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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 12:37pm
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I am going to do some youth games on weekends in our catholic league this year to get a few more games and I think it will be a good learning experince to do other ages. For the first weekend I am working with a brand new ref, these will be his first ever games. My questions are:
1-What is best, to give him a lot of information in a postive way after the game or keep it simple with a few major items. I can see good points in doing it either way.
2-Is it good for the coaches to know you have a new partner and work with you to develop him (I don't thnk so myself)? Should I keep the coaches off of his back or keep the reins on the coaches tighter than I normally would with an experinced partner?
3-Any thing else I can do to make it a good experience?
I have not worked with a lot of new refs, am not sure what to expect with the youth and want to do a good job of making this a good experience for my partner.
Thanks for any ideas or thoughts.....oh and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thaksgiving!
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 12:58pm
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I will tell you what I remember from the first games I officiated.

1) I wanted to know what I did wrong and what could be improved. Of course, any critique is always taken better when it is accompanied by at least one positive. If this new official wants to move up then he will really appreciate honesty.

2) I would not think that the coaches need to know it is his first game. Your partner is going to be nervous enough as it is. I would just go out like you would any other game. Hopefully the coaches in a youth catholic won't need to be 'reigned in' too much. :-)

3) I would say that a really good pre-game and then discussion at half-time will help a lot. Also, you don't want to feel like you are covering the entire court, but you may have to help out once-in-awhile. Don't take every call you see in his area, that will just make it a bad situation for him and he won't get anything out of the game.

My very first games were 3rd & 4th graders in a Saturday youth league. It wasn't good basketball but I learned a lot. Then when I moved to Junior High and High School after that I learned a lot more (seemed like starting all over again), but I am very happy that I had the experience with the younger kids and the game in general.

I hope this helps, good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!

[Edited by huskyz on Nov 26th, 2003 at 12:00 PM]
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 01:00pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by rcwilco
1-What is best, to give him a lot of information in a postive way after the game or keep it simple with a few major items.
JMO, but s/he probably won't retain a whole lot, so just hit a couple important things to work on. Offer to talk more if s/he wants to, but don't get into a big checklist right after the game.

Quote:
2-Is it good for the coaches to know you have a new partner and work with you to develop him (I don't thnk so myself)?
Again, JMO, but I had a D1 official tell a coach to stay off me in a D3 game last year, and frankly, I was embarrassed. It's just my personality on the court, but I want to sink or swim on my own. I wouldn't make any comments to the coaches about your partner's experience level.

Quote:
Should I keep the coaches off of his back or keep the reins on the coaches tighter than I normally would with an experinced partner?

If your partner gets the "deer in the headlights" look, then step in. Otherwise, let him/her try to handle it.

Quote:
3-Any thing else I can do to make it a good experience?
Just try to make your partner comfortable, be a good partner, be encouraging. Ask questions to see how s/he's doing or if there are any questions s/he has throughout the game.

Quote:
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thaksgiving!
Thanks, you too!
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 01:08pm
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Last year, my first year, I always wanted my partner to be the only one in the gym who knew I was a rookie.

I asked him to watch one particular thing each time, either a mechanic or a call I was consistently missing. During half time we would discuss one or two calls max that he or I had a question about.

After the game we would talk about a few other plays that could have been different. A lot of why's and how's were exchanged both ways.

I liked to make sure I had my partner's name also, especially if I liked working with him, so I could see if we were working together again and keep in mind what we had talked about and build on it for the next time.

As for keeping the coaches off of his back, kind of get an idea of his temperment first. If he seems like he can handle it, no big deal. If he is sensitive, then by all means, step in. Talk about that during a TO or at half time. See how he feels about the coaches. If the coach has a reputation, as one did in a game I did last year with a guy who was younger (but more experienced) than I, then you need to tell him straight out to stay off this guy. Take more of the burden on yourself and tell your partner you will handle him. Even if you don't say a word to the coach, it makes your partner feel like he is not alone.

