Zebra Huddle™

Non-Skating Officials => Working with Referees => Topic started by: Noah Tall on December 17, 2010, 08:19:48 pm

Title: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Noah Tall on December 17, 2010, 08:19:48 pm
So, this quote made me start the topic:

I had a similar incident, only in my case I was turned to report a penalty to an NSO. That habit came out of working dozens of bouts where NSOs aren't all that well trained and need the extra attention -- but it's nevertheless a poor habit.
The incident helped to further drive home the importance of 1) making sure home NSOs are well-trained and don't need hand-holding, and 2) trusting them to do their job once the bout starts.

The way are NSOs are set up, the trackers and wrangler are on the straightaway by the starting line.  If we call a penalty, then when we skate by the trackers, we head off and drop it, then return to the pack.  During regionals, I noticed the wrangler following the refs and picking up penalties there, when the refs were away from the trackers.

So, what do you prefer?  I'm going to push for the following wrangler this season, I believe. 
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Yvel Saint Laurent on December 18, 2010, 04:00:28 am
I've worked with a roving wrangler, and it was very successful - it combines the advantage of a set of eyes & ears directly catching the penalties as called, but also has the "NSOs in a predictable place" that makes skating round the infield watching the skaters easier.

As well as their normal functions, I've also seen the Jam Timer keep an eye out for outside whiteboard messages to get the wrangler/trackers alerted to them, which seemed to work as an extra pair of eyes.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: ttjustice on December 19, 2010, 01:40:24 pm
OHRG started using the "one tracker" system earlier this year, where the wrangler follows the pack around the track and records penalties on a small whiteboard.  The wrangler then drops off the penalties to the tracker who is located by the inside whiteboard.  This setup allows the whiteboard operator an opportunity to hear the penalties being dropped off to the tracker as well as hearing the tracker echo the penalty.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: SeerSin on December 19, 2010, 02:58:22 pm
I'm a big a fan of the roaming wrangler. Just remember it takes a special person to be able to do it well. It's a huge amount of multitasking, being able to pay attention to 10 things at once and keep it all straight. Use the system that works best for you and your crew. The one tracker system requires training, practice and experience which can be a downside.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Major Wood on December 19, 2010, 03:58:59 pm
In my opinion, having a stationary wrangler defeats the purpose of having a wrangler. When I have told wranglers to move around more, the penalty system is instantly more efficient.  That is, if they take my advice.
If you are using a stationary wrangler, they are a wasted warm body who would be better served working a different position.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Sven WillIBeFamous on December 20, 2010, 11:11:37 am
We've only hosted a couple of home bouts and I've been acting as Head NSO for them until we get our dedicated Head NSO trained up fully.

I like to have the 2 penalty trackers concentrating on the clipboards and then have a wrangler floating round listening for the ref calls.  I also get the jam timer to drop back to the middle and listen for calls and help to watch the boards.

I've also found that if the refs are loud enough when making their calls then the penalty trackers can usually pick the penalties up from this alone meaning that the refs don't have to keep dropping back to drop off calls.
This works best if the penalty trackers know to reply the call back to ref so they know it's been recorded.  Having the extra eyes and ears in the middle definitely helps especially for those moments when you have 3 different refs calling multiple penalties at the same time.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Boom on December 20, 2010, 12:51:24 pm
I'd prefer to not have to move away from the pack to drop off a call. But it's not always possible. In my limited experience, venue layouts, NSO numbers and NSO experience/understanding complicate it a lot.

I'm very glad I got a chance to NSO before reffing. It gave me a better understanding on how my behaviour as a ref can make an NSO role more or less difficult. If any new refs haven't managed to do so, I highly recommend penalty tracking as a minimum.

The first time I penalty tracked, I was following the pack a lot during the first 5 mins or so. The drawback was I wasn't in the right spot for JRs and OPR whiteboard passes. Following the pack was due to not being able to hear the IPR calls over the crowd. In a similar vein to Sven's comment on refs being loud enough, who needs to hear minors more (skaters or trackers) and which way a ref's mouth should be facing (if they're going to keep skating and not drop off the call) is crucial.

My first role as wrangler was actually a dual role covering inside whiteboard. At least one of the trackers was suffering a bit of "deer in the headlights" and being a stationary wrangler helped them out a lot. By the end of the game, we had all the calls covered and 1 of the 3 of us would hear it and pass it to whoever needed it.

