Effectivey Using A Scorecard

scorefrontThe score card is a key piece of equipment which enables an official to record a number of key facts: team captains, the in-home for each team, keep track of alternate possession, the number of stick checks, time outs each team has used, and of course, the score. There are a number of other bits of information that can and should also be recorded: your partner’s name, the goal that each team is defending in the 1rst and 3rd quarters.   Writing on your scorecard may seem like a simple task that is not worthy of a post, but it is a skill that officials often struggle to master.

The Referee and the Umpire are tasked with keeping a record of all goals and time outs.  They confer between periods with each other well as the table personnel  to be sure that  everyone is on the same page.  If there is a discrepancy, the  R makes the final determination.   Seems simple enough, what could go wrong….

Captains and In-Home

After the R and U certify each head coach that all of their players are properly equipped by rule, they ask for the captains and the in-home.  About five minutes prior tog ame time, the captains will be taken out to center x for the coin toss and may be a point of contact during the game to pass along a message to a team mate.  Most officials write down their numbers rather than their names.  I often ask if a coach has a “speaking captain,” that is one player whom he trusts to make the right decision at the coin toss and I circle that players number on my card.

In addition, the coach must identify who he wants to serve as his in-home, a starting attackman, and the first player listed in the score book. As with captains, simply write down the players number in the slot on your card.  Note: you will want to check to see if both team’s in-homes are in the  line up prior to the first faceoff.

Alternate Possession

Alternate Possession, or AP, is used in situations when an official can not determine which team should be awarded the ball.   The winner of the opening coin toss is given a choice of a goal to defend or first AP.  Record this on your card by circling the arrow

Recording Goals

no tallyMany new officials keep track of the goals with tally marks.  The issue arises when the officials and the table disagree on what the score is.  How can you go back and verify if your score is correct.  The official scorer is responsible for writing down which player scored each goal and you should too!

score card with info

Instead of tally marks, write the number of the player who scored AND CIRCLE THE NUMBER.   This will prevent confusion if the same player scores multiple goals (e.g. did player #4 scores three times or did player #4 score once and player #44 score once?) With this information, it is much easier to confirm the score with your partner between quarters and during dead balls situations.

When to Mark your Card

timersAs the US Lacrosse Training manual states, the proper mechanic after a goal is for the officials to exchange the ball in front of the goal. they should visually with hand signals and verbally confirm which player scored the goal.  Then they should jog to their faceoff positions, either wing or center x.  Once the Faceofff official is in position, the Wing official turns on his 20-second timer and yells “Timer On!”

Now, both officials can quickly mark their scorecards.  This mechanic serves two purposes   It keeps your focus on the field and the players. A goal was just scored.  This might be the first goal of the game, it might be the go ahead goal with a second to go, it could be the fifth goal in a row in a blowout. One team is very happy, one team is not.  Make sure nothing happens.  Stay vigilant and keep your focus on the players.  Practice preventative officiating; it beats having to thrown a flag for Unsportsmanlike Conduct!

Second, this mechanic keeps your game moving along.  Don’t dawdle.  You should easily be able to mark you card in 20 seconds. If there are fifteen goals scored in a game and it takes you 1 minute to get the game restated, that’s an entire quarter. It should only take you five minutes! That is ten extra minutes of coaches screaming out you and players jawing at each other.   Get to your spot, get the 20-second timer running, write down the score, get your eyes back onto the field, check the field, restart play!

Time Outs

laxtoWhen a time out is called, the officials should wait until both teams have gone to their sidelines marking sure that no funny business occurs as the teams cross each others paths.  The bench side official should be especially vigilant as the teams head to the sidelines.  Football officials refer to this as “getting in between mixed colors.” Once both teams are off the field, the bench side official should mark the beginning of the time out by activate his timer  if he has one that tracks 140 seconds or by using his watch.

Now that the teams are in their huddles, both officials should mark their scorecards with the quarter and the time the TO was taken and which team took it.  You will be standing next to each other and near the table. If you are not, you will be forty or so yards away from each other.  Use your hand signals to confirm the time remaining in the period if there is no visible clock and how many TOs each team has remaining. Once the TO is over and the bench side official has indicated that the 20-second timer is on, he should inform both coaches how many TOs each has remaining. the far side official should, once again keep an eye on the field and watch as the players leave their huddles.

 Miscellaneous Information

In addition to what you are required to mark on your card, there are a few things that I like to mark down for my own personal benefit.  I write down both head coaches last names.  I write down my partner’s name if I have not worked with him before.  I mark down what goal the team that won the toss will be defending by writing NC or C next to the team’s color.  This stands for Clock or No Clock. This lets me know where each team should be when they line up before the first face off and when the third period starts. If there is no visible clock on the field, I might write PL for parking lot or V for volleyball court.  Whatever works. And at the end of each quarter I total the number of goals each team has so that I can confirm the score with my partner and the table.  I separate that number by boxing it out, so that I do not confuse it with a score.

The Flip Side

scorebackOn the back of most score cards is a field diagram. You can use it to mark where the ball will be put into play if the next quarter begins with no faceoff.  You can use this to sketch out a play or describe a mechanic to your partner.

Often times, the back side will have a spot to write down details about any USC or Ejection fouls.  Be sure to get the player’s number, his name and the time the foul occurred  as well as any other key details so that you write up a detailed and comprehensive game report.  I find it easier to do this on an index card or a piece of paper.

A few tips:

Score Card. Get a good score card.  I use the plastic erasable cards.  They hold up better, give you a firm base to write on and won’t smudge on hot humid days.  You can use a small piece of paper, pad, or an index card, but I find that these are more trouble than they are worth.

Pencils. You can use the bullet pencils, a mechanical pencil or a golf or library pencil.  Just be sure that you sharpen it, that it has an erasure AND that you have a back up.  There is nothing worse than increasing your pencil popped out as you were running down field on a fast break!

Hair Tie. I like to wrap the black hair tie around my card.  It holds my pencil in place and it keeps the card and pencil from popping out of my shirt pocket.

Magic Eraser The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is awesome. Get it wet and your score card will look like new.  No grey streaks or bits of eraser muddling the card.

Check out Gordon’s post from the GLOA Youtube Channel for more info on using your score card!

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us!

Play On!

Greg Hite

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