First season in Juniors - some questions

Dan_A

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My older son starts his u13 season next weekend. I'm based in the UK and have refereed minis for years and have done my ELRA. But I must admit the move to 15-a-side, on a full size pitch, is a little daunting. So, does anyone have any useful pointers specifically for those making the move from minis to juniors?

Also, and something very specific, I'd like some input on timekeeping. In grassroots rugby how do most of you keep track of timing. Specifically, do you have a countdown watch with an alarm or just a stopwatch going up? If the latter, how do you avoid over-running?

Can anyone recommend a cheap digital watch for refereeing?
 

Lee Lifeson-Peart


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I started at U13s.

Don't worry they can't fling it the width of the pitch in 4 passes.

Keep doing what you did at U12s and make sure when they kick you keep players on side.

The odd speed merchant can catch you out but generally play is as localised as U12s albeit they have more room to run about if they can take the ball with them.

I have a Casio RF100? which was cheap when I bought it (tight arse Phil E spotted them on Amazon) but they are back to £50. It has a counting up stopwatch which buzzes/sounds at 40 mins or whatever you set.

I'm sure there'll be cheaper alternatives.

Good luck - U13s/U14s are the best games you do.
 

crossref


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Hi Dan -- you definitley need a watch that counts down, which you stop and start for injuries.
The casio is perfect http://www.casio.com/products/Watches/Sports/RFT100-1V/ it's not too expensive. One thing I like is that you can set it to vibrate silently rather than bleep...

It sounds to me like you have a great foundaiton to start U13 refereeing -- get out there and enjoy it!
 

Rushforth


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Also, and something very specific, I'd like some input on timekeeping. In grassroots rugby how do most of you keep track of timing. Specifically, do you have a countdown watch with an alarm or just a stopwatch going up? If the latter, how do you avoid over-running?

I've only used cheapest models of digital watches available - the result of being half-Yorkshire and half-Dutch no doubt - and am happy with normal stop-watch functions.

Operator error - i.e. forgetting to start, stop, or restart the timer - is equal whether time goes from 0 to 40 (or 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 or 7) or down from that to 0.

I write the time in minutes of the KOs (on the side of the team kicking), of trys (and YCs) in minutes and seconds, so if a game supposed to start at 13:00 kicks off 3 minutes late I will write 1:03 in a circle, and the half won't finish before 13:43. On the watch I have now there happens to be a mock-analog clock too "dual time", so I don't even have to change mode.

Since I am my own time-keeper, I have to be in the habit of checking my watch often, so although I do make errors when doing time-outs/-ons, they tend to be on the order of less than a minute. Similarly towards the end of the half I am mentally aware of 5 minutes to go, 2 minutes, etc, so over-running just isn't an issue. Also, if I happen to have made an error, I will decide as soon as I know it what to do (the two times this has happened to me has been because of serious injuries where my mind was on other things).

Some recommend two watches (one for game time, the other for YCs) but at grassroots that is both overkill and overcomplicating.
 

Rushforth


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So, does anyone have any useful pointers specifically for those making the move from minis to juniors?

Over here, U13 is called minis (below that are some rather bizarre names: Turven for U9 and Benjamins for U11); they play on 70x45 (typically two games simultaneously), but I found relatively few problems in the transition to U15 which is the earliest kids here play on full sized fields.

The most important thing to remember is that younger kids expect fairness, but the older they get the more wiley, and at a certain point aggression also kicks in (testosterone, not in a nasty way). As a parent yourself, you will already be aware of this of course.

My biggest recommendation for being a good referee for your eldest son's team is to do it as rarely as is realistically possible. By this I mean that if he is playing away, get in touch with the club you will be at and offer to do their minis, and eventually their U15s or U17s or whatever. When you have multiple teams at home including his, do some of the others (again, within your increasing comfort zone). But perhaps most of all, ref seniors. Not necessarily actual matches, but 2x7 full contact for your seniors on training nights with a society ref from your club there too sometimes.

Rugby players generally realise how difficult it is to referee really well, given the complexity of the laws, but they will also generally respect you - whether they are 13 or 53 - if you make it possible for them to enjoy a game which is both a fair contest and has continuity of play - as you no doubt recall from your ELRA.
 

Browner

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Verbally instruct HMF adherence, and discourage up the side sneaking, and the 9 has time to pass, which means the game follows nicely.

