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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Rules Clarification - Player Positioning and Serve: Referee's Perspective

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius...

Yesterday's article discussed the keys for players to remember which player should be serving and from which side of the court. But how does a referee keep straight where players should be when there are 4 players running all over the place? Believe it or not, there is a system to do that with three tools - a wristband, a scoresheet, and a clothespin.

A wristband is worn by the first server on each team. This allows the referee to quickly identify whether the server and receiver are in the proper court by using the key:
The simple key is to remember that players will be positioned on their starting side when their score is an even number and positioned on their non-starting side when their score is an odd number.
Below is an example of the type of band a player wearing it in a prominent place.

The scoresheet and the clothespin are used together to allow a referee to track progress throughout the game. 

The game starts with the pin showing the number 2 indicating Server #2. If the starting team wins 3 points and then loses a rally for side out, the markings on the scoresheet look similar to those show below.

The 3 points are marked off with a slanted line associated with the server number shown on the pin. A point scored on Server 2's turn is marked from top left to bottom right. The side-out is marked with a dot after point 3. The side-out mark is important in order to be able to recreate the scoring and serve rotation if any confusion or mistakes occur.

When this team regains the serve, the referee now knows the player without the first-server band should be positioned in the right court and is Server #1 in this rotation. This is known because the score was an odd number when their last rotation ended. When the serve is regained, the scoresheet and pin should look like the following.

Note that the only change in this photo is that number on the pin is now 1, meaning that it is the first server of the rotation. In the ensuing rally, the opponents win and force the rotation to Server #2. The referee flips the pin and makes no markings on the scoresheet. If the team fails to win the ensuing rally, another dot is marked to indicate a side-out.

The scoring system allows the referee to determine both parts of positioning and serve question. The first-server band determines position and the scoresheet/pin determines server. Of course, all of this must be used appropriately in order to work. The pin must be flipped from 1 to 2 after the rally is lost. The side-out must be marked each time in the correct place. And all of this is happening with teams while flipping the scoresheet top to bottom. Its really not as hard it sounds and it is absolutely necessary should confusion set in.

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