Tag Archives: red

What Really Matters When Officials Call Offside

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new rules for 2014

Over the last few years years the offside call has changed, but confusion over it still reigned. This year, youth and NFHS games will use the same offside call as college. Here are the particulars:

  • Offside must disadvantage one team or advantage another
  • Offside can only be called when:
    • The offense has more than 6 players while on offense
    • The defense has more than 7 players (six field players + 1 goalie) while on defense
  • Offside is no longer a free clear

Sometimes a player blatantly offside will not get called because no advantage or disadvantage has been made. Is there any advantage to the offensive team if youth player forgets where he is and steps a few steps over the midline while the ball is near the end line? No. The ball is 40+ yards away from that player. Now if the ball is thrown up near the midline and the player is still offside, then that call should be made, but if there is no bearing on the play then offside probably will not be called.

The rule requiring teams to have 4 players back on defense and 3 players back on offense was removed in 2012. This year the wording of the rule was changed further to encourage officials to count forward while in transition because it does not matter how few players are behind the midline when there is a settled situation on the other side.


The diagram above shows the blue team on offense. The blue team has six offensive players, and the red team has seven defensive players. It does not matter that blue has only three players on their defensive end or that red has only one attackman in their offensive end. It only matters if you have too many players on the side of the field that you are playing on either offense or defense.


The above diagram shows almost the exact same situation as the earlier image, but look closely. Red has seven players on defense but only one on their offensive end (perfectly good). Blue has three players on their defensive end (good so far), but they have seven players on offense – Immediate whistle, Offside, Red ball at the spot the ball was when the whistle was blown.


The above diagram switches the situation. This time blue has six players on offense, and four players on defense (good to go). Red has only two players in their offensive end (perfectly fine), but eight players on defense – Flag down, slow whistle, 30-second technical foul against red.

I’ve shown you not offside, blue offside, and red offside. Now look below.


This is not offside, but it is too many men for the red team. They have eight players on defense and three players in their offensive end. The foul for too many men is still a 30-second technical, and if the on field officials call this offside don’t worry about it as the penalty is exactly the same.

I mentioned it early on, but I’ll reiterate it here: Loose ball offside, or offside while in possession is no longer an automatic free clear! Offside is now a spot foul like warding, loose ball pushing, moving picks, and interference. The ball should be restarted at or near the spot the play was whistled dead.

Study the diagrams in this post as the visuals help out much more than the written explanations, and in the interest of quick restarts coach your players to place the ball on the ground if they are whistled for a violation instead of rolling it off somewhere.


Why is the Penalty Flag Yellow?

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Why is the referee’s flag not red, blue, green, or orange? Why, oh why is it bright yellow? Surprisingly, there are a lot of reasons.

During your drive from work, do you ever crest a hill and see a tiny glint of yellow a few hundred yards away? If your first thought was a schoolbus you are probably correct. “As a highly visible colour from any distance, Yellow says, ‘pay attention, caution, look at me and remember’ all at the same time. The intensity of the message is determined by the intensity of Yellow used. For example, caution signs, taxi cabs, emergency service vehicles and heavy construction equipment are usually painted in a strong yellow colour because they need to be seen” (www.tunedin.com). The color yellow gets our attention so much better than other colors that it was mandated color for school buses starting in 1939.

Yellow Makes You Hungry

Yellow Makes You Hungry

Yellow is even used by fast-food chains because the color “increases appetite and respiration rate.” Also, “scientific studies have proven that babies cry more and people are more inclined to get angry in a room that is painted bright Yellow” (www.tunedin.com). Out of all the colors, Yellow is considered the most emotional shade.

“The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our “yellow streak” can surface” (www.colour-affect.co).

Ever wonder why the Yellow Pages are yellow? Well – “it has been scientifically proven that when we record and read something back from a pastel shade of Yellow paper” we actually retain the information better (www.tunedin.com)! This is why post-it notes and legal pads are all yellow!

So penalty flags are yellow because as soon as they are thrown into the air, everyone thinks: CAUTION! However, if the flags were red everyone would get aggressive. Blue flags would make everyone calm and serene. Green flags would do nothing since the color green indicates the presence of water, which puts our hunter-gatherer brains at ease. Purple would make everyone start meditating. Pink would make everyone think of their mothers, and grey would make everyone depressed (www.colour-affect.co).

Finally, since we are talking about school buses, I highly recommend parents read The Magic School Bus or watch the show with young kids. I probably read every Magic School Bus book at least five times apiece. That series taught me about friction, space, water treatment, and what to do if I ever get trapped in the desert. All before I went to middle school.

Featured Image Credit – www.nwamotherlode.com