Blog posts of '2015' 'October'

Twister anyone?

This time of year generates lots of energy as we gear up for the season which is soon to arrive.  For me it looks like this: New rule books, contracts, physicals, scrimmages, ref-ology Fall workshop (already successfully completed), and the regional clinics underway.  The NCAA test is already out and great rules discussions, with the referees I collaborate with the most, are getting my mind back into basketball.

It’s an anxious time in anticipation of the best part of the year – the start of basketball season!

As I look forward, I work to make sure I have “crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s,” and I go in search of the game I felt most proud of last season.  Why?

Several years ago, a fellow, very accomplished, referee gave me great advice.  “Shelley, find the best game you worked towards the end of last season.  Watch it, and begin preparing from when you were performing at your best!”  That advice has served me well over the years! Thanks Tommy!

In our pursuit to be the best referee we can be, many of us have become somewhat addicted to the near instant feedback we get following our games via observations or film review.  However, with the beginning of the season in mind, I want to throw this concept out there.   In my opinion, the film room is where we “connect the dots.”  It’s the place to learn “play-calling,” positioning, angles, mechanics, offenses and defenses, trouble spots, etc.   We also learn about our partners, whether the crew worked effectively and where we needed to demonstrate better teamwork.  It’s where we can take a scientific approach to our job.  Film review must take place - it’s non-negotiable in our line of work.

If done with the goal to understand your mindset and thought process, improve your awareness, and to make changes in your future performance and teamwork, film review is an incredibly useful tool. 

However, real refereeing (what we actually do on the floor) is where the information we learn from watching film, and other training we do, needs to take effect.  The mental & physical preparation we do manifests itself each time we referee the GAME.

Compared to the film room where we can be objective, the art of refereeing, in my opinion, cannot be dehumanized.  The physical act of doing our job as referees is more like playing the game of “Twister.” We actively perform, which involves responding and reacting to several moving parts of the game occurring at the same time.  We make decisions in real-time based upon what’s actually taking place in the game at that time.  We need to be able to assess that information, process it and respond to activity accordingly.  Never will you have the same experience twice on the floor.  Considering angles, judgment and perception, it’s mentally challenging – and for me, probably more than physically challenging.

To learn the art of “decision-making,” we must first recognize that the skill requires attention, focus and real-time mental feedback you give to yourself – and only you can give it to yourself in the moment when you are working a game!

So, find THAT game from last season where you were performing your best, watch it and remember, start playing twister when you take the floor for your first scrimmage or game.  This game requires your attention!


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