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Author Topic: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?  (Read 7680 times)

Offline Miranda Wrights

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Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« on: February 19, 2009, 07:27:42 pm »
At our last bout we had a mix of NSOs from very experienced to pulled from the crowd new.  The biggest problem was on stats catching and tracking.  Most problems were related to poor communication (and that the speaker for the blasting sound system was directly above the center of the track).

Do you have resources for accelerating through the learning curve or instilling best practices for NSOs?  Specifically, advice on:

1. How to run an effective timekeeping, penalty and point tracking with the minimum number of bodies in the infield

2. Communication patterns (thumbs up, repeating what they've heard, codes, whatever) that give good accuracy.

3. How to minimize talking w/ stats to maximize eyes on the skaters.

Unsolicited advice is also appreciated!
Miranda
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Offline Jessticular Fortitude

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2009, 07:49:00 pm »
One thing that has been very helpful with regards to penalty tracking is having a list of possible penalties and their abbreviations that is attached to the clipboard/whiteboard that they're writing the penalties down on.

For example,
Back Blocking = B (or BB, depending on preference)
Cutting the track = CT
etc.

For the times when you're working with either referees you're not used to or have brand new NSOs I've found it's good to get everybody on the same page before the bout starts with regards to how they call things. For instance, if you say "lower arms" every time (while doing the hand signal) instead of "hands" it's less confusing (and more correct...) for somebody who is not familiar with the penalties. If everybody calls everything as similarly as possible, it decreases the time it takes the newbie to register what penalty it is you're calling out, and lets you get back out there reffing that much quicker.

Also, no matter the job, make it absolutely clear how important it is that all NSOs pay constant attention to the referees inside and out for the entire game, and not to watch the game. It is extremely frustrating having to wait to get the attention of an NSO that should have been watching/listening for you.

Thumbs up is a really good way to make sure somebody understands you, especially when you're on the inside and you're trying to get a penalty from an outside ref or outside whiteboard. In high stress situations, that tiny recognition can be the difference between the correct person going to the box, and somebody from the completely wrong team...

Also, if you're skating by the penalty tracker, do look at them when you're stating the penalty, because I've encountered a lot of the "red team, 2.., murmurmurmur" because the ref started looking away while skating off at a high rate of speed. If the NSO can see your mouth move, even if the sound is too loud, they have a better chance of at least reading your lips if they don't understand hand signals.

Somebody else will have to pipe in about timekeeping and points, I know nothing about that.
Hey look, a search function! Right up there! No on the left

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Offline L8R SK8R

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2009, 09:35:47 pm »
For score keepers, have them nod at you, thumbs, some sort of recognition when you report a score.

Offline DayGlo Divine

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2009, 09:47:13 pm »
For timekeeping, I like to use kitchen countdown timers. They're pretty foolproof, as they beep when the pre-set time is up and can usually be reset (or set again) very easily. When I jam-timed at last year's Western Regionals, I mounted two of them to a clipboard. One was pre-set to 2 minutes; the other, to 30 seconds (for between jams). They worked great; my only complaint was that holding the clipboard meant I couldn't outdo The Prosecutor's inimitable jam-starting style. The jam timers at last year's ECE used them as well, although I seem to remember only having one when I filled those shoes.
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Charm City Roller Girls
Opinions expressed here are mine. Not WFTDA's, not Charm City's, and not those of Zebra Huddle as a whole.

Offline Major Wood

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2009, 09:48:21 pm »
I suggest for score keepers to hold up their hand to signal your score back to you, as well yelling it to you. You can then confirm or correct as necessary. This avoids any possible miscommunication.
Suggest that penalty trackers get in the habit of signalling to jam refs how many minors their jammer has. Jam refs should check on their own, but sometimes you just run out of time, and it's nice to have that backup.
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Offline noidd

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 09:57:28 pm »
Do you have resources for accelerating through the learning curve or instilling best practices for NSOs?

The simplest way to make my life easier as a penalty tracker has to do with the order and way that you call the penalties.