I can see how if you have semi-to-experienced trackers, a floating wrangler would help. But with too many newbs or not enough NSOs, it helps to have somebody stationary to keep them calm until they get their feet. A floating wrangler dropping off a number of calls to inexperienced trackers can be asking for trouble.

The other thing I've noticed is that team bench placement can have a big impact. Benches along the straight seem to be optimal for placement of whiteboards and then places the trackers in a nice central spot. Benches more on the ends bunches the whiteboards toward an end which definitely benefits from a floating tracker.

Essentially, I'm all for a floating wrangler if you can get away with it.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Dan on December 20, 2010, 11:46:59 pm
As an NSO with a decent amount of experience penalty tracking I can say that having a wrangler that doesn't move around much isn't really helpful and can sometimes lead to just having an echo effect of them repeating penalties that have already been accounted for. Given the choice, I'd rather have no wrangler than a stationary one.

Something we tried once out of necessity that I thought worked pretty well was to have two penalty trackers, and no wrangler, but have the two trackers fan out to be near the refs as they went around the turns. They're both stationed at the center of the inside next to the whiteboard, but as the pack comes their way they wander out towards the turn to be close to the inside refs and then head back to center (as the players and refs come out of the turn) where they can communicate with the other penalty tracker and the inside whiteboard operator. This kind of turns both penalty trackers into pseudo wranglers but it worked pretty well.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: PaPaROTC on December 21, 2010, 05:08:04 pm
We use and love a following wrangler.  The efficiency is very noticeable when a crew doesn't have one.  I am going to try and fill that as a position when I set up the Dust Devil officiating crews, it is a must have.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Gimme Mo on January 23, 2011, 07:28:42 pm
In my experience the roving penalty wrangler works best.  Your wrangler position is between the inside pack refs so the wrangler can catch/refs can drop penalties immediately. Your wrangler also keeps track of skaters with 3 minors so the 4th minor can be called immediately.  Jammer refs are responsible for dropping their penalties to either the wrangler or tracker.  Wrangler, tracker, and hot board operator are all responsible for catching penalties from OWB, but the tracker normally gives the thumbs up that they have the penalty.
Penalty wrangler is a lot of fun to me, and I suppose it takes someone who can focus within mass chaos.  At our venue, everything echos; music, the announcers, screaming fans, screaming skaters, screaming coaches, calls from refs.  You also have to have a 6th sense to manuver around everyone in the middle.  If you can block out everything else and just focus on whistles, watch for hand signals, and hear the penalties as they're called, your golden.  :) 
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Judge Knot on January 23, 2011, 10:08:31 pm
When I wrangle, I follow the pack, and position myself beside (and slightly ahead of) the HR, kinda running back between the HR and IPR as needed. Most of the time from watching the pack you can anticipate calls as they are coming (using observation of the pack and the IPR/HR hand signals) and then just wait for confirmation of color/number. It's the most efficient way I've seen it done, and what I instruct my wranglers to do.

I also carry a clipboard to keep notes on, such as any players starting the jam with 3 minors.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: REFENSTEIN on January 24, 2011, 01:27:17 am
We are using two inside white boards.  One for each team.  Two penalty trackers and two wrangler/whiteboard people.  Yes, it's four people but it is four sets of ears.  All four people have clipboards and are taught to relay information from one board to another.

We had some issues before we gave everyone a clipboard.

I am loud and I teach the other refs to be loud.  Our wranglers usually only have problems when we have visting refs who are not as loud as we are.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: SmackTavish on August 04, 2011, 07:46:36 am
Two concerns about wrangling/tracking:

1. We've bouted less than 6 times, and the Head NSO for the first 2 bouts (and the HR? I think) told me the Head NSO should be penalty tracking because of the weight of the position. In my experience these last few bouts, I've decided it's easier/more efficient for me to wrangle while a newb can do tracking. [see example below] I know the abbreviations, while the tracker just has to put down what I tell him. Comments?

