Side, between the halfway line and the 40 yard marker. Nobody belongs in or behind the Team Benches (except of course, the team and Coaches), except at Flamingo Park, where the can stay on or beyond the sidewalk. Those on the sidewalk cannot coach the players in any way, and should not be “coaching” the Coaches. That’s just irritating!!!! Coaches that are not directly assigned as a Coach of the game in play are not allowed to “hang out” at the scorer’s table, even though they are badged-up. Let’s respect the boundary lines and avoid annoying or dangerous issues.
30 Seconds Coach!!!!
The 30 seconds is the total time you have to call your play, line up and snap the ball. It’s not the huddle time, plus. One Referee is timing the game, and the other is timing the 30 second limits and time outs. If the ball is not snapped within 30 seconds, it’s a Delay of Game and a 5 yard penalty. The Referees are enforcing this more, because we want you to get more time actually running plays, rather than unnecessarily running time off the clock. Remember, it’s a Running Clock!!! Let’s make it snappy! (Yes…pun absolutely intended)
Oh Sugar!!!! Wrong Line-Up or Play Call!
You come out of your huddle, confident you’ve called the perfect play and line up. Uh oh! Miscalculated! Last minute change? Careful! Once the Offensive Line is set, the “Field Coach” instantly transforms into a cheerleader. The fate of that play is totally in the hands of the players.
That rule says that: 
A team has 30 seconds to put the ball in play once the referee has marked the ball
and blown the whistle. 
No play will start until ball is marked and whistle is blown. 
Coaches on the field MAY NOT converse with their players, once the offensive line
is set until the end of the play. Penalty: 5 yds from line of scrimmage.
NOTE: We are interpreting the “Offensive Line is Set” as when the Center puts
hands on the ball to snap it.
Cheering them on is absolutely encouraged. Coaching them is discouraged with a
pretty yellow flag and 5 yards marched off. If called before the start of play, the
play will be stopped; yardage marched off and a replay of down. 
If called after the play has begun, the yardage will be marched off from the
“End of the Run” (next play) and the down will be the same as if the penalty had
never occurred, i.e. if it was 2nd down, it’ll be 3rd down, with 5 extra bonus yards
to cover.
No Flag … 1 Hand touch between Shoulders & Waist 
We ran into this several times and there seems to be some confusion. The tag must be between the shoulders & waist. Anything above or below could result in injury.
We also saw player’s flags coming off on virtually every play. While there is no
penalty for flags incidentally falling  off (it happens), if we see it frequently, especially
from a  particular player, you should expect a penalty to be called. 

Please make sure the flags are secured properly, to avoid the  penalty for Improperly
Secured Flag Belt, which is; Loss of Down on Offense, Automatic First down on
No Two Coaches or Referees are Alike!
Just as Coaches have different ways of running their game, so do Referees. It’s the Same Game, Same Rules, just Different Styles. While the Officials know the rules, and we are all on the same page, some are naturally stricter or more lenient than others. It’s not a matter of right or wrong. It’s just a difference in style. The Officials are trained to Officiate to the skill level at hand, and when calling fouls, to weigh the impact it has on the play. If they feel it impacted the play, they’ll call it. If they feel it was inconsequential, they may opt for a “NO CALL”.
Although, in the heat of the game you may not agree with their decision, in most
cases they make the right judgement, based on the situation. You may have a
clumsy screen violation, but it didn’t even phase your star gazelle, as he raced
unscathed to the end zone. Chances are, you won’t get that call, and rightfully so. 
Referees are not here to over officiate games, or penalize every ticky-tacky incident.
That wrecks the game. Now, if this was a Travel, or Olympic league, that’s be
another story altogether. They know better and have more control.                    

We realize that you’ve had very little practice time, especially with all the rainouts.
We know it’s a little tough to get your players to focus, since they’re probably in the
middle of a major sugar overload, from the two bowls of Fruit Loops and a 32 ounce
Sunny Delight chaser, right before they’re turned over to you. We know that you’re
working with a vast array of player skill levels / knowledge of the game, from brand
new to experienced. We know that you are probably struggling with getting players
to show up for practices. All of these factors are considered in Officiating your games.
