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To Drop Or Not To Drop? that is the question?

Keith Francis 5/10/2000

Letter submitted in response to the AskTheRef? newsletter article "To Drop Or Not To Drop? That Is The Question." posted on July 11, 2000 -- Keith Francis



I want to thank you for your article on "To Drop or Not to Drop." I think this is one of the most abused restarts and myths of referees in the game today. We've had some serious discussions with some "lesser experienced" (rec) referees who get "creative" in the an environment of limited training and education. While, I agree completely with what you said, and have not issue, I do have a concern that sometimes advice suggesting the referee "can" do something isn't always the same advice that the referee "should" do it. Case in point, the drop ball restart to deal with "misconduct for which the referee only want's 'warn' a player." I completely agree this can be an excellent "tool" but I think without any suggestions on "when" to do this suggests for some referees that it's a common method of dealing with behavior.

Many referees like the power of "controlling behavior" and "attitudes," and while most of us "deal" with them in a variety of methods, that allows play to continue and keep the focus off ourselves, many referees believe stopping the game and "lecturing" on proper behavior or "warning" a player is the best way to deal with issues that offend them personally. I think this is can be an abuse of the spirit of the game through the misuse of this restart or tactic. I believe that drop ball restarts should be minimized, and if there are many drop ball restarts in a game, the referee's use of this restart may be abusive. Many, as you noted, use it incorrectly as an excuse for "indecision" which is a misapplication. But many still use it as a tool to deal with behavior short of official misconduct, and much to frequently. I'd like to see much of the advice from senior instructors like yourself deal more with the "realistic" application of such "tools" the referee can use. I know these are "slippery slopes," but I find many of these limited experienced referees who operate in a rec/youth environment misuse the "tools" we are given, and get to creative such that that either misapply the law, impact the spirit or flow of the game, or create bad impressions on participants on how our game management duties should be exercised. Is this a reasonable concern?

Keith Francis
Colorado USA

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