Crew Chief Qualities (part 2)

This post is a continuation from the previous post titled Crew Chief Qualities based on some of my summer presentations.  This is a topic I find so interesting because I believe great crew chiefs are always looking to perfect their leadership in pregame, heated situations, and post game.  In the last post we discussed how great crew chiefs create a safe environment.  Today, I will explore two more crew chief qualities that I find invaluable.

Great crew chiefs:

  • Inspire and motivate


  • Display integrity and honesty

I believe great crew chiefs who exemplify the aforementioned characteristics are the best of the best.   I love when I am in a pre-game with a referee who believes the game is bigger than us, the kids deserve our best, and the coaches have a job to do that we should respect and understand. When a crew chief expects us to serve the game our very best attention, rules application, and mental focus, we are all better and do a better job . I worked a game with a crew chief last year who began the game by saying, “tonight may not be the #1 and #2 of the conference but it is the most important game of the night for these two teams.”  That set the stage for us to give the game our very best!  We should be so challenged every game – every night!

What is one of those comments a crew chief makes in the pregame that just inspires you or motivates you?

Another key quality of a great chief is one who can be trusted to be honest and of high integrity.  We all know officials who we wouldn’t trust as far as we could throw them, right?  But what I have found over my 20 years of officiating is that those officials who are less-than-honorable don’t stay long.  I think back to the officials who were caught cheating the systems a few years ago and how their careers came to a screeching halt.  Once people find out you cannot be trusted they no longer want to work with you.  Assignors don’t want to hire officials whom they cannot trust.  Coaches don’t want an official who lies or cheats the game of their best.

Integrity is demonstrated long before you are hired.  Last weekend a man who had been working for years asked me he could get his break at the next level.  I told him what I tell all officials who ask me this question.  “Just keep doing the right things and hope the right person sees you at the right time.”  The truth is that many times we get our break when we least expect it, and we are being watched when we least expect it.  That is what integrity is all about.  This idea dates back to the early 1900’s with C. S. Lewis when he said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

Summer camps have come to an end, so what will you be doing for the remaining weeks / months until we are on the court again?  What will you do to become a better crew chief?  What are you doing to better your game, even while no one is watching?

If you have a story of “getting a break” when you thought no one was looking, please share below.  I would love to share your story.





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Crew Chief Qualities (cont.)

Crew Chief Qualities

A couple weeks ago I began a post on crew chief qualities and I explored the first quality of creating a safe environment.  Today’s post I want to expand and cover the next couple qualities of great crew chiefs that I admire.  And while I admit there are many more great crew chief qualities, the two I discuss today are qualities I believe people have and are not taught.

Great crew chiefs inspire and motivate.

Great crew chiefs display integrity and honesty.

I believe a crew chief who can inspire you to be your best self in a game is much more rare than you might imagine.  One of my greatest off court strengths is to inspire and motivate, but so many times in my pregames I neglect that skill.  I love a pregame that leaves you feeling like you are indeed the best team on the floor.  Do you know that one person who can pregame a rookie and a veteran both in the same room and make them feel like they are each the “R” and worthy to own the chemistry of our game?  I work with an official named Dawn Marsh who can truly make you think this game is the best game of your life and that what you call and how you handle coaches is inspiring, though she is doing a much better job at it then you.  haha.  She just motivates you keep working on your craft and your skills.  She inspires and motivates without judgment and critique.  I always leave a game wishing I was more like her.

What probably also makes someone like Dawn stand out to me is that she is honest and she upholds the integrity of the game.  You know we will all experience situations where we are with someone who does not treat the game with the utmost respect.  We have all worked a game with someone who “big-timed” us or made the game less important than their personal agenda.  I used to work with an official who I always suspected was more interested in his own career than anything else.  He was always working an angle in his relationships.  Yet he advanced.  He made his way up the officiating ladder to be the top dog in the region, and then one day his dishonesty caught up with him.

He was accussed of cheating the system and accessing documents, assignments, and information that gave him an unfair advantage over everyone else.  He was two faced and exposed his lack of integrity.  his career was quickly ended.  I tell you this because great crew chiefs are honest and uphold the integrity of the game and the crew.  If someone is not honest, they will not remain the crew chief for long.  Their secrets will not remain hidden forever.  It is better to


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Crew Chief Qualities

This summer I was asked to present on leadership qualities and the qualities of great crew chiefs.  I found this topic to be challenging because I feel like it is the area I struggle with the most.  There are certain crew chiefs I admire greatly, and I covet some of their skills. Some people are just so good, they have you leaving the game thinking about their leadership.  A few who come to mind are Troy Winders from Kentucky, Dawn Marsh of Georgia, Penny Davis of Washington, or Bryan Enterline of Indiana.  I believe they have the “it” factor of being a crew chief.  Their styles are different.  Their personalities and training as diverse as it gets, yet they have “it.”

Though each crew chief is different, many share certain characteristics.  I have come up with eight crew chief qualities I have witnessed over the years and strive to attain and improve in myself.

Great crew chiefs:

1.Create a safe environment

2.Inspire and motivate

3.Display integrity and honesty

4.Manage People : Manage Situations

5.Build relationships

6.Have subject matter expertise

7.Give information freely

8.Prepare for the worst, expect the best

I will expand on each of these qualities in separate posts, but today let’s focus on the first of the eight qualities, creating a safe environment.

Have you ever had the feeling your games just go so much smoother than anyone else’s games?  Have you ever felt you are ready for the next level because your season goes without controversy?  If so, thank your crew chief(s).  What I have found as I advanced from high school to small college and small college to Div II and from entry DI to being a crew chief, is that the last year I was at each level, my games were C-R-A-Z-Y, crazy!

