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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Why you Should be a Referee

Yesterday, I talked about the need for more pickleball referees. Today, we'll talk about some good reasons why you should become a referee. We'll do this through an article from the RV Picklers called Top 5 Reasons You Want to be a Pickleball Referee.

Top 5 Reasons You Want to be a Pickleball Referee

The Palm Creek Resident’s Pickleball Tournament is wrapping up today. Denise left our motor home at 7:30am this morning to referee the early morning, chilly, matches. She will start playing at 11am, and I will begin my shift. Eighty Palm Creek residents and seasonal guests, such as ourselves, will volunteer to referee during this three-day tournament which will attract over 300 players. And so we give you the top 5 reasons you want to be a pickleball referee:

5. You have the Best Seat in the House: Though there are excellent facilities at Palm Creek, both to play and watch, no one can see the action as well as you can when you are refereeing. (Frankly, I wonder how well pickleball will “translate” when shown on TV. You probably know that some Final matches during the US Open are expected to be telecast on network TV. But I recall watching live matches at the USAPA Nationals and then watching the same matches on the internet and finding the taped version did not fully reflect the speed of many rallies.) I believe, you can only fully appreciate the speed of the ball during a volley rally at net when you referee.

4. Turn a Negative into a Positive: During the more than 12 months I was unable to play because of injury, surgical procedures or rehab; I really, really missed the game! Refereeing, gave me an opportunity to enjoy the game I love. Now I hope you are never injured. And I wish you the very best success in all your tournament play, but if you are ever injured or knocked out early, why not volunteer to ref? You might actually learn something that will help you in future play.

3. See the Value of Strategy: You might learn how strategy can assist a less skilled team in beating a more technically skilled team. I saw this first hand this weekend, during several of the 3.0 matches I refereed. Generally, “time-outs” are underutilized by less experienced tournament players. In fact, though the teams were made aware of time-outs during the pre-match instructions there was only one 3.0 team I ref’ed that actually ever called one. And they called it at the perfect time. Breaking the momentum of the other team and ultimately winning the match.

2. You Learn the Rules: I’ve often thought  there is no better way to learn something than to teach it. Well there is no better way to learn the rules of the game than to referee. First, if you follow the new USAPA certification program you will be required to achieve a 90% score on a 75 question test online. But as you referee you will likely come across a situation that will put your knowledge to the test. Take for example this situation: the serve hits the net and then strikes the receiver’s foot, which is beyond the base line before it hits the ground. What is the call?

Learning the rules is an important part of the game and can improve your play. For example, during a mentoring session earlier this week, we found many new players believed they had to remain outside of the non-volley zone until AFTER the ball bounced. Of course this made it nearly impossible for them to retrieve a very short ball. The great news is the USAPA gives you a chance to test your rules knowledge even if you aren’t a referee. Go to this site, to test your knowledge.

1. Give back to the Game: While sitting around waiting for the Superbowl to start, I asked some pickleball friends why they volunteered to referee. Without exception the first reason they gave was it was one way to “give back to the game” we all love. You can’t hold a sanctioned tournament without referees. And well-trained referees make playing tournament matches more enjoyable and more fair for everyone. So think about it. If you are scared, take one of the many refereeing courses offered and practice with friends. Still scared, volunteer to line judge. Still scared, agree to referee 2.5 and 3.0 matches which are generally slower and a bit more laid back. With time you’ll find a way to have fun and give back to the game we all love.

By the way, if you are wondering what the answer to the rules call above is…’s a let.

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