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View Full Version : First season in Juniors - some questions



Dan_A
01-09-14, 15:09
My older son starts his u13 season next weekend. I'm based in the UK and have refereed minis for years and have done my ELRA. But I must admit the move to 15-a-side, on a full size pitch, is a little daunting. So, does anyone have any useful pointers specifically for those making the move from minis to juniors?

Also, and something very specific, I'd like some input on timekeeping. In grassroots rugby how do most of you keep track of timing. Specifically, do you have a countdown watch with an alarm or just a stopwatch going up? If the latter, how do you avoid over-running?

Can anyone recommend a cheap digital watch for refereeing?

Lee Lifeson-Peart
01-09-14, 15:09
I started at U13s.

Don't worry they can't fling it the width of the pitch in 4 passes.

Keep doing what you did at U12s and make sure when they kick you keep players on side.

The odd speed merchant can catch you out but generally play is as localised as U12s albeit they have more room to run about if they can take the ball with them.

I have a Casio RF100? which was cheap when I bought it (tight arse Phil E spotted them on Amazon) but they are back to 50. It has a counting up stopwatch which buzzes/sounds at 40 mins or whatever you set.

I'm sure there'll be cheaper alternatives.

Good luck - U13s/U14s are the best games you do.

crossref
01-09-14, 16:09
Hi Dan -- you definitley need a watch that counts down, which you stop and start for injuries.
The casio is perfect http://www.casio.com/products/Watches/Sports/RFT100-1V/ it's not too expensive. One thing I like is that you can set it to vibrate silently rather than bleep...

It sounds to me like you have a great foundaiton to start U13 refereeing -- get out there and enjoy it!

Rushforth
01-09-14, 17:09
Also, and something very specific, I'd like some input on timekeeping. In grassroots rugby how do most of you keep track of timing. Specifically, do you have a countdown watch with an alarm or just a stopwatch going up? If the latter, how do you avoid over-running?

I've only used cheapest models of digital watches available - the result of being half-Yorkshire and half-Dutch no doubt - and am happy with normal stop-watch functions.

Operator error - i.e. forgetting to start, stop, or restart the timer - is equal whether time goes from 0 to 40 (or 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 or 7) or down from that to 0.

I write the time in minutes of the KOs (on the side of the team kicking), of trys (and YCs) in minutes and seconds, so if a game supposed to start at 13:00 kicks off 3 minutes late I will write 1:03 in a circle, and the half won't finish before 13:43. On the watch I have now there happens to be a mock-analog clock too "dual time", so I don't even have to change mode.

Since I am my own time-keeper, I have to be in the habit of checking my watch often, so although I do make errors when doing time-outs/-ons, they tend to be on the order of less than a minute. Similarly towards the end of the half I am mentally aware of 5 minutes to go, 2 minutes, etc, so over-running just isn't an issue. Also, if I happen to have made an error, I will decide as soon as I know it what to do (the two times this has happened to me has been because of serious injuries where my mind was on other things).

Some recommend two watches (one for game time, the other for YCs) but at grassroots that is both overkill and overcomplicating.

Rushforth
01-09-14, 17:09
So, does anyone have any useful pointers specifically for those making the move from minis to juniors?

Over here, U13 is called minis (below that are some rather bizarre names: Turven for U9 and Benjamins for U11); they play on 70x45 (typically two games simultaneously), but I found relatively few problems in the transition to U15 which is the earliest kids here play on full sized fields.

The most important thing to remember is that younger kids expect fairness, but the older they get the more wiley, and at a certain point aggression also kicks in (testosterone, not in a nasty way). As a parent yourself, you will already be aware of this of course.

My biggest recommendation for being a good referee for your eldest son's team is to do it as rarely as is realistically possible. By this I mean that if he is playing away, get in touch with the club you will be at and offer to do their minis, and eventually their U15s or U17s or whatever. When you have multiple teams at home including his, do some of the others (again, within your increasing comfort zone). But perhaps most of all, ref seniors. Not necessarily actual matches, but 2x7 full contact for your seniors on training nights with a society ref from your club there too sometimes.

Rugby players generally realise how difficult it is to referee really well, given the complexity of the laws, but they will also generally respect you - whether they are 13 or 53 - if you make it possible for them to enjoy a game which is both a fair contest and has continuity of play - as you no doubt recall from your ELRA.

Browner
01-09-14, 19:09
Verbally instruct HMF adherence, and discourage up the side sneaking, and the 9 has time to pass, which means the game follows nicely.

Urgently familiarise yourself with the difference between a bonafide fend off to the face/head, and foul play, and wait for coaches bereft of such understanding to say so!

I wore two watches, one counting down (pauseable) , and the other on normal time and I adjusted the end time on my scorecard ( as per rushforth) as a double check.

