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Old Fri Jun 28, 2013, 11:54am
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A true Newbie development

What are your thoughts? I had a guy who is going to start officiating this coming season ask for my opinion about camps for him. You probably need a little info. First, he never played a sport but loves basketball, wants to officiate a sport and basketball fits into his schedule best. In Texas officials belong to chapters which cover schools in a specific geographic area. The chapters have an Assignment Secretary and Evaluation Committee responsible for getting officials into games and determining what they are capable of handling. Most of the chapters in this area have “schools” that start about 10 weeks before the seasons and cover the rules, areas of responsibilities, mechanics, etc.

With that understanding, my advice was for him to not pay to attend a camp this summer. Primarily because there are none that are free remaining and only one that will include two-man work. But even if that was not true, I think a truly green newbie should go through one of those schools and spend his/her first season working the freshman and junior high games. Letting the evaluation committee watch them work, getting feedback on the basics and finding out if this is something they really want to do. Then, their first off-season they can attend a two-man camp or two that will put them on the floor with some of the bigger and better local program summer teams. After their second season they should be ready for some three-man exposure in one of the many camps in this area. One in particular is great for that as they focus on official with no three-man experience.

I would welcome your ideas on a “development program” so to speak.
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Old Fri Jun 28, 2013, 01:07pm
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I agree with your recommendations. Going to camp, having never worked a game, is just going to be too much too fast. Most camps are not run with the purpose of teaching an official who has not yet called at least a few games.

Camp can be good after the first year for those that are among the better half of rookies but for the rest, it might still be too much. After the 2nd year is a good time to start the camping path for many.
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Old Fri Jun 28, 2013, 01:26pm
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The only way you learn is by working. I have no problem with going to a camp as those situations are not going to necessarily going to be any more laid back then a real game when no one is instructing.

There is no one way that works for everyone. This is the one thing they think we should be perfect from day one and get better after that fact. I guess is just depends on the other support systems in place and working a camp might be a great start as they will have instruction. But they cannot assume that is how they learn or know how to be an official. They have to put in the work doing all other stuff as well that includes meetings, trainings, classes or anything else that will acclimate themselves to this profession.

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Old Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:04pm
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Definitely work a few games before even considering a camp.

In doing so, he will either find that:
A) He loves it, he's hooked, and wants to learn more and get better or
B) It's not at all what he expected. It's way more complicated and difficult than he imagined and opts to move on.

In my experience, there's not much middle ground. Going to camp before he really knows what to expect will be a big waste of money. The analogy of "Trying to sip water with a fire hose" comes to mind.

Encourage him to try to work as many youth games, middle and jr. high games as he can. A decent mentor will probably benefit him a lot more his first year than a formal camp.
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Old Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:54pm
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A couple of associations here run camps for HS and below officials. That type of camp might be appropriate for him but a camp for college level officials? No way.
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Old Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:01am
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
The only way you learn is by working. I have no problem with going to a camp as those situations are not going to necessarily going to be any more laid back then a real game when no one is instructing.
True, but having a few games under your belt and going through the process of teaching yourself the rulebook and mechanics manual will help a lot with understanding what the clinicians have to say. Plus, other campers want their clinician to focus on them as well instead of having to teach a new guy the most basic stuff.
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Old Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:17am
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True, but having a few games under your belt and going through the process of teaching yourself the rulebook and mechanics manual will help a lot with understanding what the clinicians have to say. Plus, other campers want their clinician to focus on them as well instead of having to teach a new guy the most basic stuff.
This really depends on the kind of camp that you are attending. Around here we do what we can to get people in the system and working and learning. We have two person camps and we rotate people in and out. At least when we run camps the participants realize what we are doing. In a real game they really do not care or act a fool at the officials. So I do not see this as a one way or the other way situation. Because if someone is brand new I treat them as such and teach them what they need to know and not overwelm them with information they cannot use at that point. A few games under your belt does not guarantee anything as I have seen guys with 5 years experience not understand basic stuff. You have to do it sometime, why not do it with instruction and not some guy that is only concerned about making money and will not do anything to teach you anything?

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Old Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:45am
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You have to do it sometime, why not do it with instruction and not some guy that is only concerned about making money and will not do anything to teach you anything?
Instruction is great. And many associations host classes for beginners where they can receive some of that instruction. However, I think you missed my main point: a clinician having to teach a newbie is going to do so at the expense of the other campers on that court. I think all campers should be observed and instructed equally and when you have a total new guy they are going to get the majority of both. There is a place for new officials -- beginner officials class.
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Old Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:29am
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Instruction is great. And many associations host classes for beginners where they can receive some of that instruction. However, I think you missed my main point: a clinician having to teach a newbie is going to do so at the expense of the other campers on that court. I think all campers should be observed and instructed equally and when you have a total new guy they are going to get the majority of both. There is a place for new officials -- beginner officials class.
Well I am a registered clinician with my state. Meaning that I am trained to teach officials at all levels and the clinicians are the only ones authorized to run camps for camp clinic (basically oversee the camps as well as teach individuals). There is nothing I cannot teach (and others in my similar position) that cannot teach a newer official with a veteran around. Actually when we have camps even with 3 person, we tend to have guys that have little experience in 3 person to guys with a lot of experience in 3 person. It is not anything special as you seem to suggest or unusual. And when you have guys that have almost never worked 3 person and not being able to rotate or know when to switch. Trust me is is not the newbies we often have to worry about.

