Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Great Job Readers!

We have already had over 400 views this morning and its only 10:00 a.m.!

Great job fellow blog readers.  We appreciate your coming by...

The Blog Is Alive And Well--And Doing Better Than Ever!

One of the things about having a blog is knowing in advance that some are going to love it and some are going to hate it.  That's human nature and that's fine...  It just makes the challenge even greater--and more fun!  I love it when I get comments and emails agreeing with what I have written but I also get a kick out of the negative emails pointing out that I am the "spawn of Satan", totally deluded, and/or a misogynist.

Our stats reflect our growth...  Right now we are averaging right at 300 VIEWS A DAY and have had OVER 500,000 VIEWS in the short life span of the blog!  Now that's what I call being "alive and well."

Someone once asked me, "which blog topics generate the most readership?"  Generally it is posts that deal with "How To Rule" but the highest readership we ever had (over 600 views in one day!) was when we posted the pay scales over all the universities in Texas.  Go figure that one out...

There are those in the USTA that love us and some that hate us since we wrote posts that disagreed with some of the things they were doing and some of their policies--but that's ok.  At least we opened to door to shed some light on things that were being done in the darkness and that's a good thing.  I have gotten numerous emails from staff at the USTA Texas Section informing me that "they never look at the blog" and then anonymous emails saying that some of those in authority in Austin check the blog on a regular basis.  All that's good--it increases the readership.

I have officiating friends that regularly tell me that "I would never ever look at that blog" but then they start telling me things that could have only come from reading the blog.  Sometimes we get yelled at and threatened when we post things that bring to light "those things that are done in the darkness" and believe me, I don't mind taking the heat if the truth gets shared.


Its always exciting to watch what happens when a seed of truth is planted in a fertile mind.  Over the years we have pointed out good things, wrong things, and illegal and deceptive practices--and then let them germinate in fertile minds.  Thank goodness that has led to some good actions by some good people and after all, that was the goal of the whole thing in the first place.


Please remember that I may not always personally believe what I post.  Sometimes its just put out there to "stir the pot."  When the pot gets stirred, sometimes good things come out of the pot...

Of course, in our politically correct world, anytime you use sarcasm you usually offend someone somewhere about something.  That's ok too.


One of the most vital attributes of a good blog writer is to "learn to watch and pay attention."  99% of our blog posts come from simply watching people (and tennis people in particular) and then pointing out the good things and/or the absurdity of things they may be doing.  Tennis officials are some of the finest people in the entire world--and a great and fertile ground for blog writing.

Keep up the good work of living and doing--that's what keeps our blog going...  Love you all!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Do Rules Matter Any Longer? Guess Not...


The airwaves were full of pictures of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem yesterday--or even worse, entire teams refusing to come out on the field for the national anthem.  This is all real cute and makes for great television, but it is a direct violation of specific NFL rules.  Guess Roger likes to enforce the rules he likes but not the others...  Here is the specific rule:

The specific NFL rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook.  It states:

"The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.
During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking.  The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition.
It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country.  Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses."

Perhaps its time to levy some fines and suspensions and take away some draft choices...



Lest you think we in the world of officiating are immune to this, just think back on ITA dual matches and watching the players during the playing of the national anthem.  Too many times I have watched players keep their caps on, talk during the anthem, wiggle like they need a bathroom break, and basically ignore and disrespect this special time.  One time, a collegiate team from up north even refused to come out on the court for the playing of the national anthem.

To dishonor the national anthem is also to dishonor the sacrifice made by so many that bought and paid for our freedom to have a country in which we can have the national anthem.  Its time to stand up for what is right...


