Toughest call in wrestling – The scramble in OT
In a referee’s career…there will be 1-2 calls that you will remember for a lifetime and I guarantee you that it will involve a scramble in OT. It will be that type of call that you and only you will know what YOU saw and better yet… what you felt. The rule book talks about that control is “sometimes felt”. At Midlands one year….in a semifinal in OT…I had a situation that the coach of the kid who thought it was a TD asked me why I didn’t give it…I told him that what I was about to tell him…I had NEVER said to another coach. I said “Coach…all I can tell you is that I needed more and that I “felt”….control was not established. I didn’t say I wasn’t sure…I didn’t say didn’t know…I said I felt…tactile…by feel…that it wasn’t there. He looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. More than 2 years later…at the D2 Nationals he came to me and said that he started to officiate some and then and only then did he finally understand what I was trying to tell him that day. It was like having a balance scale…each plate is exactly level…if a little feather landed on one…that would be enough to tip the scale and control established…that’s how though these calls are. In most scramble situations in OT there is one thing you always need to remember…LET IT BURN!
There is always criteria for the right call…make sure you know what they are. For example…who put who where? Is the counter as strong as the initial attack? Are hips controlled? Is a hip up or down? Head out? Arm out? Legs controlled? Many questions need answered. One thing you must remember is…LET IT BURN!
If you look at the top officials, you notice they are calm and cool in tight situations. Just because the situation is tense doesn’t mean you need to be. Be calm, be cool. The calmer you are…the easier it is to concentrate and see what you need to see. If you are all uptight and wound up like a rubber band…you will overreact and call things too quick….LET IT BURN!
Put your two hands together palm to palm and press with all your might…which hand is dominate? Neither…that’s exactly what you have in some tight OT TD situations. Looks like a TD…but doesn’t feel like a TD…hence…no TD. Don’t freak out. Calm yourself and steady yourself by indicating no control both in voice and with visual signals. Make sure you are backed off some…standing straight up or kneeling, your being vocal with “no control no control” and visual is telling everyone what you have no control. Both corners are screaming but you know what you see and what you need to occur in order to give the TD. If it’s nor there…do not succumb to the pressure of thinking you HAVE to do something. It is ALWAYS better to LET IT BURN and let it play out. If the TD is there…it will be there…clear as day. If you give it too quick…based on some criteria…you will never know what might have occurred. Copyright Frederick Feeney 2014
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of the MSWOA. Fred also was a FILA official until he retired from FS/GR in 2007. He is a certified OHSAA wrestling instructor and has taught 2 classes a year for the past 15 years. He is a moderator on several popular wrestling discussion forums, and has written numerous papers and articles on the mechanics of officiating as well as the personal inside stories as to what officiating is really about. 5 states have invited Fred to present his insightful mechanics presentation, “Are You a Duck?” to their wrestling officials. Fred’s in-depth experience encompasses both scholastic and collegiate levels, having worked the prestigious NWCA National Duals, The Midlands, The Cliff Keene Las Vegas Tournament, plus many top level D1 dual matches. Fred works primarily the Big Ten Conference, along with M.A.C., O.A.C., and G.L.I.A.C. matches. His post season work has included 10 OHSAA State Wrestling Tournaments, the Senior Nationals, several NAIA Nationals, 14 NCAA Division III Championships and 4 NCAA II Championship finals.
Fred and his wife reside in Dublin, Ohio