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Old Tue Aug 22, 2006, 09:04pm
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Post Communication Skills to Coaches & Players.

Well, this is actually a general question. Sometimes we need to communicate with the coaches & the players though there's no such title or term on the rule book & mechanics. I once read the FIBA - Referee & Players' Relationship, that tells me a ref should always be neutral & kind, but his "game call" & "game voice" should be absolute. The most impressive thing is that it says "the game is not a rules clinic, so if it's necessary to explain a call, do that as brief as possible."
So, I'd like to learn from you guys how to be a sensible ref who can communicate with the coaches & players. And I hope you could give me some examples, thanks.
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 12:27am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis
Well, this is actually a general question. Sometimes we need to communicate with the coaches & the players though there's no such title or term on the rule book & mechanics. I once read the FIBA - Referee & Players' Relationship, that tells me a ref should always be neutral & kind, but his "game call" & "game voice" should be absolute. The most impressive thing is that it says "the game is not a rules clinic, so if it's necessary to explain a call, do that as brief as possible."
So, I'd like to learn from you guys how to be a sensible ref who can communicate with the coaches & players. And I hope you could give me some examples, thanks.
To coaches, there's tons and tons of stuff on this board already, including examples of what works and what doesn't.

The question about communicating with players is a little different, though. My general rule is to say nothing except under two conditions, 1) it might prevent problems, or 2) to respond to a reasonable player question.

Examples of the first are, "Clear the key!" near the beginning of a game; "Hands off!"; "Cool down, I'll take care of it"; and so forth.

For number two, I define a reasonable question as one that is actually requesting real information, and is asked at a good time. "What was that foul for?" "She pushed in the back".

Of course, anytime there's a chance to say something pleasant or encouraging, I do that, although not usually very loudly. "Good shot!" "Cute socks!" Stuff like that. I suppose "Cute socks" isn't a very good example. It wouldn't go over very well with about half of the players in the world.
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 01:42am
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Great suggestions, thank you. Yes, I respond the reasonable players too especially they're in kind & respectful acts. To those who're ridiculous, impolite or something, I will very likely give them a warning or just skip it. In tough problems like to-do-fight, I(and my partners) will try our best to control the situation like "easy man, we all don't wanna see the game like this, so we gotta go on playing a nice game!". But anyway, I just don't have enough chances like this so I just wanna learn from you guys about these situations.
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 02:13am
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I am the opposite and am a firm believer in talking. Even if I am talking aloud to myself.

I am honest with them and if they ask a question I give them the best answer I can. But I also like to talk to them and initiate the conversation. I like talking with the players. I want to let them know I am there. I find that words of encouragement to players on both teams, at both ends of the court, can really help a game and diffuse intense situations quickly.

When I am administering the free throws you will always find me saying things like "great hustle gentlemen" or "keep up the hard work guys". And if there is a loose ball and a lot of hustle I will always be encouraging the players on their hard work of getting on the floor. A lot of times, kids have the persona that refs are only blowing the whistle when they do something wrong (i.e. foul, violation, etc) why can't they see us from the other side too? The side where we can encourage them for their hard work.

I have been to a lot of camps, and I have never been docked for the way I talk to players. In fact, most of the time I am praised.

Talking to people, any person, is a gift. Some people have it and some people don't. It is however, one of those gifts, that after time, anyone can possess. Just remember not to rush what you want to say, take your time and say it. Be polite and expect nothing less in return. Especially with players and coaches. I observed a game last year where a coach was upset with an official, he wasn't yelling. But as soon as the referee turned and yelled for him to "shut up" he started yelling back! If the referee had only calmly asked the coach to return to his box or even just went on with the game, the whole problem could have been avoided.

Also remember not to single out players. If you are saying something loud enough for everyone to hear, it should be addressed to everyone (i.e. "good work gentlemen" as apposed to "good rebound 23"). Singling out players leads to many problems. If you have something that only that player should hear, then pull them aside and whisper it.

One last point I want to mention, why do we have this thing where officials walk over to their partners and tell them "this coach has been warned"? You fight your own battles and I will fight mine. Just because you have a problem with this coach doesn't mean I should too, and if he was warned by you, he wasn't by me. I understand that we should be "uniform" but not in this case. If you want to T the coach up, then go ahead and do it, but don't expect me to T the coach up because the first thing I heard him say based on you telling me he was "warned". Fight your own battles when it comes to coaches!

