By Liam Ellison.
“Michael Haynes (Basketball Australia Head of Officials) has instigated this,” explained Australian Junior Championships Technical Commissioner Alan Garraway.
“What we’re doing is allowing the coaches to sit down with the referee coaches to talk about the game."
The initiative has allowed both parties to see the game from the other's perspective.
“We’re looking at things from a coaches’ perspective and asking questions like, ‘would you want that called?' if we missed a call for example,” explained Garraway.
Once the coaches and referees finish the game tape, coaches are then able to listen in to the post-game referee conferences where the officials and their referee instructors discuss how they handled the game.
“The coaches just listen to the instructors but can make comments if prompted.
“It’s a learning process for both groups.
“They’re learning what we’re doing as referees and we’re trying to learn what they’re doing in terms of calling offences and how they want to play defence.”
Some of the coaches who have spent time with the referees are JCU Townsville Fire Head Coach Claudia Brassard as well as David Brewer, Jenny and Shane Froling and even six-time WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic.
With the initiative garnering a positive response in its inception, the aim is to continue the program at future installments of the Australian Junior Championships.
“We’re starting to see both sides and I think that that’s the best thing that we can do,” said Garraway.
“I’m seeing the coaches angle and they’re seeing my angle. It's not always good and they can see that we, as referees, make mistakes.
“However, we’re picking up on the mistakes and the coaches are understanding that we do discuss the calls at the end of the game and analyse them.
With the importance of developing the games next generation of referees rarely discussed in the public sphere, this initiative is an exciting one.
“This is a big development,” stated Garraway.