Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Game Log 12/21/2005 or I've Got a Lot to Learn

I had two strong partners tonight--one of them officiated one of the state finals last year. They immediately appointed me the head ref because I had the shiniest shoes. I had the least experience--and especially the least 3-man experience--of any of us, but I made do.

We were anticipating a blowout, but much to our surprise, Blue (who we thought would get stomped) led by 9 after the first quarter. They held on until the fourth quarter, when a white run put them away--White won by 10. Things were a little bit rougher in the post than I'd like. I talked to the two kids I thought were the largest culprits...they mostly cleaned it up.

On the whole, I think I had a fine game, with a couple of exceptions I'll get to later. But I found a lot of the night difficult because my partners kept giving me advice on the floor. At every time out in the first quarter, they would head over and tell me a million billion things to change. I'll admit I'm not yet 100% comfortable with 3-man mechanics, but I can only handle one or two recommendations for change at a time. They wanted me to focus on and change everything. I finally told them to back off...I'd be happy to listen after the game, but not during.

I continue to be worried about where to look. Out of the 100+ suggestions I got tonight, one of the two big ones I'll take with me is that I'm actually too intensely looking in my area. When I'm C, for instance, I'm so focused on potential back picks and back-door play that I occasionally didn't pick up the ball when it came to my side of the floor. In general, I need to worry less about my area of the floor and open up my awareness--although not my eyes!--to the game, to the play, to what is likely to develop. The floor areas will follow.

I was especially impressed with how much information my partners had about each player at the end of the game. "White 10 was a disrupter. Blue 32 was rough in the post, and Blue 34 was rough outside. I thought White 12 was going to lose it..." etc. I don't yet have that level of intense knowledge of all of the players. I need to expand my mind.

The second bit I need to work on is to have a slightly more patient whistle, especially in grey areas. I had two calls that I'd like back--both on the shot. In each case, I anticipated a little bit, and that hurt me. Most egregious was a foul on a 3-point shot. Blue 4 came and took a flying leap and the shooter. I was C and right behind the shooter, and was amazed at how quickly 4 came at her...and she sailed right by...and I tooted my whistle. Damn, but I kicked that one--probably the worst call I've made this year. The coach asked me what I had, and I said she was grazed with the body, but I didn't like the call. MISTAKE. The coach was cool, but my partners rightly said I'd better limit my admission of mistakes to out-of-bounds plays and not to shooting fouls--especially not 3 shots.

Nonetheless, I do feel I had a good game, in spite of my partners' hundred or so recommended changes and challenges to my calls. I'm not knocking my partners, who are excellent referees--I aspire to be as strong as they are. But I do wish they'd taken the time to point out a thing or two I did right, because I'm sure I did at least one thing right tonight.

THINGS I DID WELL: Overall judgement, maintained decent confidence (I think)
THINGS TO WORK ON: Patient whistle, focus on gestalt play on top of my area, don't admit wrongdoing on shooting foul.
UP NEXT: I have a few days off for the holidays (although I am available for tomorrow...yet not used?). Barring a last-second call tomorrow, I'll return on Tuesday for a varsity game.

I'll likely blog once or twice between now and then about a couple of things my experienced partners said yesterday--stuff I agree with and stuff I disagree with.


At 5:36 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

Don't sweat it. If you weren't any good, they probably wouldn't have offered you any comments in the first place.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger John B. said...

Blogging Ref:

I think that 'seeing the whole floor' or field or whatever seems to be the toughest thing to learn to do in officiating most any sport. It is easier to watch a cetain set of bases, part of the court or field, whatever, but often what goes on elsewhere ont he court or field can help you anticipate a call coming into your zone.

I have the same problem in baseball...albeit full field view is probably a bit less important in baseball than in basketball.

One thing that I know from coaching younger kids in basketball (5th-8th grade) is that it is awfully easy as a coach to focus on one part or area of the floor. That is why you get flack from some of your coaches, they are often watching a certain aspect of the game, seeking to watch a matchup or something, you are focusing on a slightly broader approach viewing wise (as you should be).

At 2:50 PM, Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

John: That's part of the story, but not the whole story. I've been indoctrinated for so long in "don't call out of your area...don't even LOOK out of your area..." that now that I'm shifting to 3-man and am not 100% confident in what my area is anymore, I'm feeling like I'm tentative with the whistle these days.

At 6:06 AM, Blogger John B. said...


Probably part of a learning curve? I assume that three man vs. two man ref'ing in basketball is a whole different ballgame, responsibility wise. And I suspect that from group to group, responsibilities change among refs (even though theoretically I suspect that they shouldn't). These refs also sound like they are familiar with the ball players, maybe having seen them several times before (I don't know if you have seen these same ball players before also?).

As the 'junior member' of the ref'ing teams, you will probably receive your share of advice, both good and bad, and it sounds like the challenge for you is to sort out what is good and bad advice.

I do agree that a lot of advice during time outs / quarter breaks would seem to be a bad idea, maybe post game or next day might be better, in order for things to sink in a bit. Any large doses of advice during the flow of the game is liable to be received wrong.

Hang in seem, at least from what you write, to know how to call a ballgame. I suspect that after a few 3-man refereeing attempts, you will feel like an old pro...especially as you get used to working with the different refs and learn their styles.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Blogging Ref said...


I appreciate the advice for TRP. I share all of his struggles with 3-man, and I'm sure that we both will progress at about the same learning curve.

We both have a 3-man game on Friday.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger John B. said...

aw heck...I have my monikers all mixed up!


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