Welcome to the Referee Locker Room
Check here for changes and Updates. 
This will help us 2 B Consistent.


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
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!
Previous  Articles
When you're assigned to a Game, you've got 22 kids, 20+ Parental Units, 5 or 6
Coaches, and who knows how many other Spectators counting on you, not to
mention your fellow Refs, and me.

This weekend, while I was supposed to be focused on training the new guys, I spent
way too much time juggling Referee's to keep fields covered. It makes us ALL look bad
when you show up late, or worse yet ... don't show up for your game. This CANNOT 
happen again. Here's how to ensure it doesn't happen.
1) Read the Blackboard, every time you look at the Schedule
2) Check the Schedule Every Day
3) Make sure you know which field you are assigned to
4) Leave to be 15 Minutes EARLY
5) Remember; if your assigned to do a game, you're responsible to make sure you're
This is a job, and like any job, if you're late or don't show up, it's deducted from your
pay. Do it too often, and you don't have a job any more.

Please, make sure you show up, on time for ALL your games. Our reputation is at
stake, and failure to honor our committments, could result in someone else doing
our games, instead of us.
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.
Injury Procedure(s)
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.
Alternation Possession Toy
I've seen very experienced Referees get confused with Alternating Possession 
implementation. It's all too easy to get it backwards, even with your AP Toy. 
DON'T deceive yourself into believing that your memory is sufficient. Use an object, and
always face the Scorer's Table in determining who is entitled to possession.
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. 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. 
Little League Baseball

Fantastic Job Guys! The games ran perfectly, and it was fun. 
It was almost surreal, as there were no complaints, and Coaches/Spectators were respectful.

Special ShoutOut of appreciation to the guys who worked with me in our creative handling
of the Jimmy'd Schedule, (Vince & Lorenzo). Although the "League" thought it odd, it saved
us from blowing our first game in. I will be taking proactive measures to ensure were not
left in this vulnerable situation again. 
Our Reputation and Integrity are the key to keeping and attracting more assignments. 
I won't risk jeopardizing our Reputation, or having our Integrity diminished.

We did have a few spectators hanging out behind the BackStop, a bit of Spectator Coaching,
and Coaches hanging out outside of the DugOut. This being the opening day, it wasn't bad,
but if we don't monitor and set the standard/expectation, early on, and consistantly, it will
escalate. This will make it hard to manage, as the season progresses.

Please, in a RESPECTFUL manner, edumacate fans & Coaches, that this is not allowed.

There are Bleachers, offset from, but not directly behind the BackStop. It's OK for Spectators
to sit in those Bleachers, but it's not cool for them to stand directly behind Home Plate. It is
very important that we keep Spectaors, especially kids out from behind the BackStop, as
they tend to hang with their fingers through the fence. This leaves them vulnerable to injury,
from fast balls getting past the Catcher. We don't want any little digits getting smashed.

Coaches need to be IN THE DUGOUT, except, of course, Base Coaches, for Safety Reasons.
Please, DO NOT ignore this.

Also, it is against Little League Rules, and deemed Interference, for Spectators to ALERT
players of Pitcher/Catcher Signals.
Hand Ball Confusion
There were two notable Hand Ball questions/misconceptions.

All hand balls are Direct Kicks ... PERIOD! There are no exceptions 
(except league divisions stipulating that all kicks are indirect). 
What often gets confused is; when calls are made on the Goal Keeper, for using
their hands inappropriately, within the Penalty Box. If the Goal Keeper picks up
the ball outside the Penalty Box, he becomes a normal fielder, and the Hand Ball
Rule applies, as it would for any other Player.

Clarification: A Goal Keeper may not use their hands to Directly Receive a Throw-In,
                 play a ball intentionally kicked to him/her by a Teammate, or to retrieve
                 a punt that didn't go as planned, or to Control the Ball with Hands for
                 more than 6 Seconds. These are not Handballs. They are a Double Touch,
                 or a procedural infraction, which calls for an Indirect Kick, from the spot
                 of infraction. If it's in the Goal Box, the kick is taken from the Goal Box
                 line, nearest to the spot of infraction. It is Indirect, and even though it
                 is less that 10 yards, the Defending team may set up a wall, but they
                 must all be ON THE GOAL LINE!

Another question/misunderstanding, came from a Coach, who felt that the Referee
miscalled a Hand Ball. As he demonstrated the play(s) to me, he actually showed
me a classic example of a hand ball. He held his hand at his waste, with his hand
and arm against his body but, with his hand open, perpendicular to his body. This
is a trapping tactic to increase the coverage area, and allow the Player to manipulate
the ball. Unfortunately, my Spanish was nowhere near as good as his English, and 
unfortunately, I was unable to effectively communicate this with him.

The bottom line, that composure will almost certainly get a Hand Ball call, because
the hand was in an unnatural, advantageous position, that would allow for trapping
and manipulating the ball. The Ref made the right call(s)
Throw-In goes Directly into the Goal
Although this one doesn't get a lot of attention in training, because it happens so rarely,
I'm thinking it should be addressed more throughly.

No Goal can be scored with the use of hands. A Throw-In is simply a means of restarting
play, and should never be allowed to gain any advantage, through the use of hands.
Whoever threw the ball Directly into the Goal, it should be treated in the same manner
as it would be when it crosses the Goal Line, outside the Goal. It will NOT be a Goal.
It will be, respectively, a Goal Kick, or a Corner Kick.

Here's a mind blower: If a Direct, or Indirect Free Kick goes into the Team's Own Goal,
                              it is NOT a Goal ... A Corner Kick is awarded. Wrap your mind
                              around that!
Agitated Spectator Unit goes a bit Postal
The City of Oakland Park has always had a good, solid, community centric Rec Program.
That's awesome, however, some of the well intentioned, customary Rules, that were
very Rec friendly, taught the kids contrary to the actual Rules. This is common with
many Cities, however, it unintentionally puts kids at a disadvantage, as they progress
to higher level leagues, such as High School, Travel, and hopefully College (Scholarship)
opportunities. The kids enter into these competitions with expectations that reflect what
they've learned, only to be labeled as not knowing the game. We have worked closely
with the City Staff to correct this, with Rule changes that more accurately mirror the
actual Rules/Procedures, to give the kids a better chance of excelling in more
competitive arenas, hopefully giving them a better chance for scholarships.

We had a woman, who got quite angry and vocal in regards to the 2 Goal Rule. She
was angry because; she was under the impression that; the Referee didn't enforce the
Rule. Well, the Referee is not responsible for enforcing the Rule, unless the Coach brings
it to the Referees attention, at which time, the Referee would enforce it. In this
particular case, the Coach, who was behind, didn't feel it appropriate to request
enforcement. He knows that; nowhere else in serious competition, would this Rule ever
apply. He wanted his Players to step up their game, and meet the challenge head on, as
it would in any other competition. Kudos! He didn't want to gain an unfair advantage!
She deemed that inappropriate, and blamed it on the Referee. It was the Coaches choice,
arguably in the kids best interest.

As addressed in a previous article, whiles she chose to blame it on, and attack the
Referees, she should have immediately been informed that; she was not to address
the Referees. Only the Head Coach is permitted to address the Referees. She should
not have been allowed to chastise the Referee(s) and should have been directed to
the Coach, or DO IT NOW Dave. Spectators do not have the authority or permission
to try and enforce their will on Referees. Don't allow it to start, thereby preventing
emotional field escalation. Remember, you are the target of their frustration. You are
at a serious disadvantage in resolving the issue. Be courteous, and helpful, as long as
they are being respectful. When the conversation becomes disrespectful, bow out and
refer it to the Coach, City and/or DO IT NOW Dave. We'll politely work to inject the
reality of the situation, and quell the frustration.

As it turned out, the Coach spoke with her, and it ended in a great big hug.
Don't you just love a HAPPY Ending?!?!?!?

People generally aren't mean ... they're just passionate in what they believe they understand.
We have Game Sheets (Oakland Park) Prefill before start of game
We now have game sheets for the City of Oakland Park. We need to sign them at the
end of each game.

Coaches need to fill out their Roster, at the start of the game, and turn their Game 
Sheets in to a City Official on the way out. It's new to them, so be patient, and let's
remind them, while they're warming up, to fill it in. We're getting a little too much delay
in starting the second games, as we have to wait for to sign, until the Coaches get their
Roster filled in.
Spectator Coaching - Address this in Pre-Game meeting
Spectator Coaching is a problem for the Players & Coaches. The Coaches that were at the
Coaches Meeting, prior to the start of the season, were asked to inform their Parental Units,
that Spectator Coaching was prohibited. Some did, some forgot, and some Coaches came in
after the start of the season, and didn't know.

Reminding Coaches at the start of each game, in the PreGame meeting, will help them get
the message across, and at least allow Parental Units to be held accountable. Spectator
Coaching distracts and confuses Players and really annoys Coaches, as it frustrated their
efforts in trying to get their Players to follow their strategic instructions.

I was doing a 8-10U Girls game, and there were two gentlemen, FULL OUT Coaching from
the sidelines. This tells me that we've been allowing it to occur, unchecked. 
When I addressed it with them, they looked at me like I had four heads. They were
genuinely surprised at my "No Coaching" statement, and didn't see it as a big deal.
They were definitely interfering with the game. I mean, these guys basically took the
coaching to the max, instructing the kids every move. They completely usurped the
Coaches authority. When it was obvious that I wouldn't just let it slide, they tried to
convince me that they were not coaching. REALLY!!!!! Eventually, one sat down, and tried
to be the sneaky sideline coach, and the other just continued his coaching, unashamedly.
I finally got it under control, but if it had been addressed from the start of the season,
they would not have felt so comfortable doing it. We have to set the expectation,
consistantly, at all times.

A little reactive Sideline Coaching is instinctive and hard to resist. It's a natural part of the
game. I get that, and that's not what I'm addressing. I'm talking about the persistant
coaching. I've found that; in most cases, Spectator Coaches, that do it excessively, do it
because they don't respect their Coach(s). They think they can do it better, and/or they
want it done the way they think it should be done. Of course, they want the Coaches
Privileges, but not the responsibility of becoming a Coach, or often have been denied the
opportunity, because they couldn't pass a background check, or there were no coaching
positions available.

I know that; to keep your sanity and focus, we tend to ignore the sideline buzz, but we
need to address this problem. Every game we allow excessive Spectator Coaching, gives
the impression that it's ok ... and it's not! Just remember, ignoring it and allowing it to
escalate, means the next Ref in, will have to deal with it, which may be you. If we all
do it consistantly, everybody will understane the expectations.

All of us need to do a better job of limiting this behavior. Let the Coaches know in your
Pre-Game meeting, that we may stop the game to have them address it. 
Parental Units Reprimanding Referees
DO IT NOW Pros (Referees) takes great pride in being better than we have to be.
As we all know, all Referees are NOT created equal. There are good Referees, Bad
Referees, and everything in between. As we've seen, every time we come into a new
league, we run into various issues and expectations from participants. They've become
accustomed to Referees that are not at our level of knowledge and skill, 
(or they're just there for a paycheck) and it takes a little getting used to Referees that really
know the game, actually care, and make the appropriate calls, or no calls. In the
beginning, we run into some backlash, as they adjust, but it's worth it for the kids, 
and participants soon come to appreciate the job we do. It's definitely worth the
effort, especially knowing that the kids we have the privilege of working with, learn
the game properly, and have a better chance of taking it to the next level. We will
never compromise. 

We're getting Parental Units boldly giving Referees a piece of their mind. Although I do
encourage conversation to educate Parental Units, Players & Coaches, so they better
understand the game, Rules, and Calls, this should only be implemented with those that
inquire respectfully. If they choose to become argumentative or disrespectful, simply
inform them that; we are only allowed to discuss game matters with the Head Coach,
and politely excuse yourself. If it's the Head Coach that's being disrespectful, refer them
to DO IT NOW Dave, and politely excuse yourself. Getting into it with an aggrivated
Coach or Parental Unit, or even a player, is like peeing in a fan. It just comes back at
you in a less than pleasant fashion.
Always be respectful, and helpful, but don't let yourself get caught up in a peeing match.
Nobody wins in that situation.
Injuries and Stopping Play
The rules in soccer, regarding injuries, are very clear. Play is only to be stopped for
serious injuries, and if play is stopped for an injury, the injured party MUST be removed
from the field of play. Play is restarted with a Drop Ball, at the point of the ball, when
the whistle was blown.

We had a situation, where a Player got overpowered on a legal 1 on 1 play for the ball.
The overpowered Player's leg locked up form the impact, and down he went. It was
only a quick cramp, but everyone went nuts, expecting the play to stop, with the winner
of the 1 on 1 on his way to the goal. That would have been an incorrect call, especially
as the Player was not so much injured, as knocked out of play. It wouldn't have been
fair for the winner of the 1 to 1 match to be lose his well earned advantage ... because
his opponent fell down.

The play was ultimately stopped, due to all the fuss inspired interference, but only
because the Coach of the Player who won the ball, was fussin as well. That didn't make
it right.

Referees aren't going to let play continue, if a Player is seriously injured. They know
what to look for, and what to let go, especially the Official on that game, as he is an
experienced Emergency Flight Paramedic.

Be aware, slight injuries do not stop play. The extra minute or two it takes for play
to stop naturally, won't have any impact on a Players injury. Good Referees know this
and won't blow the whistle, just because somebody fell down, but a bad one will.
Who caused the Foul, and did it impact the Play?
So many Referees blow their whistle, just because a Player fell down, or got the worse
end of a legal play, that resulted in contact. DO IT NOW Referees don't do that, unless
they actually saw a foul. Why? A) Because they're trained that way, and B) Becauce they
don't want to endure my hour and a half lecture if I catch 'em. Soccer is a contact sport,
and if Players are Playing the ball properly, contact is expected, and it can be pretty fierce.
Now, if they shove a Player off, hold a Player, trip 'em, poke 'em in the eye, etc., that's a
foul and they'll book 'em. Otherwise ... Play on!

