View Full Version : Improving officiating across the board
03-05-2008, 02:37 PM
As a younger official with about 10 years experience, I still find myself learning new stuff every day. And I'd say the thing I learn from the most is different players' interpretations of rules and their attitudes toward officials.
So, as a community, what are you guys' views on how officials (in general) can be more well-respected? I understand that a lot of players complain just to complain, and a lot of players try to "get in the ref's head" - but what is it that we, as officials, can do (or shouldn't do) in order to gain more respect from players?
03-05-2008, 05:28 PM
It would probably be good if most players spent time in the refs skates. I used to be a "chirper" until I started reffing a lot. After that I saw what unneccessary argueing and yelling does to the ref as well as the quality of the game.
03-05-2008, 08:47 PM
I have reffed ice and inline hockey for a while and I have found that there is not much as a ref that you can do to stop players from whining and crying. I have tried to explain calls and have been met by some players with a positive reaction and been yelled at and called names by others, I have been strict with penalties and tried to let the players play and have seen both reactions to both styles. I have found that you can't make everyone happy so just make your calls and try to make them the right calls.
03-06-2008, 04:37 PM
You raise an extremely difficult question. Like yourself, I have officiated roller hockey for some time now (20 years) and ice hockey on the collegiate and minor levels. Ice hockey has a uniformity to it. USA HOCKEY is primarily the governing body within the US and its rulebook has served as the standard bearer. Roller hockey dating back to its incarnation has practiced a multitude of rule books, and players as well as officials have great difficulties keeping up with them as each travel from league to league. There is no easy solution to the problem you raise. Until we see these organizations combine or cooperatively work together; officiating roller hockey will continue to be one of the most difficult jobs anyone could face. My advice to you is to continue being the student all of us have to be and read, read and read again the many rulebooks as you travel the circuit. USA HOCKEY does provide some officiating manuals that you can order, I would suggest them. Try to stay away from the inline ones. You might think they would be the better choice, however I have carried and continue to read several times the advanced manual for ice hockey officials. It gives many scenarios for you to contemplate. The inline ones appear to be oversimplistic. Good Luck.
03-06-2008, 06:07 PM
that's the absolute most direct explaination for inline officiating i've heard yet irsh. good call man
03-06-2008, 06:45 PM
I agree with everything previous and I'm not going to jump this into the old "governing body thread" but being an official of 14 years and dealing with many players from mite to pro at both ice and roller...it takes years to develop respect of calling many games, even for the whiners - they even get to know you and some will eventually get to your side, but still whine - others dont care...I have found that speaking with most off the rink about the scenario tends to work, after you have been through things with these individuals before....a lot of players are hot headed and crazy on the rink most times, but off after the game, nice guys....ask Growl 89!!!
My other feeling is a penalty is the same infraction for the same thing across the board...and we do make mistakes as officials...but people don;t understand it...this society looks for quick scapegoats and these goats have stripes - give them your side, or tell them how it is and move on - if they don;t then I guess you are the bigger person at that point - Even if you are wrong!!! I have had many times where I am in a corner or a bad spot and you just can't get out of the way...you cause a turnover and the other team goes down and scores - I simply admit it and move, if the teams can't...oh well - theres more goals that can be scored, or less goals to be given up....If i make a bad call or it is dead wrong, if I see it that way - I admit it....some coaches and players are stunned, but its honesty that can move things back to managable some times and it makes you look more human
Lastly, there is no excuse for not knowing all the rules - if you work in a different building, league or whatever....you shoot yourself in the foot and look bad in most cases by not knowing - yes this governing body thing is tough, but even in USA Hockey on the ICE there are different rule books, YOUTH for every classification Midget 18-u and below with modifications for womens and girls hockey, JUNIORS which is totally separate and ADULT which has certain modifications and then more stringent rules rink to rink - Roller hockey is not different, the officials have to keep up with the same thing....NARCh, PIHA, house leagues...everyone is a little different no matter what
03-06-2008, 08:43 PM
If you play as well as ref, don't go out and commit the same infractions that you call in the game and then complain about it. I know this seems simple enough, but I've see it too many times. Obviously if you are asking this question at all, you are probably above that, but I just had to throw it out there.
Also, no refereeing in a league you play in, unless there are no other playing/reffing options in your area.
03-07-2008, 10:26 AM
Wow...I am very impressed...seems like a very intelligent, realistic group of guys here. I expected much less from an inline hockey forum, but I've been pleasantly suprised.
I'm the head ref at a local rink, so I not only have to be concerned with my own performance, but also the performance of the 10-15 other guys that work the games.
So, another question before I reply to the comments:
What are some good ways to improve consistency from ref-to-ref and game-to-game? I always field complaints from players saying that it's hard to play in a league where you have guys like me that call a generally tighter game, and then another guy refs their game that pretty much lets everything go. I'm fairly certain it's a mental thing for the guys that swallow their whistle, because I know they know the rules.
That seems to be one of the biggest ways to lose the respect of the players. I have a guy on my staff that fits that mold perfectly. Swallows his whistle, needs carried through every game, but anytime he's touched when he plays, he's a poster child for Tampax.
In the Pittsburgh area, we're almost entirely AAU/USARS at every rink. Come to think of it, I don't know of any local inline programs operating under USAHIL. I suppose that makes things a bit easier, but there are always house rules to contend with.
