Q: "What is this strange language that you speak?"
Many players find that they don't understand what their coach is talking about. Granted, sometimes you probably don't want to know. However, with this Glossary of Touchspeak, you will hopefully get towards a better understanding of both your coaches and the game of Touch.
Half - the player who picks up the ball after someone makes a touch and puts the ball on the ground (roll-ball or dump). If this player is touched with the ball the defending team gains possession. Also known as "dummy half", especially when they get caught with the ball on the first or second touch.
Buddy - Two players perform a "buddy" when the roll-ball steps or "splits" to one side and receives the ball back from the half. They then run with the ball at the defence to make another touch. Also known as a "daffy".
Cut-out - a pass which ''cuts out'' the player next to you and goes to the player next to them. Use of this pass is most applicable when in a scoring situation rather than in general play. Contrary to the belief of some male players, it is not the only pass allowed in mixed touch.
Dump - performing a roll-ball. No toilet paper is needed after a dump. Beware of players whose only call seems to be "dump for me".
Fade - a player performs a fade when they run toward a team-mate and make a touch in front of them. Players will generally call "fade to me"? or "get to me"?, or "fading to you"?. This is a valuable tactic in wet weather when the ball may be dropped more easily. Having a ''brain fade'' is not such a valuable tactic.
Link - the "link" position is one in from the wing. It is called the link, because it is the link between the middle players and the wingers. When a link continues to make defensive errors, they may be known as "the weakest link". Everyone has bad days though, so we promise not to say "goodbye"?to you, or at least not straight away. Link players in higher division teams are often the most elusive players in the team.
Middle - The players two in from either wing. In defence the middles often have to do the most running because they have to cover their other middle and their link player. Some of them seem to think that the wing only exists for a rest in defence and that it is much easier to score with a 1m gap in front of them instead of passing to a winger without anyone marking them.
Overlap - the attacking team has an overlap when an attacker with the ball becomes unmarked, giving the attack an advantage around the ball. If the defence take the player with the ball, they can pass to another player who is unmarked, who can either do the same or run through the defensive line.
Penalty - A penalty is awarded for the following infringements - Touch pass, being offside, forward pass, rolling the ball forward of where you were touched ("over the mark"), having too many players on the field, abusing the referee or other competitors, obstruction (defensive or offensive), delaying play, physical contact deemed unnecessarily hard. When being awarded a penalty, the opposition must move back to 10 metres from where you are taking the penalty tap. You take the tap by placing the ball on the ground, tapping it with your foot and picking it up.
Referee - While they may sometimes be blind, officious and annoying, many games could not be played without a referee. Try not to annoy them - even though referees try to remain objective, they are people (some are even your fellow club members) and they don't respond well to abuse. Another thing to remember is that they are often doing a task that not many players put their hand up for. In general you can guarantee that you don't want people reffing you who have to because there are not enough refs at the competition you are playing in.
Roll-ball - What you do when you make a touch. Place the ball on the ground and step over it. The "roll" is an outdated term from Rugby League, where the player rolls the ball back with their feet. You are allowed to roll the ball backwards to your acting half, but it cannot roll more than a metre and in any case you should avoid it because it makes picking the ball up more difficult. The attacking player who makes the touch is also called the "roll-ball" in the rules of the game.
Ruck - the "ruck" is the area where the acting half and roll-ball player stand. An attacking team "rucks" by making touches on their opponents, while running or passing the ball across the field. If a defensive player stands around or falls to ground near the roll-ball, they may be penalised for "being in the ruck".
Snap - The sound a defenders knee makes as they try to turn and make the touch on an attacker who has beaten them one on one. When you have been beaten, you have been "snapped". Even worse is when someone snaps a photo of you being "snapped". Don't be ashamed though, even the best players get "snapped".
Sweep - In their rucking, a team may use a "sweep" move where a player runs from one side of the roll-ball to the other. For instance, the left hand link may pass to the left hand middle who dumps and then the winger "sweeps" around to receive the ball on the right hand side of the link and middle. May also be called a "roll" and the player a "roller", however this terminology should be avoided because it confuses people with the roll-ball.
Switch - In a switch, the player with the ball runs at a gap. The attacker who is next to them in the direction that they are running, runs on a similar angle and then runs back to where the ball-carrier came from, with the ball carrier passing to them by twisting their body and putting the ball in front of the running player. The player without the ball should generally leave "switching" until they cannot score in the gap in front of them. This is because the player with the ball may beat their defender and thus create an overlap. Also known as a "B" (a dummy switch is known as an "A").
Touch - a Touch can be made on any part of a player, including their clothing and hair. As a defender, you can make a touch with a part of your body other than your hand, but you will likely be penalised if you do so intentionally. Grabbing, kicking and punching are generally not appreciated, even though they may be forms of touching someone.
Split - a player "splits" when they dump and then step to the side, so that the acting half can give the ball back to them to go forward. This is a good way of getting the defence offside when you have no other nearby player running on to the ball, or scoring close to the line when the defence is lacking in agility. These more attacking splits are known as a 'quickie', "k1" and many other names.
Tap - Don't leave it running while cleaning your teeth. You "tap" the ball at the start of the game, at halftime, and any time your team receives a penalty. Place the ball on the ground, gently tap it with your foot and then pick it back up.
Touchdown - What you score when you put the ball down on or over the score-line. If you are feeling creative, exuberant or don't mind being ridiculed for showboating, you can come up with a touchdown celebration routine or routines.
Try - some people call a touchdown a 'try', some don't.
Wing - The winger stands nearest the sideline. They should be loud and talk all the time to their fellow defenders. Although much maligned as the easiest place to play, a really good team will have good wingers who can stop opposition touchdowns with good decision making, as well as being in the right place at the right time in attack. Remember, "You can't fly without wings". Players who attack in the middle and defend on the wing will be summarily taken out and shot at dawn the next morning. Links who try to score themselves when the winger is totally unmarked, will be boiled in oil and then hung, drawn and quartered.
Wrap - Not the stuff you put around your sandwiches, nor is it backed by hip-hop beats. No, the wrap is the simplest but most effective two-player move there is. The player with the ball passes to the player next to them who runs into the gap between their two defenders at speed. If timed right, the player running into or "hitting" the gap will confuse and commit the two defenders to them. This allows the player who passed the ball to run around, or "wrap" them in the same direction as the ball was passed.
Now the next time your coach talks you may be able to understand them. Then again, maybe you won't.