Even a little boy knows what to do during the playing of the national anthem...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What You Learn At A Tournament

Some of the most educational times for an official can come at an average, run of the mill tournament--and they can really prove interesting and exciting.  Here's what I learned from an adult tournament this week (some of which shows the glaring weaknesses of the masses knowing the rules of tennis):


You can mark it down in indelible ink--if you are going to have problems in a tournament it will usually come from a 3.5 women's doubles match--and we weren't disappointed this weekend!  Seems that the sniping and arguing went on during the entire match and then at the end, there were various accusations concerning the ladies' abilities to see the lines and make the proper calls.  The culmination of the match was when one team refused to shake hands with the other team after the match was over.  The saddest part is that one of the players is a certified USTA official...  Makes for bad vibrations and thoughts doesn't it?


Some of the players felt the need to educate me on bathroom breaks and their length and number.  One guy told me that "If you knew the rules, you would know that we all great a bathroom break before sets and then as many as we want and need during the match."  I just shook my head in amazement and then went and put a lock on the men's bathroom door...  Not much you can do with blatant ignorance.


REST PERIODS always seem to be a matter of discussion when the heat rule is in effect and players are hot...  Here's some of the highlights of our various discussions about rest periods...

*  Some think that you should get a minimum of five minutes on every changeover.  Its hot so they need more time.

*  Some think there should be a minimum of ten minutes between sets and at least ten minutes if they are playing a match tiebreak in lieu of the third set.

*  The guy above who knew everything about a bathroom break, said that he should be able to take a break anytime he wants during a match.  He played a four hour match and two different times the site director spotted him in the bar area during the match.  Guess he needed a vodka tonic to see him through until the next break.

*  When I saw the above mentioned guy taking 6 minutes on a changeover, I went by to "lovingly encourage" them to move it along.  He glared at me and said, "We are playing according to the rules.  You need to go and bother someone who is breaking the rules because its sure not us!"  Again--you can't overcome blatant ignorance...

*  One lady would go and sit down between point and read her notes.  When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "I'm hot--and when I'm hot, I'm going to sit down between points and rest."  After a somewhat lengthy and heated (pardon the pun) discussion, she told me to leave her court and go bother someone else.  I lovingly told her that the next break she took would cost her a point, and then a game, and then she would be defaulted out of the tournament.  She finally went to play but not after asking my name and telling me she would report me to the highest levels of authority in the USTA.  I started to give her my business card so she could spell my name correctly in her complaint!

*  Then there is the age old saying that the last match of the day will always go the longest--and that sure held true today!  Our last match was a 3.0 men's consolation singles match and they managed to play their hearts out for 2.5 hours in a match with a 3rd set tiebreak.  The old adages hold true, don't they?


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Officiating Styles Are Changing--Thank Goodness!

Now that the pro officials have begun to wear multi-colored shoes, its time for styles to change in all areas of officiating.  Gone are the days of dull and drab colors--and its time to welcome in the new colors and combinations for the fall and spring...  Here they are--be sure to check them out!  (Remember to keep an open mind...)




Change comes slowly, so start with the new-look socks and go from there...








Now, check out the new ITA look for 2018...


Your matches will never be the same again!



The matching white cap brings things back down to earth...

UIL APPAREL


The boldest statement of the new wear.  If you are a free spirit--go for it!


Even the cap looks good!

New Items For The Spring


Colors are in for the spring!  Check out this great combination of red and black.


A tad more sedate but still a bit bold and daring.  Great for UIL wear.


There always has to be something for the sedate and dignified official and this microfiber jacket is just the fit.  Great for ITA and UIL and evening wear...


If you are one of those officials who is "easily chilled" you need this new fleece vest!


The "safari look" is here!  Be bold and climb on board.


The cameo look is only for the brave and adventurous official.  Be sure to only wear it at remote sites but the players will love it!





Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Great Question Raised--And The Answer Is Going To Require Cooperation


A great question was raised by Josh Harvey (one of our ITA officials in Dallas and an obvious reader of our blog) in our previous post, comments section.  Here is his comment:

"If the power that be don't address the scheduling arms race that is escalating year to year it will become increasingly difficult to recruit and train younger officials to fill the ranks.  Oddly enough, as the lead time for scheduling moves further out, I end up committing to fewer matches than I did in my first few seasons, and dropping big conference work all together.  If we are only supposed to make promises we know we can keep, I'm just going to make far fewer promises.  I'm not well connected enough to start a revolution, but some of you reading this sure are, and its time for some kind of scheduling detente when fighting for qualified officials.  A hard date for publishing match schedules?  Maybe we can treat it like opening day of hunting season.  I guess the big question is who would be the game warden?"

