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Old Mon Dec 27, 2004, 05:55pm
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Question

Since it's been kind of a slow news day here on the forum, let me throw out a question I've been pondering this season. My goal this year is to master the art of dealing with coaches. Too lofty a goal for such a young punk? Sure. But I gotta start somewhere

I have had a couple of people share favorite techniques for dealing with coaches with me this year. I've tried one so far, and had decent success with it. I'm going to try the next one when things start up again in January.

What are your favorite tricks, tools and techniques for dealing with coaches?
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Old Mon Dec 27, 2004, 06:25pm
Do not give a damn!!
 
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The best advice is to simply be you. You cannot emulate someone else if you do not fit their personality. If you do not mind answering questions, answer questions. If you do not like saying much of anything, then do not say much. When a coach addresses me I usually react based on his/her behavior. If they come to me in a calm way, I will answer in a calm way. If they try to intimidate me or my partners, then I am much more direct and firm about what I say. Sometimes I will not even answer a question, just address their behavior. All you can do is simply be yourself. Nothing more, nothing less.

Peace
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Old Mon Dec 27, 2004, 06:48pm
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Smile

I think JRutledge is right. My personality is not one that can match wits with people. I'm better off saying very little to coaches and players. However, I can still be professional when talking to them. Short, direct statements work best for me. It's like talking with my wife. I'll never win an arguement so I just say my little bit and move on. I love her anyway.
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Old Mon Dec 27, 2004, 06:49pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by JRutledge
The best advice is to simply be you. You cannot emulate someone else if you do not fit their personality. If you do not mind answering questions, answer questions. If you do not like saying much of anything, then do not say much. When a coach addresses me I usually react based on his/her behavior. If they come to me in a calm way, I will answer in a calm way. If they try to intimidate me or my partners, then I am much more direct and firm about what I say. Sometimes I will not even answer a question, just address their behavior. All you can do is simply be yourself. Nothing more, nothing less.

Peace
Jeff, I completely agree that if I go out there and try to be somebody else, that's a recipe for failure. I have to have my own self-confidence, sense of humor, personality and style. However, I think that is an issue more to do with how we do what we do.

But everybody picks up techniques along the way. Those have to do with the what to do (and not do), rather than how to do it.

That's the kind of thing I'm asking about.

Just an example, there was a thread recently about a technique that involved introducing yourself to the head coach before the game and telling him that you're willing to talk with him during the game. That is a technique that another official passed along to me that has worked for me. Another senior official in my associate suggested that we look up the coachs' names before we arrive at the gym so that we can greet them by name. That is a technique that has had positive benefits for him.
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Old Mon Dec 27, 2004, 06:50pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by BamaRef
I think JRutledge is right. My personality is not one that can match wits with people. I'm better off saying very little to coaches and players. However, I can still be professional when talking to them. Short, direct statements work best for me. It's like talking with my wife. I'll never win an arguement so I just say my little bit and move on. I love her anyway.
I should be talking to her about techniques for winning arguements!

Short, direct statements is another technique that I could benefit from.
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Old Mon Dec 27, 2004, 08:03pm
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This is what works for me. But not always......

1. Generally they want to be listened to. If they say, for example, could you watch the handchecking simply say I'll watch for it or something like that.

2. If they want a call on ball and your primary is off ball simply tell them you were "off ball" and didn't see what happened but I'm sure my partner got it right.

3. If they question a call ask them what they saw. I then will tell them what I saw and we play on.

4. If I'm the trail and the Coach is talking to me about a call that he disagrees with (while the ball is live) I'll say Coach I can't talk now but when I get a chance I'll talk to you about it. I do find a way to talk briefly about the issue some time during the game.

5. If my partner is having a problem with the Coach I'll try to be tableside whenever possible. Good cop bad cop really works. Today I Teed the Coach and I managed to stay opposite the table for about 3 minutes of playing time and my partner made sure he kept his "seat belt buckled". When I did end up back tableside I had no further trouble with him.



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Old Mon Dec 27, 2004, 08:06pm
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BITS,

To be honest with you I really do not think about it. I answer questions the best I can. I tell coaches when they are about to cross the line (which helps a lot in not giving Ts). I just do not go out of my way to have a conversation with them. If they ask a reasonable question, I will answer. If they ask a really stupid question and try to accuse, I just look at them. All of this fits into my personality and the way I am views. I very seldom get coaches that continue to try me. Sometimes all you have to do is put the whistle in your mouth and the will get the message.

Peace
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Old Tue Dec 28, 2004, 07:09am
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I have to cover the whole spectrum when dealing with coaches. Sometimes I will be silent and sometimes I will talk a lot. I will laugh when something is funny and I will issue a T when it is needed. I will be very careful to not do or say anything that sells out my partner or gives that impression. I say that because coaches look at what we do to determine how to approach us. We should study and learn the different types of coaches to understand what we must do for every game. There are many coaches that don't want a safe ref. They want to communicate with us but they don't expect every comment to be answered. When I talk to others and put it into my own words I tell them that if a coach knows you are (crazy) willing to do anything and fair they will (more times than not) not act in such a manner to cause problems. Consistent officials have to say less the more they work. This is a good subject and one I like to talk about. I would just warn anyone about going into a game and trying a new technique. The wrong approach in the wrong game could turn out to make a situation worse.
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Old Tue Dec 28, 2004, 08:28am
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I have recently been enlightened to the fact that sometimes coaches say stuff because they are fighting for their players and hoping to get a reaction out of them. Of course they are hoping the next borderling call goes their way but recently on more than one occasion, I've offered a short explaination to coaches and they respond with someting like; "I know" or "I understand" or even a "hey thanks".

