Stafford & District Netball League
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Stafford & District Netball League

Game Management 

As well as using the voice and whistle for penalising infringements and awarding penalties, Umpires should have a range of strategies to use in a game to ensure players and team are aware of the standards they require. How an Umpire uses these to maintain good control and to minimise infringements will often be a mark of the competence of the Umpire (as well as reflect the respect the players have for the Umpire). These strategies may include the following:

  • Use of voice (other than for infringements & penalties) ie ‘informal advice’(Quiet Word)
  • Change of tone in voice, which may include deliberate pause and/or more deliberate whistle
  • Request the captain to speak to any on-court player/s whose behaviour is causing concern
  • Caution a player
  • Official warning to a player
  • Suspend a player
  • Order a player off
                       

 

 Normally an Umpire will work through these strategies in roughly the order indicated unless an offence is serious enough to require a higher level of discipline. 

Informal Advice (Quiet Word) 

The umpire may, without holding play, informally advise player/s to adjust their play.

  • This would usually apply to an isolated incident or low-level incidents that do not require a caution
  • This is considered to be ‘effective game management’ not ‘coaching’ Use of Voice (including change of tone, use of pause etc) Umpires should have a range of expressions they can use to indicate to players they need to change their behaviour. The important thing is to ensure there are further levels that can be used if players do not respond!
  • Use short, clear instructions; useful phrases are ‘tidy up your Contact’, ‘get your distance right’, ‘wait for the whistle’ (in reference to Breaking)
  • Do not just say ‘tidy up’ as this is unclear and does not state what needs to be tidied up
  • Do not use phrases such as ‘no more Contact’, ‘stop breaking’ - these could be misinterpreted as a caution or official warning and what will you do if they do not stop?
  • Varying the tone used and uses of pauses all adds ‘a difference’. 

 Caution 

The umpire will advise the player/s that the behaviour specified must change. The following are suggested:

  • The umpire will hold ‘time’ to give a caution
  • Use clear, consistent language. Ensure the word ‘caution’ is used and the player is advised of the behaviour for which the caution was given. A caution signals to a player that the behaviour specified needs to change and repeated offences may result in further action being taken if they infringe again. The umpire must hold ‘time’ while giving a caution
  • A caution is not binding on the co-umpire Official Warning If a player continues to infringe after receiving a caution for a specified behaviour, the umpire will issue an ‘official warning’. 

Warning

  • The umpire should be clear about what repeated or deliberate infringements might lead to an official warning. Umpires are often quick to issue an official warning for relatively minor offences (such as breaking) but fail to deal with more serious repeated infringements (such as hitting the shooter’s arm/ball at almost every shot, deliberate Obstructing etc). For minor infringements options such as awarding a penalty pass could be considered
  • There is no such thing as a ‘first official warning’! Only one should be given – and acted upon if there is any repetition of the behaviour that caused it to be given
  • Rule 13.1 makes it clear that an official warning is considered to have been made jointly by the two Umpires and is binding on the co-umpire. The umpires may confer before deciding on the action to be taken. It is important that the co-umpire is aware that an official warning has been given and the reasons for it. 
  • An official warning would not normally be the first step unless the incident is so serious that it requires this  Use clear, consistent language. Ensure the word ‘official warning’ is used and the player is advised of the behaviour for which the official warning was given. An official warning signals to a player what action will be taken if they infringe again. The umpire must hold ‘time’ while giving an official.

Suspension

 Although the suspension of a player is relatively rare, Umpires should not hesitate to use this when appropriate. If an official warning has been given, a suspension would be expected to follow if further infringing occurs. In the case of dangerous play or misconduct, a player may be suspended without an official warning if the umpire considers this action is justified. The following guidelines should be used:

  • The Umpire should hold ‘time’ while advising the player of the suspension and the reasons
  • The length of time for the suspension is 2 minutes playing time.
  • If appropriate, the Umpires can work together to advise the Timekeepers and Scorers of the details. The Reserve Umpire is responsible for the oversight of the suspended player while they are off the Court
  • A suspended player is able to join the rest of the team during an interval but not during any stoppages
  • Rule 13.1 makes it clear that a suspension is considered to have been made jointly by the two Umpires and is binding on the co-umpire. The umpires may confer before deciding on the action to be taken. It is important that the co-umpire is aware of the reasons for the suspension. 

Ordering Off 

The umpire may order a player off the court for serious misconduct or continued foul play. This would normally follow a suspension or official warning but the umpire may order a player off if they consider the action is justified. The procedures are similar a suspension except the player is sent to the Team Bench for the remainder of the match. 

Example-  Hold Time, WA, Caution (with Hand signal), Persistent Contact.

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