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MassWrestling.com :: Forums :: Rule of the Day - Tips and Advice from Real Refs

Referee starting position 
LibertyMikeC
Tue Feb 03 2015, 01:31PM
Registered Member #8105
Joined: Sat Nov 22 2008, 02:46PM
Posts: 288
I recall a few years back talking about when getting on top in referee's position, the hand that was supposed to cover the belly button went first, then the elbow. I honestly don't know if that was the rule, I just recall the high school coach informing us at the youth level. Was this ever a rule? Did it get changed?

The reason I'm asking, is at the Wayland quad this past weekend, and at the Canton tournament, I saw the same referee constantly calling kids for false start on the bottom. I understand ref's have a hard job, but this particular ref was so inconsistent in when he blew the whistle, not only from match to match, but also within the same match. He would lower his level to the mat, guessing to check to make sure there wasn't a tight waist (although he didn't seem to call it if there was), but then would stand up as he blew the whistle... sometimes on his way up, sometimes after he got to his feet, one time seemed like 5 seconds had passed. It was maddening not only for the wrestlers, but those watching because no one knew when he was going to blow the whistle. Have never seen 1 ref call so many false starts. Which made me question maybe if the hand had to be on the stomach first, he wouldn't take so long to start the action, because it would be the first thing he would be looking for.
FlipU4Real
Tue Feb 03 2015, 04:47PM
Joined: Mon Sep 13 2004, 09:33PM
Posts: 569
Yes, there were a few years where they messed with the sequence, and yes, for 1 or 2 years, it was belly button, then elbow.

Currently, there is no required sequence to the top man getting on. When the referee directs him to, he needs to (in any order) set his nearside knee, palm on belly button, hand on elbow. The referee will then say "set", short pause, then blow the whistle.

It's ok to vary the length of the pause a little bit, so the wrestlers don't try to jump it, but the sequence should be done fairly consistently. There is no requirement for where the referee is when the whistle is blown, but he should have eye contact with the scorer's table.
Personally, my pause is VERY short, and I have had fewer false starts using this new sequence than ever.
Rams95
Wed Feb 04 2015, 08:28AM
Registered Member #9537
Joined: Wed Dec 23 2009, 09:02AM
Posts: 131
I like it when the refs vary the whistle. prevents kids/teams from "jumping the whistle".
s.shore
Wed Feb 04 2015, 12:43PM
Registered Member #14212
Joined: Fri Dec 19 2014, 10:44AM
Posts: 54
LibertyMikeC wrote ...

I recall a few years back talking about when getting on top in referee's position, the hand that was supposed to cover the belly button went first, then the elbow. I honestly don't know if that was the rule, I just recall the high school coach informing us at the youth level. Was this ever a rule? Did it get changed?

The reason I'm asking, is at the Wayland quad this past weekend, and at the Canton tournament, I saw the same referee constantly calling kids for false start on the bottom. I understand ref's have a hard job, but this particular ref was so inconsistent in when he blew the whistle, not only from match to match, but also within the same match. He would lower his level to the mat, guessing to check to make sure there wasn't a tight waist (although he didn't seem to call it if there was), but then would stand up as he blew the whistle... sometimes on his way up, sometimes after he got to his feet, one time seemed like 5 seconds had passed. It was maddening not only for the wrestlers, but those watching because no one knew when he was going to blow the whistle. Have never seen 1 ref call so many false starts. Which made me question maybe if the hand had to be on the stomach first, he wouldn't take so long to start the action, because it would be the first thing he would be looking for.