Since Josh is an official who works regularly for me (and does a great job), I appreciate his wisdom and thoughts into this comment.  It is an issue that I agree with 100% and will tell you in advance that I will be doing all that I can do to get the current process changed.

For numerous years now, Myron Krueger, Vickie Wright, and I have been preaching over and over again that we need to wait until later in the year to send out our availabilities.  Basically, we are asking something of our officials that is not reasonable and puts an undue hardship on each of them. However--our preaching and pleading has had no effect whatsoever!  There are coordinators who are getting their availabilities out months and months in advance--and for no real reason other than to say they got their's out first of all.

Its time for some real and valid cooperation among the coordinators in this country to help remedy this glaring problem.  In reality, you don't get more qualified officials by sending out the first availability on the planet earth.  You just get folks that can and are willing to commit to doing something nearly a year away...

My SIMPLE SOLUTION to the problem is this:  Every coordinator wait until November 1st of the year before the collegiate season begins to send out their availability.  Every one can send their's out on the same day and I guarantee you that the "rank and file" will love us for doing this!  Even at my age I don't like to commit to doing something 9 months in advance--especially when I don't even know if I will still be alive and kicking...


We are asking our officials to make an INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENT to something far out in the future and now maybe its time for our coordinators to make a GROUP COMMITMENT to wait until a reasonable date to ask for firm commitments from anyone.


If we actually were able to get a "universal availability date" out of our coordinators, that would also mean that we need firm commitments from our officials.  Surely people can be more committed to something that is 2 months away than something that is 9 months away.  I regularly have people who have to uncommit to working something because something came up in their lives to cause the change--and that's fine.  If we are going to send out an UNREASONABLE availability then we need to be REASONABLE when we need to make changes.

How about it out there--are we willing to work together to make some constructive changes????

Millennials--Great Group But What Do We Do With Them?


How many times have you heard someone say, "Our hope for the future lies in our young people"?  If that is true, then it should put great confidence in our future but also strike a chord of fear and trembling.  If you have ever tried to recruit or train a millennial to be a tennis official--hang on!  The ride is going to be rough and rocky but if you live through it, they turn out pretty good.  Here are some thoughts and guidelines to hopefully help you through the process:

HOW TO RECRUIT A MILLENNIAL

*  Always keep in mind that they are young and they think that way.  They are extremely creative so check that out when you first get to know them.
*  Remember they like to text.  They are not geared to returning emails or talking in person on their cell phones.
*  They love to drink beer and hang out (which is not a bad thing), so schedule your meetings in a social atmosphere. 
*  Get ready to watch them texting throughout the meal if you are brave enough to take them out to eat.
*  Whatever you do, don't judge them on their initial appearance.  They are not masters of the "first impression."
*  Offer them something free to begin the training process.  I suggest a gift card to Starbuck's or maybe Best Buy. 
*  Don't be offended if they don't know how to talk in person and face to face.  This is not their skill set. 

