Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adding another bullet point to the derby resume

Last night (Saturday, July 14) I head reffed a bout for the first time in my derby career (five or so years).

Since I began coaching three years ago, reffing has taken a back seat to my team's need for guidance, skills and strategy. I've only been able to pick up a few bouts here and there in the stripes, including a recent mixer in which I jam reffed for the third time.

I feel like all my experience and rules knowledge really came into play during the entire bout. I focused on leading my crew of referees and non-skating officials and worried less about moment-to-moment game play. Sure, I still made plenty of calls, but instead of always making the calls I was there to make sure the Jam Refs were allowed to make the calls on their jammers or that the other Inside Pack Ref was picking things up, too.

There really wasn't anything that sprang up new, but we did have a couple of learning experiences for many of the refs, including jam refs who needed some clarification on point scoring and best practices. But hey, every bout is a learning experience.

The host league was incredibly hospitable, making sure I had a solid crew in stripes and NSO shirts and it paid off in the end. The NSO and I were in constant communication. Communication is integral to not just officiating but all of derby.

I plan to take this experience and move forward in regards to both coaching and reffing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DRILL: Welcome to the shark tank

I don't post drill blogs very often, but I'm bored, and the lack of responses from interview requests has me feeling a little down. So here we go ...

Shark Tank
Works best with 8-20 skaters. Takes approx. 5-10 minutes to play one game, sometimes less.

You'll need helmet covers and four cones.

Refs help to watch for illegal hits, but coaches can watch for things, too.

Place cones in a 10 foot by 10 foot square formation. Designate two skaters as "it" or the "sharks" and give them helmet covers for distinction. All other skaters are considered "fish."

- "Fish" may skate in any direction within the confines of the square. They may not exit the square.

- "Sharks" may move through the square, exit the square and even skate around the square.

- The "sharks" goal is to use legal hits (clockwise block would be the only action that is typically illegal, but for the sake of the game is legal) knock the fish down or out of the square. Once down or out, the "fish" exits the square. "Fish" may counterblock. The game continues when only two "fish" are remaining. They now become the new sharks.

If you're skaters are particularly skilled you may shrink the square or add additional sharks, but typically two are just fine. Particularly when they start working together or combo their hitting.

Friday, July 6, 2012

WFTDA games review panel rules Minnesota-Windy City bout ended in tie

"The Games Review Panel has voted to uphold the sanctioning and the tied score of the 6/16/2012 game between Windy City Rollers and Minnesota RollerGirls."

WFTDA membership has voted in the past that major rules violations alone are not sufficient to de-sanction a game. We found, while the lack of an overtime jam is a major rules violation as a result of officiating errors, there is insufficient evidence that there were enough instances of poor and inconsistent officiating to revoke the sanctioning from this game. As for the unprecedented tied score, we stand by the submitted bout paperwork as the correct totals for the game."
~ Women's Flat Track Derby Association, July 7, 2012

June 2012 DNN rankings

The rankings by Derby News Network are out, and while there's a few given top spots (Gotham, Rose and Denver) surprises continue to happen.

The Chicago Outfit have struggled this last season with the transfers of Sweet Mary Pain and Gaygan (Molly Hachet also transferred, but I couldn't remember if she was on the A-team roster) with tough losses and even tougher close games.

Their games against Arch Rivals during the 2011 North Central Region Tournament were literally off the chain, each team splitting their contests, but ultimately Outfit getting the better end of the deal. Perhaps, we'll see a repeat this year.

Windy City and Minnesota have the top two slots locked up in the North Central Region. We're still waiting WFTDA word on the association's ruling after it was determined the game ended in a tie during the clash at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. WFTDA has ruled that the tie stands and the bout remains sanctioned. (WCR has two bouts remaining prior to the NC tournament: South Bend, July 14; and Denver, Aug. 25.)

Iowa darlings, the Mid Iowa Rollers, have bounced back from a bizarre season managing a decent ranking in the WFTDA's South Central Region, their play against Kansas City vaulting them up the rankings. Proof that a team can play the big competition, lose and still gain something out of it.

Wasatch has vaulted in the rankings, mainly through the same course, e.g. playing tough teams and getting key wins against other teams in their region. It's hard to imagine this relatively new team has grown so quickly so fast. (Personal editor's note: There are some pretty awesome women on that team.) Their ref crew could easily be one of the top 20 in the nation, and it shows through Wasatch's play.

Montreal's surprise win over Charm City has the rankings boards and derby journalists excited about the New Skids again. They displayed excellent skill last year during ECDX and their shot at a championship bracket berth shot down by London in the 2011 East Region Tournament. Montreal gave an impressive performance at ECDX this year and could easily vie for a top 3 spot in the eastern regional tournament this year.