Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Importance of Letting the Refs Ref!

Last night we played the school that I coach at (St. Paul Humboldt). We ended up winning by a few in overtime, which was nice. But something happened during the game that usually doesn't happen, I started to ride the officials a little bit. At one point the foul totals were 13-4. I know that the difference doesn't matter, but I felt like we were getting homered and I wasn't happy about it what so ever. I'm embarrassed to admit that because I pride myself in leaving the officials alone. I have only gotten two Ts in my career and they were both in the same game 6 seasons ago.

Anyway, I started to get on the officials about the calls and noticed something happening: our players were getting rattled by the calls too. We were starting to complain, make faces, etc which is very out of character for us. We were letting the officiating put us all in the tank and that was something that I couldn't let happen. Since actions reflect leadership I burned a timeout, told my guys we ALL (including me) needed to stop worrying about the refs and start worrying about us. I also stopped worrying about the officials, started to coach my guys, and what do you know we started to play better and started to "get" more calls (we really didn't but just felt like it).

The bottom line from this experience is that it reinforces my philosophy that you can't worry about the officials, no matter if you THINK you are getting homered or not. It creates a toxic environment on your bench and takes your team's focus off the job at hand - executing and doing your best.


bruchu said...

To me, I look at the situation from 2 perspectives.

1. A coach yelling at the refs is a sign of weakness and inability to coach their team on how to adjust to a changing set of circumstances. A coach yells at officials because he/she is panicking and doesn't have a response to the given situation.

2. Yelling at refs goes completely contrary to the very principles that I try to impart on my players. We as coaches often tell our players about "no excuses" and "self-control" and "discipline". It is therefore highly hypocritical and against what I am trying to teach my players about how to conduct oneself as an adult if I as a coach begin to make excuses by blaming the refs, or completely losing my composure by yelling at a ref, or smashing a clipboard out of frustration.

If you look at it from that perspective, I think it becomes a no-brainer that yelling at the refs is definitely not the way to go.

DeWayne Harrell said...

Yelling at the refs is not the best way to approach a game, but at the same time you want your team to be treated fairly ... I call it more like discussing the situation. They are getting paid to do a job, and if they are not doing correctly, maybe they should try another occupation ... as coaches, if we were not doing our job, we would be asked to leave or get criticized. I've been a ref before, and you don't go into the profession thinking everyone will like you or agree with you ... once again, like coaching.

JohnCarrier said...

Coach Bru:

I agree with you 100%. That is why I am embarrassed about me getting on them. I usually never say a word to any of them.

Coach Harrell:

you bring up some good points about the officials not being above criticism (especially when coaches get so much) but is getting on them at a game going to help? I'm not so sure. At the moment I really believed we were getting jobbed, but looking back I don't think me getting on them mattered. I think what mattered was me refocusing myself and turning my energy back to coaching our team. If I was still unhappy I would have went to the officials director or explored another channel. But I don't completely disagree with your stance.