HOW TO TRAIN A MILLENNIAL

*  Be sure you are patient and long-suffering.  Its going to be quite the test...
*  They seem to be adverse to repetition so remember that in your training schedule.
*  They love to be creative and launch out on their own--recognize that and work with it.
*  Most are quite outgoing so teach them how to channel that when officiating.
*  They tend to question the status quo so get ready for the questions.
*  They are going to ask to use their cell phones while in the chair so be prepared.
*  Set out your pay schedule in advance and be very specific.  They are going to want to get paid for the first time they see you.
*  Don't be offended when they show up with a white belt and all kinds of other stuff.  They have no concept of a dress code for officiating and don't like to be told what to wear. 
*  Don't expect them to be on time.  That is not their greatest attribute. 
*  Give them very short term goals.  They don't think in "three months down the road."
*  Whatever you do--always be politically correct.  They are easily offended about most anything and wear their feelings on their sleeves.
*  For a treat--ask them about their goals for the future.  That will bless you beyond words...
*  Hang in there!  You are going to want to run after your first training session but it will get better in time. 
*  Don't expect them to fill out an availability for something next spring.  They hate making commitments that far in advance and will probably never show up for most of their commitments. 
*  Know that some of them are a "diamond in the rough" but it is going to be really rough on you to get them to the diamond stage...

HINTS TO THE MILLENNIALS

*  Remember you are in training for a job.  This is not a game or some lark that you have decided to embark upon.
*  Show up on time.  That makes a huge difference to your job future. 
*  Be appropriately dressed, have good hygiene, and look nice.  It makes a difference to someone who will be hiring you. 
*  Leave your cell phone in your Jeep. 
*  Make eye contact and don't be continually looking out the window.
*  Don't tell them how bad the "old way" of doing things is and that the "new way" is the right approach.
*  If you go out to eat, behave.  Surely you know how to do that...
*  Don't use your cell phone to look up information about everything that everyone even thinks about talking about.  Maybe use some of the vast knowledge you gained in college, if you went there...
*  Take an interest in the person training or interviewing you.  Not everything is about you...
*  Don't make your first question, "When do I get paid?"
*  Don't tell your boss that you "know all the rules" and that you are ready to work and get paid after your first training session.  Noone is that good. 
*  Learn your verbiage and learn it the right way.  Noone cares about nor wants you to make up your own stuff.  
*  Try to come across at least as "vaguely humble."  Arrogance and pride will cost you a job quicker than anything you can do.  
*  Listen to the experienced officials.  They are there to help you...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

So You Know It All--Then Tell Us How To Make Officiating Better...


Any time you are sitting around with a group of humans, someone or everyone will have an opinion about most anything--and that really holds true in officiating...

If you are with a group of parents or spectators, they are quick to chime in with their horror stories about some official who greatly wronged their pure and innocent child or how they witnessed perhaps the most ignorant official in the universe in action.

If you are with a group of players, they open to expose the many wrongs they have suffered at the hands of inept officials.

If you are with a group of coaches, they just raise their eyebrows and sigh and then say, "Most officials are pretty good except the ones that do my matches--and they are awful!"  Too bad we don't get to evaluate these same coaches...

Finally, if you are with a group of officials, they love to tell about any mistake another official has made and how pure and spotless they are in their officiating skills.  However, when asked about to "make officiating better" they usually spout forth a bunch of horror stories and then offer few, if any, recommendations that would actually make a difference.

IF you are serious about tennis officiating then you should also be SERIOUS about making it the very best it can be--and continually strive to MAKE IT BETTER!  Self-examination and constructive criticisms have their place but you will make very little progress if you aren't focused on MAKING OFFICIATING BETTER...

I am OFFICIALLY CHALLENGING all of our readers to take a moment and write a comment about your suggestions for making officiating better.  You can always post anonymously or you can sign your name if you would like, but the main thing is to share some thoughts that will make a difference.

Let me prime the pump with these simple suggestions (and this is by no means an exhaustive list):

*  First and foremost, make it easier for a new official to know what to do to get certified and then by all means, find a way for them to get a Nucula account in less than 6 weeks.  In today's computer age, it shouldn't take more than a day or two after they have passed their background check and all the exams.

*  Have Sectional Chairmen who are highly committed to the task at hand and are willing to quickly answer emails and texts.  Be sure they are bright enough to develop and maintain training programs for their area and above all else, actually know how to enlist new officials.

*  Do more person-to-person training of new officials.  It doesn't take days but it does take time--but its worth the effort.  We're suffering from a lack of good training programs and its sure showing in our product.