I was doing a game the other evening. The Coach was freaking out, because his players
were getting beat at plays on the ball. His opponents were faster. His Players were getting
aggrivated, and when they couldn't beat their opponent to the ball, they got overly
aggressive on their opponent. His Players kept winding up on the short end of the stick,
and getting knocked around. I'm not going to call that. In reality, a foul should have been
called on his Players (many times) but the opponents weren't impacted by the play, as they
either saw it coming and avoided them, or simply overpowered them, and retained
possession and momentum. The Coach wanted me to make calls in his favor. Well, that's
not going to happen. If there was any call to be made, it would have been on his Players,
but that would have stopped his opponents momentum, and penalized the wrong party.

Your Officials are extremely well trained, and are watching all aspects of play. Are they
perfect? We would never make such a claim, but you can bet your soccer balls, that they
are on top of play, and make the right call, in almost every case. You can take it to the
bank, whther you agree or disagree.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Scrapping Color Coding for each City

We won't be color coding by City any more. I thought it would be helpful, but it's too difficult to keep track of, for me and Officials. It just gets confusing. If it is specific to a league, it will be identified at the start of the particular article. It was a nice thought, but doesn't yield the anticipated benefit.

School Games Alerts

JABL League
JABL games are NOT Running Clock Games. They are normal FHSAA clock Rules.
(We were just informed, as I was told different prior to last week.)
Exception: If a team is up by 30 Points - in the 2nd Half, we go to Running Clock.

Games are 6 minute quarters, with 3 minute OverTimes

ASSL League
Quarters are now 8 Minutes - Running Clock - No Full Court Press.

We've been getting rave reviews, which is resulting in more games through word of mouth.
They like the way we manage the games, and the fact that we have the right attitude and
I've received reports of Officials lagging behind and not being in proper position for play.
We're picking up leagues because we're hustling, we're on time, and we always show up.
We're also getting the stink eye on some games, because we are not implementing proper
rotation in our games, and then other Officials come in behind us and rotate properly. Please,
implement the proper Rotation Procedure. I've worked hard to get these leagues/schools, and
I'd like to keep them, thus keeping you all working steadily. Your performance has been
instrumental in giving us the reputation that is getting us these games. Let's not take them
for granted and lose them. Remember, your actions directly affect your fellow Officials.
Let's hustle, look sharp, and be the Official's you wish you had when you play(ed).

I received a report of an improper Rule interpretation and procedure. 
An Intentional Foul was called for an excessive Personal Foul. As I understand it, it wasn't
quite worthy of a Flagrant Foul/Ejection, so the Intentional Foul was the correct call. The
Player was also issued a Tech for the same offense, resulting in 4 Free Throws. If the
account I received was correct, The Tech should not have been issued. While the player
definitely displayed UnsportsPerson like Conduct, the Intentional Foul call covered that.
Had the Player committed an UnSportsPersonLike Conduct Foul after the Intentional Foul
Play, then the additional Free Throws would have been appropriate. Just a heads up, as
we all strive for excellence!
Oakland Park - Special Rules
>Headers are allowed in all divisions
>Referees can allow a quick water break in the middle of halves
>If a team is short of "Fielded Players", the opposing team must reduce their
  Fielded Players to match. There must be an equal number of Fielded Players
  for both teams. 

We're always observing and looking for ways to provide a better experience.
One thing we noticed, is the kids getting a bit pooped out towards the end of
the half, especially if they are short Players. This observation led us to ask for
permission to give a QUICK Water Break, when we see the need, in the middle
of the halves. Permission granted.

We also had a couple of issues, unique to Oakland Park, that we're not
accustomed to, but will be corrected moving forward. We do apologize for any
resulting delays or impact on your games. The good news, both teams were
under the same ruling(s), so it was at least fair.

One such issue was the new Intentional Header Rule, instituted by USSF, the
primary Soccer authority in the US, prohibiting players under 14 years old from
intentionally heading the ball. This rule is heavily debated and considered silly by
us soccer freaks, but it was added with honorable intentions. While we discussed
this in the Coaches Meeting and the decision was made to allow Headers in all
divisions, I somehow failed to get that exclusion to my Referees, and for that,
I apologize. Some of our Officials enforced it in some of your games, because
they are so used to it. Even I had to "catch myself", as I instinctively was
inclined to call it. We will not be enforcing this rule going forward, however, we
may accidentally make this call from time to time. Please be understanding if we
do, remind the Official, and we'll restart play with a drop ball.

Another such rule that we are unaccustomed to is; the Reduce & Equate
courtesy Rule, which is exclusive to Oakland Park. Ordinarily, this procedure is
only implemented for OverTime play, so it is a little award for us. In Oakland
Park, it's from the start of the game, even during regulation play.

The rule simply states that; each team must have an equal number of Players
on the field. Should one have insufficient Players to field a full team, their
opponents shall reduce their number of Fielded Players to match. I spoke to
a couple of Coaches that thought it wasn't fair or appropriate, but the majority
support it, as does the City, to allow for a better kids experience.
Players generally 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 Men's &
Women's 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 or baseball. 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, we don't
want to go bananas 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 things 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 ... ball's
turned over.

If you have questions or wish to have us demonstrate the proper Throw-In Procedure,
please feel free to call me. We're happy to help.

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!!!!
Spectators are NOT allowed in Player Area
Coaches must be on Opposite Side of Spectators

I moseyed on over to remind a gentleman that Spectator Coaching was prohibited.
He informed me, and it was confirmed that he was a Coach, but he was on the Spectators
side. I explained that he needed to be on the other side. He cordially complied.

There are a number of really good reasons why this is not allowed. As a Coach, Before I
knew that it was prohibited, I actually had a Parental Units everywhere, coaching the kids.
We were all on the same page, and each one had their game strategy duties. It was a
powerful and effective strategy, the result of which was ... WE WERE UNSTOPPABLE!!!!!
It's just so happens that it is also completely unfair. Oooops! My Bad! Of course, once it
was passionately brought to my attention ... we quit cheating.

In the majority of cases, Spectator Coaching is not to the teams advantage, as the Parental
Units instruction, inevitably interferes with or opposes the Coaches instructions. Either way,
it's no good.

Another very important reason Players & Coaches need to be on opposing sides from the
Spectators, is the Jessica Lumsford Act regulations. Coaches are required to pass a
background check before they can "interact" with kids. Parental Units have not passed
an official background check, and must be segregated from the Players. If Parental Units
wander over into the Team Area, please remind them that it is a restricted area, and ask
them to return to their appropriate area.
North Lauderdale Spectator Coaching is Prohibited
This is a Rule in every sport, that unfortunately is often ignored, primarily to avoid conflict.
It is also specifically covered in your league rules. It is deemed Spectator Interference which
can and should result in a Penalty against the offending team. Remember, Coaches are
responsible for their team & spectator behavior.

Now, we're not talking about cheering or even the occasional excited outburst of passion,
or that quick motivational "get your butt in gear". That'd be an unrealistic expectation.

What we are talking about is perpetual coaching, instructing, positioning of Players, and
alerting them to play situations they'd not be aware of, such as "Man On", or "cover #7.
That is the Coaches job. It's challenging enough for Coaches to keep the kids focused on the
game plan, without Parental Units rewriting the play book, with their own personally motivated
game plan.

As a Courtesy, I asked a couple Coaches to remind theirs Parental Units that they weren't to
be Coaching from the sidelines ... before I had to go over and do it. One Coach explained that
he has asked, but they ignore him, and he's told his Players to ignore them. Well, it's kinda
hard for a kid to ignore his Dad barking orders ... he has to go home with him! Another Coach
exclaimed "it's hard! I used to do the same thing. It's hard to control", which I absolutely get!
The problem is, it interferes with the game, confuses the kids, counters the Coaches
instructions, and Parental Units Coaching is at the top of the list in causes of excessive conflicts
and violent reactionary behavior. We need to be united in keeping it under control. We had our
time, and this is theirs. Let's not get that confused. Of course, a little nostalgic reminder of just
how much you hated it when your Dad did it to you, might help. Let's let the kids play their
game and have FUN!
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. 
We're starting Oakland Park Soccer
Make sure you go over and know their Rules.
Search for your assignments carefully, including the Field Designations.
I had to get creative, so search all game slots.

Let's make an awesome impression for our newly obtained league.
Do your thing, in the awesome manner you always do.
Soccer is a Contact Sport
We're seeing an awful lot of flair-ups over normal Soccer play contact. Soccer is a contact
sport. You've got two or more players trying to occupy the same space, as they struggle for
the ball. Of course there is going to be contact, and the Referees aren't going to call fouls,
just because you feel your opponent invaded your space, or you got beat. Don't stop until
you hear the whistle, expecting the Referee to make a call because someone bumped into
you. All you'll accomplish, is to give your opponent an advantage.
Players have the right to challenge for possession of the ball, and it can and should be
intense. Otherwise it's boring. If a Player is shoving, holding or striking an opponent, that's
unfair, that's a foul, and the Officials will call it. If a player gets beat and retaliates, you can
bet that'll get called too, plus, you should expect and respect a colorful card. 
Don't get mad ... Get Better!!!

The Referees aren't there to prevent contact. This ain't ballet! They are there to ensure a fair
game, and the safety of players, without interfering with the game flow, with fruit loop fouls.
Cursing --- There is no excuse
While it appears acceptable to tolerate foul language in rap songs, foul language has no place
in sports. It causes me to raise an eyebrow, when I hear "my kids would never curse", when
I personally sat there and suggested, seven times, that they say "poop" instead of ... well
you can guess. By the way, that was the "nicest word" I had alternate suggestions for.

We were kids too, and most of us displayed a bit of potty mouth from time to time. It made
us feel all growed up! The difference was, we knew it was unacceptable, and found the bar
of soap flavor to be quite undesirable. Somehow this "respect" has decayed, but on the
Soccer field, we won't be using a bar of soap, but we will be issuing yellow and/or red cards,
and remember, if you receive a red card, you are out of the game and should expect to be
out for the next game or two. Is it worth it? 
No Matter How Mad You Get, it ain't worth JAIL
In twenty years on the field, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a
Player in such a dangerous situation, that it required a Parental Unit to come onto the field
and defend their child from any real harm. We see it all too often now, and it's usually just
an excuse to retaliate. In every case, it does nothing more that cause the situation to
escalate, with absolutely no benefit.

Stay off the field, and don't risk crazy fines and jail time by putting your hands on someone,
especially a child!!!!! The fines range from $1,000 to $10,000, plus court costs & damages.
The jail time ranges between 1-10 years, and you risk winding up on some web site for
assaulting a child.

You may feel that you are "defending your rights", but all you'll accomplish is, setting a
terrible example for all the kids, and earning the rights to a bright & shiny new pair of
gaudy bracelets. It's not worth it. Stay off the field ... stay out of jail.
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 interrupted/stopped the game ... unnecessarily!!! 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 stoppage 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 North Lauderdale, and the question came up; "Can we call the
game like FIFA?" While I explained the downside, I did empathize 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 Men's&
Women's 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
bananas 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 things 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.














Past Articles
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!!!!!!!!!
Previous  Articles
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
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

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 that
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 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 but, 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!
Discontinued Match or Forfeitures
The City, the Center Ref, and DO IT NOW Dave are the only ones who can call a game, due to
weather conditions or safety concerns. LinesHumans do not have that authority, and cannot
make that decision. If any Ref Cancels or Forfeits a game, they MUST get authorization from 
DO IT NOW Dave before doing so.
We had a game cancelled unnecessarily, just because it was raining. A linesperson "suggested"
it to the City Staff and the staff complied. That game should have never been cancelled.
Only Lightning or Truly Unsafe Conditions call for the cancellation of a match.

The City(s) trust us to make that call, only when necessary. If we don't respect that authority,
and call games off because we're uncomfortable, then the City will no longer trust our
judgment on such issues. That is not acceptable!!!!!!!
LinesPersons - Make the Calls
If a Referee tells you that they never make a mistake, then they're either delusional, an ego
maniac, or they just told you a fib. We all make mistakes ... occasionally!

Don't be afraid to make a mistake. If you see it, call it immediately. LinePeople should beat the
Center Ref to making calls for Fouls, Out of Bounds, Offsides, Goals, etc. Center Refs should be
looking to LinesPeople for calls, especially if you have the better view. Don't look to the Center
Ref to just mirror their call. If all you're doing is imitating their call, then there's no point in you
being there. If the call is inappropriate, either because it didn't effect play or you just made a
mistake, it's ok. Don't worry about it. It's now the Center Refs responsibility. You'll get better
with experience. Promise.
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.
Proper Equipment
Improper Equipment = Correct it, or NO PLAY!!!!!

We all want the kids to play, but we cannot allow them to play with improper equipment. 
We've had four major incidents with missing Shin Guards. The first step is to try and find
a solution, such as; sharing Shin Guards, and if that is not enough, consider playing short,
to ensure that all active Players have Shin Guards. If those options don't solve the problem,
then the game CANNOT be played ... period.

DO NOT MAKE EXCEPTIONS!!!!!! If a Player is hurt, because we allowed them to play, 
out of the kindness of our hearts, we put the Player in danger, and put the school / city and ourselves,
in a position of liability. It's no small matter ... The RISK is just not worth it. 
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!
Previous  Articles
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
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 with
the Coaches, 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.

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

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!
Previous  Articles


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 this. 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!!!

There is one exception, which I have in writing, and that is Coach Hernandez's daughter in the
Intermediate division. That is the ONLY exception. She can wear her new pierce studs, and
ONLY her NEW Pierce Studs, with tape or a band aid covering it. She MUST remove the other
earrings. (She has multiple piercing's)
The Hernandez's are liable/responsible for any injury that may occur as a result, whether it be
their daughter, or another Player. I know it's bad voo doo, but it is what it is.
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 Rules.

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 instance. (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
in 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, your 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. 
Time Outs
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 Respect!

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 suitable 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 Officials.

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 areas.

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.