[Edited by dsturdy5 on Nov 26th, 2003 at 12:14 PM]
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 01:41pm
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Thanks for the ideas so far. Forgot to mention it will be 8th and 6th grade age groups.
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 01:44pm
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Just like a first year teacher doesn't want the students to know, I would never want a coach to know my experience level. It's none of their business. I wouldn't step in too much, either, but tightening the reigns might not be a bad idea. You might look like a hard a$$, but your partner will have an easier time breaking into the game if he isn't distracted by a vocal coach. If you do tighten the reigns, I'd try to do it in such a way as to not give away your reasoning.
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 01:59pm
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Around here, CYO is the worst ball to work, because so many people have attitudes. I suppose that doesn't have to apply everywhere, but there are a lot of "Little League Dads" and "Stage Moms" in the world, so I expect you'll find a least a few.

Definitely don't let ANYONE know it's your partner's frist games. The best way to "take care" of your partner, is to show the coaches that you respect said partner. If the coach questions a call that your partner made, say, "It looked like a good call to me." If there's no way it could have been a good call, "Coach, ask HIM what he saw. I was busy watching your post player." or "He had a better angle than you or I." In these statements, you're also giveing the coach some language to start a reasonable conversation with your partner. It may not help, but it could.

Be sure that the first thing you say as you walk off the court together is very warm and positive, even if you have to be extremely vague, (I've heard a lot of these!!), such as, "Man, you were working hard!" "You were a lot more relaxed by the end." "That last call was terrific" After the positive statement, state two or three things for partner to work on. State them in an action-oriented way, with no judgement or predictions for the future -- "You need a stronger whistle" not "You'll never go anywhere if you don't learn to whistle better". "Study Rule 9 carefully, and read through the Case Book for Rule 9 several times." not "Haven't you gone over violations yet?" Then give a very good warm statement at the end. "You will get better fast, if you keep this up!" "I've been honored to work with you." Or, if you really liked him a lot, and want to keep in touch, "Let's work together again" or "call me and let's discuss the travelling rule."

Give at least three positive statements during the game. If necessary, lie. That is, lie in a way that could be self-fulfilling in a positive direction. "You have such a calm, collected demeanor" "You make it look like fun." "I heard a couple of parents say good things." "That coach can be a real problem, but you handled him fine."

Answer any questions honestly, but tactfully. "Did I call it too tight?" (He blew 14 fouls in the first half on each team). "Well, there were a few there that I would have let go..." "Your shirt looks good, but pressing your pants would help."

Never say always. Never say never.

Try to have fun yourself. It's quite contagious.

Sorry to go on and on. My "newbie" days are still fresh in my memory, and I'm giving you what I wanted.
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 03:45pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by rainmaker
Around here, CYO is the worst ball to work, because so many people have attitudes. I suppose that doesn't have to apply everywhere, but there are a lot of "Little League Dads" and "Stage Moms" in the world, so I expect you'll find a least a few.

Sorry to hear about the problems with CYO in your area. Around the DC/Maryland area, they've had problems with the HS aged CYO program and they've cracked down REALLY HARD. I'm glad. As many on the board have said, everybody's got a job to do, and raving players and coaches don't belong.

Anyway, about a new official. Don't tell me. It should not make any difference. Even though I would never do it on purpose, I know I would scrutinize his/her calls on everything not totally obvious. I probably would not ride him/her because of it, but it couldn't possibly do anybody any good. Conversely, some howler monkeys would use that information as a weapon against both officials, and then who knows where that would lead. My suggestion is that you could be a little protective, possibly by warning offending complainers a little earlier than you otherwise might, but that is a far as I would recommend altering normal game behavior. At half-time, if the newbie is having problems with proper postioning, tips in that arena should probably be passed along if the situation permits. The last thing your partner wants is to miss/make calls from out-of-position spots on the floor. That kind of thing drives coaches batty and does lead to nasty letters getting written.
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Old Wed Nov 26, 2003, 07:06pm
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In your pre-game you should get a good indication if your partner WANTS your input. Ask him outright, "Do you want feedback and suggestions during and/or after the game?" Then act accordingly. When you do offer helpful, corrective criticism, see how he reacts. If you get "Yeah, but," too many times, then save your breath. More likely, your partner will be grateful and receptive.

I think that new refs should not tell ANYONE it is their first game, or their second game, or their first season, etc. Telling people of your inexperience doesn't really serve any useful purpose and sets a perception that you will be inferior, IMO.