*  Develop a means where officials can ask legitimate questions and actually get a prompt and personal answer.  Some housewife on the internet in India doing a chat line isn't cutting it...

*  Try to make the pay scale at least close to being the same all over the state.  The bottom line is that 14 hours on the court in 105 degree heat is the same amount of work in Abilene as it is in Houston.

That's my two cents for the day--now let's hear some good suggestions....  I actually think it can and will make a difference since we are averaging over 300 hits a day on the blog and that means a lot of people will read your suggestions.

Whether or not they follow your suggestions is an answer that only God in Heaven knows...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

To Sit Or Not To Sit--That Is The Question!

One of the special joys of having a blog is that you get all kinds of emails (both good and bad) about absolutely everything in the world.  I sometimes ignore them, sometimes answer them, and sometimes use them as fodder for the next blog post.  The email I got yesterday is the fertile ground from which this blog post has sprung...

To Sit Or Not To Sit--A Question To Be Answered By Every Roving Official

There are all kinds of ways to approach this question and just as many opinions and answers from referees, officials, and tournament directors.  There are not pat answers and certainly no answers that are absolutely right all of the time.  

Here is the email I received:

"I've got a question for you that maybe you could put on the blog for discussion.  In _____ (a city in Texas) we officials never sit in front of players.  In fact, we don't sit at all unless we are on a break.  I've worked in ______  (another Texas city) in the last 6 months and without naming anyone, I was shocked at how officials not only sit but sit TOGETHER in groups in full view of the players, parents, and coaches!  Then last weekend I worked a tournament with an official from that city and he not only sat often (as early as 8:30 a.m.) but also ate his lunch outside, sitting in the spectator bleachers!  I was trained by _______ and ______ who both advocate NO SITTING!  I was just talking to another official friend of mine who said maybe its ok to sit occasionally in view of players.  So my question is this--would you mind putting this on the blog to get other officials around the state to give their opinions on this?"

As I began to think about this issue, I realized there many dynamics to consider, such as site size, level of players, directions from the referee, level of experience, and what is most compatible for your situation.

My personal directive when I am a referee is to say, "Do not go on the court unless there is a problem. Rove around the courts where you are easily accessible and visible to everyone.  If you do go on the court, stay for enough games to deal with the problem/situation and then go to another court or your roving position."  I have found that if you are continually standing at the net post you will miss situations on other courts for which you are responsible.  Learn to watch and listen and you can do a better job of roving.

Some referees want you on the court for every minute of every day and that sounds all well and good--but then your roving officials are going to die from heat stroke and no water.  Be realistic and learn to be effective.  You can't possibly chase down every footfault in America so don't hyperventilate trying to do something that can't be done.

Personally, I have no problem with a roving official occasionally sitting in the stands beside a court but don't make it your permanent residence.  And above all else--don't make the tournament desk your home away from home...

Here are things I've seen as I've looked around...


This is what happens if you try to be everything to everyone!  If you have 20 courts at your site, learn to do the best you can and learn to be resourceful in the use of your time.

Take occasional breaks (none if you are busy and can't leave a court.)  Probably best not to lay out in front of three observant Mothers...


If you're not on the court it doesn't mean that its "fellowship hour" where you sit around with all the other officials.  Rest in the shade but keep your eyes and ears open for what's happening on your courts.


Its ok to rest in the shade!  Just don't make it your permanent dwelling place...


A picture of the ideal rest period--but definitely not the way you officiate.  You are paid to work and not to sit in the shade.  We are paid well so we need to deliver the product.  You don't have to be standing at the net post every minute of the day but be visible and do your job!


Feel free to take some snacks with you to enjoy on your break.  You can even snack when you are walking around as long as you don't flaunt it or make it too obvious.  Mothers think that an official who is eating an energy bar and drinking a Diet Coke can't see the person who is cheating her daughter--and she may be right.

These are just some thoughts.  What not take a moment and send in a comment and your thoughts about this issue.

BTW, the offending city in the post is Austin, Texas...




