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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:28am
Jerry Blum
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I am in my 7th year of officiating and have done a number of varsity games in that time. I believe I am at the point where if I wasn't in a new area, 2nd season in Indianapolis, I should be doing full varsity schedule and possibly working in the tournament. Part of the problem is that I am new to the area and couldn't get enough varsity games to qualify to apply for the Boys or Girls tournament.

So I feel my knowledge of the rules and ability to call a game are pretty good and continuously getting better. However, I have been told by my wife and a friend that I appear to be unapproachable when I am on the court. What I mean by that is they say that I have a very serious demeanor about me when I am officiating a game. Now I figure if that is the case and I can become more approachable and seem friendlier to the coaches and players it might help get me more varsity games and become eligible to apply for the tournament.

I would appreciate any thoughts about this or advice on how not to appear so "serious" on the floor.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:33am
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Do you watch yourself on tape? If not, get taped, sit down with your wife and that friend and ask them to point out instances where you look "serious" and unapproachable. There are probably small things you can change that will improve the situation. For example, do you smile? Do you stand with your arms folded? Do you unconsciously scowl when somebody looks your way or asks a question? Are there mannerisms that might need some softening? Seeing yourself on tape can often help you see what they're seeing.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:37am
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Smile! Smiling is actually part of my pregame conference with partners. A smile projects confidence, approachability and a love for the game. Smiling at your partners during free-throws towards the end of a white-knuckle finish helps them relax too.

Z
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:38am
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If I were you try to laugh on the court about something. It might soften your look or the harshness in your face. There is a fine line between being intense and been seen as mean or unapproachable. You also do not want to look like you do not take the game seriously either. I think it is something we all could work on to some extent. Facial expressions can give the wrong impression and the right impression. It is also interesting what none officials can see.

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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:44am
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RELAX!!!

I had the same problem because I was too focus on the game. So I was told to relax and once I learned this, I believe I am too approachable!!!! LOL!!!
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:47am
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Quote:
Originally posted by JRutledge
There is a fine line between being intense and been seen as mean or unapproachable.
That's a great point. I was at a wedding reception last year and a woman at our table asked me, "Don't you referee in the youth league?" I told her honestly that I used to do a lot of games in that league, but don't work it anymore. She paused and said, "I thought I remembered you. You were an intense ref."

I honestly had no idea if that was a good thing or not. I think she meant it as a compliment, but it made me feel like I'd been giving a bad impression out there.

I know it's hard, but try to relaaaaaaaax.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 12:47pm
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Try talking with the players at appropriate times...during dead balls, etc...tell them "Nice hustle", "Nice work"...whatever...as you talk to them more, they will respond more and then everyone starts smiling...makes you not only look relaxed, but everyone sees you are in control and very approachable.
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Old Sat Jan 21, 2006, 12:13am
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Quote:
Try talking with the players at appropriate times...during dead balls, etc...tell them "Nice hustle", "Nice work"...whatever...as you talk to them more, they will respond more and then everyone starts smiling...makes you not only look relaxed, but everyone sees you are in control and very approachable.
Glad you brought this up. I have the feeling that I'm generally much too intense on the court and want to loosen up and be more approachable. I'm working on the relaxation / smile technique, but, for the life of me, I have a very difficult time talking to the players. Seems I don't have much, if anything, to say to them, other than to communicate basic information: ("Two shots, fellows...")

Seriously, I often get the sense that my on-court demeanor resembles that of a state trooper asking for a drivers' license and proof of insurance.

Talking to the players just doesn't come naturally or easily to me. Besides "Nice hustle...nice work," what are some other comments you guys make to players to ease the tension?

Desperately seeking help,

Sven
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Old Sat Jan 21, 2006, 12:34am
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Sounds to me that its how you carry yourself, your court presence. I don't think you have to talk to players to change it. I would video tape yourself, try to let loose a little more on the floor, sounds like you're really tense out there. Video tape is the only wa yyou'll be able to see the problem. It will make it much easier to try to fix.
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Old Sat Jan 21, 2006, 01:17pm
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sven
[B]
Quote:


Talking to the players just doesn't come naturally or easily to me. Besides "Nice hustle...nice work," what are some other comments you guys make to players to ease the tension?

Desperately seeking help,

Sven
In a blowout game, if the losing team takes a timeout and I'm administering when they come back, I might aske the thrower if they just set up their razzle-dazzle play.

Other things I sometimes say are; nice hustle, nice work, good choice (to a kid who could have fouled on a breakaway layup and didn't), shirt tails (followed up with a "you never know who's taking pictures here tonight").

Last night a kid had 6-7 blocks in the first half, he was the thrower to start the second half so I asked him if he was going for the tournament record. He laughed and asked how many does he need.

I think it has to be your personality in order to work, but just talking to the kids and coaches as if you were playing pickup ball without all the cussing and trash talk. Well, ok, so not exactly like pickup ball.
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Old Sat Jan 21, 2006, 04:34pm
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Great question and comments.

Keep your game face on when the clock is running. Learn to turn your radar on and off.

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Old Sat Jan 21, 2006, 05:28pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChuckElias
Quote:
Originally posted by JRutledge
There is a fine line between being intense and been seen as mean or unapproachable.
That's a great point. I was at a wedding reception last year and a woman at our table asked me, "Don't you referee in the youth league?" I told her honestly that I used to do a lot of games in that league, but don't work it anymore. She paused and said, "I thought I remembered you. You were an intense ref."

I honestly had no idea if that was a good thing or not. I think she meant it as a compliment, but it made me feel like I'd been giving a bad impression out there.

I know it's hard, but try to relaaaaaaaax.
Which of the two guys in Wedding Crashers was playing you in the movie?
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Old Sat Jan 21, 2006, 05:34pm
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Red face

Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Blum
What I mean by that is they say that I have a very serious demeanor about me when I am officiating a game.
Hey - demeanor debetter, I always say.
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Old Sat Jan 21, 2006, 05:37pm
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It doesn't have to be just expression and chit chat either. When a kid goes to the floor near you, offer him a hand up. Wait the extra couple seconds to get a kid in the game. If you have to get in a kid's grill a bit, go back a few minutes later and quietly ask, "we okay?" There are little things an official can do to show the kids he's there for them.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 10:58am
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I'm gonna play Devil Advocate and say you don't need to change much. My view of approachability is not about demeanor but about reaction. You can look intense and stern, but it's when someone asks you a question or makes a small complaint that approachability comes into play. If you allow petty complaints not to get to you, answer questions and explain things fully, there's no need for you to be yuking it up with the players. I seriously doubt there isn't a place in a community for "that ref who always looks really mean but actually doesn't overreact." I know plenty of officials who look like they're having fun, and are very relaxed, but throw T's and refuse to answer questions after the first sign of dissent.
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