Keep in mind that; the Officials are “part of game … part of the field”. 
In the same manner as you’d adjust your strategy differently when playing on a wet
field vs a dry one, adjust your strategy to the Officials game management. If you see
that an Official is stricter or more relaxed with their calls, adjust your strategy 
accordingly. If he’s blind in one eye, don’t push your luck in view of his good one. 
(Couldn’t resist the humor opp) 
If the Ref tells you 5 times, don’t get all fussy when he drops a Flag on the sixth!
It’s all part of the game, at every level, even college and professional.
Don’t get all frustrated … get creative!!! It’s part of the game.
Tournament Excitement, Intensity & Insanity
All Games from now to the end of the season are Tournament Games. It is a Single Elimination Tournament, which means the adrenaline is at DEFCON 5 for Players, Coach’s & Spectators, especially the Parental Units. Make no mistake, they’re out to win and in the heat of the moment, you can bet that pleasantries and self-control are going to take a back seat to nuclear emotional reactions. There will be a lot of pressure to call what they think they see, rather than what the Officials see. Referees cannot allow that to influence their calls, or distract them from calling the game properly and consistently.
Referees – Stay laser focused on the game, focused on play. Remember to ACT,
rather than REACT, and keep your cool. If the game begins to spin out of control,
don’t hesitate to stop the game and ask the Coach’s to assist/intervene. If necessary,
reach into your tool box and grab your trusty Technical Foul tool. It is critical that we
keep fans and NON-PLAYERS off the courts at all times. DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE
on the court or in the Team Areas, other than the Player’s & Coach’s. 
Remember, they’re hyper excited, so you want to set your expectations early,
starting with your pregame meeting with the Coaches. Know for certain that, once
they start getting goofy, it will be ridiculously difficult to regain reasonable control. 
We want the game to be centered on the game, not riot duty. Give ‘em a great well
controlled game, so everyone can have fun.
Coaches – Please be ready to lend a hand when asked so the unbridled enthusiasm
chaos doesn’t interfere with your game plan. It is also wise to “pick your battles”
when addressing the Officials, so they can focus on making the right calls. If you’re
the center of attention, then the game is not, and that isn’t good for anybody.
Will the Officials be perfect? Probably not, but they’ll get a lot closer without
unnecessary distractions. The Officials want to give you a perfect game.
Allow them the opportunity to achieve that goal. Let ‘em focus on the game. It’ll go a
heck of a lot smoother, with a whole lot less goofy and game distracting drama.
Anxious or Overly Aggressive Players
Aggressive Players are a Coach’s Dream, but can just as easily be a Coach’s nightmare. The difference is in the aggressive players focus, skill level, attitude and external pressure.
On the nightmare end, it’s usually Players that are under tremendous pressure to
perform, often at unreasonable levels. That pressure is commonly exerted from
Parental Units, Coaches, and in some cases, the Players own expectation of 
themselves. Of course, there are plenty of cases where over aggressive behavior is
simply retaliation because the Player didn’t get their way. Obviously, retaliation
definitely deserves a foul, probably a T. 
There is a very common expectation from Spectators, Coaches, and even Players, for
Officials to make calls that “dummy down” aggressive Players play, to even things to
the general skill level of the division. That is something an Official should never, ever
do. Penalizing a Player for being good and taking the game seriously, would be 
irresponsible. That’d be the equivalent of telling Michael Jordan that he can’t jump,
because he’s just too good at it. Onlookers see contact and expect a foul to be called
for their Player, without regard to who or what is actually responsible for the contact,
or regard for the Rules for that matter.
Although basketball is technically not a full contact sport, the fact of the matter is,
there’s plenty of legitimate contact in basketball. Just because someone got bopped
in the nose going up for a rebound, doesn’t  constitute a foul. It’s a sea of arms and
legs, with varying skill levels, all trying to occupy the same tiny pot. Contact is 
inevitable. The time to call a Foul is when it’s “Foul Play” or irresponsible play. 
