Tonight was definitely a step up. On schedule, I had two high level 6th grade games with a 4th grade in between. I was a little surprised to get scheduled for these 6th grade games as I felt I wasn't quite ready for a higher caliber of volleyball.
However, a game is a game and I prepared myself to work it. In fact, I even talked to a co-worker who played and officiated high school volleyball for a number of years for some tips.
As far as the games went today, the skill level of the two 6th grade games were pretty high. The 4th graders, while not spectacular, actually did fairly well for their age level. While the 2nd of the two 6th grade games was essentially a blowout, the losing team wasn't that bad. The winning team was just very good.
Here are some things I learned tonight:
- Volleyball (at least for me at the moment) takes a LOT of concentration. Perhaps it's my inexperience, but I found myself mentally tired after the games tonight. I was focusing very hard on every little detail because I wanted to ensure the games went smoothly. I looked for foot faults, double hits, balls in my area, and worked with my line judges.
- I don't know my volleyball mechanics and signals all that well. It's not committed to muscle memory quite yet. I've looked at the mechanics and signals online but some of it doesn't apply since this particular league uses modified rules. Fortunately at this point, I don't need to worry about this. My job is just to ensure the game gets played safely and properly.
- I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but I almost let a player with a hard cast play tonight. The gym director, who knows high school volleyball, told me she couldn't play due to the cast. In fact, she reminded me about common sense. A player with a hard cast is a danger to her teammates.
Tonight's situation was an example of why I decided to give a volleyball a try. I'm officiated basketball so much that I am in a bit of a comfort zone. By doing a new sport, I force myself to analyze situations and learn from them. By doing that, I hope it transfers back to my basketball officiating. Look for a longer blog post on this soon.