 Time 2 Tighten Up
 We're at about the halfway mark of the season. The skill levels should have improved,
 the intensity is escalating, and reasonable expectations should be higher. We should
 proportionately tighten up the calls. Of course, we don't want the games over officiated,
 nor do we want to choke the games with petty calls, but we do want to take it to the next
 level. The season is going quite well, so let's keep up the good work.
  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.
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
Rule Changes
The buzz is that there have been too many rule changes throughout this season.
While it may feel that way, the fact is, there was only one, and that was recent,
regarding no spectators behind the Batter's Box/Home Plate. Of course, this isn't
allowed in any organized baseball, as it's too easy to influence players contrary to
the Coaches instruction, and to distract Umpires. We didn't see the need to enforce
it, until we saw it overly influencing the game. So now we do.

The rest were already in the rules, with the exception of the legal bat size, which
is a Little League safety stipulation. Umpires & Coaches assumed that it was
commonly known, so it wasn't really noticed until later in the season. As soon as it
was identified, it was addressed. The Catcher's Glove Rule was always there, and
the Umpires knew it. It was just in the Safety section of the Rules, which is often
not given the attention that  the division rules are. Other rules that were thought
to be rule changes, were just misunderstandings/clarification of those rules.

Everybody's working to improve the league experience. We're working towards
better consistency and improving on all fronts.  Next year, we can have a Coaches
meeting, as I offer every year, to go over the rules together and discuss prior to
the season starting. Of course, you have to show up if you want your voice to be
heard. The Coaches Meeting is where this should be ironed out, instead of out on
the field, in the middle of a game. Hope to see you there!
Watch Your Pitch Count (AA & AAA) 
We don't want any surprises  
Over the years, Coaches have expressed the desire to get "more at bats", which means
more Innings. We've been on a mission to speed the game and get you those
additional Innings. It's working! Well, because we were accustomed to being lucky to
get four innings in, we really hadn't gotten used to worrying about Pitcher's exceeding
their maximum of 4 innings pitched in any game. So here's a reminder to watch your
Pitch Count. 
Just a refresher;
No player shall pitch more than ten (10) innings in a seven (7) consecutive day period
during the regular season. For record purposes, an inning pitched shall be charged when
a player takes his/her position on the pitching mound, and the Umpire indicates that play
is resumed. No player in ANY DIVISION shall pitch more than four (4) innings in any one
game or day. Penalty: Forfeit of game in which infraction occurred. 

No pitcher may re-enter game, regardless of innings pitched that day. Penalty: Forfeit.

Pitching substitutions must be made from the playing field. 
Pitching substitutions cannot be made from the bench.
(This applies to regular, playoff, and tournament seasons.)
Baseball Ready!!!! 
Baseball without momentum, is about as much fun as knitting a sweater, in a sauna.
We want to see great plays. We want excitement! One Coach, so frustrated with his
opponents obvious, strategic, excessive delaying the game (to protect their lead),
exclaimed to the Umpire, "that ain't right! Isn't there something you can do"?

So how do Umpires discourage unnecessary delays. Well, they have a couple of tools
in their ball bag of tricks. If the Umpire sees the Defense excessively delaying the game,
he can call Time, and put time back on the clock to make up for it. If the Batter is 
lollygagging excessively, he can call for the pitch and start play. If the Batter isn't in the
Batter's Box, guess what! STeeeRIKE. 
While Umpires are certainly considerate of what Coaches go through getting Players 
"Baseball Ready", they should only let it go so far. So, if your team is delaying
excessively, don't be surprised if your game lasts a bit longer than expected, or, while
your batter is still in the dugout finishing his Sunny Delight & Chips, you hear "STRIKE"!
That's just the Umpire doing his job.
Batting Out of Order Procedure Flow Chart

Important: If the improper batter's at-bat results in his being put out, and if the
defense then appeals the batting order infraction, that put-out is nullified.
The defense gets the out from the batting out of order infraction, but they don't
also get the out on the batting-order infraction. Taking it one step further, if the
improper batter's at-bat results in a double-play, an appeal of the infraction nullifies
both of those outs. In short, a defensive manager is wise to know this rule well,
since sometimes it's best to just leave well enough alone. 
5.08          (4.09)
         How a Team Scores
(a) One run shall be scored each time a runner legally advances to and touches first,
     second, third and home base before three men are put out to end the inning.
EXCEPTION - : A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play
in which the third out is made; 
(1) by the batter-runner before he touches first base; 
(2) by any runner being forced out; or 
(3) By a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the

Rule 5.08(a) Comment (Rule 5.06 Comment)
: A run legally scored cannot be nullified by subsequent action of the runner, such as
 but not limited to an effort to return to third base in the belief that he had left the base
 before a caught fly ball.
Racial Nonsense
I received a complaint from a Coach, about an Umpire being too strict with the little ones. Shortly thereafter, I got a call from the Umpire, and then it all made sense. The Umpire had to endure racially abusive comments. No wonder he got a bit grumpy. I will never understand how anyone figures stomping all over an Officials last nerve benefits them, as it certainly doesn’t. Just an FYI, Umpires do not have to endure that kind of abuse. They can just call the game and leave. Who does that benefit?
There is no place for or excuse for racial BS. We’ll never end it, if our kids see it.
They learn by example. Please, DON’T go there. When we’re on the baseball field,
we’re all one race … the baseball race. If you need to call someone a color, choose
the color of their jersey, or in the case of an Umpire … Blue will do!
Please, let’s make every effort to refrain from this nonsense, here and now, and do
our part to end it, once and for all. It’s Time!
Catcher’s Glove Requirement
Umpires have caught some flack over enforcing the fact that Catchers are to wear a
Catcher’s glove. One of the Coaches said he read the rules and it’s not in there.
He even showed me on his phone. He was correct, if you only look at the division
specific rules, but don’t look at the Safety Rules, where it states: 
“Catchers must wear a catcher’s glove. EXCEPTION: T-Ball.”

I must admit, while I knew the rule was in the book, I looked it up under the specific
division rules, and was dumbfounded because I couldn't find it. When I got home,
I searched the whole rule book and found it in the Safety section.
While we might not always “catch it” (baseball pun - couldn’t be resisted), the
Umpires know the rule and are just doing what they’re supposed to. Please, don’t
give ‘em grief for doing the right thing.
T-Ball Fielder’s Positions
As I’m watching a T-Ball game, something seemed really odd. It took me a moment to figure out what it was.The infield looked too crowded, and then I had to chuckle. Due to the predominantly short hits, the Coach had moved their Fielders in closer, to field the short hits faster. Unfortunately they’d moved too far in. It looked kinda surreal. While it was a sensible positioning strategy, it was not good, as it’s against the rules. It should have cost them an awarded base for the batter, but we knew they weren’t aware of that rule. Yes, I know that not knowing is not an excuse, but we just politely made them aware and immediately corrected the situation. Benefit of the doubt sort of thing.
Here is the rule:
Infield and outfield restraining lines are drawn at forty five (45)
and sixty five (65) feet,respectively from home plate.
• Infielders (excluding pitcher) may not be in front of the 45ft. line or beyond the
 65ft.line until the batter swings at the ball. Outfielders may not be in front of the
 65ft. line,until the batter swings at the ball.  
Penalty will be accessed if player makes play on the ball. 
The batter will be awarded 1st base.
Is that guy/gal supposed to be on the field?
Coaches, please wear your team jerseys.
While OUR rules don’t specifically state that it’s a requirement, it is a rule of baseball.
While you may consider it trivial, it in fact is it is very important. Beyond the uniform
image, so we look like a real league, only authorized, background checked personnel
are allowed on the field, working with the kids. That applies to games and practices.
This is to ensure the safety of our kids. How are we supposed to ensure that, if
“Authorized Personnel” don’t bother to wear their jerseys? Please, wear your Team
Jerseys when on the fields. 
Speed Up the Game – Hustle
We’re seeing great results in our efforts to speed up the game and get more Innings in and more Players up to bat more often. Let’s keep up the good work, and remember, get your Catcher geared up in advance. If your Catcher is on base and you’ve got two outs, you can send the player who made the prior last out to pinch run for your Catcher, so he-she can get ready to start without delay. Get the Parental units to cheer for them to hustle into baseball ready mode. Let’s see how many full innings games we can get in. Go Teams, Go!!!!!
Big Barrel Bats AA, CP, T-Ball – Oh No You Didn’t!
While I can’t blame a team for trying to gain any advantage possible, there are some things you simply can’t do, many of them for safety reasons.
I was notified that some of the lower divisions are playing with oversized bats.
This is not legal. 
Bats cannot be over 2 ¼ inch diameter and must be 33” long or shorter.
This is especially unfair when the other teams are following the Little League
safety rules. The only exception is in Triple A.
Here’s why, as explained to me by Little League. The big barrel bats put more power
behind the hit, which means the ball can travel faster and further.
In the “lower divisions”, based on skill levels and attention levels, this creates a
potentially unsafe situation.
So, if you’re currently using big barrel bats, be prepared, as they will not be allowed.
Make sure you have the right size bats.
Foul Tip – Not quite what you thunk it was
Many think that Ball is dead on a foul-tip. That is not true.
There is nothing "FOUL" about a foul-tip. It is a strike and the ball is alive. A foul-tip is the same as a swing and a miss. To be a foul-tip, by rule, the ball must go sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher's hand or glove AND BE CAUGHT. Confusion arises on this because people commonly call any ball that is tipped or nicked a foul-tip. It is not a foul-tip, by rule, unless the nicked or tipped ball is caught. If it is not caught, it is simply a foul-ball. A foul-ball is a dead ball. A foul-tip (a legally caught nick) is a live ball strike, just like a swing and a miss. That also means that, a Foul Tip on the 3rd Strike is the end of that Batter’s batting fun … he/she’s headed back to the dugout ... Batter's OUT!!!!!!!!!!
Run Rabbit, Run
I cracked up when I heard this phrase, as I got a clear mental picture in my overactive imagination… It’s clear, simple, and eloquent. It paints a perfect picture.
The procedure in question was in regard to overthrown balls, halting play and awarding
of bases. When this came up, someone said: “there are just too many little rules. It’s
just too confusing. Why can’t we just all play by the same rules?” While on the inside
I was singing Hallelujah, on the outside I said they’ve got their reasons.
To make it even more confusing, T-Ball and Coach Pitch have two similar but different
takes on the rule. This is especially annoying for Umpires, who are expected to enforce
these quirky rules properly, but hey, they’re only human. It’s got to be a pain in the
Coaches baseball too, especially if they are doing both divisions. To further complicate
matters, some fields have orange dirt in the foul lanes too. Arghhhhhh!!!!
Here’s the rule(s) right from the book. Below that, is how I’ve simplified it, and asked
the Umpires to enforce it. (If anybody objects, let me know and I’ll readdress it)
Any ball overthrown into foul territory behind 1st, 3rd, or 100ft. line; player advances
one (1) base. If ball goes under fence, it is declared a dead ball and out of play.
Coach Pitch
Overthrows to 1st and 3rd base; ball remains live as long as it remains on orange dirt
or stays in fair territory. Overthrows going onto the grass in foul territory; the base
runner will be awarded one base only (Dead Ball).

My Simplification
Overthrows in the infield – Ball is live – Run Rabbit, Run. (I love it)
Overthrows in Outfield – Dead Ball -Only One Base
Inaccessible due to structure interference – Dead Ball - Only One Base
Make Sense???

Fly Out – Failure to “Tag Up” – Just Tag Base
And the stands go wild!!!!!!!! Pop Fly, caught. Runner failed to “Tag Up”. Fielder tagged base before Runner Tagged Up. “Why is he out? The fielder never tagged him!” And your point is…?
On a caught fly ball, the runner must “Tag Up” or can be put out by either tagging the player or touching the base, before the Runner Tags Up. Although it is technically not a force play, it’s the same principle. Actually, they call it “Doubling a Runner Off” due to the Force Play definition verbiage. But you knew that, didn’t you?
T-Ball – Got to Touch Any Base to stop play
There was a bit of rather animated chatter in one of our T-Ball games. A spectator, or two or three, got indignant because the Umpire allowed a run when the pitcher had the ball. If they were in a Coach Pitch game, that could have been true, but in T-Ball, a Fielder must touch any base to stop play. Of course, upon explaining that, we were enlightened that the Ump's were cheating for the other team, but that’s another article entirely.
Halfway There versus Committed - Confusion
We had a common "misconception moment" in T-Ball, dealing with when play is stopped,
and runners can no longer advance. It's so easy to get this confused, as there is one
procedure for T-Ball, and another procedure for Coach Pitch, to achieve the same
result. This is especially true, when in the heat of the moment, Coaches & Umpires who
have done, or are doing both divisions, experience a dyslexic moment regarding this
similar rule. (The actual Rules are listed below)

"Halfway There" is for Coach Pitch. In T-Ball, it's "Previously Committed".

The "Halfway There" Rule only applies to Coach Pitch, and is based on the Pitcher having
control of the ball, inside the Pitcher's Circle. Runners must return to their previous base,
unless they are more than halfway to the next base. Otherwise, they must return to their
previous base.
For T-Ball, there is no "Halfway Rule". T-Ball's Rule is based on a fielder in possession of
the ball tagging any base, and the Umpire signaling the ball dead. The runners progress
doesn't come into play. It's whether the runner was "previously committed" (attempting)
to advance to the next base. 

Play is stopped when the last defensive player tags any base while in possession of the
ball, the player must then roll the ball underhanded to the catcher. Runners may advance,
only if previously committed to do so, prior to the play being stopped. Umpire Judgment.
Play is resumed if the fielder makes an attempt or throws the ball in any direction
except to home plate underhanded. (The umpire will determine when the ball is dead.)

Coach Pitch
Ball must be returned to Coach Pitcher at mound. Play stops only when pitcher has control
of the ball inside of circle. If runner appears more than halfway they will advance.
Umpire will decide advancement.
Tie Goes 2 the Runner ... That's a Myth!!!
We ran into this, again, at a game this week, so I thought I'd share this.
There is no rule stating that a "tie goes to the runner".This is a very common
misconception, that often leads to heated discussion from Coaches, Players, Fans, and
even Umpires in lower level leagues. It is rare for it to come up in college leagues and
and above, as they know this is not the rule. Of course, it doesn't help that so many
professional announcers proudly spout it off during games. There is also the issue of
the human eye being incapable of accurately identifying a tie with certainty.
The bottom line is, there is, technically, no such thing as a tie in this case. It either is,
or it ain't.