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Great Scenes From Around The Tennis World


"Did that linesperson really call that ball out?"



"Who needs a ball boy when you have Fido?"




"I told them and I told them I wanted flavored water!"



"I keep telling you they are taking too much time on changeovers."

Monday, September 11, 2017

When Not To Hire...



One of the greatest decisions facing a coordinator or someone who hires tennis officials is the decision about whether or not to hire someone.  We have all gone through that agonizing feeling of knowing we hired someone that we never should have hired--and now we are paying the price for that decision.

The bottom line is that there are some people who should be tennis officials--and some people who definitely should not be.  Having the discernment to know who to hire (and who not to hire) is something that every coordinator needs.  There are some key considerations that will help you develop that discernment.

*  Always meet with them in a social context.  Eating out with someone will tell you more than any office interview.  Watch how they interact with others, how they eat, and how they treat the waitstaff. It will all fall into place when you learn to be discerning and watchful.

*  Ask them questions about their lives and values.  This will tell you more than their knowledge of the rules.

*  Check how they are dressed.  Don't want to go into a fashion expose but you know what I mean.  If they are dirty and stink, then don't hire them.

*  Check how they greet you and how they interact with you.  Their response to authority is critical in their becoming a good official.

* Share some specific examples of officiating situations and ask them what they would do.  It helps to put them on the spot because if they can't answer quickly and handle that, then they would never be able to handle a college coach.

Once you have gone through some basics of discerning the qualities of a prospect, then remember there are some people you should never hire (or at least be careful when you do so).



PEOPLE YOU SHOULD PROBABLY NEVER HIRE

*  Someone who says, "I played tennis all my life and know all the rules."  You and I both know what that means--they lied and know not the truth. 

*  Someone who says, "I have taught tennis so I know how to do all this stuff."  Run from this one...

*  Someone who says, "I'm bored as a housewife at home and I need a part-time job."  What a disaster this one has proved to be--over and over again!

*  Someone who says, "I am good at everything I do and I know I would excel at officiating."  There isn't a door big enough to let their ego into the room.  Run...

*  Someone who says, "I'm great at being in charge.  I can handle all those parents, players, and coaches.  They would soon find out who is boss."  If you think the Titanic sank in a hurry, you should see this one implode...

*  Someone who says, "I need a part time job and officiating seems to pay a lot."  This one is so deluded that you don't need to give him the time of day...

*  Someone who says, "I'm an alpha female and you need me to help keep you men in charge."  Need I explain this one?

*  Someone who says, "I played sports all my life and noone is going to give me trouble."  Hurry and introduce him to some coaches that we all know...

*  Someone who says, "I'm ready to start officiating now because I want to get paid right off the bat and I don't need any training since I already know all this stuff."  I've hired a couple of these and still kick myself for doing so.

*  Someone who says, "My wife plays league tennis so I'm ready to do this."  Ignorance is bliss...

*  Someone who says, "I play pickle ball and the two sports must be the same.  Officiating can't be that hard."  No words to explain this one.






Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Are We Going To Grow Or Shrivel Up And Die?

"Are we going to grow or shrivel up and die" is the pervasive question that is confronting ITA officials all over the country.  We seem to be content with minimal growth every year and very few do very little to attract a paltry few--and therein lies our problem.  The way collegiate (ITA) and high school (UIL) tennis is growing we are going to need more officials in the next year than we can possibly supply.  For instance--in the Metroplex, if we had a dual match with 6 officials at SMU, TCU, UTA, UNT, DBU, and UTD at the same time on the same date--there is absolutely no way we have enough officials to meet the demand.

What does that tell us?  It should tell us that we need to be growing our work force--and we need to be actively doing it right now!  We have highly developed chair training programs and opportunities in Dallas but that doesn't encompass the entire state and not everyone can financially or physically attend these training opportunities.

