Tag: zebra

Referee Versus Coach

This morning I fired up my trusty news app, and started seeing what the world was up to. I went into the sports section and was compelled to read the story with this title: “Referee and coach brawl at second-graders game.” According to the Tennessean, “a police report says that as [the coach] was leaving the court he grabbed [the referee], and then [the referee] responded by pushing the coach away and punching him in the face.” Many of the parents commented anonymously that they were appalled at the violence at this second-grade basketball game.

Here is the kicker. The referee is also a middle school teacher, and the coach is married to an assistant principle at a local high school. Both of these men should know how to behave in front of young children, but they clearly lost their cool. The most troubling thing is that many of the young basketball players will remember this incident, and the parents will definitely remember this bad experience. The question is – how could two adults get into a fistfight in front of second-graders? It may sound rough, but I blame the official in this situation.

I have a quote that I read before every game it goes, “we as officials are neither inside the game, as the players are, nor outside the game, as the fans are, but that the game runs through us. Like a filter, our job is to strain out the impurities, making it cleaner, and fairer.” The official who decided to push and then punch the coach, forgot that his sole purpose in life during that game was to make the game better. He forgot that he has to be above his emotions, that he must push away his desire for retribution.

I will admit, there have been times during games both youth and high school where I have wanted to take a swing at a coach or drop a curse in his general direction. However, that quote stops me in my tracks every time I feel anger swelling in my chest. It reminds me that the coach is not yelling at me as a person. He is yelling at the stripes. Once I remember that ever-present fact, I return to a calm state of mind where I can focus on making the game better for all involved.

So to all referees and aspiring zebras – remember to do your best and not make all of us look like a donkey.



Introducing the AYL Weekly Newsletter

If you have not done so already, sign up for the AYL Weekly Newsletter. Every Tuesday morning AYL sends out our weekly newsletter via MailChimp to over seven hundred subscribers. We want that subscription list to grow and for every one of our members to read and enjoy the newsletter.

Each newsletter will have:

  • Coach Lou’s Corner – A message about lacrosse coaching, life lessons, and how to best enjoy the game.
  • Director Messages – Important information regarding new signups, roster postings, and schedules
  • Zebra Knowledge – I give a short explanation about officiating and lacrosse rules
  • Weekend Game Scores – Once games get going we will post the scores and direct everyone to team standings within their division
  • Important Dates – A small calendar of upcoming events, camps, and clinics
  • Final Thoughts & Expectations – Thoughts about the past weekend’s games, and what we expect from everyone for the upcoming weekend.

If you have any suggestions about what we can include in the newsletter to make it more useful, or if you are having any problems reading the newsletter, please email rules@ayllax.com. Or, you may comment below.


Every Lacrosse Signal

This week is Rules/Officiating week. Two quick things before we dive in: The last post of the week will detail an officiating camp open to all 5th-12th grade AYL players, and any parents who are interested in officiating. Second, I will be detailing youth rules that may not be implemented in your local league. I highly encourage fellow youth lacrosse leagues to consider implementing one or two of the rules I will discuss that drastically improve player skills and are easy to get the hang of. Now, onto every lacrosse signal!

During my sideline Q & A sessions, I often get asked what a particular signal means. I explain the offsides signal, crease violation signal, illegal procedure signal, and more. I always get eyeballs that light up in understanding from the fans, especially youth parents who are brand new to the game. This sideline Q & A is not just great for the fans, it also helps me and my officiating partner during the second half. Because all the fans now recognize that the official knows the game, and they relax and enjoy the game even more since they now know what the officials are signaling.

All official lacrosse signals can be found in the back pages of the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rulebook. They are broken down into three categories:

  1. Procedural Signals (timeouts, goals, stalling, counts, failure to advance, etc)
  2. Personal Fouls (slashing, tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct, ejection, etc)
  3. Technical Fouls (pushing, illegal procedure, warding, conduct foul, etc)

The video below details every signal in the back of the NFHS rulebook. After watching it you will be able to identify what any US Lacrosse-trained official is signaling during any lacrosse game. Also, any youth players who are interested in officiating can improve their signaling by practicing the signals in this video.