Just be confident of what you called and they'll oftentimes fall in line.
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Old Tue Dec 28, 2004, 12:25pm
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A lot of good points in previous posts...these are what I try for:

1. Be yourself - don't try to emulate a behavior that's unnatural for you.

2. Be approchable, not aloof or arrogant. Greet them pregame in a friendly manner, let them know you'll respond to legitimate questions as game situations allow.

3. Be fair but firm during the game - let them know you're listening to their concerns. Often a simple "coach, we'll watch for it" will work wonders. At the same time, let them know when their attitude or actions start to cross the line - try to prevent situations from escalating to the point you have to penalize, but don't hesitate to penalize when it's justified.

4. Keep your cool - no matter what. Remember that you are the voice of reason in an otherwise chaotic world. If penalizing their conduct becomes necessary, do so in a calm, cool, unemotional manner as possible (no Jake O'Donnell histrionics).
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Old Tue Dec 28, 2004, 11:32pm
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If you smile, you can tell em anything and they will be more likely to accept it. Like Dick Gregory said many years ago, "If you get em laughing, you can tell 'em anything!"
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Old Thu Dec 30, 2004, 02:17pm
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As a former D1 asst. basketball coach, I can tell you that coaches simply want to feel like they're being listened to and will receive some feedback.

You shouldn't feel like you need to respond to every statement they make. One of the most overlooked skills an official needs when dealing with coaches is.......listening. You have to learn when a coach has a specific question/complaint or if they are just venting their frustration. Respond to specifics questions with an answer ("will you watch #34? he just set 2 illegal screens"). Ignore or just pass on generic statements ("they're just pushing us around all over the place").

Sometimes the coach just starts saying things that you can't ignore and need to address. Recently, I called on player control foul against Team A's best player in transition that the coach didn't like. On the ensuing possession, my partner called an illegal screen on Team B. Team A's coach starts yelling (with me right next to him) "at least we've got him to balance the crew out!". I turned to the coach and said, "Coach, you can't just start yelling crazy comments outloud to no one in particular. If you want to talk about my last call, I'd be happy to discuss it. But you can't start yelling those crazy things". He disagreed and simply said - "just ignore me!". "Alright. But I'm not going to ignore you very much longer", I said. Four mintues later he apologized after calming down and we talked about my player control foul.

This is not to illustrate that I'm the best at dealing w/ coaches during a game, but I tell this story to illustrate my point - LISTENING to coaches is a "technique" that officials should pay more attention to. You've got to know when to respond before you even decide what to say.
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Old Thu Dec 30, 2004, 02:33pm
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Good point

Quote:
Originally posted by jeffpea
As a former D1 asst. basketball coach, I can tell you that coaches simply want to feel like they're being listened to and will receive some feedback.

You shouldn't feel like you need to respond to every statement they make. One of the most overlooked skills an official needs when dealing with coaches is.......listening. You have to learn when a coach has a specific question/complaint or if they are just venting their frustration. Respond to specifics questions with an answer ("will you watch #34? he just set 2 illegal screens"). Ignore or just pass on generic statements ("they're just pushing us around all over the place").

Sometimes the coach just starts saying things that you can't ignore and need to address. Recently, I called on player control foul against Team A's best player in transition that the coach didn't like. On the ensuing possession, my partner called an illegal screen on Team B. Team A's coach starts yelling (with me right next to him) "at least we've got him to balance the crew out!". I turned to the coach and said, "Coach, you can't just start yelling crazy comments outloud to no one in particular. If you want to talk about my last call, I'd be happy to discuss it. But you can't start yelling those crazy things". He disagreed and simply said - "just ignore me!". "Alright. But I'm not going to ignore you very much longer", I said. Four mintues later he apologized after calming down and we talked about my player control foul.

This is not to illustrate that I'm the best at dealing w/ coaches during a game, but I tell this story to illustrate my point - LISTENING to coaches is a "technique" that officials should pay more attention to. You've got to know when to respond before you even decide what to say.
A good story to illustrate. I also see many times when an official doesn't understand the coach is just talking and not complaining directly.

I see many officials get upset with a coach and the coach was never talking to the official, he was talking to his players. A good official realizes the difference.

Also, a good official will know when the coach is wanting a T and when he is just wanting to complain.

Of course, they get very mad when they want the T and we just ignore them. (but that's another thread)

Thanks
David
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Old Thu Dec 30, 2004, 02:48pm
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This is not an official's problem. This is the coachÂ’s responsibility to behave in a manner that is acceptable. Officials are not the stepping stool for whatever the coach wants to blame them for. If the coach wants and answer, do not ask questions and then not listen to the answer. Officials have a right to react to coachÂ’s behavior. All officials do not respond the same way to coach's behavior. I have no sympathy for coaches that act like total a##es and then the officials call them on it. I agree that officials should learn to listen more, but coaches really need to act in a much more sporting fashion. When you start complaining from the tip off to the buzzer, you lose credibility really quickly with officials even caring about what you are talking about. I have no problem with coaches complaining about some real obvious situations or unusual plays, but not complain on ever dribble of the basketball.

Peace
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Old Thu Dec 30, 2004, 03:35pm
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jeffpea,

Coaches at that level I am sure behave differently than those at the levels most of us officiate at. I am not a D1 official by any means. I do work college ball a lot. I do not see the same behavior from the college coaches as I do high school varsity coaches. The behavior gets worse when you start talking about JV and freshman coaches. Even the best officials do not want to hear all kinds of comments of coaches. When I do work games at the freshman level or lower, those coaches behavior is the worst of all.
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