Thursday, January 3, 2008

What were your officiating goals this past season?

Every year at the start of the high school season, when I get my nice new NFHS rulebook, I open it up to the first page and write down 3 goals I have for myself for that season. These are goals of skills I want to develop or get better at for that season, and I'm going to actively work on them and ask for feedback from my partners and crew after each match.

I picked up this habit years ago as a suggestion at a volleyball officials' clinic, and I've done it ever since. I find it helps me focus on a couple of key things:
  1. I recognize that there is always room for improvement. No official knows it all or does a perfect job.
  2. It allows me to focus on each match as well as my officiating career and the steps I need to take.
  3. I can see progress year over year.

Many times, the list is obvious: back row attacks/setters, rotation, etc. But each year it's changed just slightly and it's allowed me to feel much more confident about my officiating technique and abilities.

For example, this past year was the first year I felt comfortable with tracking rotation (more on how I did that in a later post). For every year for 8 years I always listed rotation as a weak area of mine I wanted to improve at. This is the first year I've felt comfortable with that area of my officiating, allowing me to focus on other areas, such as ball handling consistency throughout the season and bench control, that are my next areas to tackle.

I always share my list with my partner and tell them I'll ask for feedback after the match. What has surprised me is that when I ask the same of my partner, I often get a confused look. With newer officials I understand (their answer is often "Everything!"), although I find having a list helps even newer officials accept that they won't get everything right away, and it's most important to get the fundamentals right.

But with more veteran officials I wish we would emphasize this more, for the same reasons I listed above. If you're not improving your skills as an official, you're going backwards, and the game and your peers will soon pass you by.

What are your thoughts? What areas do you try to focus on, and how do you track your progress over the seasons?

1 comment:

Charlie Anthe said...

One additional thought: My post listed NFHS but my goals apply to college as well during the Fall, and I do the same thing for USAV in the spring.