Good luck in talking to your players and coaches, Luis. You will get the gift, if you don't already have it.
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 04:34am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Official99
1) But I also like to talk to them and initiate the conversation. I like talking with the players. I want to let them know I am there. I find that words of encouragement to players on both teams, at both ends of the court, can really help a game and diffuse intense situations quickly.

2) A lot of times, kids have the persona that refs are only blowing the whistle when they do something wrong (i.e. foul, violation, etc) why can't they see us from the other side too?

3) One last point I want to mention, why do we have this thing where officials walk over to their partners and tell them "this coach has been warned"? You fight your own battles and I will fight mine. Just because you have a problem with this coach doesn't mean I should too, and if he was warned by you, he wasn't by me. I understand that we should be "uniform" but not in this case. If you want to T the coach up, then go ahead and do it, but don't expect me to T the coach up because the first thing I heard him say based on you telling me he was "warned". Fight your own battles when it comes to coaches!
1) Initiate conversations? Without a real reason for doing so? Well, if that works for you, good luck to you. Personally, I think that's absolutely terrible advice. Imo, the last thing in the world that the players and coaches want to do out there is form a meaningful relationship with an official. They just want to play the game without someone breaking their concentration with meaningless chit-chat. You can be positive and approachable out there without sucking up to players and coaches, which is what you are basically advocating. Initiating dialogue for game management reasons is fine; being a cheerleader isn't. Just do your job well as an official; that'll get you the acceptance that you're looking for.

2) Well, that's kinda confusing. Of course we only only blow our whistles when someone does something wrong. That's why we're out there, isn't it? Why would we blow our whistles when they do something right? I hate to say it, but I think that you might be wearing the wrong uniform; it sounds like a cheerleader's outfit might be more appropriate. I also hate to tell you, but the first call that you make that someone doesn't agree with, you're gonna be just a regular ol' official azzhole again instead of Doctor Phil.

3) Well........forget it. I don't think that you'd get it anyway, and you sureasheck aren't gonna agree with me. I don't have to work with you anyway, so I don't have to worry about my back.

Last edited by Jurassic Referee; Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 06:01am.
  #6 (permalink)  
Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 05:28am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Official99
I am the opposite and am a firm believer in talking. Even if I am talking aloud to myself.

I am honest with them and if they ask a question I give them the best answer I can. But I also like to talk to them and initiate the conversation. I like talking with the players. I want to let them know I am there. I find that words of encouragement to players on both teams, at both ends of the court, can really help a game and diffuse intense situations quickly.

When I am administering the free throws you will always find me saying things like "great hustle gentlemen" or "keep up the hard work guys". And if there is a loose ball and a lot of hustle I will always be encouraging the players on their hard work of getting on the floor. A lot of times, kids have the persona that refs are only blowing the whistle when they do something wrong (i.e. foul, violation, etc) why can't they see us from the other side too? The side where we can encourage them for their hard work.

I have been to a lot of camps, and I have never been docked for the way I talk to players. In fact, most of the time I am praised.

Talking to people, any person, is a gift. Some people have it and some people don't. It is however, one of those gifts, that after time, anyone can possess. Just remember not to rush what you want to say, take your time and say it. Be polite and expect nothing less in return. Especially with players and coaches. I observed a game last year where a coach was upset with an official, he wasn't yelling. But as soon as the referee turned and yelled for him to "shut up" he started yelling back! If the referee had only calmly asked the coach to return to his box or even just went on with the game, the whole problem could have been avoided.

Also remember not to single out players. If you are saying something loud enough for everyone to hear, it should be addressed to everyone (i.e. "good work gentlemen" as apposed to "good rebound 23"). Singling out players leads to many problems. If you have something that only that player should hear, then pull them aside and whisper it.

One last point I want to mention, why do we have this thing where officials walk over to their partners and tell them "this coach has been warned"? You fight your own battles and I will fight mine. Just because you have a problem with this coach doesn't mean I should too, and if he was warned by you, he wasn't by me. I understand that we should be "uniform" but not in this case. If you want to T the coach up, then go ahead and do it, but don't expect me to T the coach up because the first thing I heard him say based on you telling me he was "warned". Fight your own battles when it comes to coaches!

