Sunday, February 27, 2011

‎6.8.21 Any contact with an opponent who is touching the track exclusively outside the track boundary that causes the opponent to fall or affects the opposing skater’s ability to re-enter play.

This rule is pretty straight forward. If a skater makes contact with another skater who is completely out of bounds, and the receiving skater falls, or is prevented from returning to the track, the initiating skater is penalized with a Blocking Out Of Bounds major. It must be noted that this rule says any contact, so, for example, in a situation where a skater gets blocked out of bounds and falls, and while down slides into a skater who us already down and causes that skater to fall, the sliding skater will get a major Blocking Out Of Bounds penalty.

Friday, February 25, 2011

‎2.1.7 The track and the boundary marker line are considered in bounds.

Simple, yet sometimes misunderstood. If a skater has a wheel on the track boundary, then she is still considered in bounds. It isn’t until the wheel, or any part of the skate, is touching outside of the track and boundary that she is considered straddling or out of bounds. This is the same logic to be applied to being “on the line.” Pivots behind or touching the line are still in position, while Pivots touching beyond the line may be subject to false start penalties. The same goes for Jammers and the Jammer line.

A situation where this particular rule can be pivotal is when judging Cutting The Track. Cutting penalties are only applied once the skater has returned to an “in bounds, upright and skating position.” Since the track boundary is considered in bounds, if a skater reenters the track and betters their position in front of one or more skaters, and part of their skate is on the track boundary, but no part is outside the track boundary, they are to be penalized for Cutting.

Monday, February 21, 2011

‎ If the officials call a time out during a jam in progress, the jam will end and a new jam will be run if there is time remaining on the official period clock (see Section 2.3.4 and

If a referee calls an Official Timeout during a jam, the jam will end. However, referees better have a damn good reason for calling off a jam for an official timeout though. The best and most acceptable reason for doing so is safety. If there is debris or liquid on the track that can‘t be removed before skaters get to it, a timeout should be called. If a referee or NSO gets injured then a timeout is acceptable. Even if there is a fight in the audience and the referees (preferably the head referee) deem it a disturbance to the game, then a timeout may be called. Discretion should be used by the referees to not disturb the flow of the game by calling Official Timeouts mid-jam.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

‎ Referees do not warn teams when too many skaters line up on the track.

Prior to the start of a jam it is the responsibility of skaters to make sure there is not too many from your team on the track. As a skater you should be checking the penalty box or listening to your bench coach as you line up for the next jam. In a lot of cases, it seems, the penalty box is between the benches on the straightaway between turns 1 and 4, so checking the box as you line up should be incredibly simple. Thanks to this rule, referees will not warn teams when there are too many skaters on the track prior to jam starts. What refs will do is penalize skaters after the jam starts. If extra skaters are caught quickly and sent back to their bench, only a minor will be given. If extra skaters are not caught and the jam is stopped because of it, a major will be given as well.

Monday, February 14, 2011

‎2.6.4 Referees may call an Official Timeout at any point. This will stop the clock so that referees have time to review a call or adjust the number of skaters on the floor. (See Section

This is true except for one situation, which was covered in a clarification during last year’s tournament season. The WFTDA Official Q&A clarified that if the period clock has 30 second or less remaining on it, an Official Timeout must not be called. If, however, an Official Timeout is required, then the period clock will expire at the end of the Timeout, and the period and/or game will be over.

The official clarification can be found at:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

9.2.10 In the event that there is a disagreement regarding a referee’s call or scoring, only the Captains or their Designated Alternates may discuss the ruling with the referees. Skaters, coaches or managers may act as Designated Alternates.

