SEP games 3 and 4 took place last night, and what a difference two days make! In addition to absorbing Monday's critiques, I spent hours studying the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO) manual - the Bible, so to speak, on officiating rules, mechanics and procedures. It was like studying for a final exam, and the pressure I was putting on myself was enormous.
At the end of the two-game set, I gave myself a B+; a big jump from Monday's grade. Why? Two reasons: partners and confidence.
In both games I benefitted from partners who were more seasoned than I, which allowed me to mirror them and reinforced better habits. They helped me look good: on rotations, balanced call selection, communications. Crew cohesiveness is critical in establishing control of the game and respect of the players and coaches. This required and inspired confidence.
Confidence in my calls was high. I focused on my primary area, had a strong whistle and solid mechanics when reporting to the table. With every call, the crew rotated efficiently and demonstrated to the players, coaches, spectators and evaluators, that we knew what we were doing. We communicated with our eyes, gestures, and spoke discretely as we passed each other during a switch. Confidence as individuals AND as a crew is like an antibiotic: if administered regularly, its strength and effectiveness builds over time.
One event stood out. I assessed a technical foul on a coach for unsporting conduct. From the opening tip, the coach was sarcastic and challenged every call. One question we ask ourselves before issuing a technical is, "Will it improve the game?" Did the technical foul change his behavior? Yes, it did. And while the call was merited, I learned from the evaluators that I needed to find ways to acknowledge (vice ignore) the coach with firmness that conveys I am in control and that his behavior needs to stop. This might not have prevented the technical foul, but it would have established an important tone between the coach and the crew earlier than later.
Games 5 & 6 next Monday! Hoping to be confident, a great partner, and get an A!