Referee Penalty Calling Circuit

Objective: 1. To develop derby thinking skills (by calling penalties) which still function while we are doing cardio activities; 2. To continuously practice seeing ‘ten feet’ while using derby thinking skills.

Typical length of drill: 15 minutes (two complete run throughs with six participants)
Materials needed: Trainer: Tape/cones to mark corners, interval timer (or app), penalty flashcards (or app/website, see Zebra Huddle), chair to put penalty app/flashcards on; Participants: Whistles

Skill level required: All ref skill levels but works particularly well when you have a mix of experienced and less-experienced referees. Injured/off-skates refs can also join in this drill and work to their own level.

Description:We have been doing the following circuit for a while now and try to fit it into every referee training session. It has changed a bit with use but this is it’s current format. Each station runs for 60 seconds with a 15 second break in between. Trainer can easily join in.Mark out a square on the floor with the corners exactly ten feet apart. These are the ‘corners’ and are marked as ‘C’ on the diagram. Mark the points of an imaginary triangle laid on opposite sides of the square approx 5 feet out, these are the ‘points’ which are marked ‘P’.

The circuit is broken into two parts, the physical activities are at the corners and the penalty calling practice is at the points. Set the interval timer to 12 rounds of 60 seconds work time with 15 seconds rest.

At the points the referees will be looking at four bodies ten feet apart as measured at the hips while using ref brain to call penalties. Point one (P1) is set up with the penalty practice app on a chair. Ref at P1 calls penalties as they appear, with correct whistles, calls and hand signals. Ref at P2 mirrors call back at P1, repeating whistles, calls, hand signals. Inexperienced refs at P1 may call just number and penalty and then mirror back hand signal/format to P2.

The activities at the corners should be a good mix of cardio and strength training. By the time refs get to P1/2 they should be a bit puffed and have to work to switch into ref brain mode. Each activity should be done with the participants’ hips directly over the ‘C’ mark on the floor. Set a different activity for each corner and remember to discuss alternatives with anyone who is injured/off-skates. Suggested activities include: stutter steps/running on the spot on toe stops; isometric squats; planks; sit-ups/push-ups; alternating knee-lifts; anything you can do on-skates, in one place, which will get your pulse up.

Additional notes: This drill is designed for six people per circuit (though if you don’t have enough people for two circuits extra stations can be set up between corners and points with extra activities). Drill can also be done with players who are eager to get more familiar with hand signals though it is probably best to try and get players and refs at opposing corners.
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