I think that the ref acted properly and improperly.....I'll explain why. 1'st I'll quote the NFHS on the offensive starting position:
ART. 5 . . . Offensive Starting Position. The offensive starting position is one in which the wrestler is at the right or left side of an opponent with at least one knee on the mat on the near side of the
opponent. The near side is the one on which the offensive wrestler places the palm of the hand on or
over the back of the opponent’s near elbow. The offensive wrestler’s head shall be on or above the
mid-line of the opponent’s back. The other arm (right or left) is placed loosely around the defensive
wrestler’s body, perpendicular to the long axis of the body, with the palm of the hand placed loosely
over the defensive wrestler’s navel. A knee or foot may be placed behind the defensive wrestler’s
feet. However, the offensive wrestler is not to place a foot or a knee on the mat between the
opponent’s feet or legs, nor straddle the opponent. The offensive wrestler’s legs or feet may not be in
contact with the defensive wrestler. (Photos 13-18)


2'd I'll Quote the NFHS again to clarify a caution;

SECTION 4 CAUTION
ART. 1 . . . A contestant who assumes an incorrect starting position or who false starts receives a
caution.
ART. 2 . . . Following two cautions, a 1-point penalty is assessed for each subsequent infraction.

So the ref's do have a hard job, however, I'd like to see them DO THEIR JOB. The ref in the example above did his job by calling a false start. This should not be maddening, as the ref IS doing his job and is involved at really paying attention. I'ts maddening to the spectator who is not aware of the rules. 99% of the spectators in wrestling do not know what they are looking at AT ALL!

Now, Lets take a look at article 2. How many points were penalized to the offending wrestler? NONE I bet.(If I'm wrong, just tell us) This is where I see that the ref is not doing his job. The ref's job is to enforce the rules and take appropriate action, otherwise, it's an useless call.

I think they are not enforcing because they don't want to get yelled at and now it's an easy job, it looks like you're making a call but no penalty actually occurs.

Think of a foul in basketball not being enforced, what's the point of calling it? Or unnecessary force in football...yardage penalties right? (here's a sport that is inherently violent) I've only seen unnecessary roughness called when the other wrestler can't get up...really? it has to be that obvious?

I'll re-iterate DO YOUR JOB...... call it, then penalize. If you don't then forget the 24 sec clock in basketball...When Celtics Bob Coussy dribbled forever trying to eat up time so it would run out and they could win the game.....well that's the equivalent of stalling......don't get me started there.

What are rules worth without penalties?
LibertyMikeC
Wed Feb 04 2015, 01:39PM
Registered Member #8105
Joined: Sat Nov 22 2008, 02:46PM
Posts: 288
The ref in question penalized atleast 2 different wrestlers 1 point at the Wayland Quad and atleast 1 wrestler 1 point at the Canton tournament for false start (and in case wandering, my kid was not one of the ones cautioned/penalized...lol)...There might have been more, but those were just the matches I was watching. It was always the bottom wrestler getting the caution for moving before he blew the whistle.. not for anyone being positioned incorrectly. It's one thing to vary when you blow the whistle, but waiting up to 5 seconds from the time he confirms everyone is in proper position seems absurd. I don't know if the ref puffed his cheeks, made a facial expression, etc but something is going on that it occurs more with this referee. My initial point was this ref might benefit from the hand going to the belly first, if that was in fact the rule..
s.shore
Wed Feb 04 2015, 02:13PM
Registered Member #14212
Joined: Fri Dec 19 2014, 10:44AM
Posts: 54
LibertyMikeC wrote ...

The ref in question penalized atleast 2 different wrestlers 1 point at the Wayland Quad and atleast 1 wrestler 1 point at the Canton tournament for false start...There might have been more, but those were just the matches I was watching. It was always the bottom wrestler getting the caution for moving before he blew the whistle.. not for anyone being positioned incorrectly. It's one thing to vary when you blow the whistle, but waiting up to 5 seconds from the time he confirms everyone is in proper position seems absurd. I don't know if the ref puffed his cheeks, made a facial expression, etc but something is going on that it occurs more with this referee. My initial point was this ref might benefit from the hand going to the belly first, if that was in fact the rule..


Hey, at least you saw the penalties....that's why I went on a quasi rant! I have not seen any penalties unless it's a flagrant use of force where the other wrestler doesn't get up.

I think you may have answered your question on why the ref was changing it up on his timing while blowing the whistle. If i see the same pattern from a ref all the time, then I'm going to use that 1/10 of a second to explode knowing when he's going to blow the whistle. It's no biggie, the wrestlers just have to focus on the whistle blowing and shut everything else out. I like that he called the penalty, this will make the wrestlers be very disciplined.

I thought you had a question on position as well.....which you were pretty close.


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