QBL Basketball Referee Development Program
In 2018, Basketball Queensland identified a need to fast-track the development of referees looking to enter the QBL. This led to the formation of the QBL Accelerated Referee Program (ARP), a targeted program aimed at pushing a group of 11 identified athletes towards their QBL refereeing goals through an intensive three and a half months of physical, mental and theoretical work.
The ARP, headed by QBL Finals referee Darrell Millard, included opportunities to meet and listen to the stories of current QBL officials, a pre-season physical training program from Acceleration Australia, mental focus training through Neurotracker, weekly game analysis, and a variety of clips and articles for discussion.
The Program culminated in the recent Coastal Blitz QBL Pre-Season Tournament. All regional athletes were flown in and the entire contingent underwent a weekend training camp. During the camp, athletes were exposed to and given opportunities to work games with senior QBL officials, as well as spend time with them off the court. QBL Referee Commissioner and current full-time NBL Referee Vaughan Mayberry was also on hand to meet the group and provide his thoughts on games. When they weren’t working games themselves, the athletes were taking video clips of matches and involving themselves in pre and post-game discussions. Other camp activities included a core strength and running technique session, nightly discussion meetings, and a phone conference with NBL Head of Referees Scott Butler, a Queensland-born former elite official, who took the group through not only the NBL’s expectations and analysis tools but his own background and story as a referee.
With the 2018 intake of the Program officially ending at the conclusion of Round 5 of the season, some of the athletes shared their thoughts across the weekend on what it’s been like to be involved in the inaugural intake.
20-year-old Rockhampton program participant, Kyle Zulian said that the Program had been a great way to “push our knowledge and our physicality to the limit and immerse ourselves in that QBL environment”, and that his favourite part of the ARP was the opportunities to network more with referees from all over the state. Similarly, fellow Rockhampton participant Aaron Stewart acknowledged that having greater exposure to more referees and more State League standard games was a huge positive.
South-East Queensland local, Calia Hanks, found the Program extremely rewarding, with constant feedback and points for development which was her favourite component. She and a number of other referees in the group acknowledged that one of the biggest teaching points had been the amount of preparation that can go into a single game by the referees, and the amount of work and commitment QBL officials applied to their games before even stepping on the court.
Program members Murphy Baldry and Luke Chappell acknowledged that it had been challenging at times, with an underestimation at the start of how much work would be required, but that ultimately the experiences and the feedback had been invaluable and the development of the group noticeable.
Following the weekend, the referees will now continue on with their weekly requirements but will add to this attendance at QBL matches in an observational capacity. At the conclusion of Round 5, all athletes will undergo an end-of-program interview. Most pleasingly, a number of referees will find themselves on their inaugural QBL match in the first few rounds as a direct result of their commitment to and development within the Accelerated Referee Program, which is a fantastic achievement by Darrell, the group and the individual!