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Officiating Report Card - July 15, 2011, Getting Ready for the Semis

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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.

3) Crew communication:  Maximize pre-game discussion on call consistency, game management and on-the-floor communication. Review rotation procedures and any other potential problem areas.

Proficiency in all three areas can effect improvement in the one big area that has been the toughest to master:   Acting as a crew, and not as three independent referees. 

Acting as a crew, or what I'll call crew cohesion, is not easy because it is not an individual skill.  It is a team mindset born from experience, court maturity, and the ability to connect with fellow crew members, players, coaches and the game itself. It is the characteristic of the best teams. It is intangible, yet it is palpable when achieved. 

I look back on the games where such connection was present and contrast it to those where it was not. What was the difference?  At the root, it was in the mixed experience of the crew and the unfamiliarty of the game at hand for all three. The fear of making a mistake while being evaluated was stronger than it deserved to be.   In  hindsight, I could sense this fear based on the quality of the pre-game discussion among other things.

So what can I do when the forecast for crew cohesion is bleak?  Step up my communication game to compensate for it. Control communication where I can.  If the pre-game is weak, make it stronger. Convene the crew during dead balls to discuss an issue or problem and share information.  Be a calming effect on an inexperienced crew member, help them build confidence. Take more time between periods and time-outs to review game status and expectations for the following period. Communicate with the added purpose of effecting greater crew cohesion. It helps the crew. It helps the game. I am ready to step up and be fearless.

Semifinal game is set for July 19, 8pm tip.  This is an incredible opportunity to shine and show my association that i belong there. That i am ready to step up.  I am psyched beyond belief and hope to be the best team of the floor!