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Old Tue Sep 10, 2019, 09:57am
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Mentor/Mentee Program

I'm heading up our mentor program for the coming season. Wondering if other areas have similar programs? Essentially all new officials are encouraged to get a mentor and volunteer to receive one. We then solicit current referees for volunteers to be mentors. We have a focus on officials in our "New officials class" prepping to take the test for the first time and work their first season.

Some things that we are doing
1. Pairing new officials and mentor geographically as to make it easier to get together
2. Laying out expectations from both parties, including feedback communication and encouraging rules knowledge and solid mechanics. Also on the mentee side reaching out frequently as you can only get out what you put in.
3. Working with assignors to pair mentee lower level games with mentor varsity games for observation and feedback.
4. Offering the program to current officials who feel they could use a mentor to advance. While the reception maybe low I think that these folks would be very engaged.

We are all pretty aware of the new officials attrition rates and want to do what we can to mitigate this in our association. Interested to hear if there are other programs like this and how they work. What works well what does not work? Open to other ideas to make the program the best for all parties involved.
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Old Tue Sep 10, 2019, 09:28pm
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Mentoring Program

I think you are definitely on the right track. I might suggest not limiting your mentors to just "current" referees. There may be some excellent retired officials in your area that would be strong candidates to help out. Plus, they may have more time to put into the development of the newer official. I would strongly encourage your mentors to use their smart phones to take pictures rather than trying to jot down notes. Pictures say exactly what one is trying to scribble down and takes a fraction of the time. Pictures can show when an official is out of position, a late rotation, failure to close down, a head coach well out of the box, a head coach and assistant both standing and coaching, cheerleaders too close to the end line during play, obvious uniform infractions and a possession arrow that has not been switched among other things. If you need to take notes do those on the phone as well. They are easy to revise and correct following the game and can be easily sent to the newer official if requested.
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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 10:56am
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good start

The comments/suggestions made in this thread are great and if implemented will certainly add to both the skill as well as the retention of beginner refs. I would also suggest that you take it one small step further: have each 'mentor' give each of his/her 'mentee' a "new ref whistle" when you first meet up with him/her. Hear me out on this now, this is a small thing that the new ref will remember forever that someone as skilled, polished, and knowledgeable as you'all would think to give a new ref a new whistle [which is the icon of our profession] as a token of kindness, collegiality, and concern. This will add to the "affective domain" of the relationship.
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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:24pm
Courageous When Prudent
 
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I prefer for mentor/mentee relationships to develop organically.
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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:44pm
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Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
I prefer for mentor/mentee relationships to develop organically.
Agree, however brand new to the sport or area they are least likely to have someone to go to and most vulnerable to quit.
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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 04:36pm
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Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
I prefer for mentor/mentee relationships to develop organically.
*?what is organically?
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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 04:41pm
Courageous When Prudent
 
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Originally Posted by Kansas Ref View Post
*?what is organically?
Relationships that develop naturally, not through assignment.

I show interest in those who show interest in the craft. I have been mentored over the years by those who I was either already friends with or who I developed relationships with. For me, having somebody assigned to me as a mentee, or having somebody assigned to me as a mentor just wouldn't have worked out.

I'm about to engage in mentoring an older official who is truly starting to show genuine interest in getting better. I've known him for a few years but he never seemed like he was really interested in getting better, so I never initiated anything with him.

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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 06:16pm
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Originally Posted by sdoebler View Post
Agree, however brand new to the sport or area they are least likely to have someone to go to and most vulnerable to quit.
Then it should be up to those individuals to find someone to look towards or the veterans to take them under your wing. We have a few of those "mentor programs" through the association and it often is not something I see that really works. One reason is when you assign the people, it is possible that they are not in a situation or of the personality to work together. At least if you build a relationship on your own, it is more likely to work because someone has a desire to make it work. Usually, these are developed by going to a game directly and watching and talking with the officials or seeing each other at a social and just having a conversation.

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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 07:06pm
LRZ LRZ is offline
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I don't see this as an "either/or"--an assignment system and an organic system can co-exist.
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Old Thu Sep 12, 2019, 07:41pm
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Originally Posted by LRZ View Post
I don't see this as an "either/or"--an assignment system and an organic system can co-exist.
I do not think anyone said you cannot have both. Just the forced one IMO has some issues and often does not last. I think we as officials should take officials under their wing on their own more than relying on a program. But by all means, do what works in your area. I have been apart of both, just think the organic kind has more effective as you that is like most relationship start.