Officials need to pay special attention to overly aggressive players, and take the time
to communicate with them. Not to stop them from playing hard ball, but to caution
them that unsportsmanlike behavior won’t be tolerated. Officials also need to make
sure that when Fouls are called, it’s on the right Player. For example: An offensive 
ball handler may knock an opponent down or whack him in the mug. To the crowd,
it may appear to be an offensive foul, but if the defender bum rushed him out of
desperation, and wound up whacked, that Foul is actually on the defense. 
Officials need to analyze the play, determine who was responsible, and if it’s
determined that a penalty is deserved, then award the Foul to the appropriate party.
Officials need to be aware of where trouble is likely to start, be in a position to spot
it, and call it correctly. Just as importantly, Officials cannot let the crowd’s opinionated
chants determine the call. They must make the call based solely on THEIR
assessment of the situation.       
It’s Tournament Time
Our first Tournament games begin this week and most of the rest of the season will be Tournament games. Each Tournament game MUST have a Winner for each, even if it requires multiple Overtimes. There’s going to be a lot of excitement and an abundance of adrenalin charged emotion. Please, stay on top of your game management skills. We want this to be fun and exciting. We don’t want it to turn into an international soccer game gone wrong.
Here’s the Overtime basics you’ll need to remember:
         1) Each Overtime is 2 minutes
         2) Each Overtime is started with a real jump ball.
         3) Full Court Pressing is allowed in ALL Divisions for ALL Overtime Play
         4) One additional 30 second time out will be added to the team total for 
             the overtime period. 
         5) Substitutions are only made at the beginning of each Overtime. 
         6) Coaches may play any Player(s) they choose to. They can substitute at the
             beginning of each 
             Overtime Perion but cannot substitute once an Overtime period starts,
             except of course for an injury. 
             Their obligation to sub for equal game time has been satisfied, so they can
             “Sub to Win”, as they see fit.
Naughty Behavior – Set the Expectation Early
It’s Game Management 101. Make calls and address issues early, right from the
beginning, to set the pace appropriately for the game. Remember, if they think
they can get away with being naughty, they’re going to be naughty. Waiting until it
becomes a major problem, only serves to complicate the correcting of situations, and 
that’s where games spin out of control. Set the expectation early and let them know
that naughty behavior won’t be tolerated. Your game will run much smoother.
Everybody is out there to have fun, and we want everybody to have fun!!! There is a
difference between having fun and interfering with the game. These games are for the
kids benefit, not the parents or spectators.
Communicate with Coaches
This is an important part of an Officials job, and a Coaches right.
Now, that is not to say that an Official should stop the game to explain a call, or have a
conversation or debate with a Coach in the middle of play. We need to maintain our focus
on the game. If a Coach is respectful, communicate with him/her. It helps them to get a
better understanding of the game. If they are disrespectful or unnecessarily nagging you
to change a call to the way they saw it, then inform them that you’ve made your decision
and to please respect it.
Don’t Neglect to Eject! Automatic Ejections
While we don’t really want to eject people from the game, there are times when it must be done, and it must be notated at the Scorer’s Table, on the game sheet. Anyone who curses, MUST IMMEDIATELY be Ejected … Anyone. VIOLENT Acts or Threatening/Intimidating/ Taunting Gestures, equals IMMEDIATE Ejection. Flagrant Fouls are also an Automatic Ejection. A flagrant foul would be a foul with intent to do harm. If an Official is confronted (in an unfriendly manner) after the game, whether on the court, at the door or in the parking lot, it needs to be reported immediately. These types of incidents are dangerous and are cause for suspensions. DO IT NOW Dave must be notified immediately of these incidents, so it can be reported to the City Officials for “official action".

Replacement of Players This is easily confused, but understanding the reason for the Rule, can help in remembering the proper enforcement procedure.
Injury or Disciplinary – Opposing Coach chooses replacement player
Like most rules of this sort, a trend of tricks to circumvent Substitution Rules made it
necessary. For this Rule, the trend was; Coaches instructing less skilled or tired Player’s
to fake an injury, or pretending to discipline a Player, so they could replace them with a
“fresh set of legs” or a more skilled Player. That creates an unfair advantage for the
opposing team who is honoring the rule. Of course, we can’t just ignore injuries and there
are times when disciplinary actions are necessary. The risk factor to keep proper balance
is it is highly unlikely that the opposing Coach will make the desired choice, negating any
unearned advantage. 
