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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 04:08pm
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I am a third year licensed basketball official and have been doing grade school games (5-8) only. I am becoming more and discouraged over the behavior of coaches at the lower grade levels. At both boys and girls games, grades 5 and 6, I have experienced coaches that continuously whine, scream and challenge my partner and me. I gave out several technicals last year and threw out one coach last year. The guy I tossed refused to leave the court and taunted me on his way to the locker room. I told him twice to get off the court. He finally went into the locker room. In another game the coach insulted my partner and I in the opening minutes and was eventually tossed in the 1st period. On another occasion I had one coach “pleasantly” approach us in the parking lot after the game. He criticized our calls and when he did not like my response of “come on coach give me a break” he cussed and got on the team bus, which by the way was right next to us with his players on board.

My point is that it appears that grade school coaches have nothing to lose for their expulsion from the game. Many times they are volunteers and have no other affiliation with their schools. They do not receive penalties a as high school coaches get when tossed.

In closing, I admit I am still a novice and have made some mistakes and blown some calls. I deserve being questioned or even shouted at by a coach. But the behavior I have described is unacceptable and I know I need to control these actions and behavior early in the game. But what can we do at a local or state level to insist that this behavior can not be tolerated? Our state high school athletic associations must realize that in order to recruit and keep officials in the profession we must have some support; and for us starting our officiating careers at the grade school level we need some type of deterrent that we can use against the grade school coach. Suggestions?
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 04:12pm
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There is a reason they are grade school coaches! They may have done this a while, but I don't necessarily buy that they are experieinced in all senses of that word. They may have coached 50 grade school games, but they clearly do not have a clue if they are acting like this.

You will find that coaches are worst at the lowest levels precisely because they don't know very much about the game, how it should be played or how it should be called. This doesn't mean that all grade school level coaches are bad, but you see a lot of ugly at that level.
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 04:38pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Henry
In closing, I admit I am still a novice and have made some mistakes and blown some calls. I deserve being questioned or even shouted at by a coach. But the behavior I have described is unacceptable and I know I need to control these actions and behavior early in the game. But what can we do at a local or state level to insist that this behavior can not be tolerated? Our state high school athletic associations must realize that in order to recruit and keep officials in the profession we must have some support; and for us starting our officiating careers at the grade school level we need some type of deterrent that we can use against the grade school coach. Suggestions?
I've been there, done that, bought the T-shirt!!

Here are a few suggestions. 1. Be sure you know the rules cold, but never, never, recite them to the coach. You need the confidence, though, of knowing you are right no matter what.

2. Never lose your cool. I've had to learn this one the hard way. If you feel calm and confident, the coach is more likely to feel that way, too.

3. The vets on this board are wondering why I left this until third since I usually harp on it first, but the best thing you can do for your game at any level is get videotape. If you can find a teenager that will sit with a videocam and a tripod and run the camera back and forth, you reward them with $5 and a hamburger on the way home.

Then go home and study, study, study. Watch every gesture, every stride, every flop of clothing. Work HARD at losing whatever makes you look less than completely calm and happy. If you're not sure how to look better, find some games (I suggest HS varsity) with the top refs working them, and study how they look. Do they frown, or smile? Do they nod or shake their head? Watch their hand gestures and how they hold their arms. Look at their stride, and the way they hold their head when they run.

Be sure all your equipment and uniform are very attractive and tidy. Check your haircut, your shoelaces, your hem. Are they sharp and neat looking? A couple weeks later, tape again. It's amazing what you see on tape. Change your appearance, and the coaches start treating you differently. It may seem unfair, but it's true.

4. Talk to the coaches. You don't have to defend yourself, but let them know you understand, even if you dont agree.

5. Warn early on in the problem. "Coach, let's not go there tonight." "Coach, I've heard what you said, now let's get on with the game". "That's enough of that." The next or next after time they "go there" again, T 'em. If they complain too loud about that, toss em. But do the warning, the T'ing and the tossing with a dispassionate demeanor. (Isn't that a great phrase? Just the words help me calm down.)

I've learned all these lessons the hard way, and if my pain can help you avoid some problems, that's great. Not everything I've said will help with every coach, but your percentages will change dramatically if you work on what I'm suggesting. Especially the part about the tape. I know for sure that this is true, because I started clear at the bottom in terms of ability, and if this stuff wwill work for me, it'll work for anybody.
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 04:51pm
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Unhappy

Jim,

Hang in there! It will be tough while getting started. It takes a while to learn the mechanics, to learn positioning, to learn how to control your emotions, to learn how to handle coaches and game management, and to project confidence on the court. That is a lot!

