Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tips for team timekeeping in competitive play

Linda Kirton was Head Umpire at the recent Worlds Qualifying in Lohja, Finland. Many of the teams had their first competitive experience with the new time constraints, especially as they applied to time outs. Here she shares some observations from an Umpire's perspective.

I have just returned from the 2010 Worlds Qualifying tournament in Lohja, Finland, where as Chief Umpire I saw at first hand how teams managed their allotted time. As umpires we are there to be helpful, so here is some information offered in the hope it may be useful to competitive teams playing under time constraints at WCF or CCA events.

WCF rules dictate that if a team is unable to release their final stone over the hogline before their time runs out, they forfeit the game. While no games were forfeited in Finland, some teams came to within a few seconds of running out of time, and games may well have been lost when last rock throwers were forced to rush their final deliveries.

There are several elements to preparing for competitions that use time clocks. (Teams can practice using time clocks with the CurlTime computer program, available as a free download from the WCF.)

First: understand the rules governing time clocks.

68 minutes per side is lots of time but teams should understand when their clock starts and, as importantly, when it stops.

Your clock begins when the other team has exited the target area and the house belongs to your side. Be in position to throw as soon as the house is yours. Lots of time is wasted moving to get into position after your clock has begun. On-ice player assistants, who may be gathering rocks, should have your rock in position for you as soon as you are in position.

Similarly, curling rules (CCA rule 3(a)  WCF R13(d))  state that once you have delivered your stone, you should move out of the way of the next thrower, either forward or to the side. If you sit there and you admire your stone's path, or travel down the centre of the ice to the other end, your time clock will keep running because the opposing skip will not take ownership of the house while you are blocking the view from the throwing end.

Second: understand the rules governing "coach interactions," more commonly known as time-outs.

The new “coach interaction rule” (WCF allows just one per game, the CCA allows two) says that coaches may talk to their teams for up to 60 seconds BUT your time clock keeps running. This prevents a coach from calling a time out for the purpose of stopping the clock and thus helping a team short of time. The sixty seconds of the actual interaction begins when the team is gathered around the coach.

Third: Adjust your actions to your time. Don't waste time discussing when only one option is available. Ask yourself what options do we have? What is the score? How many ends do we have left? Then pick an option and make the shot.

Good Luck to all.
Linda Kirton

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