Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

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MaxTork
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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby MaxTork » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:28 pm

I know it's only a very small drop in a very large bucket, but there were referee evaluators taking notes and video tape during the Regency Invite at the Mater Dei site. They were giving post-game debriefings and critiques. Jim Cullingham was not present.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby dcpolo » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:51 pm

The "evaluations" at MD had nothing to do with USAWP. They were planned to assess those who have requested to be on the list of college officials. USAWP has little or no evaluations although it is in the works from what I understand.

The previous posts have been just about "spot on" regarding the many reasons why youth water polo is suffering. As a long time coach, player and official, it has been really sad to see the demise in sportsmanship by coaches and parents. With so many games each week officials get burned out. All have families and careers. Officiating is a "second, or part time" gig for the vast majority. 9, 10, 12 games in a row really takes its toll on the body and the brain. Refs are overworked, but love the game and want to help when they can.

Be a student of social psychology at your next game/tournament. Just listen and observe............ you will be quite surprised at how bad it can be on many a pool deck. There are many outstanding coaches and many great groups of parents for every club, unfortunately a few can spoil it for the rest. you will also find out why it is difficult for USAWP to keep quality officials on deck. Not worth the aggravation.

Have a great day!

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby Nohorsepolo » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:10 am

I feel that USA water polo needs to educate their refs to handle difficult situations. This in turn will relieve pressure on coaches and players as well as parents. They have done little or nothing to help educate refs on how to act or eliminate controversy before it goes out of control. Jim cullingham has done a slack job at educating refs on how to handle situations that come up week after week. This lack of education will grow resentment which is never good to the overall growth of the sport. Teach refs to handle situations up front Just like a school teacher would without a demeaning tone and the players, coaches, and parents will respect them. Just because you have white on does not demand respect it is earned. If you have a problem stop the game and address it. Many good refs take the time to educate who ever is willing to listen or want to learn. This opportunity is appreciated by both player; coach , and parent. If a ref is unwilling to give you an straight answer then he/she probably does not know the rule or the application. This type of education cannot happen all the time. But those times when it happens all those who listen will gain respect for those educating These refs are then admired by all because they actually want everyone to have a better understanding of the game, which in turn wants people to participate with understanding. It's not an ego boost its an education which in the end is respect for a great sport

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby oldtimer » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:18 am

Most tournaments are run on a very tight schedule, and stopping to explain something to coaches, parents and players would create huge problems. Couple that with referees being scheduled with very few - or no - breaks in a 10-12 hour day, as well as stressed out tournament directors, and there is no way referees will be able to stop and patiently explain their calls throughout the day.

Instead, I suggest that parents, coaches and players should respect the officiating - since screaming and throwing a tantrum will change nothing - and then approach the referee in a respectful manner after the game and ask questions. Note that I did not say throw out accusations and threats. Note that I did not say follow them into bathrooms or out to the parking lot.

Most referees I have observed - even those I was extremely annoyed at - are willing to discuss and explain their calls right after the game or during quarter breaks. If a coach is respectful during a game, most referees I have observed will acknowledge the comments without throwing up a card.

I'll give you an example of what I consider a reasonably respectful comment. In a game, a player on Team A is excluded at Center D because he had only one hand up as the ball came in. The next time down the pool, Team B has a player in Center D with both hands down, but the Center makes a great move and scores. The coach for Team A says exactly this "Thank you for letting my player finish and score - but if one hand down is an exclusion at this end, certainly two hands down is an exclusion at that end". Referee nods his head and play continues without an altercation.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby wpgeek » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:22 pm

For the last two years during the summer there have been 12U boys A/B teams playing games (not a tournament per say or impacting any standings for medals) just for fun with the top 12U teams in Orange County at Santa Margarita once a week in the early evening. They play two games at a time with several games being playing that day. They have also been training refs during these games with senior refs supporting new refs in game situations. There was a lot of good dialog between coaches/refs during the game and refs themselves. In my opinion it has bee a very good experience for the coaches, refs and spectators in a relaxed environment.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby 2plyBathingSuit » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:00 pm

I agree wpgeek.

This is definitely something USAWP should be doing to "help" the refs out and get valuable "training"...reaching out to those clubs who scrimmage other clubs on a regular basis. During the summer, Regency 18's/16's scrimmage L.A. Premier and Del Mar routinely...together, all in the early evening. This is just one example where refs could get valuable "hands-on" training. "On the job training" at tournaments and other events where games "matter" is when tempers flare and frustration resides...from all parties.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby contrafoul » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:16 pm

FWIW there does seem to be a new initiative from the top of USWP to make referee training and evaluation opportunities more available. They have sent out information regarding Different Levels for Referees, including what is to be expected from referees at each level. I think this is a clear step in the right direction, as it was previously a little unclear about how you get evaluated and where to get training opportunities in.

New referees are required to get some supervised on deck experience before they are assigned games. I think that referees get better from working with high level referees, who they can discuss their calls with. If there are 3 referees working a given pool, and one has a high referee level, usually the team works together throughout the day and it is a learning experience for everyone. I'm sure that that is not always a possibility because from what I hear there is still a referee shortage.