Foul Out or Ejection – Coach chooses their replacement player
This is the normal procedure in every sport, and though it could be used to circumvent the
Substitution Rules, it is far less likely, as it would result in the team playing short a roster
player for the balance of the game. Besides, it’s part of the game.
Keep in mind, if an injured player recovers and becomes able to play, that player can be put
back into the game. The replacement player comes out, the original (injured) player resumes
play for the remainder of the quarter. Of course, this swap occurs at a dead ball.
Location of Spectators
Spectators should be in the Spectator Areas. Makes sense, right? They do not belong on
the court/field, behind the goals or in the Team Areas. They need to stay in the stands
and remain separated from the Playing Surface, Players, Coaches and Referees, which
includes the Inbounding Spaces in Out of Bounds territory. All paths must be kept clear
for safety and game management purposes. You should never have to worry about tripping
over a spectator. In the Civic, they absolutely need to be at least in the second level of the
bleachers. No spectators should be in the first row … only players & Coaches. 
Team Area/Side – ONLY 2 Coaches and their Players
This is for legal safety reasons, based on the Jessica Lunsford Act as well as for Bench
and Team Area management. Too many Coaches, causes too much confusion and chaos
for game management. Two Coaches is more than enough, and more than that, should
stick out like a sore thumb. Besides, who needs an extra Coach screaming at ya!
Nobody is allowed to be in the Team Area sideline without a Badge. 
ONLY 2 Coaches may be on that sideline. If there are more, stop the game and remind
the Head Coach to correct the situation. If they balk or ignore the request, issue a
Technical Foul to the Head Coach … 2 Shots and Ball. If you find too many Coaches
(or extra wannabe coaches) on the sideline again, it’s a Tech with shots and ball.
Of course, a friendly reminder is certainly preferred, but if ya gotta T, ya gotta T!.
All Players in the Team Area are to remain seated on the bench. If a Coach has young
children with him/her in the team area, they are to remain seated, with no involvement.
It is the Coaches responsibility to ensure this. 
Many teams have an additional Coach on their squad, giving them 3 Coaches. Although
they are Badged-Up, that doesn’t negate the 2 Coach Rule. The 3rd Coach MUST go to
the Spectator Area and MAY NOT Coach from that side. 
Coaches may rotate as Team Area Coach, and they MAY work with the Players at the
start of the game and at Half Time. As soon as the game starts or restarts, they must
go back to the Spectator Sideline, and they cannot Coach from that sideline. 
NEVER Tech a Spectator!!!!!!!!!
Verbal Reminder * Coach Assisted Reminder * Bench Tech * Bench Tech again * Ejection
If a spectator is acting inappropriately, just give them a quick, friendly verbal reminder.
If they balk, do not get into an educational moment or confrontation. Simply go back to
your game focus. If the spectator, after being reminded, continues to act inappropriately,
stop the game and ask the Coach to address it with the spectator. On the next occurrence,
you issue a Bench Tech at the table … 2 shots and ball at mid court. If it continues, issue
one more Bench Tech, 2 shots & ball at mid court. Last chance! You’ve been more than fair.
If it happens again: automatic ejection with two minutes to leave the gym or forfeit.
This also applies when a spectator comes onto the court. DO NOT get into a confrontational
debate. Walk away, over to the Scorer’s Table, and issue a Bench Tech – 2 shots and ball
at mid court. 
Keep it simple and NEVER take it or make it personal. 
PS: If they curse in front of the kids – Eject – No questions asked. 
When you engage in a debate, you empower your opponent at the expense of your authority.
