Video and the High School Official

It has been said.

“High school officiating is so far behind the game itself because most officials don’t watch tape of themselves to learn from it.”

College and pro basketball officials spend a lot of time studying game tape. Division I officials spend the time on the plane ride home watching that night’s game on their DVD player, their laptop or I Pad. NBA officials get every call and non-call that they make evaluated for them on very high quality tape and from many different angles. They spend much of their free time watching their game tapes.

Video study is the most powerful tool high school officials have at their disposal in their attempt to become better officials. Yet, it is grossly under used. A very small percentage of high school officials take advantage of this powerful learning tool.

Why is that?

Video is not readily available to high school officials. Most Division I and Division II officials get a DVD immediately after the game or they can download the game from the cloud when they get home. Very few, if any high school officials have this luxury afforded to them.

So, how does a high school official get video of his or her game? There are several ways. You can ask the coach of the home team to make you a copy of the game tape and you can stop by to pick it up or ask him or her to send it to you. This method doesn’t work very well. Coaches are teachers as well and are overloaded as it is. Expect a return of under 50% with this method.

Many officials have had success providing the home coach with and self addressed stamped envelope containing a new blank DVD. Taped to the DVD case is often a Mc Donald’s $5 gift certificate. It is usually a student manager who is going to end up making a copy of the game tape for you. They are all hungry and by including this gift certificate you show your gratitude to the school for this extra effort on your behalf. If the coach does it himself he will usually return the gift certificate and often your blank CD along with the game DVD. Expect an 86% return using this method.

Many larger school districts televise many high school games and broadcast them over their public access cable channels. If you have one of those games you can tape that game right off the air. Also, those game tapes are readily available for purchase.

Another way to get video of your games is for you to take your own video. Get yourself a good HD camcorder with a hard drive or SD slot and a tripod. This may be an investment of from $300 to $600. Get your kid or your wife or your BFF and have them become your videographer. You can train them to take video that is best for you. After two or three games they should be top notch. If you declare your officiating income you can probably deduct the entire cost of the camera as well as any fee you might pay the photographer. Check with your tax attorney to get the particulars. The camera may well end up not costing you but a $100 or so.

So once you get the video how do you use it?

You can just sit and watch it like you are a fan watching a game or you can “break” it down. The major “break down tool” is the “snap shot.” A snap shot is merely pausing the video a critical points during a possession and looking for important officiating factors.

You can take snap shots when the ball gets into front court, every time the ball is passed from one player to another, every time there is a competitive match up or when a dribble driver starts a drive and finishes a drive or when the ball enters the post.

Some of the officiating factors you will be looking for might be athleticism, default positioning, adjusting position, rotations, open looks, where an official is looking, verticality, rsbqa, LGP, straight lining and judgment. Be careful about judging judgment. Some say that tape doesn’t lie. I say it can lie. Tape has the look the camera had and often the camera is straight lined, making it difficult to decide whether a call was probably correct or not.

You might want to edit your game tapes into “clips’ and organizing them for personal study, sharing with crew mates, pre-game conferences or association meetings. If so, you will need an editing program.

Most PC’s have “movie maker” included. It is a good basic editing tool. AVS is a good free video editing suite as well. Apple has an excellent editing tool on their computers.
It is a little difficult getting your DVD’s into a computer file. You will need a DVD “ripper.” “Magic DVD ripper is a good free program that will get your DVD into your computer where you can edit it. If you tape your own games, just use your included cables and upload the file from your camera to your computer and you are good to edit. Once in your computer, you can edit your tape into as many “clips” as you think are valuable and study or share them to your heart’s content.

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