Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer League / Tournament Time

Around 2nd second week of April, I formally inquired with my high school officiating association when I needed to inform the group if I wanted to return for the 2012-2013 season.   I was told before the end of April.  After taking a few weeks, I formally requested to be reinstated for the 2012-2013 season.  After paying some dues, I was back in action.

I officiated in some youth tournaments and a couple of high summer basketball tournaments in mid June.   While the youth tournaments and the high school summer tournament was relatively competitive, the tournament I officiated on this past Sunday was definitely a big step up.

Unlike the previous high school tournament, the teams participating were playing most of their varsity squads.  In an odd twist, my partner and I were informed that player fouls were to be COUNTED officially (most summer tournaments don't really do this).   My understanding was the tournament hadn't done this most of the weekend and even the coaches were surprised.  This made for some intense basketball as all three games I worked were nail biters (3 point game, 2 point game and 1 point game).

My partner was a veteran official who works in my association and so I talked to him quite a bit.  We double whistled a few times and one time he disagreed with my call of a player control foul.   I also got a coach in the first game annoyed (and on our cases throughout) with my foul call and reporting of the wrong player number.  I fully admit to missing the player number.  However, this was due to the fact that the players were wearing summer league uniforms with only numbers in the back.   It was not a good way to start the game but I felt we did fine overall during the game.

That was one of my biggest take aways from officiating on Sunday.  In the past, I would have been a little wound up or bothered with the coach on my case.  I listened to his complaints, addressed it and keep on officiating.  I did it for all three games.  The coaches may not have liked every call (or no call) but they had to accept it.

All in all, I felt my confidence in officiating has jumped up a bit.  The question is why?  The answer is actually pretty easy.  As an official, if you are making the effort to be in position to see the majority of the plays in a game, you will be in position to explain a call (or non-call ) to a coach who disagrees.

I can't emphasize how important it is to talk to coaches.  It was NEVER my favorite activity in years past.  But in my regular job as a Sales Engineer, I talk to Sales people at work all day and to potential customers.   As a Sales Engineer, I get a ton of technical objections from potential customers.  I have to know my products to overcome these objections.  The same principal applies to officiating.  You have to know the rules but also see the plays to tell the coaches what you saw.  They may not like it but they will have to accept it.

Overall, I felt super comfortable officiating three high level boys varsity summer tournament games.   I felt good considering I had not worked anything remotely close to this level since the 2010-2011 high school season.   Maybe the time off helped!  All in all,  it was a fun Sunday and looking forward to working other games in the future.

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