Sunday, February 19, 2006

Season in review

I've made it to the end of my third varsity season, and my first since returning from my medically-imposed absence. I worked two-and-a-half days a week for the season, and wound up with the following totals for the year:

11 rec games (kids, not adults)
4 junior high games
2 freshman games
8 JV games
23 Varsity games of various school sizes.

Some of the Varsity games were of pretty good quality up until about New Year's. Then, as the games started getting more meaningful, the new guy (me) got some blowout matchups. That's not a complaint--it's just a fact.

In general, I feel like my blog reveals that I got more confident as the year went on. My early concerns about being a "lead ref" melted away as I had more games where I felt in charge. I hope to pick up where I left off last year.

Moving from general to specific, at the end of last season, I said that I'd be working on these four things this season:

1. Tailoring of uniform
2. 3-person mechanics review
3. Eyes in own area--no more poaching
4. Coach management

I'd say that I was successful in three out of these four challenges this year.

TAILORING OF UNIFORM: I did that. I think I looked pretty good. I even ordered some beltless pants...but they were loose, so I need to buy one of those internal belts to keep the pants up.

3-PERSON MECHANICS REVIEW: Every 3-man game I did up until mid-January, I wrote how I wasn't yet comfortable in 3-man. Right about then, I stopped writing that. I think the little bit of experience I gained this year really helped--a lot. I'm still making errors, especially on fouls, but I'm learning that everyone is doing that as we go back and forth between 2-man and 3-man games. Another year will make things even better for me.

NO MORE POACHING: This is the one that needs work. I'm not a terrible poacher, but as lead, I'm still reaching across the key. This must stop in 06/07.

COACH MANAGEMENT: Last year, I felt really uncomfortable in this area. For whatever reason, this year was a lot better. No technical fouls on head coaches this year--in fact, I was never terribly close to one. I felt like coaches were approaching me with respect this year, and I have never felt that way before.

Why would this be? Some possibilities:

1. I'm better than I used to be, so there's less whining. (I don't think this is true.)
2. They're still whining, but it's not getting to me anymore. (I also don't think this is true.)
3. Coaches are more polite. (That's a funny one. Stop pulling my leg.)
4. I'm better at communication.

I think it's the fourth one. I've developed a technique, which is to respond if the coach asks a question, and to make my response brief and factual. I've learned that coaches are usually fine with that, even if they disagree. Occasionally, they'll continue, but I didn't have a single coach that ignored my warning this year (I gave maybe 4 or 5 all year). It worked well.

I did give a technical foul to an assistant coach this year, but on reflection, I probably shouldn't have done that. The guy deserved it--barking pretty badly after I'd warned him--but I inadvertently undercut my partner, who was closer to the coach at the time. Live and learn.

So what am I working on for next year:

1. Mechanics. I'm too loosey-goosey, and since I can't use my voice, I need to overcompensate with perfect, crisp, confident motions. I will have perfect posture on the floor and exude confidence.
2. Screens. I want to get those rules cold, and enforce them confidently.
3. NO MORE CALLING ACROSS THE KEY AS LEAD unless it's an egregious miss by a partner.
4. Shooters. I can't let my eyes follow the shot. More than one evaluator caught me doing this, and it's inexcusable.

I don't want to get too into my evaluations, but I hope to take a fairly decent step up on the varsity list. I don't think I'm in the top half yet (I have a three-year plan to get there), but I should take a pretty big jump up.

It was a fine year. I'm stoked for more.

Thanks for reading.


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