You readily admit that you are "green" and learning. I can certainly appreciate that. I remember being a mentor to a first-year official two years ago. The first time I saw this guy officiate, I thought he stunk! But, I also recognized that he was JUST STARTING and he wanted help. This particular official took some crap from the coaches (CYO!) and the fans. I was ready to jump up and defend him on certain plays simply because he was having a tough time. After the game, we had a little court session as I tried to teach him some things. I saw him 3 different times that year. He ended up improving a whole bunch. He is now doing 9th grade games. He still needs work, but he's growing!

So you ask what can you do? Here are a few things I'd suggest trying:

1.) get other veteran officials to come see you officiate and give you direction;
2.) study other officials!;
3.) decide if this is a profession you really want to pursue considering the type of abuse that cannot be avoided;
4.) when the coach starts turning into "howler monkey", tell him "Coach, I am a young official trying to learn. I'm not very good right now, but I'm out here TRYING my best and working my a$$ off for you. Be patient with me! I'll get better."

If #4 doesn't work, whack him and let game management know that even though the coach is a volunteer, his behavior will not be tolerated. (Maybe before the game, if I were a new/younger official, I'd also let game management know that I am a "green" official and will be working as hard as I can to make the right calls...even though I WILL miss some! And, I am thankful for the opportunity to be working games for him/her.) If game management will not back you up after your explaining this to him/her, take it as high as you need to go.

[Edited by Indy_Ref on Oct 14th, 2003 at 04:53 PM]
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 04:58pm
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Indy
I disagree with #4. I think it gives too much credibility to the howler. He is in his third year, and probably knows more about how a game should be called than these biased critics. You are suggesting that he take a rather defensive position on this issue. I agree that having senior officials guide him is a great idea. But telling a coach that you are going to miss some is not necessary or improving the situation. It will probably contribute to even worse behavior.
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 06:33pm
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I would be very hesitant to announce that I was "green" to anybody except my partner. To let coaches or game management know that you are new is to lower your credibility before you even take the floor. Then every call, correct or otherwise, that they don't understand or agree with...you're automatically wrong, and you don't even get the benefit of the doubt. Certainly don't deny it or lie about it. But don't volunteer it.
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 07:28pm
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You have received some excellent advice/pointers so far and there is not much I can add. I will say to you that you do not have to accept a coach shouting at you for any reason. The coach does not have that right and it should never ever be tolerated.
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 08:38pm
oc oc is offline
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[/B][/QUOTE]

1. Be sure you know the rules cold, but never, never, recite them to the coach.
[/B][/QUOTE]

Why?
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 08:40pm
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Hey Jim, sounds like you're handling things well, keep it up! Some advice that I haven't seen posted yet:

- If an ejected coach refuses to leave don't argue. Tell him either he leaves or you leave. If he doesn't leave you go. The OTHER coach will not be happy with his opponent! Do not argue, demand or yell. Just go.

- Not always available at this level but if there's game security let them do the dirty work. After telling the coach he's been ejected tell game security/management you won't start until he's gone and you're not going to wait too long before you go. From that point do not say a word to the coach. If he walks up to you walk away.

- You have an assignor? An association? These coaches for sure have an AD or principal. Make some phone calls & let everyone know who the trouble makers are.

- Indy's #4 is fine - go to the trouble maker man-to-man, tell him you're working hard for him and you'll keep working hard for him but there's a reason you are both at this level and he's gotta back off. Just remember, you're gonna get better but he most likely won't.

- A good way to avoid the parking lot scenes is to give it 15 minutes or so before you leave after a heated game situation. Take a shower. Don't leave alone, walk out with your partner. Do not talk to anyone on the way out after a bad scene. If someone comes up to you keep walking. If they bother you use your cell phone & call the cops.

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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 08:41pm
oc oc is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Henry



My point is that it appears that grade school coaches have nothing to lose for their expulsion from the game. Many times they are volunteers and have no other affiliation with their schools.

That's exactly why our school prefers to only use teachers. They don't know the game as well-but know kids better. We do have one parent coach who is excellent-but the school was reluctant to let her coach at first for exactly that reason. I recently found out that she used to ref--explained a lot.
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Old Tue Oct 14, 2003, 11:47pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by oc
1. Be sure you know the rules cold, but never, never, recite them to the coach.
[/B][/QUOTE]

Why? [/B][/QUOTE]

It's too show-off-y. If I think a coach really wants to know the exact rule, I'll say, "I'll show you after the game." They almost never remember later, but the ones who do are usually the good ones that want to get better, so it's not a problem.