Please try to order your call as hand signal, color, number, (verbal penalty).  With all the noise in a bout and up to four penalty feeds in the infield I have to track the location and voice of four people spinning around me.  The hardest part of that is detecting quickly enough whether any scream or call I hear is coming from a ref or not.
  • Start with hand-signal - This is a huge boon for me because I can use my eyes to identify if a penalty is being called.  This means that the moment I see a hand-signal I can focus all my effort in hearing and communicating only with you.
  • Color - With all the love in the world, if you're not calling my color I'm dropping my attention on you and re-focussing on all the other refs.
  • Number - Now I have the player identified I have enough information to do my job.
  • (Verbal Penalty) - The reason I put it in brackets is because I should already know this from the hand signal.  It is also the piece of information most likely to get lost as you zoom past me so hand-signal will save me at this point.  It is also arguably the least important piece of information
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Offline howie~swerve

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 10:21:50 pm »

  • Color - With all the love in the world, if you're not calling my color I'm dropping my attention on you and re-focussing on all the other refs.


You know what would help jamrefs do this (or any refs, I guess, but I'm particularly guilty of shouting my penalty toward the general area of the trackers rather than at the correct individual tracker).... if the two trackers wore hats or shirts matching the color of the team they're tracking for.  not *logos*... that might imply bias and support.  But in just the same way the jamrefs wear colored armbands.

Before every bout I'm introduced to the two trackers, shake hands, nod, smile, and I still immediately forget which one is tracking Red and which one is tracking Blue.  So I shout towards both of them.  Color code them!

howie~
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"To protect and to swerve."

Offline L8R SK8R

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 10:24:43 pm »
The simplest way to make my life easier as a penalty tracker has to do with the order and way that you call the penalties.

Please try to order your call as hand signal, color, number, (verbal penalty).  With all the noise in a bout and up to four penalty feeds in the infield I have to track the location and voice of four people spinning around me.  The hardest part of that is detecting quickly enough whether any scream or call I hear is coming from a ref or not.
  • Start with hand-signal - This is a huge boon for me because I can use my eyes to identify if a penalty is being called.  This means that the moment I see a hand-signal I can focus all my effort in hearing and communicating only with you.
  • Color - With all the love in the world, if you're not calling my color I'm dropping my attention on you and re-focussing on all the other refs.
  • Number - Now I have the player identified I have enough information to do my job.
  • (Verbal Penalty) - The reason I put it in brackets is because I should already know this from the hand signal.  It is also the piece of information most likely to get lost as you zoom past me so hand-signal will save me at this point.  It is also arguably the least important piece of information

Well put, but I would combine Hand Signal with (Verbal Penalty). I find it is easier to call out the penalty as I see it, give the hand signal at the same time, and then call out the player who fouled. Color then number is a good way to do it so that the penalty tracker for that team is alerted first, and you don't have both trackers searching their penalty sheets for "Number 265."

You know what would help jamrefs do this (or any refs, I guess, but I'm particularly guilty of shouting my penalty toward the general area of the trackers rather than at the correct individual tracker).... if the two trackers wore hats or shirts matching the color of the team they're tracking for.  not *logos*... that might imply bias and support.  But in just the same way the jamrefs wear colored armbands.

Before every bout I'm introduced to the two trackers, shake hands, nod, smile, and I still immediately forget which one is tracking Red and which one is tracking Blue.  So I shout towards both of them.  Color code them!

howie~

Hats!! Colored Hats! Yes! Why hasn't anyone done this before? (maybe they have but i havent seen it yet)
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 10:28:10 pm by L8R SK8R »

Offline Rev. Riot

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2009, 10:47:24 pm »
Personally, I dislike separate penalty trackers for each team, as Howie mentioned, I'd rather not worry I'm dropping penalties to a tracker that doesn't care. We have three penalty trackers in the middle, any of them can catch either team's penalty. One person uses the clipboard for the official count. One tracks on the whiteboard. One is open to catch from the outside whiteboards and back up the first two on the inside. When they catch one they record it, and repeat it to the other person tracking.

A good verification from tracker to ref is to repeat the player ID (color, number) so the ref is sure that they've heard the right person.
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Offline Darkjester

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2009, 10:47:36 pm »
We did something this past weekend during the second day of the tournament. We added a non-skating, non-striped Ref to the inside operation as a "Penalty Spotter". It worked great for me, I could keep my attention between the two penalty WB operators from the outside and relay to the inside trackers. "Red 23 Cutting.." and make the hand signal to go with it.  It helped to speed up the reporting of fouls, and if a player had 4 minors, we had an extra person to alert a pack ref to pull a skater.

Our biggest issue was actually skaters that had poorly numbered arms, or their hair hiding the numbers.

We had confusions of 503 was really 508 or 808 or 505, or Blue 8 or 08 was really 88.

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Offline howie~swerve

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2009, 04:24:08 am »
Hats!! Colored Hats! Yes! Why hasn't anyone done this before? (maybe they have but i havent seen it yet)

 :)  Never seen it either -- but I'm imagining brightly colored winter hats with poms.  Just for visibility, you know?