I copied this Q&A from the MLB web site.

I am an umpire for Little League. The coach told me that ties go to the runner.
I said the batter has to beat the throw to first because there are no such thing as ties.
Who is right?

Major League Crew Chief Tim McClelland
McClelland: That is exactly right. There are no ties and there is no rule that says the tie goes to the runner. But the rule book does say that the runner must beat the ball to first base, and so, if he doesn't beat the ball, then he is out. So you have to make the decision. That's why umpires are paid the money they are, to make the decision on if he did or if he didn't. The only thing you can do is go by whether or not he beat the ball. If he did, then he is safe.
2017 MLB Rule 5.09 (a) (10)
         A Batter is OUT when:
After a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he
touches first base.
Fair or Foul Language
We had a game get a bit ugly over a Foul Ball that nearly everybody was thoroughly
convinced a ball hit foul was fair. The Coach knew better and one of our most
knowledgeable and experienced Umpires certainly knew better, cause he called it foul.
Now, no one can deny that the rule(s) regarding Fair & Foul balls reads like Abbott &
Costello's "Who's On First" Skit, but it is what it is. The Fair Foul Rules are written in
one long, drawn out sentence, but I found it easier to digest, by simply breaking apart,
into each of its segments. I hope it helps you too.

Keep in mind, all are judged by where the ball settles or is played. Fly Balls are judged
by the position of the ball, not the Player. The term "any object foreign to the natural
ground" includes dirt, rocks, sticks, the hole the kid dug, even magic mushrooms, etc.
(Please, don't eat the magic mushrooms!!!! Can you imagine?)

Fair Ball:
One that "settles on fair ground between home and first base or between home and third
OR that is on or over fair territory when bounding to the outfield past first base or third
OR that touches first or third base, 
OR that first falls on fair territory on or beyond first base or third base, 
OR that, while on or over fair territory, touches the person of an Umpire or player."
NOTE: A "fly ball shall be judged according to the position of the ball and not whether the
         fielder is in fair or foul territory at the time he touches it."
FOUL Ball:
"that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or between home and third
OR that bounds past first, or third base on or over foul territory, 
OR that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base, 
OR that, while on or over foul territory, touches the person of the umpire, or a player or
any object foreign to the natural ground."
Strikes - TBall vs Coach Pitch
TBall = Ball MUST Leave the Tee for a strike

Coach Pitch = 5 Pitches - Period - Strikes/Balls aren't considered
Coach Gets a Good One on Ump!
While doing my HAPPY little rounds, I noticed a Coach Pitch Coach nearly doing the splits
while pitching, to get his lead foot as close to the batter as possible. Of course, I made 
mention of the Rule; "The manager, coach, or designated pitcher will pitch to his/her
own team. Pitching coach’s foot must stay inside circle during delivery of pitch."

Well, he hit me with a friendly "Gotchya". While I believe the the rule was intended to
mean keep both feet in the circle, he was right! The wording is clearly "Foot" & NOT
FEET, so I had to acquiesce to his semantics.
As Mel Gibson said in Lethal Weapon, "I love some antics". Good Gotchya Coach!!!
More Play & Less Delay
Prior to the start of the season, one of our stated goals was to hustle the game up, and
increase the number of innings played. This effectively increases the opportunities for
players to get their chance to bat. Well, thanks to the team effort of Coaches, Players,
and Umpires, even this early in the season, we've already seen increased innings played,
which means more fun for everyone. In fact, we got our first full 7 inning game in, with
the LL Cardinals versus NL Yankees, Triple A game, and with 15 minutes to spare.
WOW! That is awesome. Great job, teams, and Umpires Jerry & CJ! Who's next? 
T-Ball Home Run & Ground Rule Double
(This does NOT apply to Coach Pitch)
If the ball hits or crosses the the 100yd line,
On the Ground = Ground Rule Double = 2 Bases
In the Air = Home Run
Note: It doesn't matter whether it is touched by a Player or Not. The above applies.
Stay in the Dugout
Most Coaches have been amazing about honoring this rule, but for a few, well, old
habits are hard to break. Well, we're going to help!
While this seems like a really petty annoyance, this is an important safety issue.
With all the commotion Coaches have to deal with, it's all too easy to get distracted,
and never see a foul tip or wild throw coming. Believe it or not, we actually like you,
and don't want you getting hurt. Another reason for this rule; it's just too easy to
"emotionally" fly out onto the field and interfere with play and/or cause confusion.
With that in mind, we're going to help keep you safe. If Coaches are improperly out of
the dugout, the Umpires will wait to start play, with the clock running, until said Coaches
quickly find their way back into the dugout. You can't get hurt, if nobody is playing!
Don't worry about a team trying to use this "helpful reminder" as a delay tactic to
protect a lead. We Umpires have delay of game tools in our arsenal to cure that.
Have FUN and Stay SAFE.
Dropped Third Strike - Just a reminder
In this league, on a Dropped Third Strike, the Batter is OUT. Play is still live, but a
runner on 3rd base cannot score, because the rules clearly state that:
       No runner may score from 3rd base to home unless:
       1. Forced
       2. Advanced by hit ball
       3. There is a pick-off by a player at any base. 
Batter's Box - Stepping on plate
We had this question "pop up" (baseball pun). 
For the answer, we go to 2017 MLB Rule 5.04, and then apply some
"league level of play" common sense. (We're not going to list the entire rule here)
The short answer; there is no rule that says a Player's foot can't tough Home Plate. 
They do have to start out with both feet in, or on the line of the Batter's Box.
The Batter must start each pitch with both feet in the Batter's Box, and remain so, until
the ball is pitched. Once pitched, the batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s
box throughout the batter’s time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies,
in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding
home plate:
(i)  The batter swings at a pitch;
(ii)  An attempted check swing is appealed to a base umpire;
(iii) The batter is forced off balance or out of the batter’s box by a pitch;
(iv) A member of either team requests and is granted “Time”;
(v) A defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base;
(vi) The batter feints a bunt;
(vii) A wild pitch or passed ball occurs;
(viii) The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball; or
(ix) The catcher leaves the catcher’s box to give defensive signals.
(B) The batter may leave the batter’s box and the dirt
         area surrounding home plate when “Time” is called
         for the purpose or as a result of
         (i) an injury or potential injury;
         (ii) making a substitution; or
         (iii) a conference by either team.
The batter’s legal position shall be; with both feet within the batter’s box.
The lines defining the box are within the batter’s box, which means they can stand on
the lines.
Coaches Box
We've noticed Coaches standing outside of the base Coaches Boxes ... 1st & 3rd.
Please remain in the parameters of your Coaches Box, so as not to interfere with play.
We had a couple "potential" interference issues and would like to avoid them moving
forward. More details below.
Rule 5.01 to 5.03(b) (c) Base coaches must remain within the coach’s box consistent
with this Rule, except that a coach who has a play at his base may leave the coach’s
box to signal the player to slide, advance or return to a base if the coach does not
interfere with the play in any manner. Other than exchanging equipment, all base
coaches shall refrain from physically touching base runners, especially when signs are
being given.
PENALTY: If a coach has positioned himself closer to home plate than the coach’s box
or closer to fair territory than the coach’s box before a batted ball passes the coach, the
umpire shall, upon com-plaint by the opposing manager, strictly enforce the rule.
The umpire shall warn the coach and instruct him to return to the box. If the coach
does not return to the box he shall be removed from the game. In addition, coaches
who violate this Rule may be subject to discipline by the League President.
Walk on Balls
One of the Coaches, wisely, opted to walk a Batter, because the kid could crush the ball
and ran like a gazelle trying to escape a hungry lion(ess). Knowing the Player will hit
anything he can get to, the Coach moved the Catcher to the edge of the Catcher's Box
to keep the ball out of range. As the Pitcher was proceeding with his ceremonial
"we're walking this guy" pitches, someone commented to me that it seemed silly to
throw the pitches, and that they should just give him his base, and get on with the
While some leagues monitor pitching by pitch count, this one monitors by innings,
therefore, those pitches don't need to be thrown. The Team Manager can simply notify
the Umpire, and the Umpire can send the Batter to his/her base. Skip the ceremony, 
save a Pitcher's arm, and speed up the game a bit.
Play On - Advantage Rule
Wait & See ... It's Delay ... NOT an Ignore
Good Officials know when to make calls and when it's appropriate for "NO Calls". 
Both are equally important and based on skill level as well as the good of the game.
Sure, every Coach wants every "Fruit Loop" calls that are in their favor, but a good
Referee knows that "Fruit Loop" calls only choke the game and take all the fun out
of it. Being unnecessarily strict, just turns the game into a bunch of guys n gals 
knockin the ball around, instead of a contest where Players are giving their all to
come out on the winning end.
One of the worst feelings a Soccer Official can experience, is blowing your whistle
too quickly and robbing a Player/Team of a Goal Scoring opportunity. You wish you
could take it back, but you can't, the damage is already done. What's worse is; 
everybody knows you blew it and you just have to live with it. You just gotta own up
to it and focus on moving forward with the game.
The Advantage Rule is in place to allow you to hold off on a penalty, until you see if
the offended player is able to continue their play, or not. That doesn't mean you won't
call it. In fact; if their play is ruined because of the foul, you're going to call it. It simply
allows you to delay your call, and avoid robbing them of the opportunity to make their
play. It's not fair that the opponent gets to break up a play by fouling. If the foul 
ultimately breaks up the play, you call it as soon as you realize it had an impact on the
Play or the Game.
A perfect example is a Tripping call. The Player driving forward is tripped by an
opponent. The Player stumbles a bit but keeps possession of the ball and and makes
the play. The Referee simply lets the game continue, ignoring the Foul and it's Penalty. 
If the Player is unable to make the play, as a result of the Foul, then the Referee calls
the Foul and Awards the Appropriate Penalty. In either case, the Referee should
communicate to the Offending Player that the behavior is unacceptable, and if repeated,
may result in the color card of the Referees choice ... and it won't be a Green Card. 
(Green Card is a new thing being tried in Italy, for rewarding Players for Good Sportsmanship or "Acts of Virtue".
 Very interesting concept.)
If you implement the Advantage Rule, remember that you are only delaying your call,
until you see if the Advantage works! If it doesn't, make the call and award the Penalty.
If it does, simply continue the game, and be sure the offender knows the action just
ain't cool.
Let's make the calls that need to be made and avoid micro managing the game. Let 'me 
play and if they go to acting stupid, tighten up the game until they start playing smart
ball. Once they start playing good ball, back off the calls and let 'em play real ball.
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.
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. 
All Players in the Team Area are to remain seated. 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. 
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!
Coaching from the stands is strictly prohibited. 
This includes Coaches who are in the stands.
The rule reads as follows:
Chatter is strictly prohibited by parents, coaches, or other players who attempt to
distract opposing players in any way. 
No heckling of any player, coach, referee, shall be permitted in any division.
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.
Now, with a few exceptions, the rule is being honored, and we don’t want to penalize
the occasional enthusiastic shout out. That’d be too petty and a bit of an unrealistic
expectation. There are some however; who feel entitled to completely disregard the
rule and get indignant when asked to restrain the urge to Coach. These situations
need to be corrected/penalized.
Step 1: Respectfully ask the spectator to refrain from Coaching.
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 2: Stop the game and inform the Coach that it will not be tolerated. 
          Ask them to inform the spectator.
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 3: Blow your whistle and call Unsportsmanlike Conduct for Spectator Interference. 
          That's an Indirect Free Kick for the Opposing Team
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 4: Repeat step 3
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 5: Stop the Game and Eject the Spectator
(They have 2 minutes to Comply or Forfeit the Game.)
Spectator Coaching/Questioning Officials
We don't want to harp on this, but Coaches have requested it, it's the right thing to do
and it's important. We're having some issues with spectators talking to players and
telling them what to do and/or alerting them to "plays behind their back". 
This is cheating and takes the decision process away from the players. This is part of
what they are supposed to be learning through the sports programs. They are
distracting the players and in their excitement (or infinite wisdom), are telling players
to run when the coach says stay, telling them to shoot when they should pass, etc., 
because it looks good from where they're sitting and interfering with the Coaches
instructions and their ability to communicate with their players.        
We have also had cases where Parental Units have felt entitled to confront the Officials.
In most cases they are wrong and it only serves to delay and degrade the game. 
The rules are clear: 
"Spectator Coaching is Prohibited" ... 
"Only the Head Coach may address the Officials" ... 
"Acts of Unsportsmanlike Conduct Will Not Be Tolerated". 
The penalty for any other person addressing the Official - May Result in a FORFEIT. 
The others may result in a Forfeit.
We do not want to forfeit any games and though we have the authority and
responsibility, we'd rather exercise extreme patience for the sake of the kids. 
That however, only goes so far.
Of course, we understand the occasional irresistible, excited shout out and won't jump
all over it, but we are dealing with the perpetual violators. We will be speaking with
the Parental Units who feel the irresistible urge to bend these rules at will, so be
prepared. Please address this with your Parental Units again, in advance, so we don't
have to upset or eject them in front of the kids. It's not fair to you as Coaches, that
they are freely interfering with your instructions and the disruptions have done
nothing but rob the kids of playing time, and that's just not cool!!!
Revised to reflect corrected Shift/Motion section
Flag Football 2016 Training Clinic PDF
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 on 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 forget 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.
Proper Uniform - Come Ready 4 Work
I hope we "ironed out" the "wrinkles" of our uniform shortcomings!!!!! (Couldn't resist yet another pun play) Suggestion: Keep all your gear in a bag or backpack. Keep it with you at all times. You never know when a surprise extra game may come along, that can put a few extra bucks in your pocket!!
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 Defense.
Watch the Disparaging Comments
I got an unexpected, very unhappy call from the City. Apparently, someone popped off a comment; “it’s just a little kid’s game, and I don’t want to be here anyway”. Coaches and Parental Units heard it, were upset, and reported it.
I know that the younger games aren’t exactly thrilling, (especially the Instructional) but this is for the kids. To the Kids and Parental Units, this is a big deal. Please, don’t make demeaning comments of this type, within earshot of those who literally pay our fees. It’s not professional and they deserve better. We know it can be dull, but let’s act like it matters and keep it to ourselves.
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 judgment, 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.
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
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, 12U’s at 12 feet and the 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 reasons.

