Skater watching drills for beginner referees

Objective: A two-part drill to develop skater watching skills beginning with watching a single skater and moving up to watching skaters within a pack while practicing the most basic verbal cues ‘colour, number’.
Typical length of drill: Any length of time – both parts can be done during warm ups.
Materials needed: Taped down track, skaters to watch, skaters with numbers for part 2.

Skill level required: Basic skating skills

Description:

1. Single skater watching drill. One or more Referees skate on the inside of the track during pack drills. You select (or have suggested) one pack skater, someone who is fast but who will also fall/slow down frequently, and then follow that skater as if they are the Jammer and you are the Jammer Referee (JR). Try to keep your eyes on the skater’s feet or skates, stop if the skater falls, slow if the skater slows, stay inside the track markings and never let your eyes leave the skater. The object of this is to learn how to stop and slow as a reaction to an unexpected event in the confined space inside the track while also skating close to other Referees. The more Referees do this drill together the better the practice of skating as an Inside Pack Referee (IPR).

2. Multiple skater watching drill. This can be done during warm up or during drills. Prior to this drill all skaters should be asked to put numbers on their arms or be wearing scrimmage shirts with numbers. You skate either on the track with skaters, in the IPR lane or the OPR lane. As you pass each skater call their number out. Start with just the number and progress to ‘colour/number’. The purpose of this is to get you used to the process of seeing and calling skaters by their numbers as well as learning to watch multiple moving skaters.

Additional notes: Part one is usually the first thing our trainee refs do after completing the fresh meat program but I still practice this as often as I can. Part two is also good as it lets trainee refs get used to hearing their ref voices.

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