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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Wed Dec 20, 2000, 05:35pm
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Question

This is my concern. We are in need of officials in our area. I normally get a least one or two new recruits a year. My first year...... I recruited two and they both dropped out. They stated the so called "Varsity officials" did not make them feel welcome!
The next year..... Recruited one.... same end result, and basically the same reason.
This season I'm 50-50. I have one that is sticking around.
Despite the same feeling!
I ran into the same brickwall when I arrived!

How do you all treat the newcomers?

AK ref SE
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Old Wed Dec 20, 2000, 08:12pm
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Wink

I know what you are saying and it is very true many times.I am in my fourth year and if I hadn't already done another sport I would have quit my first year.I had a veteran official tell me before my first or second game that I better cover my lines and make all my calls because he was tired of carrying new officials!I do my best to help new officials and make them feel welcome and ii sure hope none of us forget where we came from.By the way that bitter veteran quit after that year.
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Old Wed Dec 20, 2000, 10:45pm
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Unhappy I would love to blame veterans for this, but.....

I really cannot. I think that in my state, if these schools do not change their ways, new people will never want to do basketball or any sport for that matter. If we cannot get paid for at the time we do the game, how are people going to be able to support this habit we all call officiating. I still have not gotten checks from games that I did for football season. I try to use my officiating money to pay for gas and any other expenses I need. If school districts want to treat us different than any other citizen that does a job for them, then they need to officiate their own games. But this is my opinion.
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Old Wed Dec 20, 2000, 10:50pm
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In my area, we have a fairly intense 5-week training/orientaion, similar to driver's training. Then we pair them up with mentors who can help clarify structure, politics, and other off-the-court stuff.

IMHO - In these times of stretched capacity, I think associations must schmooz and hand-hold the newbies to ensure they stay with it. We should treat them as if they are doing us a favor, not the other way around, because it is true.
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Old Wed Dec 20, 2000, 11:09pm
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Lightbulb I do feel that......

there is a lack of teaching and "real" mentoring by older officials. Many veterans see new officials as competetion. That is a shame. If veterans were to be more concerned about improving themselves and not worrying about what the next guy is doing or not doing, we might have better officials across the board. It is really sad, and we can cause most of the problems in this area too.

Quote:
Originally posted by pizanno
In my area, we have a fairly intense 5-week training/orientaion, similar to driver's training. Then we pair them up with mentors who can help clarify structure, politics, and other off-the-court stuff.

IMHO - In these times of stretched capacity, I think associations must schmooz and hand-hold the newbies to ensure they stay with it. We should treat them as if they are doing us a favor, not the other way around, because it is true.
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Old Wed Dec 20, 2000, 11:56pm
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In Portland, I think we are treated really well, compared to what I am hearing from you-all. We have class every Wednesday for the entire season for four years. Our "commissioner" (assignor and big-daddy) makes a great effort to know us all by name in about three weeks. He keeps track of our capabilities and keeps us from getting in over our heads. And gives us partners who will work with us and treat us right. I hate to think what some of my partners from last year were saying about me after the game, but to my face they were uniformly encouraging, helpful, and respectful. Except for one guy, who isn't in the Association any more. All my class mates say the same. So if anyone wants to know how to do it right, talk to Howard Mayo. Find him at http://www.pboa.org.

The only thing I think could be better around here would be to have a separate little group for women. I envy some of my hoop-sisters who have their own org. in their town. This one thing made it very, very tough for me to get past that first meeting. But on the other hand, I have heard not one word of patronization or of discrimination. The leaders in our group just do not tolerate it.
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Old Thu Dec 21, 2000, 02:08am
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Ak ref SE, I think that you need to look first at the personality of your recruits. Can they take criticism without taking it personally? We all say "yes" when asked but not too many people can really do it. Second, how are they approaching the role of officiating? Is it a job or is it a challenge that they strive to improve at?
It's easy to blame other, more experienced officials who may have been all business and not thrown out enough warm fuzzies to the FNG's. I am a rookie official in Fairbanks and am grateful to every partner I have had. Even if they didn't say very much to me I always learn from watching them. Our assignor does a good job of matching up new guys with experienced ones. We have had some good training sessions that pay big dividends as well. I'm sure most associations do the same, but bottom line is that the person has to want to be there as well as improve every day. Even if they aren't calling.
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Old Thu Dec 21, 2000, 01:04pm
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Big Sarge- I understand what you are saying about personalities! I think that most of us(Okay I will speak for myself) I did not just wake up one morning and say "I want to be an official" I had an interest and I am so thankful for my first experience. Until you actually get on the floor, you don't know how you will react. My very first H.S. Freshman game. I reffed with a Varsity official.
I was the lead.... a player got flattened to the ground..... I froze(actually everyone on the entire gym stopped) My partner yelled out to me " Do you have anything" I had this dumb look and said know "No" He said "okay lets keep playing" Halftime conversation. I was shaking my head and told him I'm a terrible official and I blew that call. His response was "If you keep with it, you'll blow hundred, maybe a thousand more calls, get over it and go on".
We need to mentor, train and welcome people into the officiating world. If someone is afraid of the new guy/gal, it may be time to evaluate ones own abilities!