The most helpful concept I learned the first year was to always make eye contact with your partner. Never do anything after a whistle until you and your partner are both ready to go, players are counted, etc. This alone can greatly reduce mistakes. After that, a LOUD whistle and a strong "arm up" (every time) is the first mechanic new guys should concentrate on. Good luck, have fun!

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Old Thu Nov 27, 2003, 07:47am
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One thing I learned the first few times out.

Eye Contact: Always have eye contact with your partner before you put the ball in play. No exceptions.

Also, try to give the new guy some advice and ONE thing to work on every time you meet between quarters. If you get into too many things, it becomes information overload.

Ren
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Old Thu Nov 27, 2003, 09:57am
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FWIW

I agree, Eye contact with your partner is essential; first game, the next game, EVERY GAME.

The thing I remember about my first season was that the games took a lot of energy and created a lot of anxiety.

As a rookie, I was trying to watch EVERYTHING and not seeing much of ANYTHING. It felt like I was watching a video in fast-forward, only getting bits and pieces of the action. With experience, officials develop "filters" which allow them to efficiently sort out the important action vs. tertiary activity. These filters "slow down" the game.

Ball watching was another major obstacle as a rookie. Primary, schlimary... I needed to know what was happening with the ball.

The other area that I struggled with as a "greenie" was my lack of confidence in understanding the rules. I was a late bloomer (35 yrs old) and had not been actively involved in basketball since I left school 17 years earlier. My niavety got me into trouble a few times. Have you ever had a 5-second closely-guarded call in the BACKCOURT?


I am happy to report that with active involvement in this forum and assistance from a few very qualified mentors I am working a fairly solid varsity schedule.

Bottom Line: Have Fun and everything will go better!

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving All!!!
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Old Thu Nov 27, 2003, 10:41am
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Besides all the great information already shared, I would add the following:

In the pregame, discuss court coverage. Tell your newbie partner to focus on his area and the closest player that can "hurt" him. This will help him not follow the ball.

After the game, ask your newbie if there are any calls he would take back if he could. If not great. If so, discuss these.

Share any problems with his mechanics as these are the dead giveaways that the offical is a newbie.
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Old Sun Nov 30, 2003, 07:19am
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Thumbs up Newref

Ron, this is my 14th year and I started in Park & Recreation. The lower the level the harder the game is to work, and usually for less money. I tell every new official: 1. Find a local referee association and join, on this level most guys are not registered. 2. Let him/her know of all the information and educationals materials available today. 3. Fine out if he/she really wants to make a commitement....time studing, traveling, the politics, attitudes, and inns and out the business. If nothing else, remind him, " There will always be someone better then him, and there will always be someone worst then him. At this stage, he needs couage more then making the right call.
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Old Mon Dec 01, 2003, 03:39pm
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This is my second year as an official and I have been fortunate enough to get a decent share of varsity assignments due in large part to working a lot of games and learning from my partners. I think telling anyone involved with the game (besides your partner, of course), or having your partner say that you are a rookie is a cop out. You are an official working that game and rookie or 20 year vet, there is an expectation that you have the ability to administer the game properly and to know the rules and the mechanics. Don't make excuses to the coaches or to yourself.

Dealing with coaches is another issue that rookies should learn to deal with on their own. There's nothing worse than a veteran trying to bail a rookie out with a coach because then the rookie will never be able to establish his level of tolerence and will continue to look toward his partner rather than to confront the problem himself. You only learn through experience.

Finally, as a young official, I want my partner to be brutally honest with me on the things that I do well and my weak spots. If a young official solicits advice after the game, be as honest as possible, that's how he can evaluate his game best and filter the different advice he gets from his partners. Unnecessary positive comments may only serve to reinforce a weakness. Be careful what you say and keep the tone of the conversation positive, even if you have a lot of advice to offer. Sorry for rambling on.
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Old Mon Dec 01, 2003, 04:19pm
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Keep it simple. Four things I would tell a brand new official: (1) don't rush; (2) eye contact with partner before putting the ball in play; (3) call the obvious; (4) learn to watch off ball.

I probably would not tell a coach that it was my partner's first game. If a coach was riding my partner too hard, I might quietly say something like, "He's just starting out. Talk to me if you have any problems."
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