Player Injuries and Safety: Game Officials Need to Manage Both

Game officials have well-defined responsibilities for player safety once the contest starts, but rules regarding when to stop play to remove an injured player are less clear.

Sharing and Learning: A Constant for Sports Officials

Becoming a top sports official requires hard work, dedication to skill development, and a never ending desire to improve, whether for a teen starting out, to high school officials, all the way to the pros.

Good Communication Between Basketball Officials and Coaches Is Key

While basketball officials and coaches don't often see eye to eye, they can agree on one thing: that working together to achieve game flow is not only in  their mutual interest, but makes the game more enjoyable for everyone.

Official to Coach Communication Lesson #2: Explain the Call, Not the Rule

Officials sometime make the mistake of explaining a rule to a coach in response to a coach's comment or question on a call. There is inherent risk in using rules interpretation as a communication tool.  Firstly, it takes the official's attention away from the players on the court. Secondly, it gives the coach too much information and opens the door for trouble. A coach friend of mine recently challenged an official asking why he did not call a lane violation on a 6'3 player who was gaining advantage by dwelling in the key. The official responded by explaining the rule at length. The problem was, the coach knew the rule better than the official. The verbose and incorrect explanation by the official hurt the crew's credibility on virtually every call in the game.

Officials sometime make the mistake of explaining a rule to a coach in response to a coach's comment or question on a call.  Officials need to respond to coaches' questions, but do so briefly. Warning to officials: Know the rules!
Warning to coaches: Officials are trained to respond to questions, not comments.

Official to Coach Communication Lesson #1: Speak to Me, I'll Speak To You

I love Frank Sinatra! His music relaxes me. I listen to him as I take my daily power walks and contemplate an upcoming game or review games from  the past.  On yesterday's walk, I was replaying in my head, a caustic exchange with a coach, when at that very moment, my iPod shuffled to " I've Got You Under My Skin". I laughed at the uncanny timing of this and also at how the song's title appropriately describes officials; feelings about some coaches, and vice versa.

This blog begins a series of lessons learned from my mistakes in dealing with coaches.  I hope that officials and coaches who read this may see some of themselves in these and take heart that we can listen to each other and learn together.

The first in a series of blog posts on the lessons learned from my mistakes in dealing with coaches.

Thank You, Coach E!

The 2011 Summer Evaluation Program will come to an end this week and I feel great about my chances for promotion. When I reflect on all that has transpired to get me to this moment, I think of Coach E, a mentor and friend who began preparing me for SEP from the time I became an official seven years ago. This week marks his birthday, and this blog is my birthday card to him.

Officiating Report Card - July 20, 2011, Final Grade

Feeling Good about last night's semi final game!  After 40 minutes of play, team "white" was victorious over team "red" by 12 points. Everything I had learned in the 10 previous SEP games, I now OWN. 

Clock start / stop correctly?  Check!

Foul count balance? Check! At the end of the first period, 6/6;  at the end of the second period, 9/10

Evaluator happy?  Check!-- all six of them!

Act like a CREW?  CHECK!!

Officiating Report Card - July 15, 2011, Getting Ready for the Semis

Ever since I was assigned a prestigious semi-final match for next week Tuesday, I have been mentally preparing to make it my best performance ever.  SEP Games 9&10 on Tuesday followed by three Boys JV summer league games last night, let me focus on three major areas that I hope to nail by Tuesday:

1) Situational awareness:  players, score, fouls, clock. Know the numbers and the tenor of the game and  manage accordingly. 

2) Communication with coaches and players:  Answer questions, not comments, by coaches and players, politely, firmly and without emotion.  Effective communication here keeps coaches in check and the game moving.

Officiating Report Card- Interim grade

Received email notice today with an assignment for an SEP play-off game next week!   YAYLaughing!   This is the closest to getting an interim 'grade'- and i clearly made enough of an impression to merit a semi-final game!   The Semi-finals can be more exciting than the Finals and often more intense.  This will be a true test of my ability to learn, apply, and consistently perform. I have the benefit of 4 practice games this week.  Two tomorrow; and two on Thursday.   Wish me luck!

Officiating Report Card- July 4, 2011

SEP games 7&8 took place June 30th.  I have been mulling over my performance and that of the crew for days, trying to sort through my feelings. My goal at the outset was to merit an "A" performance by game 5-- and sustain that through games 9&10.   Before June 30, I was at an A, but after last week, I took a step backwards and I don't feel really good about it.  Why the set back?    I was the more experienced person on the crew.  I knew that from the time I got the assignment that this was a chance to step up and take care of little details that influence crew performance. I knew what to do and I knew what to expect from the players and coaches and yet, I still fell short.  Why?

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