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/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, 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 publicly 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 publicly 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
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.   
You are all doing an excellent job. Many of the Coaches have expressed this to me, so I
wanted to share it with you. Another bit of good news! I received a check from the City
and will be depositing payments on Wednesday, so you should experience bank account
happiness on Friday. Is your paperwork in????
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

I've also received reports that some parental units are under the impression that they
can't cheer on the sidelines. 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 privilege
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
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”! 
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 judgment. 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, and maybe an excuse for an undesired outcome. 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!
 Check Your Schedule Carefully
Please check your schedule carefully. You should double check every day. It’s not hard to do and only takes a couple of seconds. We’ve had a couple situations, where I had to frantically call for replacements, to Officials that had the day off. Remember, you’ve got a lot of people counting on you. Also remember … we don’t miss games and we don’t do late!!!!!!
 Inbounding the Ball … Gotta Hustle!
A couple of Coaches brought this to my attention. We are on a running clock, and as you know, time is precious in a Basketball game. Inbounding the ball has got to be done quickly and implemented with solid mechanics or we’re robbing the teams of valuable playing time. Hustle to the ball and hand it to the players, like it’s the last thirty seconds of a tied up championship game. Ya got to boogie baby, and please, don’t be lazy and toss it to the baseline from half court. It looks really lame.
 Make More Calls!!!!!!
We’re at a point where the kids should be improving and understanding the rules. It’s time to raise our expectations and make more calls. We want to really tighten up. Call the Travels, the Double Dribble and PLEASE … call the Palming or Carrying the ball. It’s gotten ridiculous!!! If you see it … Call It! It’s the only way they’ll learn.
 Just a note: When a player dribbles and stops to pass or shoot, and an opponent gets
 a hand on the ball, the Player cannot Dribble again, unless the ball is knocked away by
 the Opponent. That is Double Dribble. If they jump and are still in possession of the
 ball when they land, it is Traveling. They must release the ball to avoid the call.
 It is NOT a Jump Ball … It is a Traveling Call.
 Help the Coaches Teach kids the Rules
When a Player commits a foul, briefly explain what they did to deserve the call. “You can’t stop dribbling and dribble again … you have to pass or shoot the ball”. We want to help the Coaches and the kids learn and understand the rules. Understand the situation the Coach is in;
A parent volunteers to Coach. That’s a good thing. They get a few players that know the game, maybe, and a bunch of player’s that have a very, very long way to go. Many of the Coaches only have a basic understanding of the game, and many more are convinced they are basketball experts, which we all know ain’t the case. They get a few pre-season practices and one practice during the week … maybe two or more if they cheat (meant in the kindest manner) and have more than one mandatory practice per week. They quickly run through the basics and try to get some kind of strategy included in their practices. It’s really tough! A little communication with the Players goes a long way and it also helps you. How does it help me you say? Well, the kids get better, which makes the game more enjoyable for us. The Coaches appreciate your help and you earn their respect, which also makes the game more enjoyable for us. The parents appreciate it as well, earning you their respect, which again, makes the game more enjoyable for us too.
 We don’t want to interfere or Coach in regards to strategy, but we can be their
 “Rules Coach” and up the level of play, while reducing the frustration levels. That’s the
 sign of a good quality Official … which you are.
 Orphan games, odd times & fewer games
I do apologize for all the orphan games, the weird times and and the reduction in games. I am trying to work with the City to correct this, but it’s very complicated and we’re not having much luck. We lost a lot of games, due to a lack of Coaches, which I didn’t find out about until right before the season started. We also had a couple of other Cities indicate that they wanted to use us, so I prepared for that. Although we won in the bid, we didn’t get the contracts for this year. I did load up our team, because I knew we’d win the bid, but it didn’t go as planned. We are however, in a good position for next year.

I am doing my best to evenly assign the games amongst all of you, and rotate the orphan games, so bear with me. It also gets a bit more complicated when dealing with the “skill level”, as I don’t want to put any of you in overly difficult situations. Again, I apologize, but despite doing everything right, it just didn’t pan out. Politics … Grrrrrr!
 Are you a Referee or Spectator?
If you are at a game that and are not the assigned Referee, you are a spectator … NEVER both. Please do not be the kind of “know it all … all up in your business” spectator we all hate, and PLEASE, DO NOT COACH from the sidelines. Also, remember, just like when you are on the court, what you see is not the same as what a Coach may see. You each have a different perspective and not for nothing, a different motive. You’re either a Referee or a Spectator, not both. It’d really suck and seem incredibly hypocritical if we had to T-Up a Referee!!!!
 While you may know that a Referee is new, nobody else needs to know that, unless the
 new Referee chooses to divulge that information. Sometimes it is appropriate to
 mention it to a Coach when training an Official, but we don’t want to announce it to the
 whole gym. Nothing will suck the confidence out of an Official faster than such an
 announcement, and it’ll stir up the spectators, who will feel justified in harassing the
 newer Official. It’s also very disrespectful to the new Official. Let us always act as a team,
 giving each other the respect we deserve, even if we’re simply on our way to earning
 that respect. 
Please, DO NOT take this Safety issue lightly. If they weren’t born with it, it has no place on the court. Of course, the uniform, medical ID’s and soft cloth head or wrist bands are the exception. Compression sleeves and t-shirts are ok too, as long as they are white, beige, black or the same color as the uniform. If the color is the same color as an opponent’s uniform, they MUST be removed.
 This past week, a Player was allowed to play the game with a head full of hair beads.
 That is unacceptable! Hair beads are the equivalent of a weapon on the court. In long
 hair, beads can be whipped into someone’s eyes and can cause serious injury. In a
 collision, hair beads can leverage increased damage to both the wearer and the other
 Player. The NO JEWELRY Rule is for the Safety of the Players, to avoid possible
 injuries. It is not an optional enforcement. The jewelry MUST BE REMOVED, before the
 Player can participate. NO Exceptions!!!!!!!
 Medical ID’s must be allowed, however; they MUST be fully taped and flush with the
 body. If an Official deems it unsafe, it must be re-taped to a safe state.
Coaching from the stands is strictly prohibited. 
This includes Coaches who are in the stands.
The rule reads as follows:
Chatter is strictly prohibited by parents, coaches, or other players who attempt to
distract opposing players in any way. 
No heckling of any player, coach, referee, shall be permitted in any division.
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.
Now, with a few exceptions, the rule is being honored, and we don’t want to penalize
the occasional enthusiastic shout out. That’d be too petty and a bit of an unrealistic
expectation. There are some however; who feel entitled to completely disregard the
rule and get indignant when asked to restrain the urge to Coach. These situations need
to be corrected/penalized.
Step 1: Respectfully ask the spectator to refrain from Coaching.
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 2: Stop the game and inform the Coach that it will not be tolerated. 
          Ask them to inform the spectator.
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 3: Blow your whistle and call Unsportsmanlike Conduct for Spectator Interference 
          That's an Indirect Free Kick for the Opposing Team
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 4: Repeat step 3
If that doesn’t resolve the problem;
Step 5: Stop the Game and Eject the Spectator
(They have 2 minutes to Comply or Forfeit the Game.)
Watch your Lines
The first week in, and the teams are understandably a bit discombobulated. We’ve gone easy on the calls and rightfully so, to allow them to get themselves organized and on point. As each week passes, we want to tighten up our calls as we go, in pretty big increments, as the season is short.
One of the things I noticed this past week was (SMH); allowing the Players to step on or
cross the lines without a call, and stepping on the line when shooting Free Throws.
We don’t want to allow that ... at all!! Call it!!!!That includes Free Throws. Did I mention
When implementing Free Throws, NO Official should be looking at the basket, until after
it hits the rim or the backboard. The Trailing Official will be watching the Shooter and
Players behind the Shooter. 
The Lead Official is watching the Lane Players. You can’t see violations when your eyes
are glued to the bucket. Don’t worry … you won’t miss anything! The basket will still be
in your peripheral vision and you’ll hear it when the ball hits.
The Lane Player’s may move in when the ball is released. The Shooter and the Players
behind him/her MUST WAIT until the ball strikes the rim or backboard.
Lane Player’s should not be fondling each other while waiting for the shot(s).
Lane Player’s cannot cross their boundary lines (although they are imaginary on some courts),
so they should not be touching each other. 
Instruct them to keep their hands to themselves.
I also saw Players throwing the ball in and stepping onto or over the court, before the
ball was released. Again … no call? Officials we’re looking up court, before the ball was
released. There are two of you, so there is no urgency to look up court before the ball’s
released on Throw-Ins. Don’t be in such a hurry. 

The priority of the Official implementing the Throw-In: is to ensure the throw is taken
from the “SPOT”, legally, and that opposing players aren’t crossing “the plane” before
the release of the ball. 
Now, you might think I’m being nitpicky, but beyond the importance of proper
mechanics, spectators really notice these things, and NOT CALLING IT (or even noticing it)
is an invitation for the peanut galleries undesired feedback and interference. We have
enough problems with spectators and coaches thinking they know the rules better than
we do, without giving them even more ammunition, or worse yet … proving them right,
even if it is only in their eyes. It’s the simple things that unravel a game. 
Make the Call … That’s one of our slogans!!!!
Last Inning Defined
There's been a little confusion and a bit of friendly banter, regarding what is 
considered the Last Inning, and where Unlimited Runs comes into play.

The Rules state: Each Division will consist of 6 Runs per Inning, and we all understand
that to mean for Each Team. No problem here. Then in T-Ball & Coach Pitch, it states:
Inning is completed, when the Offensive Team has Scored 6 Runs or 3 Outs have been
made. Exception: Last Inning. This Applies to All Divisions. Although it isn't specified in
the AA or AAA Rules, it has always been understood that it applies to All Divisions.
Again, No Problem Here.

Where it has not been clear is, what's considered the Last Inning. Some interpret it as
the maximum innings allowed in each division, (which historically was rarely reached) and some
interpreted it as the Last Inning Played, based on the Time Limit. Again, the Rules
simply state "Last Inning". This has been an issue, or questioned a number of times
since we started officiating your Baseball Games. 

As most of you know, we consider your feedback important and address it,
(except when you say the Umpire needs Glasses) to see if changes are appropriate. In this case,
it was appropriate to clarify.

So here goes it; 
If you are in the Last Inning Allowed in your Divisions Rules, there is
no question, Unlimited Runs are allowed in that Final Inning. 
If you haven't reached the Maximum Innings Allowed, but there are less than 10
Minutes left in the game, and the Umpire determines that there's no chance of getting
another Inning Started before the Time Limit Expires, the Umpire will call out:
"Last Inning ... Unlimited Runs", and it shall indeed be deemed the "Last Inning"
Umpires are not to call Last Inning, unless there are Less Than 10 Minutes before the
Official Time is due to expire.
End of Game - Home Team Must Bat if Behind ... Period
I'm at a loss as to how, and I can only assume that I failed to communicate the
rule properly, but we've had a couple of games end prematurely. These games ended
with the Home Team being denied their turn at bat, simply because the we passed the
Game Time Limit.  This can NEVER happen. It's not fair for the Visiting Team to get an
extra "at bat" and to deny the Home Team equal inning time to catch up or win fairly.

