I am grade 8 referee with about a years experience. I am getting progressively assigned to more competitive games. As a result I am seeing things/tactics I have not been exposed to and was wondering how to handle them. I was recently the center referee on a U14 competitive girls game where one team had a tactic of a quick, light pull on the sleeve of the player they were defending if they got beat. It did not seem to affect the direction or speed of the offensive player so I dismissed it as trivial. However, the girls started to get irritated by this tactic and were bringing this to my attention. I called a few fouls on different players but the tactic did not stop. The team that was the recipient of this tactic was also winning handily so I just let it go. Looking back at this I think these were tactical fouls and I should have cautioned players. How should this tactic have been handled? Call a foul the first time and tell the team that if it happens again the player will be cautioned?

Caution the player the first time it happens? What happens when the player cautioned quits the tactic but the other players on the team continue? Would you caution the other players as they commit the tactical foul as well? What would you do if other players continue this tactic until they were cautioned? I like to reflect on or analyze my games to see what I could do better so I can continue to improve so feedback would be appreciated. Thanks

USSF answer (September 7, 2010):
Depending on the age/skill level, warn the first (and possibly the second) time this holding occurs with younger/less-skilled teams, but call the foul (or apply the advantage) immediately with older, more skilled players. If the tactic continues after you have called the holding foul, caution that player for persistent infringement. Do not permit this or any other delaying or harassing tactic to continue without acting decisively to rein it in.