Good luck in talking to your players and coaches, Luis. You will get the gift, if you don't already have it.
Thank you very much, Paul. I think you're just gonna be a FIBA ref, haa! Cuz you meet every points of Players-Referee Relationship. Yes, sometimes I will praise or encourage some player to play, that's really good advice! You're quite optimisic and confident about the game, I really appreciate it.
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 08:02am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Official99

One last point I want to mention, why do we have this thing where officials walk over to their partners and tell them "this coach has been warned"? You fight your own battles and I will fight mine. Just because you have a problem with this coach doesn't mean I should too, and if he was warned by you, he wasn't by me. I understand that we should be "uniform" but not in this case. If you want to T the coach up, then go ahead and do it, but don't expect me to T the coach up because the first thing I heard him say based on you telling me he was "warned". Fight your own battles when it comes to coaches!

99, I was with you on everything you posted up until this
We are a crew and if I let you know a coach has been warned then I should be able to count on your support. First of all, I'm not coming all the way over to you to let you know this. (S)he's going to know I let my partners know (s)he's been warned. You may not know why at that time but you'd better have my back or we've got problems. Possibly, coach is attempting a divide and conquer and I'm letting em know we ain't going there tonight. Maybe they've been questioning/complaining about YOUR calls. If I warn em for that and then you don't support.....you see what I'm saying?
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 08:56am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Official99
I am the opposite and am a firm believer in talking. Even if I am talking aloud to myself.

I am honest with them and if they ask a question I give them the best answer I can. But I also like to talk to them and initiate the conversation. I like talking with the players. I want to let them know I am there. I find that words of encouragement to players on both teams, at both ends of the court, can really help a game and diffuse intense situations quickly.

When I am administering the free throws you will always find me saying things like "great hustle gentlemen" or "keep up the hard work guys". And if there is a loose ball and a lot of hustle I will always be encouraging the players on their hard work of getting on the floor. A lot of times, kids have the persona that refs are only blowing the whistle when they do something wrong (i.e. foul, violation, etc) why can't they see us from the other side too? The side where we can encourage them for their hard work.

I have been to a lot of camps, and I have never been docked for the way I talk to players. In fact, most of the time I am praised.

Talking to people, any person, is a gift. Some people have it and some people don't. It is however, one of those gifts, that after time, anyone can possess. Just remember not to rush what you want to say, take your time and say it. Be polite and expect nothing less in return. Especially with players and coaches. I observed a game last year where a coach was upset with an official, he wasn't yelling. But as soon as the referee turned and yelled for him to "shut up" he started yelling back! If the referee had only calmly asked the coach to return to his box or even just went on with the game, the whole problem could have been avoided.

Also remember not to single out players. If you are saying something loud enough for everyone to hear, it should be addressed to everyone (i.e. "good work gentlemen" as apposed to "good rebound 23"). Singling out players leads to many problems. If you have something that only that player should hear, then pull them aside and whisper it.

One last point I want to mention, why do we have this thing where officials walk over to their partners and tell them "this coach has been warned"? You fight your own battles and I will fight mine. Just because you have a problem with this coach doesn't mean I should too, and if he was warned by you, he wasn't by me. I understand that we should be "uniform" but not in this case. If you want to T the coach up, then go ahead and do it, but don't expect me to T the coach up because the first thing I heard him say based on you telling me he was "warned". Fight your own battles when it comes to coaches!

Good luck in talking to your players and coaches, Luis. You will get the gift, if you don't already have it.
O99
Wow, alot of comments on this, where to start? Let us know when you start to referee games for the players and not so you can be the show.

I've worked with excellent officials with your point of view. They usually don't last long because the spotlight they've drawn to themselves only magnifies the attitude and it alienates them from most of the officials, players, and coaches they deal/work with. Ah screw it....
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 09:00am
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Communicating with coaches and players are a personal endeavor. Not all of us are going to handle situations the same, and all of us are not going to use the same tactics and they will work. I know guys that talk all the time and that works for them. I know guys that say nothing and that works equally as well. Also game situation and the types of coaches and players you deal with can change from game to game and you might have to handle those situations differently based on what you are faced at that specific time.

Peace
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 09:24am
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Think differently about communication if its a dead ball/ Live ball situation.

Good: Quick, clear personal info to player or coach during a break.
Bad: any dialoge with a player or coach while running down the court.

Recall your team captains. Make a point to talk to them as you expressed during pre-game that you would.

Don't avoid a coach, listen, nod and accept their constructive comments or criticism's. During Free throws the NFHS is putting you right on top of them for a reason.

