Helping out at Track & Field Meetings
All the clubs at inter-club Track and Field
Meeting need to provide a number of qualified officials and helpers in order to run the
various events, especially in the field events. A lot of potential volunteers are a bit
apprehensive about helping out, so we've provided a simple explanation of the various
elements in organising the field events.
All field events:
Someone will be in charge (Leader): He/She will usually be
- registering all the competitors,
- identifying the right implements for throws,
- reminding competitors of the rules (what is a no-throw, the number of attempts they will
- ensuring everyone has a practise
- calling competitors in turn for each attempt,
- recording attempts on the scorecard,
- deciding if the throw / jump is valid,
- fitting in athletes who may have to leave for / return from other events,
- working out the finish order for all competitors.
In the event notes below, the jobs listed are in addition to the "Leader"
In addition to the leader: 2 helpers
The two helpers place the bar on the high jump stand, and raise the
height when directed by the leader (eg "up 3", "up 5" "up
10" ... to 1m 40 .. etc).
Competitors are eliminated after three consecutive failures. (Very
occasionally a competitor may have two failures at a height and elect to have their next
attempt at the next height up).
Additional tasks for the leader:
- Ascertain the height at which competitors will enter the competition.
- In wet weather if there are concerns about competitors slipping on the run-up the event
may be called off (or moved indoors if there are facilities).
As High Jump, except:
- the bar is raised by small pulleys on the stand, so a bit of co-ordination is
need as the helpers raise it.
- One of the helpers may be needed to catch the pole.
In addition to the leader: 4 (or more for longer throws)
leader will do this. The
same person will usually have the warning klaxon that is sounded before a long throw to
warn everyone that an implement is about to be thrown.
- "Spiking": Spotting where the implement landed and sticking a
"spike" into the ground. A measuring tape is attached to the "spike".
All throws have to land within a clearly marked sector. The Spiker and Leader will agree
if a throw has landed outside the sector (No throw)
- "Fetching (2)": Collecting the implement and returning it to the throwing
area. Often two are needed for longer throws. The "fetcher(s)" work with the
"spiker" to agree the landing place.
- "Pulling Through": The measuring tape is pulled tight through a point in the
middle of the throwing circle (or the Javelin run-up)
- "Reading Off": The distance of the throw is read off the tape from the front
of the throwing circle / line (Javelin), and rounded down to the nearest cm. If there is a
shortage of officials the
Additional Job for Javelin:
- "Landing judge": The javelin has to land "point first" to be a valid
throw it doesn't need to stick into the ground. The judge positions himself roughly
in line where the javelin is expected to land and raises a white flag for a valid throw,
red for a foul.
The hammer and discuss are thrown from within a safety cage. The hammer
uses the smaller of the two throwing circles.
Common sense for all judges and competitors at throwing events:
- Never turn your back when a throw is about to take place!!!!!
- If the javelin has stuck in the ground, raise the tail so it is
perpendicular before removing it. Do not pull it out at an angle. Always carry the javelin
perpendicular to the ground, tail up.
Long Jump and Triple Jump
In addition to the leader: 4 (or more)
- "Spiking": Spotting where the jumper landed and sticking a spike into the
sand. A measuring tape is attached to the "spike". The measure is taken as the
mark in the sand which is nearest to the take-off board. If the jumper leans back and
places his/her hand in the sand, or walks out the pit towards the take-off board, then
that is the mark which is measured.
- "Pulling Through": The measuring tape is pulled taught through the jumping
- "Take-off Judge / Reading off": The distance of the jump is read off the tape
from the edge of the jumping board, and rounded down to the nearest cm. If there is a
shortage of officials the leader will do this. The same person will usually judge whether
the jumper took off on or behind the jumping board. There is a second board with
plasticine which sits alongside the take-off board and this shows if the jumper was too
far forward. (The leader may take this job and delegate one of the helpers to look after
the jumpers and the scorecard).
- "Raking the pit": After each jump has been measured the sand is given a quick
rake. Be quick as the rake must be clear before the next jumper can be asked to jump.
Additional tasks for Leader / Take-off Judge:
- Check the sand has been raked and the rake is clear before calling the next competitor.
- For the Triple jump: Ascertain which take-off point is going to be used. A competitor
has to know which one to use. Using one too close to the sand means landing in the sand at
the end of the step, using one too far away means landing on the runway at the end of the
jump. The jumping order will usually be adjusted according to the take-off point used.
We also have Blank Distance and Height Scoring sheets, and a summary of the weights for throws
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