[I "invented" a great single-clock system for penalty timing back in Baltimore that I later learned had been previously invented by Statsi (and probably a ton of other people since him).  I'm sure someone's using big ol' hats somewhere.  but on the general subject of "avoiding insanity" -- don't let your penalty timers use more than one clock!  it WILL drive them mad!]

Yeah, though, I'm with Riot.  I prefer a single penalty tracker (shout out to my girl Steak Knife), and I've just become resigned to the fact that most leagues don't do it that way.  Riot's system sounds great though.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2009, 04:27:04 am by howie~swerve »
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Offline DayGlo Divine

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2009, 04:37:38 am »
Hats!! Colored Hats! Yes! Why hasn't anyone done this before? (maybe they have but i havent seen it yet)

 :)  Never seen it either -- but I'm imagining brightly colored winter hats with poms.  Just for visibility, you know?

[I "invented" a great single-clock system for penalty timing back in Baltimore that I later learned had been previously invented by Statsi (and probably a ton of other people since him).  I'm sure someone's using big ol' hats somewhere.  but on the general subject of "avoiding insanity" -- don't let your penalty timers use more than one clock!  it WILL drive them mad!]

Yeah, though, I'm with Riot.  I prefer a single penalty tracker (shout out to my girl Steak Knife), and I've just become resigned to the fact that most leagues don't do it that way.  Riot's system sounds great though.

Using more than one clock works fine, as long as you have some reliable way to keep track of which clock belongs to what seat/person/whatever. I do prefer one clock, though, as well as one penalty box manager; if I had my druthers, I'd rather have that extra hand in the middle as either a second tracker or a spotter. Tracking usually goes a lot more smoothly when the labor is divided; it's certainly less of a headache for the people doing it.
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Charm City Roller Girls
Opinions expressed here are mine. Not WFTDA's, not Charm City's, and not those of Zebra Huddle as a whole.

Offline howie~swerve

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2009, 04:59:24 am »
Using more than one clock works fine, as long as you have some reliable way to keep track of which clock belongs to what seat/person/whatever.

yeah.... THAT's what drove me crazy!  "blue stopwatch for Mibbs, green one for Dolly, wristwatch for Reckless, black stopwatch for Skabs... oh crap, jam's over and I just reset one watch while I was trying to stop all four at the same time!!  Wait, it was blue watch for Dolly, right?"  to be fair, this was before the days of seats in rows -- we had a plastic kiddie pool in the infield.

Just one watch that starts and stops with the jam clock.  When a skater lands in your box at 3:25, write down her name and "4:25".  Release her when the clock hits 4:25.  Your skaters will be listed in order of release (unless someone earns multiple minutes).  warning: I offer this as someone who hasn't penalty-timed in forever...

And at the end, you have a nice little bonus statistic: the clock reads how much time was spent actually skating during the period.

howie~
Rollergirls of Central Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
"To protect and to swerve."

Offline Pallbearer

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2009, 03:13:35 pm »
Axl Rolls from Delaware (you here AXL?) has an excellent set of documents with job descriptions of each Ref and NSO position in them, they're a great thing to be able to handle to a new NSO before a game if you do have do it at short notice. At least if you give them something to read it takes the pressure off you from having to remember a job you probably havne't done lately.

Handing a new NSO a typed up document also helps them understand the gravity of what they're doing - this is important !

At our last bout we had a mix of NSOs from very experienced to pulled from the crowd new.  The biggest problem was on stats catching and tracking.  Most problems were related to poor communication (and that the speaker for the blasting sound system was directly above the center of the track).

Do you have resources for accelerating through the learning curve or instilling best practices for NSOs?  Specifically, advice on:

1. How to run an effective timekeeping, penalty and point tracking with the minimum number of bodies in the infield

2. Communication patterns (thumbs up, repeating what they've heard, codes, whatever) that give good accuracy.

3. How to minimize talking w/ stats to maximize eyes on the skaters.

Unsolicited advice is also appreciated!
Miranda

Offline SeerSin

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Re: Crash Coursing NSOs- Tips to Avoid Insanity?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2009, 03:39:28 pm »
I'm curious to know how exactly people are running the penalty clocks. Currently we're using two penalty timers who sit behind the box with three stop watches each. I'm convinced there must be a better way that doesn't require the timers to divide their attention between three stop watches and nine buttons. Ideas?

 

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