Free Throw Lines at Village – 10 / 12 / 15 Feet
There seems to be a bit of confusion, as to which line is to be used for free throws for the 8U & 10U at Village. It’s understandable, because there is a mysterious additional line, closer to the basket. The logical conclusion … it must be for the 8U’s. While I haven’t been able to get an answer as to what that line is for, my most logical guess is; it’s there for the really young kids or for the Handicap Basketball League. Of course, as I didn’t anticipate that extra line being there, I told the Ref’s that the 8U’s uses the first line and 10U’s use the second … Whoops!
The rules state; 
8U’s at 10 feet - 10U’s at 12 feet - All other divisions at the normal 15 feet. 
(That first line is at 8 feet)          
To clarify, on Village “short courts”, the 10U’s shoot from the obvious
Free Throw Line and the 8U’s shoot from the line immediately in front of it.
I guess in the overall scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter that much, as long as it
was done consistently. We would however, like to get it corrected and consistent, as that’s
where Coaches are having the kids practice their Free Throw shots.
Free Throw Player Line Ups
Remember – first two lane slots are never occupied. No Lane player should ever be
directly in line with the basket. There needs to be a space. This is for safety and fairness

Lane Players.
DOD … Department of Defense: Defender – Offensive – Defender
Lane player cannot reach outside of their boundary markers (even if they are imaginary), so there is no way they can “arm bar” and restrict their competitor to get a head start. If they reach over in front of their opponent, issue a verbal reminder, if the shot isn’t already in progress. (Example: keep your hands and arms to yourselves). If the shot is already in progress, wait to see the result. If the Offense is doing it and the shot goes in, it doesn’t count. Whether the shot goes in or not, they forfeit that shot. They don’t get a redo. If the Defense is doing it, prior to the shot being in progress, remind them verbally. If the shot is in progress, wait and see the result. If the shot is made, the shot is good. If it is not made, the Offense gets a redo shot. If both teams violate equally, ignore it, but verbally remind. If another player’s actions caused and opponent to jump the gun, treat it as that player is responsible for the violation.
Back Players – Behind the 3 Point Lines (even if they’re imaginary), not right behind the Shooter.
Back Player’s, like the Shooter, must wait for the ball to hit the rim or backboard, before going in. 
If they go in early, it’s a violation on their team.

Let’s keep an eye out for opponents fondling each other during Free Throws, and call it!!!!
Carrying the Ball
Good golly Miss Molly. Can we get a call?
This drives me nuts, as it gives a blatantly illegal and unfair advantage to the dribbler. Yeah! I know they’re just emulating pro and college players, but that’s no excuse. One of my Officials commented that; “if we call carrying the ball properly, half the players won’t be able to dribble, and we’ll call it so many times, that we won’t have a game".
Unfortunately, there’s too much truth to that statement, at all levels of play.
Player’s think it makes them look all fancy. While I don’t want to ruin the game with it,
I do want to see flagrant and perpetual violations called. 
You’d be amazed at how quickly players correct themselves, when they know they’re
going to get called on it.
Coaches, coach your players to not Carry the Ball, and Officials, call it occasionally,
especially when they look like they’re one of the Harlem Globetrotters at a charity exhibition.
That’s all I got to say about that! 
Illegal Contact
Over the Back and Reaching In.
There is a common MYTH, that Over the Back & Reaching In is a real foul. There is no such rule. It’s just a saying that, over so many years of hearing it, has become a common place misperception.
The truth is, players can legally reach in and play over an opponent’s back, provided there
is no contact. It is when contact is made (not incidental) that Impedes, disrupts or inhibits
a player’s movement. The actual correct call is a Player Contact Foul, generally Holding,
Blocking or Pushing. Of course, there are times when it could be another call like tripping
or striking a player. The term “Reaching In” or “Over the Back” is simply descriptive of how
the Foul occurred. It is not an actual rule or call.
Time-Out Throw-In Spot
Again, a lot of confusion here … thanks NBA. Half think the ball is inbounded at mid Court … NOT, and half think the ball is inbounded at the “point of interruption” …. Yeah!
Other than an NBA provision for the 17U’s, in the last two minutes (added at the Coaches request),
the ball is inbounded in the same exact manner as it would be for a Foul or Out of Bounds
Throw-In. If it’s outside the Key Area, it goes to the closet spot. If it’s in the Key Zone,
it goes to the Baseline, again at a spot closest to the point of interruption.