Also not all of use learn the same way. I have been working 3 person every year I have been an official. I used camps to fill in the blanks with things that I did already knew. Many have done the same if they watch veterans work, stay for varsity games, go to watch when not working or have a mentor show them the ropes. Others have a difficult time picking up simple things. Either way none of this is going to ruin most people if they use every opportunity as a learning experience.

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Old Tue Jul 02, 2013, 09:04am
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I don't think that going to a camp without having called a game is a good idea.

I've been with my association for 2 years and just went to my first camp this weekend.

I work primarily middle school and junior varsity and those are decent training grounds for the basics but I work with a few "paycheck" officials or lesser talented veterans and that stunts my development.

I learned more in 3 days at camp than I have in 2 seasons but it was not the basics but the next things up.

Some of the instruction we got was a repeat of the cadet classes but in those classes it was all chalk and talk and no court time. We did the lecture in camp and then called games.

As a group of 2nd and 3rd year officials mostly we all started calling those things we either let go or weren't sure of mostly because we had a clinician in the area giving us feedback and validating what we did.

In a weekend I started calling throw-in and lane violations, block/charge (2), and my first technical for unsporting behavior on a coach.

The rest of the campers expect their partner to be in the proper place or at least near it, they expect their partner to cover his/her own PCA and get those shared areas in 2 person.

A green rookie without calling any games is not going to be comfortable doing it. Rookies go looking for traveling and pushing fouls because those are fairly easy to see.

A camp throws a lot of concepts at a person in a short time. To me it's better to do the classroom work, call games for a couple of years and then go to a camp and get the next level stuff on the belt instead of the basics.
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Old Tue Jul 02, 2013, 09:38am
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What are some of you going to do during the season when you work with guys that have no game experience? And having game experience does not mean you are so much more competent and understanding of mechanics or rules. I know if someone works lower level games will often work with very new or sometimes brand new officials.

I still do not get the idea that somehow at camp that is going to change drastically from the regular season except for you have instructors. As I have said before, I have seen 2 or 3 year officials not know as much as younger officials in many situations. It really comes down to what you are willing to do to get better and I still see no problem with someone being exposed to a camp setting as their first officiating experience. Where else are you going to get someone to walk you through what you are supposed to do?

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Old Tue Jul 02, 2013, 12:07pm
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Here's the way I see it... You get out of camp what you expect to get out of it. If a guy is going having never blown a whistle before, he should probably be expecting to understand how to blow the whistle properly and basic court coverage. I was a teacher at a camp last summer where a kid came in having never refereed a game in his life. We went over where to stand, how to properly blow his whistle, and to get his hand or fist in the air when he has a call. That's it. I didn't worry about judgement or mechanics... just the extreme basics.

However, if he's thrown into a middle school game without any of that experience at a camp setting (with someone right behind him telling him where to go and what to do), he'll look like even more of a doofus...

My advice to your friend would be, if you have the time and money to go to a camp, go to it! Be up front with the clinicians, and tell them that you've never blown a whistle before and you might like some help with the basics. Most clinicians will be more than willing to help in that way, and some will even run the court with them.

Camp is the best place to try new things, whether it be learning how to referee, or a more advanced philosophy that you're trying out. Either way, it's camp. It's a lot better to figure it out then, than try and figure it out when you have players and coaches trying to win in the regular season.
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Old Tue Jul 02, 2013, 02:30pm
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Originally Posted by jeschmit View Post
Here's the way I see it... You get out of camp what you expect to get out of it. If a guy is going having never blown a whistle before, he should probably be expecting to understand how to blow the whistle properly and basic court coverage. I was a teacher at a camp last summer where a kid came in having never refereed a game in his life. We went over where to stand, how to properly blow his whistle, and to get his hand or fist in the air when he has a call. That's it. I didn't worry about judgement or mechanics... just the extreme basics.

However, if he's thrown into a middle school game without any of that experience at a camp setting (with someone right behind him telling him where to go and what to do), he'll look like even more of a doofus...

My advice to your friend would be, if you have the time and money to go to a camp, go to it! Be up front with the clinicians, and tell them that you've never blown a whistle before and you might like some help with the basics. Most clinicians will be more than willing to help in that way, and some will even run the court with them.

Camp is the best place to try new things, whether it be learning how to referee, or a more advanced philosophy that you're trying out. Either way, it's camp. It's a lot better to figure it out then, than try and figure it out when you have players and coaches trying to win in the regular season.
That is exactly what is covered in the "school" put on by most of the chapters in this area.
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Old Tue Jul 02, 2013, 02:54pm
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
What are some of you going to do during the season when you work with guys that have no game experience?
Teach them. Just like the other 1000 times I've worked with guys that have no game experience.
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Old Tue Jul 02, 2013, 03:10pm
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Teach them. Just like the other 1000 times I've worked with guys that have no game experience.
I agree. But some suggest as if they only work with people that know what they are doing.

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