With hundreds of college teams gearing up for the start of the USA Ultimate College Series this weekend, I thought it would be worth sharing a reminder of a few easy things to do to help games run more smoothly. Having observed and played against a lot of different teams, I have been very impressed with how well some teams manage the game. Below are a few things that some teams do really well, which help their games run smoothly:
1) Time Limits. Abide by time limits to help make sure you finish your games before the cap, leaving ample time to prepare for the next round. The main time limits to know are time-outs (70 s), time between points (70/90 s), and the pre-stall (10/20 s) after a turn. .
2) Discussion. Commit to keeping discussions brief and respectful. Nobody likes long, drawn-out arguments. State the reason for the call/contest, discuss briefly, and end the discussion either in agreement (no contest) or disagreement (contest). If your team does its part, your games will be faster-paced and more enjoyable.
3) The Check. Perform the check properly. Help avoid unnecessary stoppages and confusion, and set the tone with your opponent that you are committed to playing fairly. No surprises, just starting and restarting play in a fair and consistent manner.
4) Clear Sidelines. Encroaching on the sideline and then trying to get out of the way “when it matters” does not work. Stay back from the sidelines all the time to avoid interference and injuries. In an observed game, observers need space on the sideline so that they can stay out of players’ way, while also getting in good position to see the play.
5) Offsides. Stay on-sides. On defense, take several steps back from the end zone line, get a flying start on your sprint, and don’t cross the line until after the pull is released. On offense, keep a foot on the line until the pull is released. Hold your team accountable in unobserved games, and help avoid repulls and yardage penalties in observed games.
These are five easy things to do to help make your games more enjoyable. When it comes down to it, players are fully in control of how smoothly a game runs. Teams that step up and hold themselves accountable will typically have a better playing experience, with or without Observers.
Although Colin is a member of the USA Ultimate Board of Directors and the Standing Rules Committee, this article reflects only his personal views and does not represent the views of USA Ultimate, the Board, or the SRC. For official Rules Resources, please visit the USA Ultimate Rules Resources page.
Photo by Kevin Leclaire (UltiPhotos.com)