devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

Improving Officiating

Posted by mickmurphy on November 1, 2009

On Saturday, 31st of October, the AVF at the facilities of the AIS hosted the inaugural officials forum, “Improving Officiating“.

The forum featured a workshop focussed on the position of the official today and what priorities are to improve officiating, hosted by Liz Pollock. Following this, a fascinating presentation by Jason Patchell, a psychologist from the AIS high performance unit who discussed the ‘normality’ of feeling stressed and how stress upon the body is a natural occurrence that can either enhance or hinder your expertise. An excellent perspective to share…

The entertaining Mick Stone was one of many highlights on the day, with compelling stories of his time as an official, as well as discussing effective communication tools to use with players to ensure mutual respect, calm and sensible outcomes are achieved. Mick is one of those guys who has you enthralled from the moment he opens his mouth (and even before) and his discussions on decision making processes were valuable.

The highlight for me was the exceptional presentation from Simon Taufel, cricket umpire extraordinaire. What was most impressive for me was just the sheer amount of work he puts into his officiating and preparation. There are far to few an opportunities for volleyball referees to improve their officiating outside of match play, the concept of ‘referee coaching’ or ‘training sessions’ is foreign outside of the 2 or 3 courses we do in our entire officiating life. Simon’s salient point was that a referee ‘coach’ should be distinctly different from a referee assessor. Most National referees (or above) have the opportunity to be assessed, but very, very few have the opportunity to be coached, let alone by a person unique from the assessment process.

The people who attended the forum are in no doubt better for it, and I can say confidently that I will strive to attend all future sessions and encourage all referees (of all levels) who are passionate about their refereeing to experience the opportunity.

Credit to John Cheadle and the AVF for the event, I hope many more people support it in the future.

18 Responses to “Improving Officiating”

  1. Ezra said

    Agreed… sorry Murph, but I agree with you. And to be honest… you didn’t need to be a referee to get something out of this. Just so you know… no rules or protocols or any other stuff was covered… it was very informative and could definitely be used in all positions on a volleyball court (yes, even for players and coaches :o) )

    • Murph said

      Exactly… You listen to someone like Simon and you can use that information in all aspects of sport and life really! Shame is didn’t help keep the cheese in check…

      • devo said

        Okay, I’m tired; not thinking that straight; probably missing the obvious – but at the risk of making a fool of myself (again)- is the “cheese” a yellow card?

        • Murph said

          Do you wanna answer this one, Cheddar Ez? Do I call you Cheddar Ez because you LOVE giving out yellow cards, or because you are a fromagier?

          Haha! Devo you got it!

        • Ezra said

          Murph…don’t LOVE giving out yellow, but I’m not afraid to do it if someone steps outside the line of sportsmanship and finds themselves in the Penalty Sanction Arena.

          yes Devo, and the wine is a red :o)

  2. edbinnie said

    Devo – wait til you see the refs on the dance floor. One of the best parts of AJVC is seeing them all do the “ref” dance.

  3. edbinnie said

    It’s been a while, but let’s see what I can do … care of Columbia University Volleyball Resources!
    First came about back in 2005 Nat Juniors in Adelaide – and then Cam Olson took it international.

  4. markleb said

    I’m a bit disappointed that nobody took up the concept of ‘referee coaching’. It is such an obvious thing and yet so many referees don’t actually practice and review their performance. For example, many referees aren’t aware of what players (especially spikers) try to do to win points and therefore look just look in the wrong place and don’t see block touches.
    Players and coaches spend hours and hours preparing for and reviewing performance. Referees should do the same.

    • Murph said

      That’s it Mark…

      We need something from somewhere to spur a referee training experience. If we took nothing else from Mick Stone and Simon, it’s that referee coaching is essential for the referees to achieve their goals in becoming top officials.

    • brisbanevolleyball said

      I run a few referee courses these days and have a quick chat at the start asking why are you here. most are here because their school needs them to be there for Schools Cup.. but there is normally at least 1 in the group who wants to be a referee. I take down their email and have a very small database (have only just started) and are looking to email these future referee’s when tournaments are coming up that they could ref at, and then travel to the event to help them out.

      • Murph said

        Great initiative BrisbaneVolleyball. I will do the very same starting with the 3 I’m running next week!

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