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Author Topic: Dealing with Hostile Skaters  (Read 4605 times)

Offline Lethal Ejection

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Dealing with Hostile Skaters
« on: July 15, 2016, 08:29:28 pm »
Hi Everyone,
New to the site so I hope I'm posting in the right spot.
Anyhoot, I was wondering how other referees deal with hostile skaters, coaches and other derby staff after calling a penalty. How can I thicken my zebra skin?


Offline Mav'Ricky

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Re: Dealing with Hostile Skaters
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2016, 01:09:28 pm »
Hi there,
There's a few answers to the question you're asking and no doubt others on here will be able to give you some great ideas on how to deal with hostile skaters. Here's my top 7 pointers:

1. Ref according to the rules. That's the #1 priority. If, for example, a skater is questioning a call, but also exiting the track immediately, then that's a good example of not calling an insubordination penalty. For skaters not doing what the rules require them to do, that's when they start  moving into the red (penalty) zone. Abusive skaters need to be penalised according to the rules.

2. Stand your ground. Officiating to the best of your ability sometimes requires making unpopular calls.

3. Talk to the coach about skater behaviour towards officials. Mention it to the other officials or head ref to get their take on things, calibrate and continue.

4. I like to tell captains (during the capt. meeting) I'm avail between jams for questions so feel free to approach me, but if I say "Would you like to official review that?" it means I am either busy with something or have exhausted all other possibilities. Sometimes you need to manage the emotion of the game.

5. Ask skaters for feedback (away from the track). Try get their take on how things are Get a feel for when the skater wants an answer/feedback or whether they just want to vent. The way you come across makes a big difference.

6. Attend skater training (if allowed) where you often have more of an opportunity to explain your calls etc and discuss the rules. Seldom do refs train as much as the skaters and your reffing ability will explode.

7. Refer the skater/benchie/coach to the HR about any calls they may want clarification on.

Good luck with it. Reffing is very satisfying. Remember we are not there to call penalties. We are there to ensure the game is safe and fair and to enforce the rules. There's a subtle difference.

Be fair. Be clear.

Offline Axis of Stevil

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Re: Dealing with Hostile Skaters
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2016, 07:33:02 pm »
Here's another suggestion.

8.  Maintain your cool.  Keep your hand signals clear and concise, don't raise the your voice more than is necessary for the context of a communication.  Don't let your body language betray that you are agitated.  If you lose your cool then you lose control of the game. - The referee who quotes a rule with the most digits is declared the winner.

Offline Major Puddles

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Re: Dealing with Hostile Skaters
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2016, 05:00:54 am »
Take their concern seriously. Explain that you understand that they feel that they got back blocked, cut, elbowed whatever.

Use their name. This may be unpopular, but using someones number when they're upset is pretty dehumanising, and not a good way to handle conflict. Just imagine...
"Smashem, I understand you feel like we're missing stuff...." vs
"White 2.0. I understand you feel like we're missing stuff". It's completely different.

Tell them what you're doing about it. We'll keep an eye on it, if we see it, we'll call it. I'll talk to my crew, etc etc. If you're not HR, let them know you'll mention to the HR.

Offline ShoNuff

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Re: Dealing with Hostile Skaters
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 02:12:08 pm »
Now and again, take a deep breathe and let some of the tension out.

If a game starts rattling you, it's easier to make mistakes that make the tension worse.

Great piece of advice I got was to think about what body positions relax you.

Think about how you stand and skate while you are in your best mental frame.   Make a point of putting yourself into that stance when you aren't in your best mental frame.  Positions that you take when you are relaxed can help you relax when you need it.

Offline Wernher

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Re: Dealing with Hostile Skaters
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 09:40:40 pm »
At the risk of reiteration, don't get angry. You made the call; if you're the HR then make yourself available to discuss it (reasonably, and either within 30 seconds or make them call a time out). If something crosses the line into abuse and needs an insubordination, make the call, but do so dispassionately.  Be Spock-like (Leonard Nimoy Spock, please).

If your the HR, and the issue is with a non-captain, ask the captain to take care of the situation -  they don't want to have people in the box, and they don't want to sit in it if the issue is with an expelled skater.

A trick used in soccer a lot is the intentional delaying of the game. Things heat up, slow down when the restart happens. In our case, if things heat up to a point where you're worried about game control, take an official timeout or three - make sure the rest of your crew is in a good state. Talk to the captains; repeatedly if necessary.  I told the captains in a men's game once that they could choose between quit, plan on taking players to the hospital, or to calm down.

Ultimately, you're in charge of the game. You need to act like it - and if you show fear and/or anger, you lose your authority. 
Wernher Von Bombed
Assistant Head Ref
Minnesota RollerGirls


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