AK ref SE
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Old Thu Dec 21, 2000, 02:47pm
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Both sides....

Clearly some people do not have the personality to be officials. It requires a lot of self-confidence in who you are while you develop the skill to have confidence in how your officiate.

The association makes a difference too. I've heard of associations where you get no help and games are assigned based on seniority. That would be pretty frustrating.

Our association works hard to welcome people, and develop them. We have classes, clinics, watch videos... But more importantly is the on-the-job-training (OJT) with skilled officials. We all work pre-season scrimmages for feedback. (These are non-paid.) Evaluators are there to offer critiques, encouragement, etc. A very critical difference is for the veterans to recognize that new officials grow only so fast. I'm sure there are a number of areas where I can still improve, and I get feedback to that effect. The feedback that best sticks, though, is that which comes with the praise for what I do that is good. Smart trainers know that encouragement does more for development than criticalness. (If nothing else, tell me what is working well so I can quit thinking about that and focus on the next step! Without any positive comments, I might still be wondering if the hand is up straight.) If I happen to do something better than usual, the good trainer will be quick to praise that behavior. (Yes, veterans varry in their ability to balance positive feedback with the critique.)

I recently worked with a newbie -- natuarlly he stunk. (Probably similar to me when I started. Maybe not much different than to me now!) Afterwards the evaluator had what seemed like an endless list of praise, then concluded with about 2 points for the guy to work on. He left motivated, and with an action list of probably all he can think about at once anyway.

Our new officials start in youth league games. The association is now asking veterans to work these low-paying youth games for at least one shift per month. The idea is to pair them with rookies and let them provide that OJT.

This year the association also negotiated with the schools and demanded 50% payment in advance of the season. I think the other 50% is due mid-season, adjusted for the changes in the first half. At the end additional adjustments are made. (I may be off in the details, the the basic situation is thus.) Since our association has the reputation of providing quality officials, we were successful at getting these concessions. Its looking like it will solve the delayed payment problems so many experience.
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Old Thu Dec 21, 2000, 10:49pm
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From the perspective of a first year offical

AK ref SE, You are exactly correct. You never know how you are going to react until the first time you have to put air into your Fox 40. Having played and been around the game for so long I thought it would not be that hard to make the switch to officiating.

First game, first quarter (FRSH girls) I was gripping (wet palms, mouth so dry the whistle was stuck to my mouth) and a player DD right in front of me. First, I throw my fist in the air, then blew and signaled traveling, then changed my signal to DD. The coaches, fans (parents), and everybody was on me. Fortunately I was working with a great vet and mentor. Next dead ball he came over to me and said "What the heck did you have down there? You gave me three different calls, I didn't know what was going on." Then he explained what he saw, what I should have done, and then said "Just settle down take your time and keep it simple."

What I'm saying is that your vets have to work to cultivate the FNG (thanks Sarg) into a competent offical. I know the ego comes into play from some of the vetern officals. I've had a few vets roll their eyes when I tell them this is my first year. But, I also tell them I defer to their experience and ask them to evaluate my performance at half time and post game. This seems to get them in the "mentor state-of-mind" and I have received a lot of good advice.

Also. Give your new guys FRSH and AT MOST a few JV games until they get comfortable with wearing the stripes. Nothing destroys confidence more than being in over your head. Team them up with good mentor type vets who have the patience to work with the newbie.

Bottom line is, Mentoring is the key to keeping new officals
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Old Thu Dec 21, 2000, 11:48pm
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Question Question

Why do assignors make that big of a distiction between a freshman game and a JV game? What is really the difference? Anything that is not varsity is pretty much on the same level. Why would a first year guy not be able to do a JV game? I did JV games my first year and worked with other first years officials during those game. I do not understand why (it seems like a regional thing) officals that start out are regulated to just freshman games, it just does not make much sense to me.
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Old Fri Dec 22, 2000, 11:06am
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Re: Question

Quote:
Originally posted by JRutledge
Why do assignors make that big of a distiction between a freshman game and a JV game? What is really the difference? Anything that is not varsity is pretty much on the same level. Why would a first year guy not be able to do a JV game? I did JV games my first year and worked with other first years officials during those game. I do not understand why (it seems like a regional thing) officals that start out are regulated to just freshman games, it just does not make much sense to me.
The other night I had a game that was scheduled to be a Frsh Girls game. The visiting school said they did not have a freshman program and that they combined any freshmen they had with their JV squad. The hosts agreed to play their freshmen gainst the visiting JV. The host team got WHACKED. Granted there are blowouts even when teams are suposedly evenly matched (one team better coached etc.) but the athletic ability in kids is tremendously different between 14-15yr olds and 16-17yr olds.