A few times I've said, "Coach, it's Rule 2-10." or "The exact wording is in the Live Ball/Dead Ball rule." This quiets them down without making them angry. Usually.
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Old Wed Oct 15, 2003, 07:39am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Henry

I am a third year licensed basketball official and have been doing grade school games (5-8) only. I am becoming more and discouraged over the behavior of coaches at the lower grade levels. ....
Good luck, Jim.

We may all have occasion to be confronted by "unreasonable" personalities in, and because of, hoops. Our best defenses are knowledge and poise.

As was suggested and implied, an association membership or a mentor may help you ease your pain.
Many of us have been disparaged and discouraged in our 3rd year. Years 3-5 can be a challenge. They are, in my opinion, commonly the years when we decide whether we continue, or whether we decide the grief is not worth the time. We should ask whether we should make a commitment to the avocation, or should we just be committed.

The period of years 3-5 is a mighty fine time to attend officiating camps. Officiating camps are pay to learn camps. We pay. We learn.

At officiating camps we learn, not only the mechanics of the game (how to stand, where to stand, how to hold our mouth), but we will probably learn game management techniques (disarming irate coaches, dealing with showboat players, interacting with ignorant fans, finding missing paychecks). By visiting and working with other officials we find out that we are not alone on this planet just because we wear vertical stripes in a horizontal world. We gobble up the experience; we digest the information. We may leave camps with more humility than we had expected, but a month later, ...two months later, we find ourselves standing a little taller on the court, ...more confidence, ...more presence.

Gleaned knowledge, experience, training, confidence is projected on the court. We make fewer fire-lighting mistakes and find it easier to say, "I kicked it. Sorry!". We offer fewer excuses. We become smarter and find it easier to share knowledge. Participants and observers react to that aura. We start having more fun.

We don't make a lot of money doing this thing, so enjoyment can play a larger part in our continued participation.

Have some fun and hang around this forum.
mick


The higher levels of basketball game are eaisier to officiate, better paying than lower levels. We must earn the right to work those games.



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Old Wed Oct 15, 2003, 08:54am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hawks Coach
There is a reason they are grade school coaches! They may have done this a while, but I don't necessarily buy that they are experieinced in all senses of that word. They may have coached 50 grade school games, but they clearly do not have a clue if they are acting like this.

You will find that coaches are worst at the lowest levels precisely because they don't know very much about the game, how it should be played or how it should be called. This doesn't mean that all grade school level coaches are bad, but you see a lot of ugly at that level.
I know I have disagreed with Hawks Coach more than once, but he is absolutely, positively, correct on this point. The coaching gets better as you go up. In my experience, not until the JV level though. The JV coach is usually a V assistant so he/she gets "mentored" somewhat.

Mregor
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Old Wed Oct 15, 2003, 09:03am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hawks Coach
Indy
I disagree with #4. I think it gives too much credibility to the howler. He is in his third year, and probably knows more about how a game should be called than these biased critics. You are suggesting that he take a rather defensive position on this issue. I agree that having senior officials guide him is a great idea. But telling a coach that you are going to miss some is not necessary or improving the situation. It will probably contribute to even worse behavior.
Hawks Coach,

By saying this, I'm NOT giving more credibility to the coach. In fact, I'm merely pointing out to him that I am new, I'm trying to learn and get better, and I'm HUMAN. Therefore, I'm going to make errors. By reminding the coach that I AM human, I believe I am making the situation better by, hopefully, getting that coach off my back. If it doesn't, that's when the whacking starts!

I know many officials who have been reffing for longer than 3 years...and if you watched them, you'd NEVER know it. So, how many years you've worked doesn't always indicate how good you ought to be.

And finally, to this day, I will admit to a coach that I have missed a call. What can a coach say to my admission? A good one will say something like, "Ok, but don't miss it again!" A bad coach may continue to be a jerk...to which the whacking will commense.
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Old Wed Oct 15, 2003, 09:17am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Back In The Saddle
I would be very hesitant to announce that I was "green" to anybody except my partner. To let coaches or game management know that you are new is to lower your credibility before you even take the floor. Then every call, correct or otherwise, that they don't understand or agree with...you're automatically wrong, and you don't even get the benefit of the doubt. Certainly don't deny it or lie about it. But don't volunteer it.
Saddle, please don't think you're going to hide the "green" factor. If you think you can do this, the only person you've fooled is yourself.
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