Officiating is a central aspect of any sporting activity. It is the avenue through which the winner of any sporting event is decided. In volleyball, referees play a significant role in ensuring that the players observe the rules of the game and ensure that the competing teams do so fairly.
As a referee selected to officiate a game where the teams are made up of young people, I should not only act as an official but also as a special trainer. This is because I will help the learners know more about volleyball. The officiating in this case should be of the highest standards and informative such that the young people view volleyball as a sport with pursuing. Officiating standards should, therefore, be high to ensure that the young people develop more affection for the game.
The first aspect of this plan entails dealing with conflict. Volleyball is a highly contested game and calls for referees to double up as conflict managers. To deal with conflict, I will need to be reliable. Reliability to this end refers to the virtue of an official being consistent in their decision making, such that same calls are made for similar situations. A review of the literature on sport referring shows that officials who are not consistent in their decision making often face criticism from both players and coaches (Mirjamali, Ramzaninezhad, & Reihani, 2012). In approaching this game, therefore, I will avoid the adverse effects of lacking reliability. These include players being unsure of what is expected of them, leading to confusions in the game. Besides, the coaches may lose confidence in officiating thus reducing the quality of the match.
Like every other sport, volleyball necessitates a referee to make some tough decisions, especially concerning infringements and faulty ball handling. To this end, I will be consistent in my decision making. I will make sure that all the volleyball rules are followed, to avoid any contentious moments. The overall goals of this plan will be to control the negative aspects of the game.
A key strength observed in this game was the ability to be a team player. Volleyball requires the input of all the officials for the game to be a success. Every official has a specific role to play that determines the success of the match. Every referee, therefore, needs to be a team player, able to work and cooperate with others while offering support where necessary (Guillén & Feltz, 2011).
Another strength was that of communicating effectively. Good communication is a prerequisite for any form of human interactions. During the game, I interacted well with other officials, players, and coaches. It is important for referees to avoid the extremes of being perceived as an enemy or being seen as a friend (Mascarenhas, Collins, & Mortimer, 2005). This can be realized through the establishment of clear communication lines between the different stakeholders of the game. With such communication channels in place, it is easier for officiating decisions to be well understood and accepted. I achieved this by being respectful to the players and the coaches while at the same time dealing with their questions and complaints.
Another strength I had was maintaining integrity during the match. Integrity, in this case, refers to the virtue of conducting the game in a manner that is not under the influence of players, their coaches or even spectators. I achieved this by making clear and independent decisions that were not affected by the reactions of the different stakeholders of the game. Integrity is also an aspect shown even outside the field (Callahan, 2013).
During the game, I was very consistent in my decision making. Cases of faulty rotation techniques and wrong ball handling were frequent. I tried to be consistent to ensure that no team felt as being treated unfairly. This was a testament to the confidence I had in my abilities as a referee. Al this was informed by the concept of referees having to forget the bad experiences when officiating in the past since this may negatively affect confidence levels (Balch & Scott, 2007).
Overall, I enjoyed the game, and this is an important trait for referees, especially when involved in a game for young people. In this kind of matches, it is critical to have a positive mental attitude towards the match (Pereira et al., 2015). Due to the kind of pressure often exerted on referees, some tend to lose the happiness associated with the game and the development of feelings that their efforts are unrecognized. To this end, I was able to find a balance between being serious and having fun throughout the game.
Having never officiated such a game, I was a little bit worried about my level of performance. This is a common occurrence In refereeing since officials are often out to prove that they can deliver quality performances during games (Mascarenhas, Collins, & Mortimer, 2005). With this kind of pressure, it is likely for mistakes to be made thus negatively impacting the outcomes of the games.
Another weakness was the lack of elegance, especially in the final set where exchanges between players became heated. I was caught up in the melee and ended up making some rash decisions. Elegance is measured by the ability to remain calm irrespective of the situation. Besides, the referees need to stay relaxed to avoid making unnecessary mistakes and also keeping self-control irrespective of provocation from various stakeholders in the game (Serkan, 2014).
Another weakness was the loss of concentration. This occurred during certain periods when I was under intense pressure from the players, coaches or players. It is inevitable for referees to make mistakes, but some of the officials fail to recover from the mistakes which lead to the loss of concentration (Guillén & Feltz, 2011).
Given the timing of this match, I was not at my best physically. It is imperative for officials to be at the best possible body and mental condition to ensure that they maintain full control of the game. This is an aspect only thought to affect players, but it has a considerable impact on the equality of the match (Krustrup & Bangsbo, 2001).
Improving officiating weaknesses
The plan to deal with the weaknesses observed entails the acquisition of particular psychosocial skills (Callahan, 2013). First is the development of the skill of being elegant. Elegance, in this case, entails being able to keep emotions in check during confrontations. To referees, this mental skill is important since it helps in the handling of pressure exerted by the coaches, spectators, and players themselves. Relaxation skills come in handy in these situations, helping referees avoid mistakes made as a result of outside pressure (Balch & Scott, 2007).
Another critical psychological skill that I will need to develop before the next game is that of decisive thinking. To this end, a game official needs to improve the capability of remaining focused irrespective of the external distractions. This mitigates the challenge of losing concentration which leads to the committing of further mistakes during a game. Acquiring their skill of decisive thinking helps a referee maintain attention to the game and therefore make the right decisions in different situations (Mascarenhas, Collins, & Mortimer, 2005).
Despite the fact that I performed well in communicating with players and coaches, there were instances where communication broke down leading to misunderstandings. To this end, I will need to improve my communication skills. To this end, I will need to learn how to not only express myself clearly, but also be a good listener to ensure cooperation from other stakeholders of the game.
In addition to all the skills necessary for high-quality officiating, it is imperative to have a full grasp of the procedures established in the game to help referees navigate officiating. Clearly understanding these procedures and laws of volleyball will help me handle the challenges while at the same time minimizing the mistakes that could be made (Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, 2013).
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