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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 09:06pm
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Howdy officials!
I'm an administrator with our local rec league. Next year, *ahem*, I am going to be THEE administrator, aka president. So this year, I've been making notes and such on how we can improve our league. We have kids from 6yo to 14yo. As much as parents protest, we do not keep score with the 6yo thru 8yo's (although all the parents do *grrr*). Wish we could change it for all leagues but I would probably be ran out of town. Anyway, here's my request:

We use high school refs from our local association for ALL games. We pay them $25/game (local association's fee structure). For the most part, we get good quality refs all the way down the line until we get to the little ones. There, we get a lot of refs that are just collecting a paycheck. I understand that these are usually rookie refs but in some cases, it's some joker looking to collect a check from us (sorry if that offends, but it's a reality). Normally in our little ones' games, the biggest/strongest kid dominates physically. Refs usual reply is "it's just a bunch of kids, let em play". I view it differently. It is a bunch of little kids, but I believe it should be more like tee-ball where everyone gets a hit. We have rules preventing double teams, chasing the ball, etc. but the refs for the most part ignore and "let the kids play". Game evolves into "caveman basketball", then only a very few kids or parents enjoy it.

Before next season, I would like to put out a handout to all the refs throughout the league. Specifying some of our points of emphasis, etc. Basically, how we, as a league, would like all games (esp the little ones) called, including clarification on some of our local rules. As officials, do you think this would offend or cause problems? Some of you that have called youth basketball games, do you have any suggestions as what you would like to see in it?

Also, I would really like your input on a handout for the coaches. Never before have we given the coaches anything but a copy of our local rules. As a coach and administrator, I know what I want to put in it, but you as officials, what would you want in it?

Next, I also want to prepare a handout for the parents. From an officials viewpoint, what would you like to see in it?

What I would really like to see come of this thread is some type of manual for youth basketball evolve. If I'm way off base, don't hesitate to let me know, but I value the opinion of the officials as you all are the only one's that really don't have a dog in the hunt.

Thanks,
Coach Tex

P.S. By the way, when my kids are out of the league, my goal is to get into officiating

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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 09:26pm
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Coach: what I'd recommend you doing on the lower level games is to have a running clock and eliminate (or significantly jack up) the bonus. I know you don't want to let things turn into a hack fest, but its unlikely at the 6-8 year old level that the ability to continue to foul as a team (they still have individual foul limits) that it will. The reason here is that a lot of officials are going to pass on fouls that you would rather they call so as to not turn the game into a day long free throw shooting contest. If you run the clock and don't have bonus shots, now most games are going to take the same amount of time regardless of what's called.

The problem I've always had with so-called "handouts" or league specific rules is whether to enforce them or not. Some public school jr. highs have these rules and I ignore them. They aren't part of UIL rules, and no one has briefed me on them. If they want to run things like that, its up to the coaches to police themselves. Your situation is a bit different as it isn't scholastic. You might simply remind the officials you hire about this.

Finally, I would suggest hiring an experienced official to handle the assignments. If you or someone in the league does it, you may not know how to get as good of officials out there, but if an official does it, he has hundreds of guys at his disposal (many that owe him favors), and chances are, he will get a better quality product. This may cost a little more (you can pay him like $2.50 or so for each game assigned and worked) but it will create fewer headaches for you.

What area of Texas are you in?
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 09:28pm
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With the smaller kids, you really don't call a basketball game...I assume you are very liberal with traveling, double dribbles and such, since you said you weren't keeping score...so much of what you are attempting to do is more structuring the game for the kids to have fun and learn about the game. So why even have officials?

Have the coaches on the floor, be out there yourself, and turn them loose and let them run around and have fun. You get the game called more to your liking and you can save the money you'd spend on officials for those games for other things like ribbons, trophies and pizza parties.

When you start keeping score and the kids have more of a handle on fundamentals is when they really need officials anyway.
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 09:44pm
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Texas Aggie,
Sorry, but my beliefs prevent me from taking advice from an aggy JUST KIDDING! (and no, I'm not a whorn, just a classless clown ).

We have the running clock (except for TO's and shooting fouls) but I never thought about the bonus situation. That's a GREAT idea! Thanks!

We have a league official that assigns the refs and he does a great job. We seem to scrape the bottom of the barrel though for our primary league as not a lot of experienced refs want that job. And I understand completely because it's not just a job as a ref but they have to be kind of a coach out there too.

As far as the handout, I forgot to mention that I would really like to have an officials' meeting the morning of our opening day, just to go over the local rules and what our expectations are for the league. Of course, we would offer to pay them to attend the meeting.

blindzebra,
YES! We are VERY liberal with the traveling and double dribble. Probably too much, but it's hard to draw a line with the little ones.

Why have officials? If you put a coach or parent out there, someone is going to scream. It's the nature of the beast I'm afraid. We've tried it in the past. But I do understand your point. The problem is finding volunteers willing to do it and with so many problems with parents in all youth sports, volunteers are harder and harder to find. But maybe I will put out some feelers to see if there are some interested parties. The biggest problem is, we have 18 primary teams which equates to 9 games over 2 gyms. Finding volunteers willing to give up 5 hours every Saturday for 7 weeks is tough!