Personally I think the game gets easier to officiate when you have: 1. better athletes or 2. kids that have been under a good coach for a couple of years. I think what the assigner is looking at is letting the new official gain experience. When it comes to a rookie officiating these games, there is a lot less presure on an official in a freshman game. It is expected that the kids are still learning the game and by the same token you can say the official is still learning. This may be regional, but, you take a rookie offical here in Orlando and drop them into a 6A-JV Metro Conference game with 500 people in the stands, and it puts undo pressure on the rook to get-it-right-or-die.

I have done JV games this year and was the -R- at one game (we were both first year officials). I did the first half of a JV game the other night before my 14yr vet partner showed up. There is no way I would have been able to do this had I not first gained confidence by working some "easy" games and thanks to some good veteran guys that took time to mentor early in the season.

Star 'em out slow and let them work their way up as they gain experience and confidence.
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Old Fri Dec 22, 2000, 12:08pm
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Question But Mike

what I am saying is that Freshman games have the least amount of people at them. The players are not that much better and I feel the fewer people can be worse. You hear every comment and every objection to calls and mechanics, this is not any better than putting a young official in a JV game where you cannot tell who is saying what. I had more problems starting out at this level than I did when I did my first JV game, which was my first HS game ever in my first year. I am not saying that first year or young officals should never do them, but to start them out with just freshman games, in my opinion is not going to help them or hurt them if they do not do a JV game. JV games might be better for them because of the exposure to veteran officials. When do they get exposure to veterans doing a freshman game?

And I really do not understand the difference in school sizes either. I live in the Chicago area and we have two classes in Illinois. You cannot automatically put officials in the smaller schools in some areas, there are no smaller schools to officiate. If you have to put officials at the big schools, so be it. It is still a freshman or JV game. Varsity is varsity and I have found the smaller schools can be harder to officiate than the bigger schools. Reason being is because at the smaller schools, more people come out for the game. Or at best relative to the gym we are playing. The big cities schools, there is not an attachment to the school the same way the smaller towns have to that school. Duke Univesity is a smaller school and has a smaller arena, but do you think there would be any better place to do a game in the country than Coach K Arena (formally known as Camaron Indoor Stadium)
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Old Fri Dec 22, 2000, 12:58pm
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Difference JV/Freshman

I know you haven't called too many freshman games lately but here is a little reminder of what the differences are. Freshman is generally players who are still learning the game. The game is either played three hours before the varsity or an hour and half before the varsity but in an auxilary gym. This is a great place for first year officials to work on their game since the crowds are smaller and the play is not as intense. There is the problem however that since the players are not as good, the game can be very sloppy. There is usually only one coach on the bench so the official doesn't have to worry about assistance.

The JV game, I consider the warmup act. While the gym is nearly empty when the game starts, because people are showing up to watch the varsity, we will have an ever growing crowd during the game. Can be scary for the a new official. The game is usually a little better in quality so it can be an easier game to call. Exceptions do exist. There is usally two coaches on the bench so you do have to worry about assistant coaches and I have seen some ugly incedences here. I have T'd coaches more in the freshman game but I have T'd players more in the JV.

Last Saterday night I did a freshman/JV double header. In the freshman game I had a rookie partner and a third year man for a partner in the JV game. The freshman game was as smooth as glass dispite my partners mechanical problems. He had a weak signal and we worked on his mechanics at the freethrow line. He learned a lot and we had fun. Easy game. The JV game was viscious though. We had a call on a bad elbow thrown. The coaches were all over us and we had to use ever skill we knew to keep the game under control. I am glad we got the Rookie into the Freshman game and not the JV that night.

Whichever you do stick around for the Varisty. A good chance to scout out what you will be doing in a few short years and learn what this thing is all about.
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Old Fri Dec 22, 2000, 01:10pm
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Smile

If a varsity level official is asked to do a Freshman or JV game with a fairly new official. What is the attitude of the Varsity official? Do we look at this as a step down or a chance to help,train, mentor, and maybe become friends with the new guy/gal?

AK ref SE
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