The ONLY time we Don't play the Last Half of the Final Inning, is when, after the
Visiting Team has concluded their turn at bat, and the Home Team is Ahead. Otherwise,
We MUST Play the Full Inning. We cannot cut the inning based on time. 
See all Bases
Don't lose sight of those little feet on the bases! Part of our responsibility as Umpires, is to monitor the bases/runners. Now, the Plate Umpire has his hands full with other monitoring pitches, so it's critical that we Base Umpires keep an eye on the Runners feet. There are no Lead Offs or "Flying Starts", so we need to make sure runners are on base until the pitch crosses home plate. If they leave prematurely, the runner is out. (if the ball has not been hit, a warning is appropriate in this league) We also need to position ourselves, so that we can ensure that we see and know that runners touch the bases. If a Coach appeals, we want to make sure we know if he is right or not.
When watching the pitch, simultaneously scan and be aware of the base runners little
hooves on the base. When a ball is hit, your primary focus is where the most likely
play(s) will be, but make sure you position yourself to also see that Runners touch the
bases, as well as other base plays. If you're doing a game by yourself, maintain a
position that allows you to see the whole infield. Also, don't let the perty girls distract
you ... too much!
Spectator Coaching/Questioning Umpires
We don't want to harp on this, but Coaches have requested it, it's the right thing to do
and it's important. We're having some issues with spectators talking to players and
telling them what to do and/or alerting them to "plays behind their back". 
This is cheating and takes the decision process away from the players. This is part of
what they are supposed to be learning through the sports programs. They are
distracting the players and in their excitement (or infinite wisdom), are telling players
to run when the coach says stay, telling them to swing at junk pitches, because it looks
good from where they're sitting and interfering with the Coaches instructions and
their ability to communicate with their players.        
We have also had cases where Parental Units have felt entitled to confront the Umpires.
In most cases they are wrong and it only serves to delay and degrade the game. 
The rules are clear: 
"Spectator Coaching is Prohibited" ... 
"Only the Head Coach may address the Umpires" ... 
"Acts of Unsportsmanlike Conduct Will Not Be Tolerated". 
The penalty for any other person addressing the Umpire is a FORFEIT. 
The others may result in a Forfeit.
We do not want to forfeit any games and though we have the authority and
responsibility, we'd rather exercise extreme patience for the sake of the kids. 
That however, only goes so far.
Of course, we understand the occasional irresistible, excited shout out and won't jump
all over it, but we are dealing with the perpetual violators. We will be speaking with
the Parental Units who feel the irresistible urge to bend these rules at will, so be
prepared. Please address this with your Parental Units again, in advance, so we don't
have to upset or eject them in front of the kids. It's not fair to you as Coaches, that
they are freely interfering with your instructions and the disruptions have done
nothing but rob the kids of playing time, and that's just not cool!!!
AA & AAA Balls to the Pitcher from Catcher
A wild throw to the pitcher from the catcher, or an error by the pitcher receiving a throw by the catcher, does not allow a runner to advance from 3rd base. It is solely the judgment of the umpire to determine if the catcher’s intent was to throw to the pitcher or another player.
Game Sheets
We're experiencing excessive start delays, waiting for game sheets to be filled out. Please have your Batting Order line up prepared in advance. If you're the home team, please fill out the Game Sheet before arriving, so we only need to add the Visiting Teams line up. If a player doesn't show up, just cross them off that games sheet. Of course, we understand that adjustments may need to be made, but if we pre-fill out game sheets, it'll help us get started on time, more often.
Good Sportsmanship
Although sports are really fun, there is a somewhat hidden and most important agenda for the children's healthy growth. Through sports, we are teaching our children skills they will need to survive and thrive in their lives. One of the most important lessons we're teaching our little tykes is good sportsmanship.
We've had a few incidents, that set the absolute wrong example. We had a team
handshake where several players spit in their hand before shaking their opponents
hands, one where a kid gut punched an opponent and some incidents involving overly
enthusiastic coaches being excessively competitive and disrupting the game.
Please remember that; these kids see everything we do and they will emulate our
behavior. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be competitive, as competitiveness is also
an important thing for the kids to learn. Fortunately, we're blessed with really good
Coaches who deal with these incidents as they arise. Much kudos!!!!!!
While boys will be boys and girls will be girls, let's continue to send the right message
by setting the right example and addressing unsportsmanlike actions promptly. 
Snarky Voice Mail
I appreciate a joke, and always welcome feedback, as we're always looking to improve and make this the best experience that we, can for all!
After Saturday's games, I came home to a "snarky" voice mail. It stated that our
Referees "cost ??someone??" their game. Well, I have coached a lot of teams ... a lot
of games, and the few losses I had, even with some bad calls, I've never blamed the
Referees. I blamed myself! Referees are only a small part of the game, that has to be
included and compensated for in my strategy to win. Yes, I admit it ... I LIKE TO WIN!!!!
Now, I'm the first one to get a kick out of, and even participate in a good heckling
banter. It doesn't matter if it's from the spectators, players or from the bench. It's all
part of the fun. (To be honest, I suspected it was Sam razzin me, except the voice
didn't quite sound like his.)
I actually got upset, not because of the call or the statement, but because the caller
left me no way, to "fix it" if it was legitimate, which you know I would do. They didn't
leave their name, the number was blocked, and there was no invitation for discussion.
All I could do is guess, and I hate that!
I make my number available to anyone & everyone. I will listen to and am open to
discuss any issue. Rest assured, if my Umpires are incorrect, I address it with them.
(and they sincerely want to get it right, every one of them.) If the caller has
misunderstood a call, a rule or action, I will clarify it for them. If the City(s) or BSO
needs to be aware, I bring the issue to them. (they want to know) Please know that; 
we all have the best interests of the program and participants at heart.
If you have an issue or concern, I'm happy to help, but I can only do that if you let me
know and leave me contact information, so I can respond. Though I can't always
promise you the result you want, you will always be heard and we will address it.
We had another one of those quirky rules plays on Monday. It's an unusual one, so we had to really think about it, and while we ultimately got the call mostly right in the end, we were technically wrong, and it could have had an impact on the game. Fortunately, it didn't. Oddly enough, there was a similar play, same rule, in the Marlins game, that very same night. Go figure! Of course, theirs was more cut and dry, easier to sort out.
Of course, as I always do; as soon as I got home, I dove into the rules for clarification.
I also checked with a number of officials, with more experience than I have, and
almost all agreed with my call. Unfortunately, this is one of the many rules that are
misunderstood and called incorrectly for so long, by so many, that we believe it to be
correct. It seems that it stems from a combination of rule 7.03 (see below) and 
another rule that states; a runner that misses a base, must retrace his route back to
the missed base or bases to correct the mistake.
I thought it's be a good scenario to share.
The play;
Runner passes the runner before him. They wound up at 3rd base together. One was
tagged out (the poor guy at third) ... 2nd out ... and the trailing runner was headed
back to second base, but wasn't tagged. Both runners were called out, making it the
3rd out, without tagging the runner. Everybody was headed for the dugout. 
After hearing the play and consulting with the umpire, we determined that the third
out was called prematurely, as the player had the right to get back to the right base
and hadn't been put out. Everybody back out onto the field. Whoops! Wrong call.
Fortunately, nothing noteworthy occurred in that last out, which I can only attribute to
the laws of universal, self correcting justice. 
The fact of the matter is, if a runner passes the runner before him, before the
preceding runner is put out, he is called out immediately, no questions asked, as
stated below. In this particular play, the runner from 2nd should have been
immediately called out, which would have left the runner legally occupying 3rd base,
with only 2 outs. 
Here are the applicable rules for the play above:
         (a) Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two
              runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged
              and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 7.03(b) applies.
         (b) If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner
              and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced,
              the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall
              be out when tagged or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the
              base to which such preceding runner is forced.
7.08 Any runner is out when—
         (h) He passes a preceding runner before such runner is out;
Bat Legality
While I applaud the awareness and enforcement of legal bat sizes, we have a little burp in the enforcement of the rule. Little League bats are to be no more than 2 1/4" diameter barrel and 33" length. The enforcement quagmire is; many teams were issued bats that were 2 5/8 diameter, so in fairness, we will not be disallowing them. It's what was provided.
Please Stay in the Dugout and Out of the Doorway
 Remember, a pitched ball tipping backwards off of a bat, can increase its speed 80%.
 That means little Spanky's 55mph fastball comes off the bat ... towards the dugout,
 at over 100+mph. That'll certainly cross your eyes! Not a good time to test your
 MATRIX moves.  Also remember, that the kids often gravitate to the doorway with you.
 They want to be like you and near you, and Let's face it, they're not exactly known for
 their focused attention span, and that puts them in danger. 
 I know it's irritating, especially with me harping on it, but I do not want to have to
 visit anybody in the hospital. Please, set the example, and keep yourself & everybody
 else out of the doorway during play. 
Rules Changes
 We've had a few rules changes, after I'd already divided out the rules and published
 them on line. As it is quite a tedious task, I have not gotten to all the rules sections
 with the changes. I have however, made the changes in the division rules links 
 included next to the team names on your schedules. Please refer to those links for
 your divisions rules.
Coach Pitch Only - Outfielders in the grass
Coach Pitch Rules Item (U) Outfielders are to play at least 5 feet onto grass.
We're not going to come out there with a tape measure, but please, at least honor
the spirit of this rule and get your outfielders little feet on the grass.
Now, I know what you're thinkin ... the ball generally doesn't get hit that far, so I 
want my fielders in closer, to make the play faster ... easier outs! That's exactly why
we want them in the grass. It's just too crowded and easy, plus it makes the game
boring for players and spectators. We want them to learn to make plays and learn
teamwork, not just get an easy out. Putting them in the grass, helps them to learn
and utilize the skills, including playing their positions, and proper teamwork to make
plays. Let's put a little grass under their feet!!!!
Foul Tip is a Strike - Always (even if the batter has two strikes)
 A Foul Tip is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct, from the bat, to the catcher's
 hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip, unless it is caught, and any foul tip
 that is caught is a strike, and a live ball. It is NOT a catch if it rebounds, unless the
 ball has first touched the catcher's glove or hand and then caught. 
 Maybe they should call it a "Strike Tip" instead of a Foul Tip. Just sayin!
Batting Out of Order
 Like many baseball rules, there are 70,000 little, impossible to memorize nuances
 involved in this rule. This is just a simplified procedure heads up.

 First, if I may say, let's just avoid batting out of order, but if you do, here's how it

 If you realize that a batter is batting out of order and appeal it;

A) While the batter is still at the plate - 
    The Batter is NOT Out
    The next batter is to be the correct batter in the written batting order.
    The correct batter simply replaces the incorrect batter and inherits his count
    to finish the up at bat. In other words, if the incorrect batter has 2 strikes and
    a ball, we put the correct batter in and he/she starts with with 2 strikes and a ball.

B) After the batter has hit, but before the next batter is pitched to; 
    The Batter IS Out
    The next batter is to be the correct batter in the written batting order.
    The correct batter replaces the incorrect batter and all plays made as a result of the
    incorrect batter are reversed (or taken away). There should never be any  advantage
    gained as a result of an incorrect batter.
Pitcher Substitution Pitcher Rules Section (F)
 Pitching substitutions must be made from the playing field ... not from the bench.
 Coach James asked if I could find out why this rule was in place. I asked, but no
 one knew. It's just been in the rules ... like forever! After hours of research, looking
 for a rule or precedent to explain it, I came up empty handed. Then, as I was
 studying general substitution and batting out of turn rules, it suddenly dawned on
 me ... there may in fact have been a logical reason for this amendment.

 Now, I don't believe for a minute, that any of you would ever do this, but it probably
 happened back in Babe Ruth's days (when our very own Tommy V was playing LOL). We have
 participation rules in place, to ensure all kids get their fair share of play time. If I
 had to guess, (which is actually what I'm doing), I'd attribute this ruling to a rather creative
 coach, circumventing the no player sits the bench for two consecutive innings rule. 
 By subbing the pitcher with a "less athletic" substitute from the bench, for just
 a couple of pitches, he/she could claim that player didn't sit the bench for two
 consecutive innings. This would effectively allow that coach to short change the less
 athletic player, in favor of keeping more athletic players in the game. This would
 defeat the spirit of the all kids should get an equal opportunity to play.

 Of course, this is just speculation on my behalf, but it was the only thing that made
 sense to me, so I shared. What's really scary ... I'm probably right! But then again,
 I'm an official ... I'm always right ... Right?
Last Inning - Unlimited Runs
Last Inning allows for Unlimited Runs in all divisions. 
Last inning is determined one of two ways; 

  1) The last of the maximum innings designated for that division 
  2) Based on the Umpire's determination: the divisions time limit is about to expire, 
      and based on their playing pattern, there would not be time to start & complete
      another inning.

Be sure everybody knows when it's the last inning, prior to it's start and please use
good judgment, so as not to "jump the gun" prematurely. Better to play a little longer,
that to short game times. Also, factor in the Home Team's lead. Chances are, if they
are ahead by 300 points ... short of a miraculous comeback, they probably won't need
to bat in the last inning. That would equate to a shorter final inning by default.
Cold Cutoff Time - Removed from the Rules
 The "Cold Cut Off" is officially removed from the Rules. We can't stop the game in the
 middle of an inning anyway, (except last inning when home team is ahead) so it is unenforceable.
NOTE: We are in the process of updating all the rules sections with this removal, but it'll take a little time.
Announce the Count - Loud & Clear
Many of the Coaches, and even Parental Units, have expressed appreciation for
Umpires who announce the count "loud & clear". Although it may seem like a petty
detail, it actually helps in game management. Let's give 'em this like we're the 
Sportscaster for the game.
Dropped 3rd Strike
Batter is OUT ... All Divisions
If you're curious about the rule, click the link below, however, we won't be 
implementing it in this league.
Full Rule & Explanation
I stole this from wikipedia - it had the best description - better than I coulda!!
Innings Challenge - Remember ... The Clock is Running
Let's see how many innings we can get in. Over the years, Coaches often comment
that they wish we could get more innings in. Of course, the Parental Units and the
kids like it too. This allows more times at bat, more experience for all players and
makes the game more exciting. Let's push the game along at a faster pace, by
hustling players on and off the field, getting the catcher suited up in advance, having
your field assignments ready before they hit the dugout and having your batters lined
up ... baseball ready, in advance. Coaches can also help this along, by getting into 
their positions quickly, so we can begin without unnecessary delay. It'll be more FUN
for all!!!! How many innings can you get in?????
Punt Procedure Clarification 
 Traditional Punt Rule, but NO Blocking or Rushing the Punter
 Punts May Be returned, just like in normal football ...
 If a Any Player from Either Team Touches the Ball, and it Hits the Ground,  
 it is a Dead Ball at that Spot.
 Receiving Team may catch the ball On The Fly, from a Bounce, Roll, 
 (even a Deflection Off another Player), or Pick Up a Ball from the  Ground and 
 Return It, Provided it Doesn't Touch a Player Before Hitting the Ground. 
 Kicking Team May Catch a Ball Deflected Off a Receiving Team Player and Gain 
 Possession, BUT the Ball is Dead at the Spot of that Catch and 
 Cannot be Returned. First Down, Kicking Team, at Spot.
 We've had quite a few requests, to alter the rules/procedures to Coaches 
 "preferences". Of course, we're tempted to be courteous and honor seemingly
 harmless requests. Unfortunately, this causes inconsistencies/expectations that 
 result in chaos in subsequent games. In truth, we don't have the authority to 
 alter the leagues rules, without first getting clearance from the league administrator.

