Visit our Facebook Page
Umpire Terminology
Something you may have noticed as either a qualified umpire or a trainee is that the rulebook does not contain actual terminology. You have all the rules and what you award if these are broken, but nothing to confirm what you actually need to say when you blow the whistle for an infringement. This sheet is designed to help you with your terminology, to bring consistency to the league so that teams understand what an umpire is blowing for. Remember an umpires whistle and voice are her 2 main tools, a loud clear whistle stops the game and the voice controls the game by giving clear instructions to both teams on what you are blowing for. All players need to hear these as well as the umpire opposite that you are working with.

Always remember the 5 Wís when awarding a penalty as these apply in most cases but not all

WHERE (also need to set the penalty as well as stating where)


Examples of the correct terminology for contact are given below:-

What Who By What Given Who To Where
Contact WD Penalty Pass Team name Just inside the centre third
Contact C Penalty Pass Team name Where the C is standing
Contact GK Penalty Pass or shot Team name Where you are Goal Shooter


Examples of the correct terminology for obstruction are given below:-

What Who By What Given Who To Where
Obstruction WA Penalty Pass Team name Level with the Centre circle
Obstruction GA Penalty Pass Team name Just inside the goal third
Obstruction GD & GK Penalty Pass or shot both players out Team name Indicate clearly where the penalty should be taken so that the non-offending team is not put at a disadvantage.

Out of Court

Out of court terminology is slightly different as you do not need to state who by, unless you feel it necessary to make it clear who last touched the ball when 2 players are both going for the same ball.

What Given Who To Where
Throw in Team name Goal line just out side the circle
Throw in Team name Centre third half way along
Throw in Team name Goal third 2 foot from the transverse line

Remember to use your voice to indicate where the penalty should be taken, donít be tempted to move down the court to point or indicate with a foot, as you not only lose your positioning but often take your eye off the game which is always in play. You may indicate with your hand also if you are very close to where the throw in is to be taken.

Controlling the Centre pass

The umpire in control of the centre pass must call out whose centre it is and the score as follows:

Red centre, Blue lead 10 - 4 or
Blue centre they lead 13 - 11.

Always say whose centre it is followed by who is in the lead and then the score.

If the centre does not stand wholly within the centre you would as controlling umpire, blow the whistle to start play then immediately blow the whistle again and use the following terminology say.

Centre NOT SET, free pass Red Team or Blue Team which ever was appropriate where the Centre was standing outside of the circle.

Players going offside at a centre pass

If a player/s go offside at the centre pass before the whistle you would do one of the following

A single player going offside on the opposing team
Signal advantage and say " Advantage breaking" if there is an advantage to the non-offending team.


You would call " Breaking WD free pass Blue team just inside the centre third"
If 2 players break at the same time and make no contact with the ball you do nothing.
If 2 players break at the same time and one makes contact with the ball you would blow your whistle and say " Toss up simultaneous breaking WA/WD" and take the toss up just inside the centre third where the players broke the transverse line.

Throw In

At the throw in you must ensure the player takes the penalty at the position indicated by yourself (either voice or hand indication or both) and then obeys the following rules:
  1. Footwork
  2. Foot immediately behind the line
  3. Waits for all players to be on court (but not causing ‘delaying of play’)
  4. Releases the ball before stepping onto court
  5. Releases the ball within 3 seconds
The terminology to be used in the event that any of the above rules are broken for example by the Red Team would be

Rule Terminology
1 Footwork Throw in Blue Team
2 Foot fault Throw in Blue Team
3 Not all players on court Throw in Blue Team
4 Foot fault Throw in Blue Team
5 3 seconds Throw in Blue Team

Scoring a Goal

If as you blow the whistle to penalise an infringement in the goal circle a goal is scored you should do the following, immediately blow the whistle to show the goal is allowed and say:

"Advantage goal obstruction GD" or "Advantage goal contact GD" You need to play the advantage and allow the goal but also let the players know what the first whistle was for. There is nothing more frustrating than hearing a whistle and not knowing what it was for. Also the player committing the offence needs to be aware that you have spotted it as you may want to penalise her later in a game for persistent breaking of the rules so they need to know that you have blown them for an infringement.

Setting of Penalties

Always make sure you clearly set the penalties by verbally saying as well as indicating clearly with your arms where the penalty should be taken.

If a player does not take the penalty from the correct place or does not wait for the offending player to be by their side then the penalty is not set.

Blow whistle and say "Penalty not set free pass to blue team" or whichever team is appropriate.

Remember you have to set it properly as an umpire for the players to be able to take up the correct position, be aware of players delaying play. Play advantage if the non-offending team are in the correct position and the penalised player is not taking up her position quickly. You can also advance the penalty for this if it is deliberate and if they are disputing your decision.

Say "Advantage delaying play" or "Dispute with umpire advanced penalty" indicate clearly where you want the penalty advanced to and also whether you want the offending player to go forward with the advanced penalty or stay where they are, consider if this gives them an advantage. For example if you were advancing the ball from outside the goal circle into the circle because the offending player was the GD is it better to bring her in next to the shooter or leave her outside. You have to make these split second decisions very quickly by assessing the play and set up of the other players.

Contact Contest

All players are allowed to contest a ball during the game, but they are not allowed to do so in such a way as to interfere with another players attempt at getting the ball. To explain this further in a goal circle, the Red GS jumps for the ball and at the same time so does the Blue GD. As they go up for the ball their arms touch, the Red GS catches the ball lands and is balanced and able to shoot for goal. This is a legitimate contest and no action would be taken by an umpire. If as they had both jumped for the ball the Blue GD had swung her arm out and caught the Red GS in the face preventing her from contesting for the ball then this would be contact.

Another example would be where a Red WA is passed the ball and the Blue WD brings an arm around the side to try and intercept the ball as she does this she catches the Red WA on the arm. The Red WA catches the ball cleanly is not knocked off balance and can make a clear pass again this would be contest and no action taken by an umpire.

Remember you only blow contact that interferes, did the contact interfere with the other player if not take no action. Contact that interferes should be blown or advantage be played if appropriate.

Timings for quarters

Each quarter should consist of 15 minutes.

Timings for each interval are as follows:

3 minutes between the first and second quarter, and also the third and forth quarter.

5 minutes is allowed at half time.

Please do not cut down on game time, each team is entitled to take this time, for team coaching, substitutions etc. No umpire may penalise a team if they take the allowed time. It is the umpireís responsibility to time the intervals to ensure that the correct stoppage times are applied. Remember Umpires are entitled to these intervals as well even if teams are back on court early.

When there is an injury, you stop the timer and then time the injury allowing up to 2 minutes for the injury to be dealt with (having a separate stopwatch for this is advisable). The match restarts on the umpires whistle as soon as the injury is over and any substitutions have been made. Re-start the match timer to continue the remainder of that quarter time. Umpires should not cut subsequent quarters down.

We hope you find this a useful and informative document.