Don't show emotion. Players and coachs are emotional and in a competitive situation. Inform and answer. Don't discuss and debate.
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 10:02am
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Alright, upon further reflection.

I think that we all agree that communication is a very integral part of officiating. We all must find what works for us and recognize that not every situation is the same. I have been involved in games where I have been asked by a player about a particular call and a coach has said "don't talk to the referees," or "don't talk to my players." Some coaches just don't want us to make comments to them because they don't want the added distraction, they prefer to just make their comments that aren't really directed at the officials. As officials we need to be aware of things like this.

Pertaining to the comment about warnings, I just have to say that we will disagree on this point. Communicating with partners about such things can help. What you choose to do with this information is your business.
  #12 (permalink)  
Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 10:34am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icallfouls
Alright, upon further reflection.

I think that we all agree that communication is a very integral part of officiating. We all must find what works for us and recognize that not every situation is the same. I have been involved in games where I have been asked by a player about a particular call and a coach has said "don't talk to the referees," or "don't talk to my players." Some coaches just don't want us to make comments to them because they don't want the added distraction, they prefer to just make their comments that aren't really directed at the officials. As officials we need to be aware of things like this.
A coach cannot dictate if and when you talk to his/her players. The coach might not like it, but if I am talking to players there is a reason. I also want to cover my behind when I make a call that I have likely warned a player or made him/her aware that their actions might result in a foul or violation. I have had coaches not want the officials to talk to their players, but I still have a job to do.

Peace
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 10:47am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Official99
One last point I want to mention, why do we have this thing where officials walk over to their partners and tell them "this coach has been warned"? You fight your own battles and I will fight mine. Just because you have a problem with this coach doesn't mean I should too, and if he was warned by you, he wasn't by me. I understand that we should be "uniform" but not in this case. If you want to T the coach up, then go ahead and do it, but don't expect me to T the coach up because the first thing I heard him say based on you telling me he was "warned". Fight your own battles when it comes to coaches!
Huh? Is the officials crew not a team? Are we not there to work together and support each other? If the coach is riding my partner, should I not know about it so I can use my communication skills to get the coach off my partner and back to coaching? (and yes, give him a T if necessary). Your comments amaze me. Coaches know when the crew is not a team working together and it makes things much more difficult.

Z
  #14 (permalink)  
Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 11:39am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zebraman
Huh? Is the officials crew not a team? Are we not there to work together and support each other? If the coach is riding my partner, should I not know about it so I can use my communication skills to get the coach off my partner and back to coaching? (and yes, give him a T if necessary). Your comments amaze me. Coaches know when the crew is not a team working together and it makes things much more difficult.

Z
You beat me to it, Z, I was going to tell O99 the same thing. We are a crew, not 3 individual people out there. If a coach says something to my partner that deserves a warning, (s)he has said it to me as well. If I don't know a warning has been issued, I would be letting the coach get away with a "free" comment to me. Ideally the warning should happen so everyone can see it, but sometimes it isn't possible. In that case, I want to know when the coach has been warned so they don't get extra leeway from the rest. That wouldn't be consistent as a crew.
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Old Wed Aug 23, 2006, 12:15pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisSportsFan
99, I was with you on everything you posted up until this
We are a crew and if I let you know a coach has been warned then I should be able to count on your support. First of all, I'm not coming all the way over to you to let you know this. (S)he's going to know I let my partners know (s)he's been warned. You may not know why at that time but you'd better have my back or we've got problems. Possibly, coach is attempting a divide and conquer and I'm letting em know we ain't going there tonight. Maybe they've been questioning/complaining about YOUR calls. If I warn em for that and then you don't support.....you see what I'm saying?
Chris, I appreciate your comments, especially with your attempt to make sure I know where you are coming from, rather than just attacking like most other people on this site. Thankfully, half of these guys I will never meet, nor do I ever want to meet.

I can understand where many people would disagree with me on this point. I am a team player, I believe of the importance of having a team working together to ensure a good game. You are very rarely going to see a D1 referee fight someone else's battle. If a coach is talking to me about your call that happened 4 minutes ago, and you warned him... sure I will take that into consideration. But, if the coach is talking to me about a call I just made, that just occurred, I could careless about the warning you issued to him.

Some people will never understand my philosophy on this, but it works for me and I don't go around handing out T's left and right. There are a lot of D1 officials who have this same understanding and it works in the big leauges.

Thanks again Chris. I hope you understand what I am trying to say.
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