 When you receive such a request, please inform them that;
 We do not have the authority to honor this request. Changes must be approved
 through Coach V. Once approved, he will inform us, and the change will be added 
 to the online rules, where we all have access to the same, most current rules.
Play-Huddle = 25 Seconds & Time Outs = 1 Minute
 We don't want to go military on them, but we do need to reasonably enforce 
 these times. Some of the teams are taking waaaaaaaaaayyyyy to long, and it cuts
 into play time. Help them to avoid a 5 yard penalty, by announcing so both teams 
 can hear it, that times almost up. Don't be afraid to repeat it a couple of times.
 If they don't respond and continue to take extra time, the cure is an airborne 
 penalty flag and 5 yards marched off. That usually adjusts their sense of urgency
 pretty quickly!
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. What am I grateful for? Each and every one of you and your contribution to the team. I also enjoy the personal relationship with each of you. I feel fortunate to have such a great team and I thank you for doing and awesome job. YOU, make US look good!!!!!!!!!
Double Try Throw-Ins Cease Immediately for ALL Sunrise Games
There will be no more second tries for throw-ins, for the rest of the season. We've allowed the second tries on throw-ins, as a courtesy, because of the lack of practices, to give the kids a chance to receive instruction and learn to do it properly. At this point, they should be able to perform a proper throw-in. If they do it incorrectly, the ball is turned over to the other team for a throw-in. Please inform the Coaches in your pre-game meeting, and avoid the unnecessary confrontation(s).
We do not cut times or shorten games
People pay for these games and it’s important that we give them what they pay for ... a full game! They deserve it, especially the kids. There are rare occasions when the City or League will request shortened games, but only under extreme circumstances. Sometimes Field Staff may think it’s a good idea but, in most cases, their bosses would not be pleased, as it would not be approved by the league authorities.
Any Request to shorten game times, Terminate a Match or Forfeit a game MUST be approved by Coach Dave. I know what the League expects and what would be acceptable or unacceptable. Shortening game times incorrectly is grounds for a Legal Protest, which would result in the Officials of that game, being required to replay all or part of an affected game … for FREE … WITHOUT PAY.
If games begin to run behind, simply speed up substitutions, check in teams as soon
as they hit the field for warm-ups, and get games started faster. Remember, 
the game starts on your authority, NOT at the Coaches convenience. Many of us 
stop the clock for subs. Although sub time is part of play time, unless otherwise 
stipulated, as it is in North Lauderdale, I don’t have a problem with stopping the 
clock for Subs, when we have the extra time, but if the game is running behind, 
don’t stop the clock for Subs.
Don’t cheat the teams out of what they paid for … give them the full time they 
are entitled to.
Direct or Indirect Free Kicks and Procedures [A Little Long but Important]
I am painfully aware that; this has always been a source of confusion for many Referees, at most levels. In our last Locker Room articles, we covered GoalKeeper related Hand Ball situations. Many of us misinterpreted some of the GoalKeeper specific procedures, as applying to other field position/players. I’ll take responsibility for that, as I may have somewhat confused an already confusing aspect of the rules.
An easier way to remember the GoalKeeper rules = 
Anytime the GoalKeeper uses their hands improperly, within their Penalty Box, 
it is an Indirect Kick. Outside of their own Penalty Box, the GoalKeeper is no 
different than any other Player.
In the Training, I try to simplify rules to make them easier to remember in the 
heat of the game. Unfortunately, it gets a bit complicated, as some leagues and 
even High School rules, further complicate things with their “special rules”. 
With the exception of school games, and special rules for little kids that don’t allow
direct kicks (like North Lauderdale for the 6U & 8U), we go by FIFA.
The easiest way to remember when it’s a Direct or Indirect kick should be awarded,
is to think in terms of Assault & Battery. Assault is a threat, either verbally or by 
action, to do harm … Battery is physical contact to do harm. These are 
Direct Kick Offenses. The only exception is Hand Balls, which are always Direct Kicks.
If you have to stop play, due to contact or a threat of dangerous play, or a Hand Ball,
it will be a Direct Kick. If it’s an Improper Procedure, it’ll be an Indirect Kick. 
Illegal Substitution – Double Touch – OffSides – Intentional Kickback to GoalKeeper 
who uses hands ...
Direct free kick
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team, if a player commits any of the 
following seven offences in a manner considered by the Referee to be careless, 
reckless or using excessive force: 
>Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent 
>Trips or attempts to trip an opponent 
>Jumps at an opponent 
>Charges an opponent 
>Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent 
>Pushes an opponent 
>Tackles an opponent
>Holds an opponent 
>Spits at an opponent
>Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper in own penalty area)
A direct free kick is taken from the place where the offence occurred.          
(Except for infractions in the Goal Box … which are brought out to the Goal Box Line, 
closest to where the infraction occurred)
InDirect Free Kick
An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if, in the opinion of the 
referee, a player: Plays in a dangerous manner;
>Impedes the progress of an opponent 
>Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
>Unsportsmanlike Conduct, not involving contact or threat(s)
>Commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is 
stopped to caution or send off a player The indirect free kick is taken from the place
where the offence occurred. 
(Except for infractions in the Goal Box … Which are brought out to the Goal Box Line,
closest to where the infraction occurred)
Indirect free kick – GoalKeeper specific
An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own
penalty area, commits any of the following four offences:
>Controls the ball with his hands for more than six seconds before releasing it from
his possession.
>Touches the ball again with his hands after he has released it from his possession
and before it has touched another player 
{Except if intentionally bouncing or "Parrying" the ball}
>Touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a
>Touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in 
taken by a team-mate
Hopefully this clears things up a bit!
Substitutions – Sunrise – 12UG
Due to a lack of Players, 12U Girls are playing with 9 players on the field, and Free Substitutions. If you’re the Lines Human on the Coaches sideline, listen for the Coaches to call for substitutions, and raise your flag above your head, holding it horizontally with both hands. If you’re the Lines Human on the spectator’s sideline and you see the other Lines Human signal for a Substitution, you signal it as well. Center Referees … be looking for this signal. Of course, as always, Substitutions are only made during a stoppage of play, with the Referee’s permission.
Substituted Players may re-enter the game after being Substituted.
Call In YOUR Availability SCHEDULE on Friday’s       
954-962-0053 or email dave@doitnowpros.com
Every Official is to call in with their Availability on Fridays. Set a repeating reminder 
in your phones. If you want Games, call in your Availability.

I’ve made this as simple as I can possibly imagine. There is NO EXCUSE 
for not calling in.
When you don’t call in your Availability, you hold up the schedule for everybody 
else. Respect your fellow Official’s and my time, by calling in your Availability on 
time. If you can’t work, call in anyway, so I can proceed with the schedule. 
If a Ref is missing, you’re running late, you have a problem on the 
Field or need me for anything During Games … Call my Cell Phone; 
As you know, I’m usually out on the fields. Calling my office line doesn’t do any good. 
If you don’t get the crazy message, you called the wrong phone. 
We are all supposed to be at our games 15 minutes before the game time listed on 
the schedule. If you’re there but other Officials are missing, call my cell phone 
immediately (954-632-2602) and let me know, so I can call and take action.
 Note: You can bypass the crazy message by pressing 1.
We DON’T DO LATE and we DON’T MISS games        
We are Professionals, and a lot of people are depending on us. 
Imagine that it’s game time for your favorite team. You’ve been waiting all day for 
this game and you’re ready with your pretzels, soda, and team jersey on. 
The announcer says: “We’re sorry, but the game has been delayed because the 
Referee isn’t here yet” … or worse yet, imagine a game that’s short a Referee. Yikes! 
That would never happen, and if it did, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the media(s)
would explode ... and the poor Referee would never live it down… or find a date!
Are your games any less important? Absolutely not!
Check your schedule carefully. Double check your game Times, and make sure you’re 
there on time. We’ve always prided ourselves in NEVER missing games and very, 
very, very rarely being late. We’ve just started, and this year is already the worst 
in our history. Let’s stop it now. Check your schedule very carefully. Missing games 
and arriving late, is the number one reason leagues fire their Referees. 
We don’t want to get fired!!! 
Remember, there are fines for being late & missing games. When we miss, 
I GET FINED … I don’t want to get fined, and I DO NOT WANT TO FINE ANYBODY 
… it makes me sad … but I Will Do It!!!!
You are all doing an amazing job, and I’m very proud of you. Let’s keep up the good 
work and remember, the Players, Coaches, Parents and the City are counting on you. 
Get to your games, on time, every time, ready to ROCK!
Hand Balls by the Goal Keeper        
Remember, all Hand Balls are a Direct Kick. Goal Keepers may use their hands, 
anywhere within their Penalty Box. As soon as they step outside of the Penalty Box 
and use their hands, it is a Hand Ball / Direct Kick, just as it is for any other Player. 
The only times there is a call for a Goal Keeper using their hands within their 
own Penalty Box;
1) When they pick up the ball a second time after releasing it or placing it on the 
ground… (They may bounce the ball without penalty)
The Call = Double Touch > The Penalty = Indirect Kick
2) If a Teammate kicks the ball directly to the Goal Keeper, and the Keeper picks it 
    up with their hands… 
The Call = Kick Back to Keeper > Penalty = Indirect Kick (from Spot Goal Keeper Touched)
3) If the Keeper picks up the ball with their hands, directly from a Throw-In, before 
another Player touches it…
The Call = Illegal Touch> Penalty = Indirect Kick
In each case, another Player MUST touch it, before the Keeper can pick it up again 
with their hands. These are NOT Hand Balls, so they are Indirect Kicks.
Remember – All Hand balls are a Direct Kick.
                  Double Touches are Indirect kicks, at the spot of the infraction.
Note: If the infraction is inside the little Goal Box, a kick is NEVER taken inside that 
box. It is placed on the Goal Box line, closest to where the infraction occurred.
Goal or NO Goal?        
Sometimes the Goal Nets are not secured properly. If there is a hole in the net, it’s 
often hard to tell if the ball went in the Goal or NOT. It flies right through and may 
trick you into thinking the shot was missed. 
Center Referees should always look to their Lines Humans, before making the call … 
Goal or No Goal … Goal Kick or Corner Kick. Lines Humans  should always be in 
position to ensure the correct call and Center Refs should ALWAYS verify with 
Lines Humans, after any “close call” on Goal. 
If your call was misunderstood, you’ll know immediately, by where the 
Center Referee restarts play. If the Referee restarts play improperly for the play, 
do whatever you have to, to get the Referees attention and correct it! 
The proper Lines Human signal for a Goooaaaaaalllllll … Run up the sideline, towards 
Center Field, flag in front of you – at a 45 degree  angle from the ground, until the 
Center Ref sees you. If it’s No Goal, signal Goal Kick or Corner Kick.
NO Heading the Ball Rule Change ***Except for 17U        
This is a New Rule, implemented by US Soccer, to reduce potential concussions.
They have not issued any guidelines yet, and won’t for another 30 days. Each City is
however, implementing the rule immediately, with the following procedure.
Have your Pre-Game meeting with the Coaches, and inform them that there is to be
no Heading of the Ball. This will allow them to inform their Players before the start of 
the game. Also inform them that we will be reminding Players NOT to Head the ball … 
every time they do it.        
We don’t stop play and there is no penalty issued … just remind them. 
If they persist in Heading the Ball after multiple “reminders”, the Coach will be given 
a Final Warning, and if it happens again …  the Player will sit out the remainder of 
the quarter. The Opposing Coach will choose the replacement Player.
It is extremely important that we enforce this new rule, for the safety of the Players, 
and to protect us and the City from legal complications. Please do not take this lightly.
It is also important that we treat this new rule with respect. Most of us who play and
love soccer will object to this rule, as it has a dramatic impact on the game. You can 
expect Coaches and Players to object to it as well. Please keep your calm, as it is a 
natural reaction and please, keep your “opinions” to yourself. Do your best to act like
you support it as an important safety measure to protect the kids. We can’t change it, 
but we can and should support its purpose. We are Professionals!!!!!
Rain-Outs & Make-Ups - Rain, Rain, Go Away - Please, Let Us Knock Out the Rest of these Games!
Well, they've already asked us to d some Saturday Games, and now they're suggesting Friday Games as well.
Please, include Friday & Saturday in your Availability calls on Friday.
Soccer - We need Refs ... Good Ones! We're already under way with School and Adult Soccer Leagues.  
The Cities are now gearing up for their season, and there'll be a lot of games.  Please, put the word out, and I 
hope to see you guys out there, ready to ROCK too. We provide excellent class & on-field training, so new comers 
are welcomed.  Must be at least 13 years old. I've asked for a Sept. 17th Training date, and it looks like I'll get it. 
Just have them call and leave their Name, Phone # and Age. Let's get the best team together!!!
Grumpy Coaches: Getting  "snippy" with a Coach, is a lot like peeing into a fan. You feel better cause you got it 
out of your system, but it winds up getting all over you, and you're left with a nasty mess to clean up. We all know 
that, Coaches can sometimes get pretty annoying, and believe me, there are times when they feel the same about us. 
When you think about it, they're drunk on a cocktail mix of testosterone, adrenalin and estrogen, ... with a frustration 
chaser. They may be right, they may be  wrong, but you can rest assured, they're amped up, and they usually 
believe what they're saying is true! Have you ever tried to make sense to someone who's drunk?
"BAD  CALL REF": Rather than playing "Ego Volleyball", with clever macho remarks that just add fuel to the 
fire, why not throw a little water on it an extinguish it. First, listen to what they are saying. If they're right, ...
acknowledge it and correct it. If they are wrong, ... just say "I'll be glad to explain the rule at half time" 
(or any other break). Just make sure you do, if you say you will. If they persist or if you didn't see the same 
thing they did, simply say; 
"Coach, I'd love to call it the way you saw it, but I have to call it the way I saw it. Right now, 
I have to focus on the game".  
Remember, If you didn't see it ... it didn't happen!!!! There's no sense arguing.
This Weeks Focus: Flag  Guarding - Charging - Blocking. We've been pretty lenient on these, due to their lack of 
experience and practices. We're half way through the season. They're getting more comfortable playing,  taking the 
game more seriously and naturally getting more aggressive. This will result in more frequent and higher impact contact, 
which we need to discourage with stricter calls. We still want to be sensitive to incidental contact judgments, but we 
want to narrow the gap between incidental and overaggressive or irresponsible fouls. Be on the lookout for legitimate 
opportunities to establish this, through calling Flag Guarding / Charging / Blocking Fouls, and encourage them to 
honor these Rules, which will also help to prevent potential injuries. Remember, they will always push the boundaries 
a little farther than we let them. Let's create boundaries that let them enjoy competitive play, without risking Injury. 
Kick-Offs MUST Clear Neutral Zone. Kick-Offs MUST clear the 10 yard Neutral Zone, before being downed, 
unless touched by the Receiving Team first. If they kick short, Re-Do the Kick-Off. If the Receiving Team touches 
it, ignore the infraction. Yes, it's supposed to be an Illegal Kick and a 10 yard Penalty, but only apply the Penalty, 
if they continually (disrespectfully) kick short. I'm seeing Coaches strategically utilize this, which means we haven't 
been calling it. We need to call this consistently.
The staff at the scorers table, has been doing a good job of honoring our request, to log time-outs and the score 
on the game sheet. Please, let them know that we appreciate it.
Referee Uniform
Please, make sure you have your Complete Uniform, for every game. 
Put your Whistle-Flags-Beanbags-Hat, in a bag or backpack, all together, so you can Grab It and Go! 
Remember.... You can be FINED for improper uniform. I don't want to have to do that!!!!     
Come looking sharp and ready!!!!