What do we do?  Many times a coordinator or group of officials in an area will simply ask the question, "What do we do to grow our work force?"  That's a legitimate and pressing question that needs answering--NOW.   Here are some guidelines that we have found effective in our programs here in Dallas:

Quit spinning your wheels and sitting around complaining about not having enough qualified officials to officiate your matches and do something about it.  Frantic activity on the day before a match is not working smarter...  Use some keys to grow.


The key to growth and continued prosperity are your prospects.  You need to identify them, reach them, enlist them, and then cultivate them--or they are going to run off if you even manage to enlist them.  Our mortality rate for officials is not something we should be proud of.  Its time to start your prospect base and start reaching new officials.


First and foremost in your mind should be to be CREATIVE in everything you do.  The old ways aren't working effectively any longer so jump out of the boat and do something new!  Try something noone has ever tried before and it might actually work!  Put your mind to work and ask yourself, "What would make ME want to become an ITA official?" and then implement your thoughts.


Find a way to engage your audience.  Be creative in catching their attention and then engage them.  They are out there but you have to work to get them...


Social media is the easiest and fastest way to engage your audience.  Learn to use Facebook and Linkedin to your advantage.  If you don't know how--find a MILLENNIAL and let them teach you.  That's their world and they know how to make it work...

Once you have pinpointed your base and enlisted and involved them, the training part is the easiest part of all.  We would be more than happy to share our training materials that we use here in Dallas or you can easily develop your own.  Main thing--develop what works and then put it to use.  Sitting around complaining won't cut it--do some enlisting and training!

Here are some simple guidelines for coordinators:

*  Be a proactive coordinator that is committed to growth.  You have to do more than sit at home and assign matches.  Growth never happens by accident.
*  Learn to use all the tools listed above.  These are simply guidelines.  You can develop your own methods but the main thing is to do it...
*  In today's weird world, CREATIVITY is one of your greatest tools.  Try it--you will like it!
*  Involve your current base of officials in finding new officials.  Teach every official the basics of enlisting new officials and then see what great results you can have!
*  If your university won't let you train new officials--find a high school coach that will let you do chairs at their dual matches.  They are out there and the successful programs would love to have you! You might have to do it for free but hey--you will be getting your training done!

Finally, the greatest key to involving new officials, old officials, and marginal officials is a simple old formula that still works--and that is FELLOWSHIP!  Humans love to eat together, talk together, work together, and play together so find ways to make this happen.  Our officiating family in the Metroplex is a close-knit group and that didn't happen by accident.  Learn to plan opportunities for fellowship and then watch it grow!  Hint:  we always have a "fellowship meal" before or after every collegiate match that we do and the officials love it!  You can't have too much fellowship and interaction...


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Could He Be Part Australian Shepherd?


If one is privileged enough to own an Australian Shepherd dog you know what we're talking about when we say they "lead with their butts."  Its an hilarious trait of this breed of dog but when they come up to you for attention they will invariably turn and lead with their butts.

If anyone has watched pro tennis for long they have no doubt witnessed Raphael Nadal picking his butt before each and every serve.  To say he "leads with his butt" would be an understatement of huge proportions.

I never could figure out why they didn't get him to stop this ridiculous habit but then I realized it must be part of his nature.  Much like an Australian Shepherd...


Check it out in the full action mode...



Saturday, September 02, 2017

Time To Pray For Those Of Our Own


In the aftermath and destruction of Hurricane Harvey and the ongoing struggles of our friends in that part of the state, many have asked what we can do to help.  Here are some thoughts and suggestions:

*  Pray without ceasing on their behalf.  Don't ever underestimate the power of prayer--it can and does work!

*  Go down there and help if you can.  The devastation stretches from Corpus Christi up past Beaumont and there are a lot of tennis officials in those areas.

*  Pray specifically for our own Ginny James.  Her home was completely flooded and they are busy (along with many other friends) cleaning up and surveying the damage.

We're not sure about what supplies they might need or even where to send them, so we will hold off on any announcements concerning that kind of help.

Remember--the recovery is going to take months if not years so let's remember our friends and loved ones in the days to come.