Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tips for new officials

I really enjoy working with new officials. Partly because I can remember when I was a rookie, and was trying to soak up all this information like a sponge, coordinating signals, transition, rules, bench control. I really appreciated when veteran officials would take the time to give me feedback and help me improve as an official.

I also enjoy training new officials, and so in that same vein here are some starter tips for new officials. I'm planning on expanding on this topic in later posts too.

  1. Breathe. I see so many new officials try to think of everything at once that they stand perfectly stiff and forget to breathe because they're nervous about making a mistake or missing a call. My advice: relax. :-) Everyone makes mistakes all the time, and it's likely that if you're working a non-varsity or other match that is low key, everyone will understand.
  2. Don't try to work on everything at once. You're probably working on a lot of different things to get a handle on. If you try to think about all of them you're going to overload your brain and end up doing nothing well. Pick 1 or 2 things to really focus on during a match, and let the others go. Once you feel more comfortable with the first two, pick two more and improve those. A great thing to do is let your partner know what you're trying to focus on so they can focus their feedback on those areas rather than giving you feedback on a point that you aren't even paying attention to right now.
  3. For officials that pick up volleyball from other sports - keep in mind that volleyball has an etiquette and more collaborative environment with players and coaches than other sports like basketball. I've seen some new officials make very ticky-tack calls about a player not exchanging exactly in the right part of the court. That may be expected in basketball, but in volleyball it'll just annoy the coaches and put your partner in a tough spot. Take your pointers from how your partner approaches the match and ask questions if you're not sure about what to call.

I'd like to hear what advice other officials would give new officials? Or what did you appreciate as a new official that one of your partners did for you?

No comments: