09/10 Season In Review
I'll ignore the junior high games I have in three weeks' time, and say that my season officially ended with the marvelous games I had 9 days ago. And I will now continue the rich tradition of giving myself honest feedback at the end of the season (a tradition that went into hiatus last year due to the birth of my son).
First, the numbers:
I officiated 38 games this season:
14 girls' varsity
11 girls' JV
5 boys' varsity
2 boys' JV
1 boys' freshman
4 boys' junior high
1 girls' junior high
This compares favorably to the last two seasons, when I had a lot more freshman games. I was used almost exclusively on JV/Varsity doubleheaders this year. Additionally, I was the crew chief for about 75% of my games this year. I take both of these to be a sign of trust from my assignor, which I take seriously.
Those of you who read this regularly know that I can be pretty hard on myself. In fact, just a couple of years ago in this space, I quite honestly said that I had not had a very good year.
But this was probably my best year I've ever had.
First of all, empirically, the games went well. I've just read all 38 game logs, and there was only one night that I wasn't happy at the end of it--and that was just because of one call. Other than that, I handled every game that came my way smoothly. When I was being sent to tiny schools as crew chief, I got us through the games smoothly. When I was surprised with a tough boys' game, I certainly felt the challenge (and the coaches weren't necessarily fans), but the game went as well as I can imagine it could. Can I handle [REDACTED]? Yep. I can get the crew back together to have a decent second half. And finally, when I had a close, important girls' game late in the year, it was honestly the best night of my reffing life.
I look back over the year and I feel nothing but competent. I kept writing "coach management" down as a thing I did well, and I think it's because I'm only now figuring out what to listen to, what to ignore, and what to shut down. My partners give me pretty good evaluations, and my assignments, as I said above, get a little better every year (this was the first year I was assigned any boys' Varsity games that were not attached to girls' games).
So I will give myself a pat on the back. Yay me.
I do think I managed to improve quite a bit this year in slowing down at the spot. I'm not saying so many stupid things as the whistle falls out of my mouth anymore. And when I watched myself on the videotape, I still cringe a little at my physical appearance, but I do think I've improved at least a little bit. I do plan on spending a little money this summer to get a personal trainer, and will fire off an email to a triathlete fellow ref as soon as the playoffs wind down.
As far as stuff I keep seeing in the "things to work on" area, there are two.
1. MENTAL FATIGUE. As it happens, the basketball season coincides with the busiest part of the year in my day job. Add a baby to the mix, and I sort of didn't get enough sleep. I noticed, especially in December, that I was mentally less than with it on the floor sometimes. I stopped commenting about that in January and February. I don't think it's that I was less tired...somehow I adjusted. But, nonetheless, I need to be careful to take care of me a bit more next year--be sure I sleep enough and don't arrive at the gym tired. It isn't a good thing.
2. CALLING TOO MUCH AS LEAD. This continues to be an issue. I can't seem to lay off the call across the paint when I'm lead. I've put this down for the past couple of years, and I still need to hold off on those whistles just a bit. This is true on drives and on some rebounds as well...I need to trust my partners on the former and be sure I have a good angle on the latter. I don't trust the blanket statement I hear that "almost all calls should come from the C and T." If it happens in my area, and I'm L, and I have a good angle, isn't that what I have a whistle for? But I do get this feedback often enough that I need to re-commit to this next year.
It's going to be a busy summer...minor surgery will take away a couple of weeks, and a buddy's wedding another week, and a possible business-related trip one more...but I still feel like it's time for camp. Not the local association's camp, either...I feel like putting myself in the "learner" position there over and over actually hampers people's perceptions of me. Instead, I think I'd like to head to a bigger camp across town--the same one I went to 10 years ago. Back then, I was in over my head. This time, I think it will really help more...going at a time when I'm better able to handle the suggestions.
HOWEVER, I think I know what I'll get...a lot of people saying "You don't run well." Why pay $250 for that? Maybe I just focus on the personal trainer this summer instead. I must decide...
Again, thanks to anyone who reads this. You keep me honest and accountable. And that helps, even in as good a year as this one.