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Old Mon Feb 21, 2011, 09:08pm
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How approachable should we be?

I read a comment recently where a poster thought he was a better official when he loosened up and became more approachable to coaches, players, etc.

Thoughts? Comments?
Pros and cons?
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Old Mon Feb 21, 2011, 09:12pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelbRef View Post
I read a comment recently where a poster thought he was a better official when he loosened up and became more approachable to coaches, players, etc.

Thoughts? Comments?
Pros and cons?
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Old Mon Feb 21, 2011, 10:33pm
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In my experience an approachable official is not a better official when it comes to calling the game. However, in states where playoff assignments are based all, or in part, on input from coaches, approachability is a definite plus.
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Old Mon Feb 21, 2011, 10:55pm
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I think most inexperienced officials are unapproachable for two reasons: they lack confidence and they don't know what to say. Both things come with time. Obviously, the more you work, the more you interact with coaches, the more comfortable you'll feel. But before that happens, many officials feel threatened and respond the only way they know how: with a technical foul.

As you become more epxerienced and move up, you have to become more approachable. Varsity coaches expect to be able to ask questions. Some know how to ask them, others don't. I'm less approachable with those who don't. But if you're going to be approachable, you have to be prepared to answer their questions.

Who he ask you about a call, tell him what you saw. If he has a different opinion, tell him you didn't see it that way or you'll take a look at it next time. If you missed it, tell him so. But you can't do that more than about once a night.

Last week, I told a coach, "Coach, you asked me about the play and I told you what I saw. I'm not going to debate it with you."

About two weeks ago, I was working a game with a young coach who has his first varsity job. The fouls were 5-1 in the 1st quarter, which he pointed out. "Coach, we've called 4 fouls when they were taking the ball to the basket. Yn your end, you're shooting jumpers. The 5th foul was an illegal screen that I called when 43 set a bad screen for the 3rd time." He had no response.

Two minutes later, I call a shooting foul and the fouls are 6-1. Coach says, "You mean there's no contact on our end.?" "Sure there is, Coach. There's contact on both ends. But contact ain't a foul. Illegal contact is a foul." Again, no response.

So to be approachable, you have to be ready to answer whatever he asks about. And remember, for the most part, answer questions, not statements. You don't have to ignore statements, as you can respond with a "Okay coach, we'll take a look at it." They just want to be listened to. And if they talk to me the way they want me to talk to them, I have no problem with that.

Hope that helps.
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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 10:00am
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My $0.02

Agree with everything BktBallRef said. We have to be able to communicate with the coaches. My only problem is that in this area, a few (very few) coaches have taken the whole concept a little too far. I used almost the same verbiage that "you asked, I explained what I saw, let's move on." He immediately came back with: "But you guys are supposed to talk to us now!" I grinned at him and told him, "I have talked to you about the play, but it's not a debate society."

He actually laughed out loud and said "Well, it wasn't that long, besides my guys might stand a better chance at that." Both of us got a chuckle out of that one.
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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 10:48am
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Originally Posted by mcdanrd View Post
In my experience an approachable official is not a better official when it comes to calling the game. However, in states where playoff assignments are based all, or in part, on input from coaches, approachability is a definite plus.
Why can't you be both...approachable and a good play caller?
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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 10:53am
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Originally Posted by centkyref View Post
Agree with everything BktBallRef said. We have to be able to communicate with the coaches. My only problem is that in this area, a few (very few) coaches have taken the whole concept a little too far. I used almost the same verbiage that "you asked, I explained what I saw, let's move on." He immediately came back with: "But you guys are supposed to talk to us now!" I grinned at him and told him, "I have talked to you about the play, but it's not a debate society."

He actually laughed out loud and said "Well, it wasn't that long, besides my guys might stand a better chance at that." Both of us got a chuckle out of that one.
Around here, a lot of the HS coaches view "approachability" as a license to complain the entire game or make loud, rhetorical comments about our officiating without being shut down. I'm very approachable until I'm given a reason to not be. It's definitely a revokable license.
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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 10:53am
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We should be approachable enough that coaches feel comfortable asking us basic questions during the games. We should not be so approachable that coaches feel like they keep up a running dialogue with us.

I want a coach to know I will talk to him and answer questions. I also want the coach to know there is a point where I will shut it down and they need to respect that.
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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 11:47am
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This means different things to different people. I think with experience you learn when to talk to coaches and when not to. Most of this comes with confidence of your abilities and the situations you are dealing with. No one size fits all here as many times we need to answer a lot of questions and other times we need to move on. This is why I always suggest that younger officials go and watch veterans as this is part of the game you can learn by observing. This also has a lot to do with body language as the way you answer questions can be just as important as or more important than what you say.