Kick-Offs & Punts Received or Landing in End Zone

We now have an Official Rule in place. On a Kick-Off or Punt, If Received in the End Zone, it CanNot be
Returned and is an Automatic Touchback. Receiving Team's ball on the 14 Yard Line. 
Try - PAT - Extra Point(s) 
         Try begins when the ball is marked ready for play. 
         Try ends when 
         Defense secures possession, 
         The Try is successful, 
         or the ball becomes dead by Rule.
         Note the wording ... "Becomes Dead". When a Dead Ball Foul is called, the ball is already Dead, 
         therefore it must BECOME Dead to end the TRY.
         If either team commits a dead ball foul, following a touchdown and prior to the initial ready for play 
         on a Try, the offended team has the option of enforcing the penalty on the Try, or after the Try, 
         at the succeeding spot. (Succeeding Spot would be the Kick Off)
         If there is a foul by the Offense(other than Un-Sportsmanlike or non-player) during a down which results in 
         a successful Try, acceptance of the penalty nullifies the score. 
         If that foul carries a Loss of Down, the Try is not replayed. 
         Loss of Down Fouls = Illegal Pass
                                           Illegally Secured/Tampered With Flag/Belt
                                           Intentionally Throwing a Backward Pass or Fumble Out-Of-Bounds 
                                           Intentional Grounding
         C. If there is a foul by the Defense during a successful Try, the penalty may be enforced at the succeeding 
             spot. (Succeeding Spot would be the Kick Off)
         D. If a double foul occurs, the down is replayed.
When Coaches ask rules or play questions, I give them precise, detailed answers. If they are asking, chances are, 
it'll come up in games. We need to be prepared for it and all be on the same page. We also have to be prepared 
for how they'll interpret it and for the famous "But Dave Said", which often is what they think I meant, rather than 
what I actually said! With that in mind, I will be posting that information in the Referee Locker Room, so you have 
the same information. Please check here regularly, and feel free to share it with Coaches when it comes up in games. 
It'll make us better, more knowledgeable Referees and we can help Coaches understand better. This will make the 
games more fun and interesting, with a few less "disputes" and testosterone moments!
Coaches Question: Can we have a Player in Motion?
Answer: Yes, but it's a little complicated! Yikes! Please click this link for the details > Motion & Shift Rules
Glasses and Safety Goggles MUST BE SECURED
Please watch for Glasses without Lanyards to secure them. Glasses must be secured for safety reasons. 
If they are not secured, they need to take them off or get them secured. They cannot play with them on, unless 
they are secured. The same goes for Safety Goggles. Also remember, they can't play with Sunglasses, unless they 
are prescription, and again, they must be secured!!!!!We must all enforce this
Don't Get Bum Rushed on YOUR Court                                                                   July 26, 2015
What's up with the pink background? It's a hint!!! Don't be afraid to use your T's to keep Coaches and Spectators 
OFF OFF THE COURTS. These games are notorious for getting CRAZY! Warn them at the start of the game, that 
you are NOT going to allow anybody on the court or to interfere with the game. Suggest that they inform their 
sideline posse; that you are serious and remind them that T's mean free shots that could change the game. If you 
see somebodies narrow behind on your court inappropriately ... "T" 'em UP! Give them a courtesy warning ... 
"Next One's a T Coach" ... and on the next one ... Keep Your Promise & DO IT! They'll get the joke:) 
By the way ... the majority of people expect it and wish you would do it, so they can enjoy the game, without 
the DRAMA!
Tournament Games are here! It’s going to be intense!       July 19, 2015
If your game has a blue background for the division or age group, it’s a Tournament Game. These games will be 
beyond intense and will become more intense as you get closer to the end of the game. The OverTimes will be 
CRAZY with excitement. Just keep your cool and stay focused. It’s perfectly natural. 
Don’t  let the insanity overwhelm you. 
         1) These games cannot end in a tie. We MUST have a Winner, so we have to implement OverTimes until 
             a winner is determined ... A many as it takes.          
         2) Each OverTime is 2 Minutes
         3) All OverTimes are started with a REAL Jump Ball
         4) Full Court Press is allowed, in all divisions, throughout OverTime Periods
         5) Clock Stops throughout the OverTimes, just like the last 2 minutes of the halves 
         6) OverTimes are an extension of the 4th quarter, with one extra 30 second Time Out added. 
         That means that; the Foul Counts and TimeOuts continue from the 4th quarter on, till the end of the 
         7) Coaches can only substitute at the beginning of an OverTime but, NOT  during that OverTime. There 
             are no restrictions as to who they play. (Of course, they have to be on the TEAM ROSTER ... Duh!)         
         8) When issuing Tech’s for Spectator interference, (even though the HS rules say we’re supposed to) 
             Try NOT TO tech the same Coach twice, unless absolutely necessary.  It is a Bench Tech. Spread those 
             Tech’s out, to avoid Coach ejection(s).
At the start of the game, make sure you have your pre-game meeting, to let the Coaches know that; if it gets out 
of hand, you’ll be issuing warnings and that you have no problems issuing Tech’s! That includes Coach, Player & 
Spectator interference. Suggest that they might want to inform their Parents/Spectators, because you don’t want to 
be forced to issue unnecessary Tech’s. Say it with a smile … but with conviction, and follow through with it. Don’t 
wait till the game 
is out of control though. As soon as you see the game starting to get stupid … start issuing warnings, and if 
ignored, don’t be afraid to issue a Tech. If you set the stage early and they see that you are serious, early on, 
you’ll have a much more controllable game. Stay calm and in control. YOU Control the INSANITY! 
Don’t let the INSANITY Control YOU!
InBounding the Ball – Spot closest to the Infraction                  July 19, 2015
When inbounding the ball, I’m seeing waaaayyyyy to many incorrect procedures. 
I do understand that this is the result of seeing it so often, even with seasoned Officials, but Let’s Clear this Up! 
The ball is to be inbounded at the out of bounds spot, closest to the infraction. I’m seeing the ball being given to 
Players, several yards away (some in a completely different zip code?), from where the infraction occurs. 
That gives one team an advantage we shouldn’t be giving them. Please make this your mission, to do it correctly. 
Also, remember that, 
         1) Defenders CANNOT penetrate the boundary line during a throw in. If they do, you issue a warning and 
             encourage them to stop & respect the rule! If they do it again, it is a Technical Foul … 
                             (Delay of Game or Un-sportsmanlike Conduct). (2 Shots + ball at half court). 
         2) If they reach through and touch or dislodge the ball, it is an Intentional Foul and a Tech is awarded. 
                                                         (2 Shots + ball at half court) 
         3) If they touch the Player, it is a Personal Foul, treated in the same manner as a Personal Foul
         4) On courts where there is no room for a Player to implement a Free Throw, back defenders off a bit, to 
             allow reasonable distance to implement a Free Throw. 
Technical Fouls and Your Game Management Friend            July 19, 2015
You have to be a sadomasochist to enjoy issuing Technical Fouls. We all hate doing it but, we need to do it when 
the situation clearly calls for it. Now, I’m not implying that we get on some sick & twisted power trip with T’s. 
That’d be cruel. I am expecting that we issue them when it’s appropriate. Keep in mind too, the Tech you don’t call 
today, becomes the next Referees problem in future games. Chances are also good … that Referee may be you!!!! 
Also be aware that; as the season progresses, the naughty behavior becomes acceptable in everyone’s eyes and 
escalates, and it becomes more difficult to close Pandora ’s Box, especially at Tournament time. As with most of the 
rules, Technical Fouls are in place to keep the game under control, maintain the games pace and to ensure a 
“Safe Experience”. If we fail to call them appropriately, Players, Coaches & Spectators  feel entitled to say and do 
whatever they want, with no consequence. They get braver and braver, and braver, and common sense goes out the 
window. That’s how most fights and confrontations get started. Don’t be afraid to throw a T.
When do I issue a T you ask?
When you’re in the middle of a game, turn around and there’s a Coach or Spectator standing behind you on the 
court, questioning your call or screaming at you … Instant T .... No Ice Cubes!
When a Coach is badgering you about a call … Think T. Remember, the Coach is ONLY supposed to talk to you at a 
stoppage of play and ONLY the Head Coach ... NOT the Rest of His posse!

A Threat of ANY KIND! That's a T BABY and should be an EJECTION!
When a Coach says “You Suck”, “Call it BOTH Ways Ref”,  "What! Are you blind?” or something about your mama …
Think Tech.
When a Spectator is “Teaching you how to Ref … their way, or Coaching like crazy from the bleachers … think Tech.
When a Player or Coach curses … don’t think … just  Tech. No questions (or Discussion).
When 2 Players start talking too much smack, have a tantrum or start shoving on each other … Here’s Your Tech!!!!!
You get the idea. If they’re disrespecting you, any participant,  a Player, the property or the game, it’s Tech Time. 
Issuing Technical Fouls - when deserved, keeps the game under control, significantly reduces aggressive tendencies 
and violent outbursts, allowing you to focus more on your game, and a whole lot less on babysitting!

When it comes to T’s … if they earned it … they deserve it. Give ‘em what they deserve! They’ll certainly think twice 
before doing it again. It WORKS! 
Free Throws                                                                   July 5, 2015
If you're looking up at the Basket, what are the Players Doing? Focus ON Players! Make sure Players are lined up 
correctly and the Players behind the Shooter are back far enough.  Give the Shooter the ball. Now, focus on the 
Players. Are they staying in their Lane (Arms, Legs & All Other Body Parts) or are they busy "fondling" their opponent. 
Don't let 'em cheat! A quick and loud reminder to keep their paws to themselves is a great idea here ... a HAPPY 
whistle for a Lane Violation, if they choose to ignore your kind warning. Upon the Release of the Ball - Lane Players 
may enter the Key. You'll see this with your peripheral vision, as you turn your focus to ensuring that the Shooter 
doesn't stomp on or over the line or "jump the gun". He and the antsy back field guys, have to wait till the ball hits 
the rim or backboard! When you hear it hit, that's when you look up at the basket ... but only for a split second, 
cause all **** is going to break loose, as everybody dives in for the rebound. 
We wouldn't want to miss any calls!!!! 
How Many Coaches???                                                                                          July 5, 2015
No Matter What they TRY 2 Tell You ...                    
Only 2, Only 2, Only 2 Coaches are allowed in the Team Area. Can't Start the Game if there's More! 
If you see more that 2 at any time, at the next stoppage of play, ask them to reduce to 2, so you can continue the 
game. If they refuse, explain that you don't want to have to "T" up the bench and issue shots. If that doesn't get 
the job done ... "Deuces!" ... "T" 'em up! Most have more coaches but only 2 are allowed in the team area, 
and they are the ONLY ones Allowed 2 Coach! All other Coaches must be in the Spectator section and 
cannot Coach from there. The Coaches may rotate and join in for Time Outs & Half Time, but the remaining 
Coaches MUST honorably return and act as Spectators. Remember 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 and don't text me:)
Help Keep Games ON SCHEDULE! Be Proactive.                                         July 5, 2015
Don't rely on the Scorer's Table. If left up to Coaches, they'll take as much time as they can get, or you allow. 
Generally, they're so caught up in what they are doing, they're not even aware. Help 'em out!
Start Games On Time. They do need a little warm up time, but don't delay too much. Don't wait till time is up to 
let the Coaches know it's time to start getting Players into position. 30 Seconds before YOU want to start the game, 
inform the Coaches they only have 30 Seconds. Time Outs are 30 or 60 Seconds, not 1 or 2 or 10 Minutes. 
Most time outs are lasting more than the allotted time. 15 Seconds before any Time Out is up, inform the Coaches 
that you're getting ready to start. If they ignore you, remind them (with a smile) that it's a Delay of Game 
Violation and that you're really not in the mood to give out silly Tech's and shots.  (even if you really are)
Time to Tighten Up the Games                                                                                             June 28, 2015

We're starting week 3 ... We've gone easy on 'em, but it's time to tighten up the calls. Start calling the Traveling, 
Double Dribbling and Contact Fouls more ... much more strictly. They gotta learn!!!! Don't Forget to call 3 Seconds 
In The KEY!!! (5 Seconds for the 8 & 10 year olds)
The City sent the Coaches this Notification                                       June 28, 2015

1) Team Bench (1st Row of Bleachers) - Only team member's wearing a City of Sunrise issued jersey and the 
City of Sunrise "recognized" coach for the current game in progress are permitted on the bench. 
No children are permitted on the bench without staff approval.

2) Officials may, if deemed appropriate, penalize Un-Sportsmanlike conduct by any player, coach, spectator or team 
supporter. The official may issue technical fouls to a team if its supporters (fans) act in such a manner that it 
interferes with the proper conduct of the game.
3) The Home Team is responsible for supplying a parent to do the game book. The game will not start until a parent 
is present to do the game book.
Overtime                                                                                 July 12, 2015
ALL Overtimes are 2 Minutes and start with a Jump Ball. It is an extension of the previous quarter with 1 additional 
Time Out. In Regular Season Games that end in a tie, there is only 1 Over Time. If it's still Tied after one overtime, 
Game Ends in a TIE. Tournament Games are a little different. In Tournament Games WE MUST HAVE A WINNER. 
Until the Tie is Broken ... We keep on doin OverTimes. Again, each OverTime is 2 Minutes and ALL Start with a 
Jump Ball. Yup! Even if it goes all night:)