Sometimes you're having so much fun , time is forgotten !! :)

Sounds like you're keen/serious, so join a society.... loads to learn, you'll gain loads of knowledge and confidence and there are helpful old heads a plenty .

Then when feel able, get outside your own team/age group to hone skills.

Good luck, many of us have been there.

Dixie
01-09-14, 20:09
Dan A, you are about to embark on one of the most rewarding pastimes known to man - refereeing rugby in England at U.13 and U.14. These games can demonstrate extraordinary skill, but they are also (mostly!) within the physical parameters of a not-too-unfit dad. My advice would be:

a) research the age grade variations (http://www.rfu.com/~/media/files/thegame/regulations/rfu_regulation_15_appendix_2_2013) on the U.13 handoff. As far as I know, there is no law variation regarding the hand-off at U.13 which means that it is as legal at U.13 as it is at premiership or international level. There is, however, a widespread misunderstanding among those familiar with U.12 variations that the handoff is banned at all junior levels - or that it is permitted to the chest but not to the head or face. it makes sense to consult with the opposition coach and vary your approach accordingly. This means that your team will have to react to the ref on the day - prepare them for this.

b) while some players are highly capable (check this out!) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frYnRLx9a-A), others are relatively new to the game. All will find that the space on a full-sized pitch means that the game is very different - and that extra space will tire them out even in the short matches they play. Be prepared to coach as a ref - even in formal competition games. Try to avoid the penalty if at all possible, but give it when fairness requires.

c) Persuade your team management to invest in numbered shirts - the increasing importance of these games to both players and parents makes life for the ref very different if all you've got to go on is that the medium build kid with the average haircut trod on the opposition rucker.

d) Consider joining the local refereeing society. Goodwill and a few gym sessions will see you through this season. Next year one of the boys will outpace you. The year after that, you're screwed unless you take serious steps to develop your speed and decision making. Join the Society, take it seriously and you're good at least until you hit 50 (and perhaps years thereafter).

e) Don't be a jobsworth, and resolve to have at least as much fun as the players.

f) That said, be prepared to ping the "tap ball on foot" penalty. If they don't learn this skill now, scrum halves will still struggle with it years from now. Do them a favour early, and be harsh on the quick tap penalty after an initial explanation and opportunity to retake.


I envy you being at this stage. Enjoy!

Dickie E
02-09-14, 04:09
make crisp & vocal decisions with decisive primary signal and slow and theatrical secondary signal. Nothing worse* that the ref who signals a knock on like he's shooing a fly from his face.


* leprosy is probably worse

Dan_A
02-09-14, 11:09
All great stuff, many thanks folks. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions once the season gets going.

evilad
10-09-14, 21:09
I'm in a similar position. Got my first u14 on sat. Only reffed adults before. Is it 35 min halves in England, or 30? Only 5m shove in scrum, and 45 degree wheel, I understand. Bit nervous, wouldn't be if it was adults

crossref
10-09-14, 21:09
you need to make sure you completely understand the age group rules.

eg
can they lift in line out?
where's the offside line for SH?

tim White
10-09-14, 22:09
Go to Hampshire refs website for a great age/laws sheet to print/download

Rushforth
10-09-14, 22:09
5m shove? is 5ft = 1.5m here

evilad
10-09-14, 22:09
My mistake it is 1.5 m. Maybe ex front row forwards get a bit excited at scrum time

Phil E
11-09-14, 10:09
Go to Hampshire refs website for a great age/laws sheet to print/download

Just popped over to make sure I have the latest version and saw THIS........WTF are those shirts! Its like WW2 dazzle camouflage!


3008

Dan_A
11-09-14, 13:09
Thanks for the reference to Hampshire's summary, it's v good. Original is here:-

http://www.hantsrefs.org.uk/documents/HRURS_Youth_Age_Group_Guide_13-14_v2.pdf

But I hope nobody minds if I post an image here too:-
3010

Simon Thomas
11-09-14, 13:09
Just popped over to make sure I have the latest version and saw THIS........WTF are those shirts! Its like WW2 dazzle camouflage!


3008

There is no latest version of the Youth Grid - it has not been changed for a couple of seasons.

It was intended for the use of Hampshire RURS members, and affiliated clubs to the Hampshire RFU when it was first created 8 seasons ago. We accept no liability for its accuracy, nor for any personal or pecuniary loss through its use, it is copyright HRURS, but we are happy for it to be used across RFUland as the RFU never bothered to take up our offer of making it an official RFU version.