While the beginning of new quarters is inbounded at mid court, opposite the Scorer’s Table,
any other interruption is at the spot closest to the point of interruption. 

Why is this important? Consider this; moving the ball forward to mid court, would give the
team an unfair advantage. Moving it behind would result in a disadvantage.
Neither is desirable, or fair. 
Let’s be sure to keep it fair! Mark the spot and issue the ball at the spot.
Getting Close to Tournament Time
Expect things to get more intense and be prepared.
Act Early – it’s hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube, once it’s out!
The season is split into two distinct and separate sessions; Regular Season and Tournament. 
They are completely separate, except for the initial Tournament match-ups. The Regular
Season team records determine the Regular Season Champs. Then we start fresh with a
single elimination Tournament, to determine the Tournament Champions! This is ideal,
because when we start the season, the teams are new and start off somewhat disheveled.
They haven’t quite gelled as a team, so it takes a few games to get their legs and find 
their potential. That can affect their early stats and ultimate placement in the standings.
By the end of the season, teams should have gelled enough to play to their full potential.
We see it in the enhanced level of play. 
At this point, Coaches, Player’s & Spectators are going to become mega-competitive. 
That creates an emotionally charged environment that pretty much “chucks” common
sense and any form of reasonable courtesy out the window. This requires heightened
game management from all of us … Coaches and Referees alike. We don’t want destructive
interference to alter or determine the outcome of the games.
It is very important that we all do our part to keep the courts and sidelines clear of
“unauthorized personnel” (including at quarters and half time). We also have to be
ultra-conscious of Spectator Coaching interference, or we will have excessive confusion,
coupled with an extremely high potential for unwelcomed & unacceptable confrontations.
Let’s work together, to keep the focus on the game and the player’s experience, by setting
the expectations early in the game. 
We can’t have 30 wannabe coaches telling their kids what to do on the court, almost always
overriding the Coaches instructions. How’s a Coach supposed to implement a game strategy
with all that competing nonsense? Also, we can’t have the real Coaches jumping onto the
court to share their opinions. This all just wrecks the game.
Don’t just disregard the early stages of insanity, as it will surely escalate as the game
progresses. Set the expectations early, as emotion charged naughtiness begins.
Loitering Spectators, not associated with the League
One of the Coaches mentioned this to me and one of my Officials ran into this situation a number of times the other night in his game sets. Heck! I’ve run into it a number of times, particularly in Tournament Championship games.
While the rules in every league and competition dictate that the Coach is responsible for
the behavior of their bench, players and spectators, we can’t expect them to be responsible
for loitering spectators that are just hanging out because they are bored.
Now, most of them are respectful and are just there to enjoy a game. Cool! The problem
is there are some that are very disrespectful and just like to stir up trouble because they
have nothing better to do. They come onto the court uninvited to shoot buckets, interfere
with the games and when confronted, say, “I can do whatever I want to. What are you
going to do about it”? They have no accountability to the league and are for all intent and
purposes, they are pretty much anonymous. They’re convinced that they can do whatever
they want, with no fear of consequences.  
Part of the reason they feel entitled to act in such a manner, is that they view the gyms a
public place. Hence, they can be there if they want to. That may be true in general, but it
is no longer a public venue, when teams have basically “rented the gym”. Now it is private.        
Question is how do we deal with that element? While it’s not easy, there are a few things
we can do about it. First step is obviously a request to behave. In most cases, that’ll do it.
The second step is to stop the game and publically announce that such behavior will result
in them being ejected from the gym. Now, if that doesn’t get the job done, it’s time to
spawn a little peer pressure. Chances are they are in some way friends or acquaintances
of players. The third step is to stop the game, and publically announce that the game will
not resume until they leave. That should motivate players and spectators to reinforce your
request to knock off the nonsense. If all that nice guy stuff doesn’t achieve the desired
result, the last resort is to call the police for assistance. At this point, they are trespassing
and may be guilty of disorderly conduct. The majority will bolt before the officer appears.