2. I do like the idea of more ears in the middle, BUT:
~tried two wranglers (one of whom--myself--was also tracking). it confused the IWB person, my tracking sheet didn't match what the IWB had, and the other wrangler reported to the IWB and not me, the fact of which accounts for the first two problems but was probably also because of the size/construction of our IWB.
~tried one wrangler and one tracker, and this was okay, but again the tracker reported more to the IWB than to myself (the tracker). i felt like i was copying the IWB again. I still think it has more to do with the size of our IWB (proudly constructed by our HR), which blocks about 4 feet of eye-level airspace while blocking at least as much floor space as well. it's just simpler on one side of the track to run to the the IWB person instead of around the whole board to get to me.
~at tonight's inter-league scrimmage, I had one person tracking (who wrote what I told them), one IWB, and then myself. I didn't really wrangle (a migraine prevented me from continuing in circles), but I wasn't stationary, either. when I heard a whistle or saw a zebra react, I ran over to them immediately to get the call. this worked great tonight and I hope to use this method at our next bout. [side note: another reason why this may have worked out better tonight is my use of earplugs, which allow me to hear the refs' calls over the din of the bout.]
Comments? Suggestions?
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Shaun Ketterman on August 04, 2011, 03:00:09 pm
1. I don't think there is a specific job that the head NSO needs to be doing.  The head NSO should do the job that s/he is best at, same as every other NSO, as far as I'm concerned.  There's certainly no guidance from WFTDA about it. 

2. I prefer to use two penalty trackers, one for each team, and one wrangler.  I prefer the method that Judge Knot described for the wrangler to follow.  As an IPR, I will report the penalties directly to the penalty trackers sometimes if I'm closest to them or the wrangler is doing something else.  The wrangler and IPRs work together to triage penalties that the IPRs call, and then also pick them up from the jammer refs and the outside refs when need be.  There is definitely more art to it than science, but I've found that an active wrangler who follows the refs is 100x more helpful than a passive wrangler who waits for the refs to come to him/her.  I wouldn't have a wrangler doing any other job besides wrangling if I could help it.  To do it well, keep up with the refs, accurately remember 2-3 calls at once and be actively taking penalties from the outside white boards is enough for one person, I think.   
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: Ms. High-handed on August 04, 2011, 08:04:34 pm
During regionals, I noticed the wrangler following the refs and picking up penalties there, when the refs were away from the trackers.
as I'm calling myself as a wrangler, I prefer to wrangle by following between HR and IPR (as judge knot as follow the pack) and of course I have the feeling that not to be on somebody way by using your peripheral vision and instinct. I did it for 3 months and every Saturday as exercise to understand the job and experiment to do it better.

Now I get used to work either two trackers or one which they stay in the middle but can be also flexible once a while depend on situation. But honestly I prefer to work with one tracker because it works faster and less complicated.

Your wrangler needs to find out what works for them and asks penalty tracker and the skating referees for the feedback. Feedback and communication are good things to develop the skill and earn the advantage to have wrangler.

Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: DeCapitator on August 04, 2011, 08:48:42 pm
The wrangler should be communicating directly to the penalty tracker. The IWB should have nothing to do with collecting calls. That will be the quickest way for the IWB and Tracker to get out of synch. The wrangler drops the penalty off to the tracker, and then the tracker communicates to the IWB that “Green 44 has two minors”. The tracker is the official tally and record, and the IWB relays that via a simplified method to the benches. The tracker should have the penalty codes memorized. They are ultimately responsible for any issues regarding the penalty tally and their communication. It is unfair to put a newbie in the position of penalty tracker in my opinion, as certain issues or mistakes can have a direct impact on the game and it will be their head on the chopping block.
Title: Re: Where's your wrangler?
Post by: SmackTavish on August 05, 2011, 12:09:07 am
Thanks for your help, all! Now I have MORE questions!

I also carry a clipboard to keep notes on, such as any players starting the jam with 3 minors.
So, JK, do you not make all notes of all penalties on a clipboard to report to the trackers? I was taught to do it that way, but that was only one teacher, so I'm all ears to what works for you or any other league out there.

B. How in the world do your wranglers stay with the IPRs? Maybe my league just likes to skate obscenely fast. My other concern is the lack of space in the center, because every time I feel like I have a good rhythm going, I nearly get run over by the JRs, or I'm ducking between the tracker and jam timer.

C. Do you not put codes for the penalties on the whiteboard? What do you use instead? Just hash marks? Both majors and minors? Do you also keep count of the timeouts taken on the whiteboard? How big (especially, how tall?) is your whiteboard?

D. I trained two trackers at last night's inter-league scrimmage. Both had issues going to the right half of the page for a penalty (black was at the top, and white at the bottom, using WFTDA's stat sheet). If you go with 1 tracker, would you suggest making color cues in the page margins? If you have 2 trackers (1 for each team), do they wear wristbands like the JRs and scorekeepers?

My apologies for being such a PITA but ya'll are really helpful. Thanks.