Urgently familiarise yourself with the difference between a bonafide fend off to the face/head, and foul play, and wait for coaches bereft of such understanding to say so!

I wore two watches, one counting down (pauseable) , and the other on normal time and I adjusted the end time on my scorecard ( as per rushforth) as a double check.

Sometimes you're having so much fun , time is forgotten !! :)

Sounds like you're keen/serious, so join a society.... loads to learn, you'll gain loads of knowledge and confidence and there are helpful old heads a plenty .

Then when feel able, get outside your own team/age group to hone skills.

Good luck, many of us have been there.
 

Dixie


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Dan A, you are about to embark on one of the most rewarding pastimes known to man - refereeing rugby in England at U.13 and U.14. These games can demonstrate extraordinary skill, but they are also (mostly!) within the physical parameters of a not-too-unfit dad. My advice would be:

a) research the age grade variations on the U.13 handoff. As far as I know, there is no law variation regarding the hand-off at U.13 which means that it is as legal at U.13 as it is at premiership or international level. There is, however, a widespread misunderstanding among those familiar with U.12 variations that the handoff is banned at all junior levels - or that it is permitted to the chest but not to the head or face. it makes sense to consult with the opposition coach and vary your approach accordingly. This means that your team will have to react to the ref on the day - prepare them for this.

b) while some players are highly capable (check this out!), others are relatively new to the game. All will find that the space on a full-sized pitch means that the game is very different - and that extra space will tire them out even in the short matches they play. Be prepared to coach as a ref - even in formal competition games. Try to avoid the penalty if at all possible, but give it when fairness requires.

c) Persuade your team management to invest in numbered shirts - the increasing importance of these games to both players and parents makes life for the ref very different if all you've got to go on is that the medium build kid with the average haircut trod on the opposition rucker.

d) Consider joining the local refereeing society. Goodwill and a few gym sessions will see you through this season. Next year one of the boys will outpace you. The year after that, you're screwed unless you take serious steps to develop your speed and decision making. Join the Society, take it seriously and you're good at least until you hit 50 (and perhaps years thereafter).

e) Don't be a jobsworth, and resolve to have at least as much fun as the players.

f) That said, be prepared to ping the "tap ball on foot" penalty. If they don't learn this skill now, scrum halves will still struggle with it years from now. Do them a favour early, and be harsh on the quick tap penalty after an initial explanation and opportunity to retake.


I envy you being at this stage. Enjoy!
 
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Dickie E


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make crisp & vocal decisions with decisive primary signal and slow and theatrical secondary signal. Nothing worse* that the ref who signals a knock on like he's shooing a fly from his face.


* leprosy is probably worse
 

Dan_A

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All great stuff, many thanks folks. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions once the season gets going.
 

evilad


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I'm in a similar position. Got my first u14 on sat. Only reffed adults before. Is it 35 min halves in England, or 30? Only 5m shove in scrum, and 45 degree wheel, I understand. Bit nervous, wouldn't be if it was adults
 

crossref


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you need to make sure you completely understand the age group rules.

eg
can they lift in line out?
where's the offside line for SH?
 

tim White


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Go to Hampshire refs website for a great age/laws sheet to print/download
 

evilad


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My mistake it is 1.5 m. Maybe ex front row forwards get a bit excited at scrum time
 

Phil E


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Simon Thomas


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Just popped over to make sure I have the latest version and saw THIS........WTF are those shirts! Its like WW2 dazzle camouflage!


View attachment 3008

There is no latest version of the Youth Grid - it has not been changed for a couple of seasons.

It was intended for the use of Hampshire RURS members, and affiliated clubs to the Hampshire RFU when it was first created 8 seasons ago. We accept no liability for its accuracy, nor for any personal or pecuniary loss through its use, it is copyright HRURS, but we are happy for it to be used across RFUland as the RFU never bothered to take up our offer of making it an official RFU version.

Phil - our sponsor is called Chequers Motor Sales - so flags and special kit used for To3 in County Cup Finals, Prez XV matches etc.
Kit was their choice - same shirts used by elite RL refs recently (see here and here).

Normal green, white or yellow shirts used for standard appointments.
 
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Dickie E


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they look like an All Black that has been run over by a monster truck
 

Simon Thomas


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That's a bonus, really helpful.
Thanks dan.

We are now charging royalties on all reproductions of our Youth Grid :biggrin:

I will collect them as I visit various Society Dinners over the season.
 
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