Some will not, but the officer will help them find the motivation to relocate their bad attitude
… or maybe find a new addition to their bling collection ... GAUDY SILVER BRACELETS! 
It’s a shame it has to be this way, but it is what it is. For your safety, whatever you do,
DO NOT directly engage with riff raff. It’s not worth it. Simply follow the steps above.       
Please, continue to stay on top of the Spectator Coaching. Almost everybody is respecting
the rule. We only have a couple of stubborn ones and they should be penalized.

I've also received reports that some parental units are under the impression that they
can't cheer. That is not the case. We want them to cheer and encourage. It's the coaching
that needs to stop. Coaches, spectators, the City, and even kids have asked that it be
stopped. Remember how much you hated it when you were a kid? We want the players
following their coaches instructions ... not some wannabe sideline coach's, who want the
privelege of coaching but refused to take on the responsibility. It's disrespectful to our
coaches, who are trying to make things happen, and they have absolutely earned that
respect. Let's do our part to ensure they get it!!!
Taped Earrings & Glasses
No lanyard … No play. 
It’s easy to think it’s petty, as we rarely see somebody hurt by unsecured glasses.
Of course, you’d never say; “Let’s give ‘em a couple of sticks to run around the court with”!
That’s what unsecured glasses are, and if knocked loose, can easily become a literal
“stick in the eye”. Please, make sure glasses are secured firmly with a lanyard, and don’t
have a fit when we don’t allow players to play without secured glasses. We don’t want the 
kids to get hurt, and the insurance company can justifiably deny a very expensive claim,
for failure to enforce proper safety protocols. That puts the liability on us, and nobody
wants to live with the guilt of an injury that could have easily been prevented.
No game is worth such a silly risk.
Earrings (or any other bodypartring)
No! You can’t play with tape over your earrings. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!! I know it seems
like no big deal, and it doesn’t help matters when the doctor or “piercing technician” says
“no problem, you can play sports if you tape it up”. They just don’t know any better and
don’t want to lose the business. They’d feel a whole lot differently if they’d heard the
screams of a kid whose earring got ripped out or had to pull an earring post out of a kids
head with a pair of needle nose plyers. I know cause I’ve done it, and it ain’t pretty.
That’s why I’m so strict with it, and you should be too. 
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a vision you can’t erase!
There are three things to consider when granting a time out.
1) Dead Ball 2) Live Ball 3) Loose Ball
Dead Ball – Both teams may call for a time out
Live Ball – Only the team in possession can request a time out
Loose Ball – No one can call a time out
Also remember, Time Outs are requested & granted … NOT Automatic.
An Official should grant an appropriately requested Time Out but may deny it for a number
of reasons. Of course, the Official has to hear, or see the Time Out request in time.
For example; the defensive team may request a Time Out on a Throw-In, but the Official
has already “put the ball at the disposal of the offensive team. That negates the defenses
eligibility for a Time Out, as the ball is considered “in possession of the Offense”. 
(Newer ruling for fairness in Penalty implementation procedure) 
The question came up regarding Time Outs during Free Throws. Not for nothing, this rule
is often confused, due to the commonly used wording by Officials and the perception on
the court. We hear the defensive team call for a Time Out, and the Official says they must
wait until the second shot. This is often perceived as; they’re not allowed to call a
Time Out on the first shot, when in fact, they can. The Time Out is denied, because the ball
is at, or in the process of being put at the disposal of the shooter. Technically, this is
considered a LIVE ball play, in the  possession of the offensive team, which negates the
defenses eligibility to call a Time Out.
More clearly stated; both teams are allowed to call a Time Out during a Free Throw,
provided the ball is not in the process of being put at or is already at the disposal of the
shooter. Once the process has begun, the defensive team cannot be awarded a Time Out.
I hope that helps!
Spectators on Court
Are you kidding? NO parental unit has any business coming onto the court, unless there is
a SERIOUS injury. They certainly have NO RIGHT to confront an Official. 
Remember, ONLY the HEAD COACH may address an Official and only at a stoppage of play.
Officials are instructed to issue Bench Techs when parental units come onto the court.