I would say that the biggest challenges the sport is facing is coming from lack of opportunities for people to try out and start playing water polo at an affordable level. It seems like it is all or nothing with a lot of players these days. Clubs want kids who will commit to year round play. We should be encouraging all types of athletes to come and try water polo, not just kids from the swim team. Lacrosse, baseball, and basketball players, often will thrive in water polo if they can swim a little. Multi sport athletes are becoming a thing of the past unfortunately. I live in LA, and I have noticed that the community pools do have very affordable rates for youth water polo that is not a big commitment. That is great. Unfortunately many swim coaches want nothing to do with water polo, because it will take their swimmers away from them. I say this from my own experience running a water polo club for high school players and constantly battling with the high school swim coach over pool time, practice etc...

Most people who are not involved with the sport in some way, do know about it because of the olympics, and it seems that everyone I have talked to really enjoy watching the olympic games but that is every four years. I think we need to get more games on TV somehow. Maybe these upcoming National League games somehow?

Partnership with USWP and YMCAs across America? That would be great, but I think the swim coaches would never allow it.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby PoloChk » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:40 pm

Nohorse, you seem to have a big beef with referees. While I wasn't at the tournament, so can't speak for what you saw, your language on these boards seem to indicate that you have a real issue with referees in general.

I have been refereeing for a number of years now, and in retrospect, I know that when I first started I got a lot of things wrong that I didn't think I did. But that is part of the learning process. Like any coach, like any player, referees need to learn their craft. And like any coach, like any player, that learning can't always take place in a classroom, it has to also take place in real world (aka game) situations.

Further, like any coach, like any player, referees also learn at lower standard competitions. Because games are slower, and 'calls' are 'easier'.

I think, too often these days, parents at these lower standard competitions, expect the referees to be 'Olympic standard'. When the reality is much different.

On the referees side, when I was starting out, I myself was frustrated with the lack of mentoring, coaching etc that was available to me as I was refereeing these 'easier' games. I was frustrated that in difficult situations, when parents would yell abuse at me for a call I made, that there was no one around to back me up. Now I am on the other side, I know why there was a lack of senior referees around.... we are burned. During a 26 week polo season, I will average 15 games a week refereeing, and more than 300 miles on the road. This by the way, is on top of working a full time 40 hour a week desk job. And most, if not all, senior referees are in the same position.

I would love to be able to give up more time to help developing referees, but there are only so many hours in a week I can give over to this sport that barely pays enough to keep my car filled with gas.

Further, it constantly amazes me how few players and coaches actually know the rules of water polo. I am not including parents in this, because I learned long ago that parents only have eyes for their children... rarely do they look at the game as a whole.

I think one of the biggest disservices to this sport, is the fact that most players and coaches do not know the rules, and that these same coaches don't actually take the opportunity to educate their players, especially as rules do change.

Now, I am not saying every referee is perfect. In fact, I would challenge you to find a referee who doesn't make mistakes during games they are refereeing. However, before you begin to tear down referees, consider how many mistakes players make, how many mistakes coaches make, and consider the fact there are two referees to 12 or 14 players in the water (depending on which junior rules you are playing), 10 or 12 players on the benches, and 2 coaches. Referees will miss things, they just will. And even at the highest level, there is no video replay and opportunity to replay a possession.

All referees to their best, and in most cases it is a thankless task. And when a parent such as yourself starts vilifying referees, it doesn't surprise me that people throw their hands up and walk away. Trust me, I have thought about it.... but then I realize, the only winner in that decision, are people like yourself.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby dwpc69 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:26 pm

PoloChk,
Thank you for your post.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby Rbpolo0414 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:02 pm

dwpc69 wrote:PoloChk,
Thank you for your post.

I second that. Well said.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby PoloEagle22 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:44 pm

PoloChk - you are so right. As a parent, we do tend to see the game from one perspective: our own. The pool is large, there is a lot of activity, and it IS a hard game to ref. My own frustration comes from the inconsistency that I see in making a particular call. From game to game, the interpretation of particular rules can be widely different, which makes it hard for the coaches to coach and the players to play. Of course, it is their job to adjust, and most do. Thank you for your THANKLESS effort on behalf of our children, and for the game that we enjoy. I will remember what you said, and how you said it, the next time I am in the stands and think a call was blown. You have done a great job of reminding me that we are all human, and that we all want the best for water polo and those who participate. Thanks again.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby Rbpolo0414 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:05 pm

PoloEagle22 wrote:PoloChk - you are so right. As a parent, we do tend to see the game from one perspective: our own. The pool is large, there is a lot of activity, and it IS a hard game to ref. My own frustration comes from the inconsistency that I see in making a particular call. From game to game, the interpretation of particular rules can be widely different, which makes it hard for the coaches to coach and the players to play. Of course, it is their job to adjust, and most do. Thank you for your THANKLESS effort on behalf of our children, and for the game that we enjoy. I will remember what you said, and how you said it, the next time I am in the stands and think a call was blown. You have done a great job of reminding me that we are all human, and that we all want the best for water polo and those who participate. Thanks again.

