“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Gail Sheehy
Many of us believe this when it comes to our careers. How many of us have applied this to our role as an official? The sport of volleyball is always changing. The skill levels of players are increasing at younger and younger ages. It is our job as officials to also grow and change. We must change with the sport. That includes not only keeping up on the newest rules and techniques, but in all areas as an official. Challenging ourselves with every match to do better than the last match is one way we can grow in our skills. Asking other officials for advice/constructive criticism in another way. Choosing one or two things to improve on each season is yet another way the growth can occur.
We see (and may even know) officials that officiate beyond the levels that our chapter covers, whether it be college level or club level. If you would talk to those officials, you would realize they did not just magically get to that level. They spent many hours honing their craft of officiating through officiating matches, observing higher level officials as they officiated, watching matches on television, reading about the sport of volleyball officiating, and discussing officiating with other officials. Some of the best things I have learned about officiating have come through conversations about volleyball with other officials.
You may be an official that is just interested in collecting your match fees. If you are, I challenge you to make this upcoming season the season that you change this perspective. All of us have something that we can improve on. If you are at the point where you feel you have no areas that you wish to improve on, then think about changing that. Get involved in the mentoring program and/or ask someone to give you some honest constructive criticism. Ask questions and discuss situations and the sport of volleyball itself.
The North Texas area is growing in the reputation of excellent volleyball. The players are improving and so is the level of play. Let’s all commit to having our chapter be known to have a reputation of excellence in officiating.
Article written by Pam Gatton, DVOC At-Large Representative