Allow me to introduce you to… Ref School

This plan came to be when I was made aware that a lot of leagues want to help their baby refs but don’t know where to start. In the name of sharing best practices, furthering the wealth of roller derby refereeing and generally being a good egg… I wrote this plan.

All info has been taken from WFTDA, MRDA and other reliable sources and compiled by Von Sleaze with help, input and contributions from Orla Skew, Duncan Disorderly, stubble entendre and Rev Riot.

Special thanks to Orla Skew and Duncan Disorderly who have copy-edited and fact-checked all my work, and donated their time to this project so generously.

This is not meant as an exhaustive plan, but a guide to make sure newer referees are taught everything they need to know to start out in roller derby.

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Ref School

Who, what, when, where and how?
Ref school is for newer refs. It goes through everything in the rules and includes some guidance on whistle-blowing, confidence and personal development plans.

It is a 12-week programme and will require someone to teach sessions. It is best run with one or two head coaches and support from others. If your league has a HR, ask them to be involved.

I suggest a mentor system and further training plans – these are an ideal but certainly not a necessity if your league can’t support this.

The sessions are best run in tandem with your league’s training, with “classroom” style training for an hour and then the chance to watch/officiate scrimmage afterward. The sessions are written with this time frame in mind unless stated in the weekly plans.

The weekly sessions are broken down into a step-by-step guide and links to help. I would suggest sharing the links and others you find with the newbie refs and encouraging conversation and learning throughout.

Skating skills:
It is advisable that referees complete the WFTDA min skills with a roller derby league. This gives a referee the chance to learn a variety of skating skills, stops, starts and how to withstand the occasional tap (and of course time to bond with a team).

However not all of the skills are necessary for refereeing, here is a breakdown of the skills a ref should learn in min skills: http://bit.ly/ref_min_skills

THE PLAN:
Ref school is a structured 12 week plan: http://bit.ly/12week_plan

This should be completed in full. Each week is important so if a session is to be missed, this should be raised before the induction of the training and should be caught up at the earliest opportunity.

The sessions are not all the same length – some are longer because they’re full of facts that won’t need much explanation, others will open up a fair amount of discussion. Pre-read the session before teaching it so you know what session you have ahead of you.

The broken-down plans can be found here:

http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_one
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_two
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_three
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_four
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_five
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_six
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_seven
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_eight
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_nine
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_ten
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_eleven
http://bit.ly/ref_school_week_twelve

Some of the sessions refer to these bloody useful sheets written by Orla Skew (aka Zebra Skew: zebraskew.tumblr.com/). They break down reffing positions and explain where to be, what to look for and how to prep:

http://bit.ly/ref_school_OPR_breakdown
http://bit.ly/ref_school_FIPR_breakdown
http://bit.ly/ref_school_JR_breakdown

All sessions can be paired with drills, I haven’t stipulated what drills on all sessions, only the ones where a certain drill is really needed. To help you compose your lessons I have compiled some good drills I have used in the past to help give you some inspiration: http://bit.ly/ref_school_suggested_drills

Further sessions and keeping it fun:
If you have the manpower, include additional extra-curricular meet ups to discuss things in more detail or go over things that didn’t stick first time round.
Use this as a team-building exercise outside of normal training times. I’d highly recommend doing this a couple of times if you can.

I would also recommend doing something purely for fun i.e organise headshots of everyone in stripes or take a trip to watch a game together.

Levels of refereeing:
Completing this course will not necessarily make you a game-ready referee. Your HR and coaches will be in a better position to address your suitability for games.

To help with this grading of referees, here is a guide you may wish to use/adapt at your league: http://bit.ly/ref_levels

There is also advice in there for leagues looking at when to progress their referees and when to look into certification.

Continued support:
Refereeing can be a lonely venture – please offer additional support to keep your zebras interested.

I recommend offering a mentor to newer refs from within your ref crew, someone else for them to talk to aside from the course tutor. If this isn’t possible, consider speaking to other local ref crews, or skaters within your league. This will help the new refs to network.

Advise the newer refs to log their learning somehow (googledoc, diary etc) so they can see their progression and pinpoint any sticking points in their learning.

Once your refs have completed their 12-week plan, ask them to think about their future and work on a development plan with them – see here for more details on this doc: http://bit.ly/ref_school_development_plan

Consider looking at training yourself in giving feedback and constructive criticism too – you will be asked to give it, so best to prepare yourself so it’s a positive experience for everyone.

So… that’s it. All I can say now is GOOD LUCK!

If you have any questions about the plan, contact me here or on: vonsleaze@gmail.com

Any questions about the rules, ref training, ref certification or other should be sent to WFTDA directly: wftda.com/contact

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20 thoughts on “Allow me to introduce you to… Ref School

  1. Awesome Work Gang !! These documents have given us some structure for our future ref training in our regional area. A++ 🙂

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  3. I’m so happy I found this plan !!! This will help us tremendously to build up our ref group. Thank you so much !! 🙂 🙂

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    • Hi Gary, Ref School is for leagues to self-teach. If you’re not part of a league, look at joining up with the closest one to you. They may already do some kind of training, but if not they’re more than welcome to use Ref School as a free guide. If you’re part of a league now – anyone can teach it as long as they have a basic understanding of the game. If you don’t have a head ref or head of officials, speak to the league captain and see if you can get a class set up. Good luck 🙂

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  10. Thank you and the others so much for these amazing ressources. I’ve just jam reffed my second and third scrimmage, and the JR notes help me a ton.

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