Any Community Basketball Centre that is able to retain its pool of referees must be doing something right, as it is very difficult in the current social environment to get a long term commitment from people to referee at a community level.
Those centres that are successful have found the best way to retain is to ensure these three key words are a significant part of their philosophy regarding referees
As with other things in life (such as our career and our community involvement) if we feel valued and appreciated for what we do, we are more likely to stay involved and our enjoyment factor is increased. So it is with our centres referees. We need to give them a sense of being valued and appreciated and the hopeful outcome is continued involvement and commitment to the centre.
In understanding what motivates people to get involved as a referee it is important to realise that most do not get involved because of the rewards and recognition, but without it most people will not stay involved.
Oversight – someone needs to have the role of overseeing and supporting the referees. This may be a training officer or supervisor whose job is to manage the activities of this team of people. It may involve sourcing new information and resources for them, providing a listening ear for any issues they might have, and representing their concerns to the centre management.
Feedback and review – a process needs to be put in place where referees have an opportunity to review their performance and others are able to offer comment on their performance (eg coaches and players). Without this process, it may not be possible for a centre to find out about how to improve its performance and the performance of its referees.
Appropriate job roles – centres must make sure that the tasks given to the referees and referee supervisors are appropriate to their level of skill and experience. If this does not occur, then conflict may arise and so the centre needs to monitor this to ensure the safety and enjoyment of players and others is maintained.
Recruitment – where good recruitment processes are in place the most suitable referees are chosen. Where poor recruitment or no recruitment practices are in place, centres will often have to deal with major issues because they have inappropriate referees officiating games and poor practices are being accepted.
Induction – it is a good idea to link any new referee with an experienced person within the centre whose role is to mentor the new person and to induct them in the policies, rules and behaviours of the centre. Another valuable resource is to provide the new person with a handbook detailing all relevant information about the centre and their role.
Training and education – up skilling referees is an important part of the support that centres can provide. Sometimes centres need to take on novice referees who lack experience, skills and often knowledge about the sport. By supporting these novices with training and education, it is possible for the centre to develop a highly skilled and more competent squad of referees. Even experienced referees can benefit from ongoing development, and this is also a requirement for accredited referees to maintain their accreditation. Basketball SA offer courses for referee coaches and referees. These should be promoted and financial support given to attend.
Designated page on club website –Consideration needs to be given to the inclusion of a designated section for referees. This section could be used for information, handy hints, refereeing tips, assignment to games, highlighting special achievements, rule and policy changes etc.
Recognition – it is vital that a centre recognises the efforts and contribution of its referees. There are many ways in which centre can do this as a means of showing the referees they are appreciated and valued. A person who is valued is more likely to continue their involvement with an organisation and they will see this as being well managed.
Exit interviews - When a referee has decided to give it away, it is important that time is spent discussing with them any areas of improvement that can be made by the centre to ensure referees are being acknowledged, recognised and rewarded. Those 3 words again!!