Flying Start For Finnish Officials

01 September 2009

The pre-season meeting for Finnish referees took place earlier this month and Richard Stokes from the FIBA Europe Referee department attended at the invitation of the federation to participate in their preparations.

Over 40 referees attended the clinic in Forsa, which is about 140km from the capital, Helsinki.

As well as the officials conducting the usual rules and fitness tests, the clinic focused on play calling, mechanics, communication and game management.

Stokes was on hand to use the latest FIBA Europe play situations compiled during the summer, in order to help the referees understand how a consistent approach is important in their competition in the upcoming season.

"The most important thing to come out of the clinic was that the referees understood that they need to be the ‘third team' on the court", commented Stokes.

"In any competition we have to have the same approach and the same interpretation and application of the rules from all of the officials in all of the games. If the coaches and players know that no matter whom the referee is, the application of the rules is going to be the same, then they can play and coach accordingly. It's not a question of who is right, but what is right - for the game".

Stokes further commented: "There is a good mix of experienced and young referees in this group, many of the younger referees we have seen in competitions such as the Scania Cup or Nordic Championships, but these referees have been afforded an opportunity in the first league here, because they made the decision to go three person officiating (3PO) for all of the games last season. This is a great opportunity for the referees who have entered the league".

The clinic also included a session on the importance of a ‘team' and how this applies directly to the referees.

"Many officials are now exposed to managing conflict, or teamwork in their professional careers outside of basketball, but some this translates directly into what we must do on the court. Our experiences in other areas can sometimes help us when managing difficult situations in a basketball match, especially our communication and teamwork".

Also in attendance was a representative from the coaches. Stokes further commented, "We have to understand the coaches perspective and what their job is, but it was also great to see that the coaching fraternity is taking part what is being taught to the referees. We need their input as well.

The FIBA Europe Referee Department will also be participating in more pre-season clinics across Europe in the coming weeks.

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