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Old Thu Oct 23, 2008, 08:17pm
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Communication w/ Coaches

This is my first post and I hope it is worthy of some conversation and answers for my own game. I have been following this forum for a year now but have finally chosen to get involved.

I am pretty comfortable with all aspects of officiating as far as mechanics, rules, and decision making is concerned. I am really trying to improve on my communication with coaches when things get a little testy. Can anyone give me some direction on what I can do to improve this portion of my game?

Go easy, I'm fragile

Last edited by stripes2255; Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 08:23pm.
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Old Thu Oct 23, 2008, 08:57pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripes2255 View Post
This is my first post and I hope it is worthy of some conversation and answers for my own game. I have been following this forum for a year now but have finally chosen to get involved.

I am pretty comfortable with all aspects of officiating as far as mechanics, rules, and decision making is concerned. I am really trying to improve on my communication with coaches when things get a little testy. Can anyone give me some direction on what I can do to improve this portion of my game?

Go easy, I'm fragile
On the feds website there are some general reply's you can use based on the situations. This should be a start
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Old Thu Oct 23, 2008, 09:12pm
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First... Do not initiate coversations with a coach

Second...respond to legitimate questions. Do not respond to statements unless to warn or whack a coach for unsporting comments.

If you answer a question and the coach wants to argue. Give him the "asked and answered" response and then let him have the last word. If he continues with it it might me warn and whack time.

All responses should be quick and to the point. If you get to verbose they will turn it on you and hang you with your words.

When in doubt, no response is probably the best response.

Understand the game and the coach. When you can show your human side and maybe inject a little humor to lighten him up you can do that. Again if you are not sure this will work do/ say nothing.

Use passive phrases like "you may have a point, I will look", "if it happened as you say, then I may have missed it" "ill take a look". Also, if you know you booted it tell him so (you only get a few of these a year!!!)

Use please and thanks when making requests of coaches.

If none of this works, he is an ahole and should be ejected
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Old Thu Oct 23, 2008, 09:26pm
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Junkie

Thanks for the words of wisdom.

Although I don't want to have canned responses that are transparent, sometimes my "perfect" response comes five minutes later or after the game with a cold one in my hand.

I guess just knowing the situation and what the best response is will be sufficient.
I just don't see myself as one of those guys that can hit a coach with some witty comeback line, it takes some work for me.

Last edited by stripes2255; Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 09:29pm.
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Old Thu Oct 23, 2008, 10:11pm
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If you don't see yourself using the witty comeback lines, don't try them. Most of us don't use them because they're more likely to backfire than to work.

Sometimes, the "canned" responses are best.
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Old Thu Oct 23, 2008, 10:25pm
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A caveat: I work football, baseball and softball; however, I believe this is a topic that crosses over well.

BBall Junkie's advice is wise, I try to apply much of that to my interaction with coaches. I avoid using sarcasm because I believe it does not usually aid in my communication with coaches. Same with humor, to an extent. If I am 100% sure that a bit of humor will aid a situation, I might use it but as a general rule, I avoid it.

Also, as BBall Junkie said, try to avoid having to get the last word in. It usually doesn't help in my experience.

I often will reflect back on my games to see what I could've done differently, this includes my interaction with coaches and players. Some officials keep a journal of their games. I currently don't but it isn't a bad idea.

It is good you're looking to improve on these things, especially in a sport such as basketball where you're in such close proximity with the coaches.

I by no means have all of the answers and have plenty to improve upon but I hope that helps.

OK back under my rock, I apologize for the intrusion. Somebody can tell me to shut up if needed.
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Old Thu Oct 23, 2008, 10:30pm
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Originally Posted by Welpe View Post
OK back under my rock, I apologize for the intrusion. Somebody can tell me to shut up if needed.
Those fellas don't seem to post here, for the time being.
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 06:36am
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Communication with coaches

COMMUNICATION WITH COACHES

General Techniques:
Statements by coaches don’t normally need a response. Answer questions, not statements.
Let the coach ask their question first, before speaking. Be a responder, not an initiator.
Most coaches will have questions when they believe the officials have missed an obvious call.
Having the officials in closer proximity often calms down the coach.
Be in control and speak in calm, easy tones. Be aware of your body language; maintain positive and confident body language.
Make eye contact with the coach when the situation allows.
Do not try to answer a question from an out of control coach; deal with the behavior first.
If you’ve missed a call or made a mistake; admit it. This technique can only be used sparingly, perhaps once a game.
Don’t bluff your way through a call.
Do not ignore a coach.

Specific Communication Examples:

Coach sees the play very differently than the official:
“Coach, if that’s the way it happened/what you saw, then I must have missed it. I’ll take a closer look next time.”
“Coach, I understand what you’re saying, however, on that play I didn’t see it that way. I’ll keep an eye for it on both ends.”
“Coach, I had a good look at that play and here’s what I saw (short explanation).”
“Coach, I understand what you’re saying, but my angle was different than yours.”
“Coach, I had a great look at that play, but I understand your question and I’ll have the crew keep an eye on it.”
“Coach, I had that play all the way and made the call.”

Coach believes you’re missing persistent illegal acts by the other team:
“OK coach, we’ll watch for that.”
“Coach, we are watching for that on both ends of the court.”

Coach is questioning a partner’s call:
“Coach, that’s a good call, as a crew we have to make that call.”
“We’re calling it on both ends.”
“Coach, they were right there and had a great angle.”
“Coach, we’re not going there, I can’t let you criticize my teammate.”
“Coach, they had a great look, but if you have a specific question, you’ll have to ask them, they’ll be over here in just a minute.”

