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Learning the Craft

The Road to Varsity: Lessons from Little League

My relocation to North Carolina temporarily disrupted my officiating schedule. With membership into a new association pending,  I needed to find a way to work on my game during the summer and fall without the benefit of regularly scheduled summer basketball. Tennis provided an excellent venue for physical preparation.  Tennis, like basketball requires fitness, quickness, teamwork and stamina. But while tennis helped with the physical game, it was watching Little League baseball, more than anything else, that helped the most with the mental side of basketball officiating.

A high school basketball official prepares for the upcoming season by learning valuable lessons on the mental aspects of sports by watching the fun 10-year-olds have playing Little League baseball.

The Road to Varsity - Mentoring Milestones on the Road Ahead

It's been five weeks since I moved to the Tarheel State, and in that time I have attended two basketball officiating clinics. The first was held at UNC Charlotte and served as an introduction into North Carolina high school basketball. The second was a teaching camp at Liberty University, run by NCAA officials and my fourth summer attending that camp.

A high school basketball official's attendance at two summer officiating camps teaches her some valuable lessons on the Road to Varsity.

Woman Officials: Paying Attention, Not Drawing Attention Is Key to Success

Being a woman official who wants to achieve varsity status requires an understanding of the unique challenges and dynamics that may not exist in traditional work environments.

Being a woman basketball official who aspires to work high school varsity games requires a delicate balancing act: working to improve our skills while not drawing attention to our gender or any aspect that negatively influences the perception of our abilities.

The Road to Varsity Requires Patience, Patience, Patience

"Be patient, Barbara. The games will come." Such was the advice of Ed, the camp director of the first basketball officiating camp I attended in 2006.  Ed took a personal interest in my career and helped me improve by observing my games and encouraging me to focus on the big picture.  He advised that my goal should be on step-by-step improvement and a conviction that I will improve if I put my mind to it. AND, to give it time, and the games will come.

A high school basketball referee, newly promoted to call varsity games, reflects on a season which saw her officiating far fewer varsity games than she had hoped, but reminded her of the need to be as patient in achieving her goal of full varsity status as she is with her whistle.

Flagrant Fouls in Basketball: Difficult Call To Make

A video recently posted on YouTube (see below) featured footage of a high school basketball team committing six fouls in which the videographer accuses the officials of miscalling the fouls.  Like many, he considered any hard foul resulting in the player falling to the court a flagrant foul.  Problem is that such contact is not automatically a flagrant foul; it could be an intentional foul, or it could be just a hard, but ordinary, personal foul. 

A YouTube video accuses high school basketball officials of failing to call flagrant fouls, but begs more questions than it answers, says one official.

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.

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!
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