And I agree 100% about admitting when you're wrong. In adult leagues, I think the guys really appreciate hearing "Hey man, I probably f-ed up that last call. I probably should have called both of you for a penalty. I'll keep an eye on things the rest of the way." from a ref. I'd say 90% of the guys respond well to that. Seems like taking a more personal approach (at least on the adult level) works really well, even though it goes against the "professionalism" that is preached in the ref's code of conduct. I oftentimes disregard the suggestions that refs shouldn't talk to the players on a friendly level during stoppages, etc. As long as you're talking to both teams, I see no problem. I think it helps me to call a better game, it helps the players to know that I'm not unapproachable, and it helps the game overall because we tend to have fun, competitive, and (mostly) clean games.
I could be wrong, since I've never studied the USA Hockey Inline rulebook in detail, but I'm under the impression that the only major difference between USAHIL and AAU/USARS is the faceoff spot rules. Am I correct in saying that?
That's an EXCELLENT summary. Make your calls, and try to make them the right ones.
It's always a different view from the stripes, isn't it? :)
03-07-2008, 04:02 PM
I have to agree with all of you gentleman. At times you lose sight of the fact that their are others like yourself trying to improve themselves, and the players and fellow referees around them. At the risk of sounding redundant, there is no excuse to not know the rules for the league or tournament you officiate. You need to be the consummate student so the players and coaches can benefit from your control over a game. If you do make a mistake, I find that being honest with coaches and sometimes players will alleviate tension, just don't do it too often. We all make mistakes but obviously try to minimize them. No matter how long you ref, please attend as many clinics as possible. I teach them but also go to others. I always pick up on something to improve upon or add to my game from several of the excellent officials around me.
Hey PGH it has been sometime since I have officiated a USARS event but if I am not mistaken, they use the same rules as AAU. For a while there they had some pretty "goofy" rules with calling time out during play. I believe they disposed of this. Face off position is extremely important. USA Hockey does not use a five ot system. We have incorporated the standard "H" like ice hockey now. Faceoffs occur from where the puck was last played unless obviously an attacking team shoots it out of play in the attacking zone. For a while we only used the faceoff dots. We no longer do this. We also use the coincidental minor rule where if two players on different teams at the same stoppage of play incur penalties of equal time duration; we do not play a man down. We have only one timeout per game. We have no overtime procedure unless you are incorporating playoffs.
03-08-2008, 04:07 PM
I have to agree with Irish31, know the rules. In the Ice league I ref we had two kids get certified and they were making horrible calls and then arguing with players about the calls on several occasions I had to pull one of these two players aside and explain their mistake and suggest what they should do. This was happening in many of their games with other refs besides myself. One of these kids took the advice that the more experienced guys were offering and when we looked up a rule he realized that their are to many rules for anyone to know them all and that if you question one and look it up then you will not make the mistake again, he is now one of our better refs. The other kid would tell us that we were wrong and that he knew what the rule was (he even told this to a guy who had worked as a linesman in the NHL) he would tell us we were idiots because we looked up rules in the rule book between games, he was told his services would not be needed after about two months. Know the rules, if you are unsure make your call but look it up later and if it was wrong then you will know not to make the same mistake twice.
I have also found that talking to players between plays, before or after games even if it is just to say hello or good bye (as long as you are friendly) lets them get to know you and you have less problems in games. There are several players who when we first met would get fired up about calls and want to argue, but now they know me, they trust that I try to call fair games and I don't have problems with them, they also know that if they feel they are being hacked that they can say, "hey this guy keeps slashing me" and that I will not blow them off. There will be some players that no matter what you do or say you will always be wrong.
03-08-2008, 11:32 PM
i'd have to say that talking to players is a good thing. it keeps the sport a sport. you've seen brett favre slap a head ref's hand after a football game and just laughed it off. you've seen nhl officials talking to players and joking and laughing w/o incident. it's a part of the game, keeping it fun; it is after all...a game. however, when it comes to "bad calls," it's possible to never make a bad call when you keep a rule book at the score table; or if it's small enough in your pocket, as i've seen once. that way, in the event of a penalty shot, or game deciding penalty, if you feel you're wrong; consult the rule book. it's not going to make you look stupid or bad. it's going to make you look like you want to do your damn job correctly. also you can shut up the players that think you're wrong, or come on here and bash you haha. also you'd be very well respected for doing it "by the book." because i've seen too many games at every level be decided by a whistle and not a player's stick. now dont get me wrong, if it's a close call either way; that's where a referee's disgression comes into play. and i'm fine with that. if a player messes up and it could've been let go, but wasnt. then that's the player's fault. but if it's a bad call, that shouldnt have happened...then that's where i start to become a whiner myself, and question why more referee's (if they dont already...which i havent seen in a long time) should have a rule book available at all times
03-10-2008, 01:46 AM
I'd agree on the "talk to the players" bit. While we _do_ have rules in place to say "only the captain (or alternates) can talk to you, they should be saved for when you need them - like an abusive player, or when things are tense you can get both captains in and discuss things rather than have a crowd.
A ref who starts dismissing players is usually one who is insecure in the fact they can control a game.
one note about knowing the rules: know YOUR rules.
In inline hockey we have a few rulebooks, plus we carry baggage that comes from ice hockey - every so often you will see calls that are made because "when X happens Y is the call" - except it is not the actual rule, just a commonly held belief. Things like face-off positioning over the years, and whether the puck has to hit the ground before you can play it or not (the FIRS rulebook contains no such requirement), or calling a player for interference on the puck-carrier, etc.
Most important: you're there to facilitate the game, you're not the star of the show.
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