Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stuck on the Diagonal

Over the next couple of days I am going to share some thoughts on mechanics, technology, and fitness as it relates to a match I refereed the other day.

Today is a small discussion about not being "stuck on the diagonal." We hear it a lot when dealing with mechanics of the Diagonal System of Control (DSC). As a referee, and an assessor, you can draw pictures and diagrams until one is blue in the face, yet it is still hard at times to visualize one's own performance in this area.

Why you do not want to be "on" the diagonal all the time is clear ... the play generally is not there and a referee needs to be close to play to best judge it, or mete out punitive actions as necessary. Nothing looks more horrible to be than a referee having to sprint 20 yards to give a cation to a player standing still.

Enter technology to help ...

Garmin, arguably the world leader in GPS technologies, makes a series of pretty amazing devices, than can be used for some pretty amazing things. I use the Edge 500 on my Cannondale Synapse as a bike computer, and it is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Combined with Garmin Connect, it is really one of the most revolutionary pieces of equipment I own.

Now, Garmin also make another really neat toy, the 405CX, among others that combines GPS and fitness monitoring similar to the Edge 500 for cycling. I happen to wear it the other day during my match, and what did I see:

I have opened up the access so all can see, and I will get into the fitness aspects tomorrow, but for now, look at the motion track (click on Aerial for a field view).

Even better look at this plot from Google Earth:

Now, looking at this I notice a couple of things right away.

First, I had reasonable coverage of most of the field (red track).

Second, I seemed to stay out of the penalty area, and the ARs diagonals (blue lines near touch lines), unless there was a reason to be there.

Third, I seemed to be sufficiently off the diagonal to be considered not "stuck" on it.

Finally, I seemed to NOT cover the opposite corner of the JAR very well (shaded in yellow). Not true of the SAR side as I seemed to be there a fair amount.

Here is where a referee can use technology to really help their match. Next time I am out (which is next week), I will do this again (and share) and try to improve on getting into that corner.

With a tool like this, one can be aware, and understand what may need to be augmented, from match to match.

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