[Edited by CoachTex on Feb 3rd, 2006 at 06:40 PM]
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 10:08pm
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With 6-8 year olds, I think you are just wasting your money on more qualified officials. Their skills aren't doing you much good at this level of play. My advice? Hire a group of HS basketball players/gym rats, pay 'em $10/game, and train them the way you want things handled. If you're not keeping score, and you do away with team fouls, you don't even need a scorekeeper. The ref can start the running clock and keep the arrow in his/her head.
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 10:17pm
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Coach, it is really simple.

Have your parents and coaches sign a sportsmanship contract, any behavior that is unacceptable is not tolerated, if they can't live up to it...well bye,bye.

The kids won't learn the good things sports can bring if their parents and coaches set a poor example. It makes it less fun for the kids, a pain for you and the officials, as well as the parents and coaches who do have things in perspective.

Set the bar high, don't flinch when you need to lay down the law, and you just may be surprised by how easy your Saturdays may become.
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 10:23pm
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Hey
I agree on the scoring and keeping fouls, your right not at that level. What i would tell the refs to ref those little games on three things.
1. Danger zone, any where a kid can score from the calls should be called.
2. Reward if a player makes a good play and forces the other player to travel foul ect then call it reward good play.
3. Cluelessness, tell a kid you cant walk with it, don't walk with it, and if you think hes clueless then call it.
I hope this helps.
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 11:04pm
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Back In The Saddle,
We've tried hiring the high school kids in the past. Guess we hired the wrong ones cuz once they step on the floor, they get intimidated by the coaches and parents. We even tried this year with a former president of the league's kid, who was in our program for 8yrs and is now a varsity player. He was all gung-ho to start the season but has since swallowed his whistle.

As far as scorekeeper, that have to perform three functions: 1-Start/Stop the clock, 2-Keep track of minimum playing time requirements (every kid must play 2 full quarters and sit 1 full quarter), and 3-Possession arrow.

blindzebra,
I gotta say, for the most part, our parents are pretty well behaved during the games. Much better behaved than I have seen in some of the other sports. We have very few incidents during games. It's the whining and complaining after games to league officials that is bothersome. I may see about asking some of the coaches from the upper leagues about doing some officiating at the primary games. You guys are probably right, using paid officials is most likely a waste of money for that age group. It's a matter of finding other resources that will be tough.

fonzzy07,
Thanks! I like your list a lot. Mind if I use it?

I knew I came to the right place
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 11:12pm
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fonzzy07,
Thanks! I like your list a lot. Mind if I use it?

I knew I came to the right place [/B][/QUOTE]
If you wanta use it its all yours. I didn't make it up, its how I was trained when I started out and got those games. I have moved on but work with the new guys and from what I've seen it works well. Good luck next year and keep me posted.
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 11:14pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by CoachTex
Also, I would really like your input on a handout for the coaches. Never before have we given the coaches anything but a copy of our local rules. As a coach and administrator, I know what I want to put in it, but you as officials, what would you want in it?

Next, I also want to prepare a handout for the parents. From an officials viewpoint, what would you like to see in it?
I wouldn't go the handout route for the officials. Go to the booking agent who assigns the officials. Explain the problems that you're having at the lower levels and what you would like to see done. As long as you approach it professionally, I don't think you'll have any problems.

Also, if need be, you could meet with the officials prior to the games and explain what you're looking for as well. If you have an official who isn't getting the picture and the game is getting out of hand, speak with him privately during halftime. If that doesn't work in the second half, send him home.

As for the parent handouts, there are many myths about the game. Over the next year, read this board, learn what these myths are, and publish them for your parents. Again, it wouldn't hurt to run it by the booking agent before publication.

Good luck!
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 11:18pm
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I know most people don't like the NBA on here, but this has some good pointers for new officials.
http://www.nba.com/jrnba/officials/o...section15.html
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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 11:22pm
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Quote:
As for the parent handouts, there are many myths about the game.
Surely you're not talking about the "over the back" rule huh?

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Old Wed Feb 01, 2006, 11:39pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by fonzzy07
I know most people don't like the NBA on here, but this has some good pointers for new officials.
http://www.nba.com/jrnba/officials/o...section15.html
Thanks fonzzy07! That link is now on the front page of our league's website
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Old Thu Feb 02, 2006, 12:08am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Back In The Saddle
With 6-8 year olds, I think you are just wasting your money on more qualified officials. Their skills aren't doing you much good at this level of play. My advice? Hire a group of HS basketball players/gym rats, pay 'em $10/game, and train them the way you want things handled.

Great advice.

My advice on what to tell the parents:

Dear parents,

This league is for your child to enjoy organized basketball and for you to enjoy your child. Spectator behavior will be closely monitored and those participating in any unsporting behavior will be banned from the gym. No exceptions.
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Old Thu Feb 02, 2006, 02:50am
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Two ways you might motivate "refs" to work harder at doing it the way you want:

1. They can't get the higher level games, until they're good at 3rd grade.

2. There's always a 3rd grade game included in their set of games, and they get no check if they don't do a good job.

Sheez, NO ONE around here gets $25 bucks a game for third grade!! If you're paying that much, they should be making you coffee, too!

You might think about having a few folks who are really committed to the 3rd and 4th grade, and only do that. I'd do this myself, if you presented the case to me. One thing that's hard for any ref, but especially inexperienced ones, is switching from ruleset to ruleset. I decided not to do a couple of rec leagues this year, cuz it was so hard to remember to watch for the zone defense, and call it. I would just get that into my mind, and then I'm back to varsity NFHS on weeknights, and I totally forget the zone thing by the next Saturday. Someone who did only the lowest levels would be more attuned to it.
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