Most kids have the opportunity to attend some kind of summer camp. Whether it’s a church camp, scout camp or a sports camp, it’s usually a memorable experience.
A couple of weekends ago, I went back to camp for the summer. After four years of attending a different officials camp for college officials, this was my first experience at a camp for basketball officials in conjunction with the Great Falcon Shootout at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Yes, there are basketball officials who actually pay money to get better. This camp was led by Tom Fiedler, the Men’s Basketball Supervisor for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Although the campers vary in their experience and ability as officials, most officials who go to camp do so to get better, network and have the opportunity to be seen by local college basketball assignors, including George Drouches, supervisor of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The camp focused on three-person mechanics and offered classroom teaching. Some of the tips the clinicians said included:
* Have a patient whistle. It’s OK to be a little late on a call because many plays can clean up themselves.
* You should always know when you are calling a third foul in the first half or fifth foul in the second half
* Train yourself to look at the game clock and shot clock on every dead ball to make sure there were no timing errors
* Be approachable/smile occasionally: Coaches like officials who are approachable.
* Be careful what you say to coaches. Coaches do not like it if an officials says the didn’t make a call because it wasn’t their “primary area.” A better phrase is “my eyes weren’t there, coach.”
* Take advantage of technology. Most college game are now recorded (some of the camps at the camp were also recorded). Watch the DVD. You learn a lot by watching yourself on “film.”
* Basketball officials share a special bond. Don’t speak poorly of other officials in an attempt to make yourself look better.
* Stay grounded. Officiating is something we do, it is not who we are. If officiating becomes more of who you are then you need to reorganize your priorities
These are all good reminders.