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Old Mon Sep 16, 2019, 10:01am
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I will address a couple of points:


1. I understand the organic part but the group that we are addressing are mostly brand new. Some of these individuals don't pass the test and then literally never show up to work a game. They may not understand that they can work lower level games or even know how to sign up for them. If they never even start how can they get a mentor or get engaged? Sometimes just having someone to ask questions outside of a big group and not feeling dumb helps even the smallest hurdles.
2. We survey the mentors and mentees with a few questions to best fit personalities and feedback types.
3. The program is offered and we only pair those who ask.
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Old Mon Sep 16, 2019, 11:39am
Do not give a damn!!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdoebler View Post
I will address a couple of points:
1. I understand the organic part but the group that we are addressing are mostly brand new. Some of these individuals don't pass the test and then literally never show up to work a game. They may not understand that they can work lower level games or even know how to sign up for them. If they never even start how can they get a mentor or get engaged? Sometimes just having someone to ask questions outside of a big group and not feeling dumb helps even the smallest hurdles.
I cannot speak for your area, but in my area, you cannot get a single game until you actually have a license. That means that no assignor is putting you on any game (High School or below) if you do not have passed a test, passed a state background check and watched the rules videos as apart of your application process. Until that is done, you are not working any games. No showing up to a game and not having passed the test.

Secondly, you are not working games if no one knows who you are. At least in the Chicago area or before the IHSA took over the Arbiter system (still some area pockets where the IHSA does not influence this yet), if you were not known to even be hired. The biggest way is to join a Local Officials Association on some level. In basketball, it is almost a requirement that you are a member of an LOA. Even the middle school games are assigned through local associations or an assignor that is a member of those LOA. They send out availability by LOA membership wide emails which if you are not a member you will not likely receive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdoebler View Post
2. We survey the mentors and mentees with a few questions to best fit personalities and feedback types.
OK, nothing wrong with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdoebler View Post
3. The program is offered and we only pair those who ask.
OK, nothing wrong with this either.

Again, do not miss the point I have been making. I think the position that I was talking about doing this organically, it is better for me to help those that seek advice from me than me going to them on my own. I have been apart of programs where I am put with a person for all kinds of reasons, then when we try to share information, the person does little to nothing to reach out. I also work a lot as an official, so I am not always around. I cannot go watch your games all the time or even often. So if you do not give me updated schedules or do not contact me about things that you need help with, there is only so much I can do. I help those that want help.

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Old Mon Sep 16, 2019, 12:05pm
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
I cannot speak for your area, but in my area, you cannot get a single game until you actually have a license. That means that no assignor is putting you on any game (High School or below) if you do not have passed a test, passed a state background check and watched the rules videos as apart of your application process. Until that is done, you are not working any games. No showing up to a game and not having passed the test.

Secondly, you are not working games if no one knows who you are. At least in the Chicago area or before the IHSA took over the Arbiter system (still some area pockets where the IHSA does not influence this yet), if you were not known to even be hired. The biggest way is to join a Local Officials Association on some level. In basketball, it is almost a requirement that you are a member of an LOA. Even the middle school games are assigned through local associations or an assignor that is a member of those LOA. They send out availability by LOA membership wide emails which if you are not a member you will not likely receive.
There is no requirement of test level to work lower level games for our area. New officials are suppose to take a mechanics class but when games are unfilled we take who is available.

We have a mass shortage of officials. 90% of our lower level (Non-Varsity) games are in the system for self-assign, anyone registered can take them. Our assignors have an ever-changing pool of 400-500 officials, they don't know them all.
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Old Mon Sep 16, 2019, 12:44pm
Do not give a damn!!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdoebler View Post
There is no requirement of test level to work lower level games for our area. New officials are suppose to take a mechanics class but when games are unfilled we take who is available.
That is why politics is local like officiating. So when asking everyone our thoughts, we are coming from what takes place where we live. Maybe one of the reasons you do not have officials is some of the requirements simply to be an official. So you have to take a class just to work a middle school game?

My very first basketball game was because I worked with a person I knew and he brought me to a game. He sat down with me and went over our mechanics and basic rules. The rest is history.

Peace
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Old Mon Sep 16, 2019, 01:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
That is why politics is local like officiating. So when asking everyone our thoughts, we are coming from what takes place where we live. Maybe one of the reasons you do not have officials is some of the requirements simply to be an official. So you have to take a class just to work a middle school game?

My very first basketball game was because I worked with a person I knew and he brought me to a game. He sat down with me and went over our mechanics and basic rules. The rest is history.

Peace
Well that is part of the point why I was asking about the mentoring program that is in place here and how to better it, not how you assign or become an official.

The shortage of officials is nation wide and I have never heard the reason being the requirements to become an official. I don't know of any pre-requisites to become a middle school official but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
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