In a previous ref class, we broke into smaller groups and stood in circles, blowing our whistles, working on giving calls to the scorer’s table and more, but for the first time, we got a small taste of what it’s like to officiate a basketball game.
After spending the first half of class in the classroom, discussing some of the business aspects of being a basketball ref and having a seven-year veteran official who took this same class earlier in the decade come talk to us and provide advice for first-time refs, the all went to the gym for our first minor forays into calling live action. We were put into haphazard teams, and three students were chosen to officiate. Players and refs rotated every so often during the hour or so we spent in the gym, and the “game” was stopped many times by the instructors during teachable moments.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to ref as time run out on class before my group could go. I played in the “game” for a few minutes, shooting 0-of-1 and otherwise doing nothing. All those reps in the gym didn’t pay off during my big moment, but I did feel like I came away from class a better ref than when I came in to start. The explanations and watching it all flow in real time was incredibly educational and by far the best thing for me and my development as a new official out of anything we’ve done in class so far despite not getting a shot at it myself.
On the whole, the people who got a shot at officiating during the “game” were terrible at it, and understandably so. I’m sure I won’t be all that good when I get my chance next week. But it was good for me to see, on one hand because it eased my anxiety as I saw how difficult it was for everyone, and also because now I can learn from their mistakes. I have never paid attention to how officiates rotate before, but now that I’ve actually seen it in action, it’s something I will notice and be able to watch for when watching a game. In seeing people do it correctly or incorrectly, that will help me, and trust me, I saw it done incorrectly many times Sunday night.
I think more of the class should be spent in the gym like that and less in the classroom, and next weekend, I’m going to give that advice to the instructors. The amount that I learned from the sideline as they were sternly explaining why one of the student refs had messed up was immeasurable compared to what I took from sitting at a desk for the majority of these handful of weeks. Future officials would benefit greatly from getting to ref “games” like these, which is the closest thing the class can provide to calling a game. The best way to learn is through experience and actually doing it, so why not make this the focus of the class?