Phil - our sponsor is called Chequers Motor Sales - so flags and special kit used for To3 in County Cup Finals, Prez XV matches etc.
Kit was their choice - same shirts used by elite RL refs recently (see here (http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=rugby+league+referees&FORM=HDRSC2#view=detail&id=E322B1C2D887DC0A96E86807454F72A973A06704&selectedIndex=189) and here (http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=rugby+league+referees&FORM=HDRSC2#view=detail&id=BCA39826E525B2B9830E912AA65B18EA455F518B&selectedIndex=433)).

Normal green, white or yellow shirts used for standard appointments.

Dickie E
11-09-14, 13:09
they look like an All Black that has been run over by a monster truck

evilad
12-09-14, 20:09
Thanks for the reference to Hampshire's summary, it's v good. Original is here:-

http://www.hantsrefs.org.uk/documents/HRURS_Youth_Age_Group_Guide_13-14_v2.pdf

But I hope nobody minds if I post an image here too:-
3010


That's a bonus, really helpful.
Thanks dan.

Simon Thomas
12-09-14, 22:09
That's a bonus, really helpful.
Thanks dan.

We are now charging royalties on all reproductions of our Youth Grid :biggrin:

I will collect them as I visit various Society Dinners over the season.

spikeno10
16-09-14, 13:09
After spending most Sunday morning's coaching over the last 14 or so years this last season and the coming one will see me mainly just offering to referee youth matches at my club.
The best advice I can give is in the pre-match chat involve the players (it's the coach in me), get them to answer their own questions, the ones which come up are "when's the ball out" and "are hand-offs allowed". After they have had a try at the answer I tell them how we are going to play the laws, normally dressed up in the "it's the same laws your coaches played yesterday" type of comment.
I'd agree that being clear on the signals and vocally loud on decisions helps manage those off the pitch more than those on it.
Have had some of the best mornings' rugby refereeing youth games.
There are some very talented players out there.
The thing is this is my hobby too and if I can find an approach the players get to enjoy the game, the spectators see a good match and neither coach is annoyed with my performance I'll take it.
Am looking forward to my first game of this season already.

The umpire
16-09-14, 16:09
get them to answer their own questions,
There is nothing more annoying when asking a question than to be told "what do you think the answer is?" If they knew the answer they wouldn't be asking! Just tell them the ******* answer and move on - they want to play not have a discussion meeting.

crossref
16-09-14, 17:09
There is nothing more annoying when asking a question than to be told "what do you think the answer is?" If they knew the answer they wouldn't be asking! Just tell them the ******* answer and move on - they want to play not have a discussion meeting.

he he! that crossed my mind.

the best advice I got last season - from a player in the bar afterwards: at grassroots level, anyway, the longer the ref goes on in the PMB the further their hearts sink.
:)

Browner
16-09-14, 17:09
After spending most Sunday morning's coaching over the last 14 or so ........

if I can find an approach the players get to enjoy the game, the spectators see a good match and neither coach is annoyed with my performance I'll take it.


If you permanently achieve that then you should be applying for a job here www.AppeasementOfficer-MiddleEast.com :-)

Lee Lifeson-Peart
16-09-14, 17:09
he he! that crossed my mind.

the best advice I got last season - from a player in the bar afterwards: at grassroots level, anyway, the longer the ref goes on in the PMB the further their hearts sink.
:)

As a promise to myself and my sons I agreed to play at least one game with them. Elder son's game was in South Yorks so I knew the referee and there were no issues. Younger son's game (L12?) was in another part of Yorkshire so PMB was done by a referee I didn't know. He gathered everyone in for the PMB - never a good sign IMO - and well - how can I put it? - he set off telling us how he wanted each and every phase of the game playing - I think we got to 25% of the way through the Law book before I slunk away to stretch my old calves etc. I had done a lap of the pitch with various physical jerks en route and he was still going. FFS I thought as I set off on lap 2.

I vowed never to take more than a minute (assuming no questions) whatever level of game although I appreciate it is probably best to speak to all team members when they're young.

tim White
16-09-14, 19:09
Can I suggest that you do what is compulsory (Stud check and Pre-match brief), then ask if there any questions- Otherwise thanks for your time and have a good game. Interested players stay and ask when is the ball out etc. They hear this every week and probably know it by heart. I stand and watch refs do this often -gradually the players lose interest and fidget, play with the ball, take a drink, stretch etc. Don't waste your breath and everyone's time unless they want to ask something.

crossref
16-09-14, 19:09
Interested players stay and ask when is the ball out etc. They hear this every week and probably know it by heart. .

of course this season the answer is possibly different, depending upon whether you have had to change your approach to conform to the new IRB video..

Dixie
16-09-14, 19:09
of course this season the answer is possibly different, depending upon whether you have had to change your approach to conform to the new IRB video.. Or whether you heard the drivel that spurted unchecked from Austin Healey's mouth during Wasps v Saints (I think).