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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Sat Sep 10, 2005, 07:59pm
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The more experienced an official is with a good understanding of the game and how the rules are applied, seems to be indicative of his ability to effectively give warnings.

Warnings make the game flow, especially when given early in the game and the players and coaches heed them.

During my officiating career, the more experienced I became the more warnings I give to players and coaches, having a clearer understanding between – warnings and coaching.

Below are some thoughts IMHO on warnings. I wish there was a board to post on, for coaches, to get their feedback.



Can a football game be officiated without giving players and coaches warnings? Not really. Warnings are an integral part of officiating.

An official is primarily looking to flag infractions that impact the play, compromises player safety or compromises game control – to deal with infractions that don’t affect these areas – a warning can be the appropriate decision.

Warnings are much more than just words. They’re meaningful, are helpful to players & coaches, should fit the situation and be conveyed in a timely and comprehensive manner. Warning a player about hooking the tight end off the line – that didn’t affect the play – and then follow up after a couple of downs, letting him know his technic is now within the rules. He knows you’re watching him and is well aware that it’s just not a random warning. Warnings set the stage, showing that the officials are keenly aware that flagging – just any infraction – is not effective officiating.

The crew of officials should address and confront all areas of the game – which could range from flagging an infraction or just giving a look (to a coach on the sideline) that conveys a message, that’s enough complaining coach. When a player commits an infraction that doesn’t warrant a penalty flag - he should be warned – so he doesn’t think the infraction has gone unnoticed.

Well-coached teams, instruct their players that anytime an official talks to them, they’re to report it to their coaching staff, which (for the official) provides a conduit for communicating with the team. Coaches are judging the official, not only on the infractions he flags but also on the warnings he gives. And, for that matter, any comment the official makes.

Players and coaches must have a feeling - if they don’t heed your warning - you will carrier through with a penalty. This in itself will prevent infractions and convey that the officials are in control of the game.

After talking to a player (giving a warning) at the end of a down, I’ve seen coaches replace the player, talk with him and then send him back in the game – the situation resolved. Or, they set him on the bench, again the situation resolved.

In a team’s huddle you can inform the captain to admonish his teammate – who has already been warned – knowing that the warning will be reported to the coach. With the coach knowing and not heeding your warning – the official has little choice then to penalize.

Some officials view anything more then a general warning (e.g.,) (a wing official tapping his leg indicating the scrimmage line to a wide receiver – a referee saying the ball’s gone so linemen can letup on their blocks) – as coaching. Officials shouldn’t coach, but there are many areas of the game that an official can warn – that isn’t coaching. As long as a team doesn’t gain an advantage or is put to a disadvantage – it’s appropriate to warn. Knowing when and how to warn is as much apart of the game as the rules and mechanics.
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Old Mon Sep 12, 2005, 05:17am
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Well put. I think you should start out every game in the manner you describe, but unfortunately some coaches are not smart enough to understand what you're doing. Sometimes they instead take the opportunity to start complaining about some situation, instead of listening to you and correcting the situation.

In those cases, warnings may not work. But you should always try first!
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Old Mon Sep 12, 2005, 05:54am
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This is great advice. I think many officials are either unwilling or afraid to bring things up to players and coaches when they see it. I see many officials that flag first then explain, when if you reverse the order, your night is much more enjoyable and smooth.

One thing I would like to add, any time you talk to a player about something, tell the head coach what you saw and your warning. Even if the coach sees it already or the player mentions it. This covers all bases because if the player does it down the road and you penalize him and say to the coach, "I mentioned it to him earlier and he did it again," the coach will be furious. Had it happen last year. If I would have mentioned it to him earlier it would have made my night a whole heck of a lot bettter!
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Old Mon Sep 12, 2005, 07:30am
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Coach, I heard You

I am a newbie to FB but have been doing BskBall for about 6-years. I agree with the warning/preventive officiating, if only some coaches would heed the "warnings". Sat AM, had a HS Frosh game, it was early and it was hot, but that should not be an excuse for the coaches.

Red Asst Coach is starting to harp about "everytime they run that sweep, they're holding our end", and his voice is one that is heard about two blocks away [in fact had another individual from the school talk to us at half time and tell us he heard the coach from inside the school which is about 150-yards from the coaches box].

I had the Red sideline, I told the Asst Coach I heard him and gave him the old stop sign. The next time White ran the sweep to the other side, he started chirping again. I told Asst Coach Okay, I heard him. [I didn't see any holding but the run was towards the LM side and I was drifting downfield and trying to clean up]. Between plays I am right next to Red HC, I told HC that he better take care of his sideline before I had to. HC turned right away and headed for the Asst Coach, don't know if or what he said to him, if anything.

The next chance the crew [4-man] had to huddle, I passed on the coaches concerns to everyone so we could be watching for holding. The next series Red has ball, and what do they do, 1st down RT pulls down the DE. U gets the hold. Back up 10 and do it again. On 3rd down, Red runs sweep to LM side, U gets pulling LG with a nice tackle on DT. Backup 10 more and do it again. Red is able to recover from both penalties and sustains a fairly nice drive. It's about 2nd and 4 from White 35-Yd line and RG gets a hold on DE on pass play. Red finally stalls on the drive and punts.

So now we start hearing that "everyone on our line got called for holding on that series. Why don't you guys call it both ways.

Next series, White's ball, and they run the sweep away from me. Asst Coach, started up again, "they're holding our end". I again gave stop sign, and told Asst Coach, that's enough, I heard him. He kind of looks at me and turns toward the umpire, and yells the umpire's name [they used to work together] and says "you gotta call those holds".

I sent yellow flying and gave Asst Coach USC. The HC asked what for, I replied, "I think you got a pretty good idea coach". It got a lot quieter in the neighborhood after that.

So much for warnings. Do you think if we gave that many warnings to a player before we flagged him the coach would talk to the player along the lines like "how stupid are you kid, he warned you three times, he told you not to do that, what part of no do you not understand".

Just my take on a pleasant walk in the park on a Sat morning in September.

[Edited by golfdesigner on Sep 12th, 2005 at 08:33 AM]
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Old Mon Sep 12, 2005, 01:01pm
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too many warnings for an assistant coach....

finally did the right thing...

You should have flagged immediately the next time he chirpped up after you spoke to the head coach.
"Contact does not mean a foul, a foul means contact." -Me
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old Tue Sep 13, 2005, 11:54am
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What and how to warn can be thought out before the game, in your own personal pregame. Have one liners that fit certain situations that can be adjusted to fit the one you are addressing.

Coach, I have asked you a couple times to take care of your sideline and it has not been done.
Warning to a player (watch your hands) giving him the feeling the next time it will be flagged.

Each official has a reputation with coaches and players:

Is the official one that just gives warning without making calls. In reality, saying, you really don’t have to pay attention to what I’m saying.

Is the official one that is known for giving warning and if you don’t heed them, the coach or player will be flagged.

Is the official one that, doesn’t warn at all.

If it is the first game with a team, the official has to set the tone early in the game as to what he will warn and what he is going to flag.

Warnings are much more than just words, they’re meaningful and should be conveyed that way.

[Edited by Green on Sep 13th, 2005 at 12:57 PM]
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