Sunday, September 4, 2011

Playing in Overtime

It's not something that happens in a lot of bouts. Overtime – An additional jam to determine the winner of a tied game.

In close games, everything is in the details and mistakes are magnified tenfold.

The Quad-City Rollers have found themselves in two different overtime jams this season. The first was against the Rockford Rage's Ragdolls, a mix of their Travel team and secondary-level players.

That game ended in a loss after Q-C jammer Lady Gotcha tapped out for an injury stoppage, and giving the point advantage to Rockford.

On August 27, the Rollers got to play against The Outfit's newest team, Shakedown, comprised of B and C team skaters. Two years ago, Q-C's A-team played against The Outfit B-team (The Shade Brigade), and lost handedly.

This time, Q-C would get some measure of revenge after both teams would skate to a 150-150 tie after the Rollers would fail to get a 3-point differential to come out with a win.

The overtime happens when the game is tied at the natural end of the game clock and any current jams are finished.
Often called overtime or sudden death, the overtime jam actually is an extension of the second half, and not a new half in regards to scoring.

The overtime jam consists of No Lead Jammer being designated; scoring occurs on every pass (even the initial one) and will continue for a full 2 minutes, or until a natural conclusion (referee stoppage, injury stoppage).

Lucky enough, the Rollers managed a 166-158 win even after losing two blockers to the box.

The key with overtime is pack control. In overtime, you know the jam is going to last for 2 minutes, so staying composed is mandatory.

I talk a lot about positive point differential (getting more points than opponents), and most people probably will say "no duh." For regulation jam games, positive point differentials and utilizing lead jammer is important. Without lead jammer, teams instead have to focus on the point differentials and pack control for the whole 2 minutes.

After overtime, the winner is decided by who earned the most points. If the game remains a tie, an additional overtime jam will commence.

In overtime, winning can be measured by a 1-0 point jam or a 20-19 point jam. Keeping pack control and tight focus can make the difference in earning that one extra point, instead of losing that extra point.

I encourage teams to practice specific situations to become more and more comfortable when those happen in bout situations.

Because our team had the previous experience in overtime, our focus was on our pack control.

We knew that the overtime jam was a possibility so we had our next line ready to go. Had we not anticipated the new jam, we would have thrown five girls out there that might be in penalty trouble.

The Rollers were also aware of how the overtime jam worked, so the blockers worked on getting our jammer through and collapsing on the opposing jammer, to minimize the amount of points she could score.

Practice overtime jams whenever possible: 2 minutes, no lead and scoring on the first pass. While they happen quite infrequently, they do happen. You want to be prepared when they do.