It is true.  The last year I officiated high school I had ejections, T’s, crew issues, etc.  I was on the phone with the boss more than I was on the floor, it seemed.  The next year, as the U1 or U2 at higher levels,  I didn’t give a single technical foul.  hmmm, coincidence?  I believe it’s more than that.  I believe the last year I was a high school crew chief, I had been given increased responsibility by my assignors.  It was my duty to create a safe environment for my U1 and U2 and to “protect” them from the drama.  It was my job as the crew chief to T the coach who was out of line with my partners.  It was my job to help my young partners earn credibility with coaches by putting them in the safest situations possible.  And I was being trusted to do so, without big-timing them.  (key to success)

I believe so many crew chiefs have done that for me along the way.  At the high school level people like Jeff C, Rick D, Robert J, and Robert S protected me without me even knowing.  These guys are all still officiating and I am certain they still protect many young referees like they did me back in the day.  They are at the top of their leagues year after year and part of the reason commissioners and assignors love them is because of how they treat those passing through the league, either on the way up or the way down.  They are class acts who can be a leader on the crew as the R, U1, or U2. Without doubt they handle the game and create a safe environment for people like me working to be a better crew chief.

Two reflection questions:

  1. Are you creating a safe environment when you are the crew chief or do you create an environment of doubt and uncertainty?
  2. Can you think of a time when a crew chief protected you in a situation and you didn’t even realize til years later?


Our next post we will explore how great crew chiefs inspire and motivate and display integrity and honesty.


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Frogs On A Log

Today we begin with a riddle:

There were five frogs sitting on a log when four decided to jump.

How many frogs were left on the log?

Screenshot 2016-05-22 11.42.55

Answer – Five.  The decision to jump didn’t equate to actual jumping.  Because the four frogs decided to jump didn’t mean they actually jumped. So we still have five frogs on the log.


I have a stack of pages ripped from Cooking Light magazine in a little drawer in my kitchen. The pages contain recipes of great dishes, drinks, or storage ideas I want to try.  My system is to make the recipe from the stack, and after trying it and liking it (because I always do), I write it out on a recipe card and store for future reference.  But I must confess, pages of recipes I intend to make, far exceeds the recipes already made.  My intentions have not equalled actions.

As we approach summer and schedules tend to change with families and kids, what are your goals?  Have you made your intend-to-do list?  Does it include spending more time in the yard, hosting friends and neighbors, taking time off, losing weight, or improving your officiating schedule?  Once you have set your goals, or made your list, have you made an execution plan. As Tom Landry says, the goal is not the main thing.

Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. – Tom Landry

I hope you are prepared for your camp and have been doing what it takes to be mentally and physically prepared.  I hope you have goals for your officiating season and you are building an execution plan for achieving your goals. Each year I write my business plan for the season and I look at summer camps as one of the steps to execute my plan.
If it will help you, here are 5 things I do to execute my plan BEFORE attending each camp.  I do this every camp, every time.  Even if I attend 5 camps in a summer I do this before every one of them.
1. I do a refresher of the last 2 year’s rules changes so the language is fresh in my mind
2. I look through my game notes from last year to review any feedback I received from my assignors, regional observers, etc.
3. I read the Camp Teaching Points BEFORE going to camp.
4. I work on my image.  Being the girlie girl that I am, I make sure my nails look polished yet discreet.  I check my weight, the fit of my pants, and how I will style my hair to ensure it stays back and looks professional
5. I review my CCA manual for refreshers on coverage and mechanics


I am interested in knowing what you do before every camp to prepare? If you have suggestions for our group for being mentally and physically prepared, please share below.

I wish you the best this summer with all of your goals, including those in officiating.  I leave you with a super short quote by the legendary John Wooden.

Be prepared and be honest.  John Wooden


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MIG – Remember This?

Everyone remember June’s commission to all officials this year?  MIG – Mind In Game.  I know October may seem light years in the past, but we are still in this season and now, more than ever, we have to have our Mind In the Game.  We have to be ready to make clear decisions on the jump ball.

This week I was officiating a game where a violation occurred on the tip and then I saw a clip from a friend where they had to also make a decision on whether or not there was a back court violation on the tip.  We must know what is legal activity on the initial tip of the game and be ready to blow our whistle as instinctively on that play as we would on an out of bound violation.  It is end of season and every possession counts in every game, every night.  We cannot take plays off mentally.

So these last few games of regular season and the entire post season – be ready on the tip.  As I was doing some refresher on the rules of the jumper, the players around the circle, front court/back court, etc., I came across a great blog from the Illinois High School Athletic Association.  It is a great read on what is and IS NOT a back court violation in high school basketball.

Additionally here is a clip of information from the NCAA women’s basketball rule book.  Be ready to name and administer violations from the tip.

Section 9. Jump Ball Art.

1. It is a violation when:

a. The ball is touched by one or both of the jumpers before it reaches its highest point.

b. Either jumper leaves the center circle before the ball has been touched by a jumper, catches the jump ball, or touches it more than twice.

c. When after an official is ready to make the toss, a non-jumper moves onto the center circle or changes position around the center circle before the ball has left the official’s hand.

d. A non-jumper has either foot break the plane of the geometrical cylinder that has the center circle as its base, or any player takes a position in any occupied space before the ball has been touched.

Art. 2. The toss shall be repeated when both teams simultaneously commit violations during a jump ball.


If you have any plays on the tip you would like to share – please share and let us know what you did in the situation.

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