You bring up a good point about inconsistent calls from game to game and ref to ref. This is true at the highest levels of sport in this country. MLB umpires call different strike zones, even though it clearly states what the zone is in the rule book. NBA referees will sometimes call a game tight with a lot of ticky tac calls and sometimes they will let the players get physical. They say football referees could call holding on every play. Good coaches will get a feel for how the game is being called and make adjustments. Water polo is extremely difficult and can be very subjective. Most parents don't understand what is a foul and what isn't so it can be baffling to watch at times.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby Nohorsepolo » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:58 pm

Polochk, I do not have a beef with refs. I was one myself for many years. I do however have beef with uneducated refs with egos. When I worked a game and had a problem with a coach I would stop the game and approach the coach and discuss how I wanted to be treated. It was way more effective then yelling at him and giving him a yellow or red card. Yes I had to give cards to people but 80% of the time a 1 minute private speech is all it took. I would also take the time between quarters to educate the parents or anyone who had a question. In other word is was being personable to the people at the game. I also paid great attention to details. Such as starting quarters. Amount of players in the water, scoreboard , table personnel, game clock shot clock. I think that the new generation of refs are doing a poor job in these areas and a little education by a peer would make everyone happier. Again we are all human and make mistakes but ref a game in anger of a team or coach is a disservice to the sport. My advice to everyone is ref less tournaments and get more practice. No one is forcing you to ref just say no a few times interact with a club team near you so you don't have to drive I'm sure there is one you can go to after work and ref a scrimmage. I'm sure a coach would be really stoked to have you there. Who knows you might make some new friends and educate some parents as well. It's a win win for everyone.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby PoloChk » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:34 pm

PoloEagle: Thank you for your feedback. I too agree that consistency is a problem in our sport. As Rb pointed out, it is something that occurs in all sport, but I do think it can be amplified in water polo. At various tournaments I have been at, there is frequent discussion on interpretation of rules, particularly advantage rule. It is THE most difficult rule to interpret, and it is often when most mistakes are made - whistling an exclusion too quickly, and therefore a player misses a scoring or penalty opportunity.... not whistling the exclusion and as a result the player loses the ball. It is a fine line. Yes, coaches and players should adjust to the refereeing styles (after all they do have four quarters in which to do so), however, if the interpretations are drastically changing from game to game at a single tournament, then that is a massive issue, and my advice to the tournament director (and technical delegate if there is one), would be to get your referees in a room and discuss it after day one.

Nohorse: Thank you for the many assumptions you have made about me. Let me clear some things up for you. I do say no to tournaments, more than I actually say yes to. I am involved with a local club, in fact for 3 years served as a member of the club's board and only stopped because my refereeing commitments were starting to increase. I am still involved with the club today holding referee clinics for players, especially those who want to referee, as well as refereeing the club scrimmages, and mentoring young referees who also ref the scrimmages. For me to referee higher level games that will aid my development, I must be on the road due to my location.

I disagree with you about the new generation of referees doing a poor job. I think that is extremely unfair thing for you to say. Most new referees are given one class then thrown out to the wolves, and there is limited education and mentoring going on. Most are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have. I find the referees with egos leave this sport very quickly because they do not go anywhere fast. A referee who is yelling at a coach is doing a poor job, however, one would wonder what happened to lead up to that point. Cards should also be a last resort. I can count on one hand how many cards I have issued this season - and it wouldn't take up all my fingers.

Rarely have I found a referee who has a beef with a particular team or coach, and those that I have are rarely scheduled to referee that team or coach - those that do scheduling know all about those particular referees, and are often overlooked for opportunities as a result. You make it sound as if there are more with issues than without.

As I said, it is vilification such as yours that result in many referees leaving the sport, or potential referees never picking up the whistle. No wonder it is getting harder to fill referee slots at tournaments.

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Re: Why is youth water polo suffering? Uneducated refs?

Postby oldtimer » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:01 pm

A referee that I know, who I consider to be a good one, recently told me that she had to essentially stop officiating at some levels because she could not commit as much as those responsible for assigning and promoting referees wanted. The reason? Family. Therefore, she got crappy assignments. In other words, there is politics involved that has nothing to do with clubs or coaches.

I suspect that if the pay were good enough to not have to work a full time job to support the family, there would be more qualified referees. But that would make tournaments more expensive. Consider that if a referee is to be paid $50 per game, and a tournament is 5 games - each team is responsible for $250 per tournament, without considering the cost of pool time, janitorial service and whatever other fees need to be paid (awards, coaches gifts, etc.). And that's without considering mileage and lodging. Increase the pay, and the tournament costs go up - which I am sure many would complain about.

I do know a referee who takes time to educate players and spectators, as well as coaches. It is quite effective - but that's in high school games mostly. Age group tournaments are very different, with significant time constraints and insufficient breaks between games. And age group is where most of the high expectations are it seems to me (though I expect HS D1 probably has it also).

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