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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 11:52am
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
This means different things to different people. I think with experience you learn when to talk to coaches and when not to. Most of this comes with confidence of your abilities and the situations you are dealing with. No one size fits all here as many times we need to answer a lot of questions and other times we need to move on. This is why I always suggest that younger officials go and watch veterans as this is part of the game you can learn by observing. This also has a lot to do with body language as the way you answer questions can be just as important as or more important than what you say.

Peace
Agreed.

I would add that I think newer officials should just focus on the calls, dealing with coaches only when necessary and learning along the way. Watching veterans can teach you a lot in this area; both what to do and what not to do. Dealing with coaches is an important part of moving up.

Be able to explain every call you make. Eventually, be able to explain your no-calls as well. I'm not saying you should be willing to explain every call or no-call; only that you should be able to.
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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 12:04pm
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Originally Posted by Snaqwells View Post
Agreed.

I would add that I think newer officials should just focus on the calls, dealing with coaches only when necessary and learning along the way. Watching veterans can teach you a lot in this area; both what to do and what not to do. Dealing with coaches is an important part of moving up.
In a perfect world they should only deal with calls, but the coaches they see will not allow this to happen as everything they call is going to get an over-the-top reaction most of the time at the lower levels. It actually gets easier once you get to the higher levels becasue most coaches are not going to complain about every call.

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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 04:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
This means different things to different people. I think with experience you learn when to talk to coaches and when not to. Most of this comes with confidence of your abilities and the situations you are dealing with. No one size fits all here as many times we need to answer a lot of questions and other times we need to move on. This is why I always suggest that younger officials go and watch veterans as this is part of the game you can learn by observing. This also has a lot to do with body language as the way you answer questions can be just as important as or more important than what you say.

Peace
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaqwells View Post
Agreed.

I would add that I think newer officials should just focus on the calls, dealing with coaches only when necessary and learning along the way. Watching veterans can teach you a lot in this area; both what to do and what not to do. Dealing with coaches is an important part of moving up.

Be able to explain every call you make. Eventually, be able to explain your no-calls as well. I'm not saying you should be willing to explain every call or no-call; only that you should be able to.
I agree with you both.
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Old Tue Feb 22, 2011, 10:42pm
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Read my mind did you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BktBallRef View Post
I think most inexperienced officials are unapproachable for two reasons: they lack confidence and they don't know what to say. Both things come with time. Obviously, the more you work, the more you interact with coaches, the more comfortable you'll feel. But before that happens, many officials feel threatened and respond the only way they know how: with a technical foul.

As you become more epxerienced and move up, you have to become more approachable. Varsity coaches expect to be able to ask questions. Some know how to ask them, others don't. I'm less approachable with those who don't. But if you're going to be approachable, you have to be prepared to answer their questions.

Who he ask you about a call, tell him what you saw. If he has a different opinion, tell him you didn't see it that way or you'll take a look at it next time. If you missed it, tell him so. But you can't do that more than about once a night.

Last week, I told a coach, "Coach, you asked me about the play and I told you what I saw. I'm not going to debate it with you."

About two weeks ago, I was working a game with a young coach who has his first varsity job. The fouls were 5-1 in the 1st quarter, which he pointed out. "Coach, we've called 4 fouls when they were taking the ball to the basket. Yn your end, you're shooting jumpers. The 5th foul was an illegal screen that I called when 43 set a bad screen for the 3rd time." He had no response.

Two minutes later, I call a shooting foul and the fouls are 6-1. Coach says, "You mean there's no contact on our end.?" "Sure there is, Coach. There's contact on both ends. But contact ain't a foul. Illegal contact is a foul." Again, no response.

So to be approachable, you have to be ready to answer whatever he asks about. And remember, for the most part, answer questions, not statements. You don't have to ignore statements, as you can respond with a "Okay coach, we'll take a look at it." They just want to be listened to. And if they talk to me the way they want me to talk to them, I have no problem with that.

Hope that helps.
Completely agree and perfectly said.

There is only one thing i might add, and that is to BE RESPECTFUL when talking to coaches, it gets you a lot farther than mouthing off with a witty remark or some smarta$$ response. Respect demands respect, if you respect them they're more likely to respect you.
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