Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting To The Next Level

Tonight, I worked a boys varsity game for the only the third time this season.  At this point in my officiating career, I do primarily freshman, JV boys/girls games or varsity girls basketball games.    I don't get any marquee games though you'll always get competitive games at any level.

The surprise was that I got a fairly decent (at least for myself) boys varsity game.  The game feature probably the best team in this particular league (the visiting team) and a home team that was about .500 in league play.  The home team hung tough for a half but the visitors pulled away in the second half for a 30 point win.

The most interesting take away this game was from my veteran partner.  The game got a little intense at times and my partner spent most of the night talking to players and coaches to keep situations under control.  After the game, my partner and I had a good talk.  My partner felt I could have been more vocal and demonstrative in handling some of the situations that occurred.

In his opinion, he felt that was holding me back.  He expressed that I was a solid game official but needed to manage game situations better.  Ultimately, officiating is only one aspect of basketball.  The other aspect is managing game situations (players, coaches, scorekeepers, etc) that come up.

It's funny that my partner brought it up.  This is something I've been aware of for quite some time.  I will freely admit that it's a weakness of mine.  I had thought about how I could work on this aspect of my officiating.  Unfortunately, I don't think I ever found something that worked for me.

While my partner's talk was useful, I actually learned more  from my observations of his interactions with the coaches and players during the game.    I remember most of the situations and how he handled them.

The points I learned was two fold:

You have to be AWARE of all the game situations.  In our case tonight, players were jockeying for position a little harder than was needed.    I was aware of the situations throughout.

Awareness is one thing.  Actually doing something is another.  I fell short a bit in the game management side though I did OK in officiating the game action.  This is what separates the average official from the great ones.

On one hand, I am little frustrated I missed an opportunity to step up and show a different side of myself.  On the other hand, the talk from my partner was probably what I needed the most.  

While I don't have a ton of high school games left in the season to work on this aspect of my officiating, I have a ton of kids and adult league games throughout the rest of 2011 to put in a lot of practice.  

What's funny about this situation tonight is how similar it was to my work situation last year.  At work, I knew I had issues to work on.  I thought I knew how to address them but apparently my efforts failed.  It took a talk from my boss (and others) plus some studying to get me back on track.

In fact, the confidence that I gained from bouncing back at work has quietly seeped into my officiating.   So while I do have things to work on, I feel like I have been more confident overall in the majority of the basketball games I have officiated this season.

Now the next step of improvement is in front of me and I plan to work on it like I did for my work situation last year.

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