QLD Referees Talk About Their U14 National Champs Experience
Basketball Queensland would like to congratulate the 8 QLD referees who were selected to attend the U14 National Club Champs in Victoria. This is an outstanding achievement and is a testament to their skills as referees, as they were selected based on their performance over the last 12 months. We caught up with the 8 referees to find out how they started refereeing and what they have taken away from their experiences at U14 National Club Champs…
How did you get involved in refereeing?
Lauren Drabwell: I began refereeing when I was playing representatively in Bundaberg. As I began going away to tournaments solely to referee, I enjoyed it more and more, especially meeting new people and expanding my own rule knowledge.
John Fenwick: I got into refereeing basketball when I was 12 years old looking for a bit of pocket money. Before you know it I fell in love with refereeing and how I felt on the court.
What part of the U14 National Club Champs was your favourite?
Kyle Zulian: Meeting new people. I met some amazing people from all over the country and made lifelong friendships.
Jordan Harton: The whole week was such an enjoyable and immersive experience, that it is somewhat difficult to pinpoint a single aspect as my favourite, but I loved receiving feedback from games that helped me to develop my skills and knowledge, along with the times spent with the other referees at the tournament.
How has this experience developed your refereeing skills?
Lauren Darbwell: I found that being put into a situation where I was on display at a national level really boosted my confidence and forced me to be sharper in my signalling. This is something I did in the first few days, which has now translated to my refereeing at a club and representative level.
Kyle Zulian: It’s taught me to be more aware of my surroundings, as in clocks, team benches, spectators, just being aware in general so I can be ready and taken off by surprise if anything happens.
John Fenwick: This experience has helped me develop as a referee by receiving feedback from completely different educators that have never seen me before and picking up some of the bad habits I need to work on. It’s also helped me develop my communication skills with players, coaches and my partners by being able to talk to them all as my friends instead of competing.
How was refereeing at the U14 National Club Champs different from other experiences you have had?
Sepher Mahjoub: One key difference in this championship was the level of responsibility given to us as officials. We were given more responsibility for our own eating, shopping and many other things that are usually taken care of in BQ’s State Championships. The selection process for each game was complex and similar to the FIBA methodology rather than Australian Basketball. Overall, it was an amazing experience, especially for me as I was the youngest official there.
Jordan Harton: The tournament was a step-up in the level of intensity, effort and the skill necessary to succeed. With this, came a sense of urgency to be immersed in the game and to be more accurate with calling, because when you weren’t accurate with a call, it caused the whole gameplay to be changed, and you were held accountable. I also believe that I personally put more pressure on myself to perform because I was chosen to represent Queensland at this tournament and I also didn’t want to disappoint myself. I learnt to control my emotions better and trust within my own abilities to referee at a National level.
Where do you see your referee career progressing?
Lauren Darbwell: I would like to referee QBL within the next year or two, continue through the AJC pathway, and one day get to referee in the national leagues.
Jordan Harton: At present, the short-term goal I have is to work my way into the QBL referee panel. However, my all-time refereeing dream is to become a FIBA referee and travel internationally for the game.
John Fenwick: I hope to see my refereeing career proceed towards the NBL. Like every referee, I want to get my FIBA badge and I am willing to work as hard as possible to get there and possibly represent my country as a Referee.
Do you have any advice for future referees aspiring to make a National Championship?
Kyle Zulian: My advice would be to put the hard work in, it does pay off in the long run, going to the gym, reading over the rulebook, asking lots of questions, watch some game tapes.
Sepher Mahjoub: The only advice would be practice. Practising before tournaments allow the key skills to become a habit, so when you’re in tournaments, you learn new things rather than being taught something that you already know.