Coach is very animated and gesturing:
“Coach, I’m going to talk with you and answer your questions, but you must put your arms down/stop the gesturing.”
“Coach, please put your arms down. Now, what’s your question?”

Coach is raising their voice asking the question:
“Coach, I can hear you. I’m standing right here, you don’t need to raise your voice.”
"Coach, I need you to stop raising your voice and just ask your question calmly.”

Coach is commenting on something every time down the floor:
“Coach, I need you to pick your spots, we can’t have a comment on every single call that is being made.”

Coach has a good point and might be right.
“You’ve got a good point and might be right about that play.”
“You might be right, that’s one we’ll talk about at halftime/intermission/the next time out.”
“You might be right; I may not have had the best angle on that play.”

Coach is venting, make editorial comments:
“I hear what you’re saying”
“I hear what you’re saying, but we’re moving on.”

Coach just won’t let it go:
“I’ve heard enough and that’s your warning.”

Source: Topeka (Kansas) Officials Association
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 09:03am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripes2255 View Post
Thanks for the words of wisdom.

Although I don't want to have canned responses that are transparent, sometimes my "perfect" response comes five minutes later or after the game with a cold one in my hand.

I guess just knowing the situation and what the best response is will be sufficient.
I just don't see myself as one of those guys that can hit a coach with some witty comeback line, it takes some work for me.
If you deliver them right, they will not seem canned. If you are struggling in this area you might want to use canned responses so that they do not twist your words on you until you get more comfortable with free dialogue.

Also, never come back to a coach later about a play if you think of what the best response is well after the fact. He has forgotten it most likely and moved on.... you should as well. This is called "kicking a loose pile". Only respond if the coach brings it up again.

Let me clarify my humor statement as well. NEVER use witty/cute comebacks. There are occasions based on the game and your rapport with the coach where some self deprecating humor or other small humorous statement might help ease tension. ONLY use this if you feel very strongly that it will help... this is not a novice technique and will take time to develop that kind of relationship with particular coaches.

Example: A coach I have worked for many times and trusts me as an official jumped all in my stuff after I called a foul on a blocked shot. It was a horrible call. Truth be told, I had been away from the game for personal reasons for a while and I had some rust on me and thus anticipated the foul. It turned out to be clean as I put air in my whistle. In Texas we still go table side. He said, "This is a 5A (largest schools in TX) game. These guys can make plays". My response, "What did you see on that play coach?" He said, "He may have got him slightly with the body but that IS a great blocked shot." I replied, "So you did see some contact?". He said, "yes, but is was so minor." I then looked at him and gave a slight sigh of relief and said, "that gives me some relief coach that you saw some contact, because I was thinking I COMPLETELY kicked the call. At least I know that there was at least some very minor contact." He then looked at me with a wry smile and said "You set the hook good on that one B." He walked away laughing. He always mentions something about that one to me whenever I see him. Again, use this stuff only when you have total confidence it will work in your favor.

Until coaches see you a few times and gain overall confidence in your ability it is best to stay away from them and only respond to questions and when absolutely necessary.
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 09:19am
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I believe the biggest communication bridge is to listen to the coach. Let him say what he has to say (within reason) and then offer a response if justified.

-Josh
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 09:37am
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Originally Posted by jdmara View Post
I believe the biggest communication bridge is to listen to the coach. Let him say what he has to say (within reason) and then offer a response if justified.

-Josh
Concur, and remember in this avocation less is more.
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 09:42am
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A reasonable question receives a reasonable response. Anything unreasonable is either ignored, warned, or T-ed...
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 11:13am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBall_Junkie View Post
First... Do not initiate coversations with a coach

Second...respond to legitimate questions. Do not respond to statements unless to warn or whack a coach for unsporting comments.

If you answer a question and the coach wants to argue. Give him the "asked and answered" response and then let him have the last word. If he continues with it it might me warn and whack time.

All responses should be quick and to the point. If you get to verbose they will turn it on you and hang you with your words.

When in doubt, no response is probably the best response.

Understand the game and the coach. When you can show your human side and maybe inject a little humor to lighten him up you can do that. Again if you are not sure this will work do/ say nothing.

Use passive phrases like "you may have a point, I will look", "if it happened as you say, then I may have missed it" "ill take a look". Also, if you know you booted it tell him so (you only get a few of these a year!!!)

Use please and thanks when making requests of coaches.

If none of this works, he is an ahole and should be ejected
This is a great post with lots of good stuff. I work hard to try to keep my responses to the rules. I've found in the past, when I deviate from rules responses, I get in more trouble.

Another thing I would add is that you don't always need to respond. When a coach is a little fired up about something, just nod and let them know they've been heard. Often they are looking to be heard more than looking for an answer.
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 11:22am
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Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
Coach has a good point and might be right.
You must ref in the Fantasyland league at Disneyland.
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Old Fri Oct 24, 2008, 11:23am
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Originally Posted by doubleringer View Post
Another thing I would add is that you don't always need to respond. When a coach is a little fired up about something, just nod and let them know they've been heard. Often they are looking to be heard more than looking for an answer.
I agree with this thought -that a dedicated response isn't always needed. I do like to verbalize an "I hear you, Coach," or "I'll keep an eye on it, Coach," to let them know I hear them has worked well for me.
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