Practice the Full Sequence: End Line and Sideline Out of Bounds

Being an effective communicator is one ingredient that all good officials possess.  Your ability to manage a game is directly related to your ability to make sure all parties know where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do. There are a number of mechanics sequences that routinely occur in a game.  By mechanics sequences I mean a series of signals that an official must give to let his partner, the players and coaches know what has occurred.   The two most common are the Sideline and the End Line Out of Bounds sequences.  By practicing these sequences you will communicate more effectively and be able to better manage your game.

It is imperative that an official correctly communicate what has happened as well as what will be allowed to happen.  These signals, both verbal and physical, should be smooth, strong, clear and most of all they should be done SLOWLY.  If you move too fast, no one will see what you have signaled.

The five primary facts to communicate are:

  1. That the ball has gone out of bounds
  2. The clock should stop
  3. Which team will be awarded the ball once play resumes.
  4. Whether a horn is allowed or not
  5. When the ball is live

Hand Up, Strong Whistle

playondeadballThe first fact that must be communicated in both sideline and end line situations is that the ball has gone out of bounds and both play and the clock must be stopped (Rule 4-7).  Thus, the first action is the official raises his hand and blows the whistle.  Be sure that your hand is straight up in the air and that you loudly blow your whistle in a series of sharp staccato blasts.

Point, Yell and Hold

OBDirection

The next piece of information that you must communicate is which team will put the ball in play next.  You want to turn and face the bench side and point in the direction of play.  Who gets the ball depends upon which touched a ball that went out of bounds or whoever was closest to a shot out of bounds with their body not their crosse (Rule 4-6 Art. 2 and 3 and Note).  While who gets the ball is important, nothing trumps player safety so stay focused on the players and be sure that each team has moved away from each other before you signal (e.g. if if there is a two players collide out of bounds on the far side or if a player has been knocked  into the opposing teams bench, stay focused on the players.)

Once you are sure that all is well, you should turn and indicate direction of play.  In addition to pointing, loudly yell the teams color: “Red Ball!”  Do not simply yell out a color.  Ending with “ball” makes it easier for all parties to hear.  Hold your signal for a bit as your partner is probably focused off ball and will need a moment to find you.

Two Hands and Wait 

goalOne key difference with the Sideline Out of Bounds is that a coach may ask for a horn.  In order to let the coach know that the ball, in fact, crossed the sideline you must give the proper signal.  Two hands up indicates that he can ask for a horn.  This is especially important if the ball goes out close to the corner!

20 Second Timer

Wait to see if the horn is blown.  If it is blown, it is the bench side officials responsibility to turn on his 20-second timer.  The bench side official should SLOWLY lower one hand, flip their timer on, and raise your arm again.

timers

There is no rush to get play started again.  You DO NOT need to blow the whistle as soon as the timer goes off.  Instead, make sure that the field is ready for play. This means: Where is the ball?  Is the player in bounds? Are all other players five yards or more away? If you are close to the special substitution area, move the player five yards in .  Do you have the proper number of players on the field? You can count players who exit and enter the field or you can quickly scan the field and count players. Both officials, but particularly the bench side official, are responsible for making sure that there are the proper number of players on the field (R counts home team, U visitors).  This requires lots of practice and a great deal of focus. With time, you will be able to effectively manage this situation.  Once the field is read for play, lower one arm and look to your partner to be sure you both agree that play can be resumed.  

NOTE: On a deep restart you or your partner will need to move down the field and you may need assist each other to restart play. If your partner is giving you the ready for play signal, then you may blow the play in. Never start play if your partner is giving you the stop sign!

No Horn: Quick Restart

If no horn is called for, treat this as a quick restart.  Make sure the field is ready for play, wind it and blow it in.  The only exception is that you must allow the goalie five seconds to return to the crease (Rule 4-6 Art. 3 d).

SL OB Sequence

Hand Up and Keep It Up

playondeadballOnce the ball is out of bounds, raise your hand and blow the whistle.  This often happens on a shot, in which case you do not need to wait for the ball to land.  Once it has crossed the plane of the end or sideline, you may blow it dead.  Be sure that your hand is straight up in the air and that you loudly blow your whistle in a series of sharp staccato blasts.

Point, Yell and Hold

OBDirection

The next piece of information that you must communicate is which team will put the ball in play next.  You want to turn and face the bench side and point in the direction of play.  Who gets the ball depends upon which touched a ball that went out of bounds or whoever was closest to a shot out of bounds (body not stick).  Again, nothing trumps player safety so stay focused on the players and be sure that each team has moved away from each other before you signal. Once you are sure that all is well, you should turn and indicate direction of play.  ( “Goalie Ball!”)  Hold your signal for a bit as your partner is probably focused off ball and will need a moment to find you.

Blowing the Play In

Because the ball will be restarted quickly  it is essential that you keep your hand in the air.  This lets your partner, the coaches and players know that the ball went out on the end line and there may not ask for a horn.

windpossession

Therefore, you DO NOT need to count the number of players on the field.  All subs in this situation must be done on the fly and will be the responsibility of the Trail.  You do need to make sure that the field is ready for play.  Again, this means: Where is the ball?  Is the player in bounds? Are all other players five yards or more away? If all of these conditions are met, lower your arm, blow the play in (long whistle blast) and wind the clock.

The only exception to a quick restart is that you must allow the goalie five seconds to return to the crease.  In addition, if a player seems to be dawdling on a quick restart picking up the ball, drops the ball and runs away  leaving it for someone else to pick up, you can initiate a visual five second count.  If no one is ready to put the ball in play, you can assess a delay of game and award the ball to the other team.

El OB Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mastering this aspect of the game  requires lots of practice and a great deal of focus. With time, you will be able to effectively manage these situations.  Physically master the signals and then practice these sequences all the way through.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact me.

Play On!

Greg Hite

 

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