That’s 2 shots and ball at mid court.
The other day, we had a parent of a kid who was playing recklessly, jump onto the court
and confront an Official. Not once … but twice. We see this all too frequently and in most
cases, it’s a completely unnecessary knee jerk reaction. It’s usually just their kid fell down,
nothing more. Believe me. If an injury is serious, the Official will call out for the calvary.
The parental unit went straight to badgering the Official, demanding a foul to be called on
the opponents, for his kid’s own actions getting him “supposedly” hurt. REALLY!!!
There was no foul. To make matters worse, when told to get off the court, the parental
unit said “what? My kid is hurt and I can’t come onto the court”? The kid said he wasn’t
hurt at all. The rather observant Official responded with; “you say you’re out here because
your kid is hurt, but you haven’t even looked at your kid. You’re just yelling at me.
Here’s your Tech”! (Of course, the Official goofed, as Tech's are never issued to spectators.
                           Teching the Bench or Ejecting the offender are the correct options)
Please, let your parental units know, they are not to come onto the court, unless they are
asked to. Using a minor injury or a kid that just fell down as an excuse to share their opinion
with a Referee, is nothing more than an unnecessary and contagious interruption of the game.
Barking at Officials – What do you really gain?
We see it on TV and think it’s a God given right to abuse an Official. Then we get ticked
off when they ignore us, give a warning or offer to T us up. While there is a lot of truth
to the concept of “it’s a Coaches job to work the Official”, stop for a moment and ask
yourself “am I strategically helping my game or am I just letting my jacked up, testosterone
enriched emotions wreck the whole game for me”??????
We tell our players “just let it go and get your head back in the game”. 
It’s really good advice! We understand that; if they are busy getting jacked up over a call,
a no call, or maybe a shot they missed, they’re not focused on the game, wind up out of
position, and exercise poor judgement. It negatively affects their playing ability and the
whole team effort. The same exact logic applies … when we as Coaches choose to be
vengeful; we lose sight of our primary objective … winning the game ... Oops, I mean
making it fun for the kids. When you’re coaching the Officials, the kids and your game
suffer, because your too busy “coaching” the Official!
Consider the reality. Let’s say you walk onto the court and find that your opponent has
a player that’s 9’3” tall. That player is an element of the game that would require an
adjustment to your strategy, right? In the same manner, the Officials are an element of
the game, for better or for worse, depending on your point of view. It doesn’t matter if
an Official is calling the game the way you think they should. They are an element of the 
game … adjust your strategy accordingly.
Also keep in mind … there’s a whole lot of insanity on any basketball court, especially in
recreational ball. Officials have to deal with all that and focus on the game at hand.
You’d be best off letting them focus on the game. Just as you have a wide range of skill
levels on your team, the same is true of Officials. Some are brand new, some are fairly
experienced, and some are seasoned. All, and I do mean all, players, coaches, spectators 
and officials, are still learning. From running an anal retentive, squeaky tight game, to
running a skill level appropriate game and everything in between, we’ll see it all.
If a coach makes themselves the focus of the game, then the where is the focus of the
Official?  The Official’s focus is redirected from the game to the coach, and that’s a recipe
for a ton of missed calls. What do you gain? A self-fulfilling prophesy of a poorly officiated 
game. Is it worth it?
One last noteworthy point: Position & Perception. We all know the importance of being in
the proper position!!!! While you are watching  the part of the game that you deem most
important, from your vantage point, the Official has to watch the whole game from a
different vantage point. Spectators have another unique vantage point, and seem to feel
entitled to “enthusiastically” share it. While you may think you see a foul from where you’re
standing, the Referee didn’t or couldn’t see it from his. You may be absolutely correct in
your call, but if the Referee didn’t see it … it didn’t happen! The Official’s view may have
been blocked by a moving player. The Referee may have seen it but, deemed it incidental
or chose not to call it, because it was a defensive foul and calling it would have robbed
you of an obvious scoring opportunity. That would be a totally appropriate “No Call”.
It’s all about Position & Perception!
Before you “Bark”, think about where it might BITE you!