A lot of skaters, and referees, don’t actually know this rule exists, but it does for a very specific reason: if every skater were given the ability to talk to the referees about their calls, then practically every skater would question every referee about their calls. It is a natural inclination for people to argue with something they disagree with, and players of a game tend to often disagree with the game’s officials. If every skater were allowed to talk to the referees, then the refs would always be distracted by skaters asking then questions, or questioning calls, etc. By channeling skater/referee communication through the captains and head referee the communication becomes more efficient and the refs can keep their focus on the game and prepare for the next jam between jams. This also keeps the head referee in the loop of all communications from the benches. Since the head referee is the ultimate authority in each game, it is important that the head referee know what is being said from their ref crew to the skaters. If they control all communication from refs to skater, then the head referee maintains control and authority of the game. Similarly, the captains are the authority of their teams, and by allowing only them to talk to the refs the captains maintain that authority and don’t have to worry about unnecessary timeouts or Official Reviews being called, or not being told about certain penalties, etc.

In normal discourse it is not the worst thing for a captain to address a referee that is not the head referee, but for anything more substantive than “how many points did my jammer just get?” or “what was the penalty you just called?” they should refer to the head referee to maintain the communication efficiency. Referees that are being spoken to by captains should keep that in mind and politely refer them to the head referee. The head referee ought to be the one to decide if what is being mentioned by the captains requires an Official Timeout to take care of, or take any other sort of decisive action. However, if a team calls a timeout, any ref may grant the timeout (so long as they are sure that team has any timeouts left) so the captain(s) may request an Official Review from the head referee.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

‎6.3.11 A downed skater re-entering the track that causes an opposing skater to fall or lose relative position

This is a Low Block major. When the Cutting The Track rules were rewritten, the penalization of a skater for any part of their body reentering the track was removed and replaced with the requirement that skaters guilty of cutting be in bounds, upright and skating. That way when skaters were sliding across the inside of the track and were unable to stop before reentering, they wouldn't be penalized since reentering in front of others while down is not really a bettering of position. However, the rules were written to require reentering, downed skaters to be just as responsible for not being an obstacle as skaters who go down on the track. 6.3.5 is the minor of this penalty and this is the major one.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Relative Position – A skater’s location in bounds on the track in relation to other skaters when the skater is standing, stepping, and/or skating.

I pulled today's rule from the glossary. Relative position is one of those things that is often questioned, misunderstood, and sometimes ignored. It is important to know since the phrase is used is most of the penalty sections.

Relative position, as the definition says, is the position of a skater relative to other skaters on the track. If a skater passes another skater their relative position has changed. If a skater gets passed by another skater their relative position has changed. If a skater goes out of bounds their relative position has changed. It is important know all of these because it changes the severity of the penalty given in many cases. Most of the contact penalties (elbows, forearms and hands, low block, etc.) minor sections include the language "... but does not cause the opponent to lose their relative position," which means that the skater was affected by the illegal action but none of the above situations occurred. The major sections include "...causes the opponent to lose their relative position," which means that the illegal action has caused another skater to pass one or more skaters, to fall behind one or more skaters, or causes them to go out of bounds. Another factor to consider is that a skater falling down is also a change in relative position. Even though some of the penalty sections say "...forcing a skater down, out of bounds, or out of relative position," this is redundant since down and out of bounds is out of relative position. The only penalty where a change in relative position by blocking a skater out of bounds is not a major is Out of Bounds Blocking, which requires a skater to be blocked out of bounds to be a penalty anyway.

So even if an illegal block seemingly has no impact, it may be penalized as a major because of a change in the blocked skater's relative position.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

‎ At the conclusion of the timeout, the Referees will direct the skaters to return to the track and start the next jam as soon as possible. The next jam can start as soon as skaters are lined up, but no more than 30 seconds should elapse after a timeout (with the exception in .

At the end of a timeout, be it official or team, the way to notify skaters to return to the track is with a long rolling/swooping whistler, per the WFTDA Standardized Officiating Practices. Once the skaters have been signaled to return to the track, signifying the end of the timeout, no more than 30 seconds may elapse before the next jam begins.

Refs need to get back into position as quickly as possible and appear ready for the start of the next jam so the head ref can see they are good to go. Skaters need to get back on the track and be in position for the next jam to start. Just like in between jams without timeouts, if skaters are not in position after a timeout, they may be subject to false start penalties, or may not be able to skate in the next jam if they didn’t make it onto the track in time.