Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Last Opportunity for 2016-2017 ITA Certification

If you are wanting to become ITA certified for next year, here is the latest information.  Be sure to do all that is written therein because we need you...

There will be one final certification opportunity in December and January.  This will most likely be the final certification period for the 2016-17 season.  If you are currently uncertified, you may complete this certification process to regain certification status.  Everyone going through this process will need to pass the open book test with a score of 80% or better and attend a required webinar.  The test will be available beginning in early  December and webinars will be held in early January, exact dates and times to be determined.  If you know of any official who has a USTA certification who may be interested in becoming an ITA official, please have them email officials@itatennis.com to obtain
more information.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Advice From The USTA--If You Are Lucky Enough To Have A Nucula Account!

Amid all the confusion about 2017 certification and people looking everywhere for definitive answers, the USTA has laid things out fairly succinctly and you can check it out on your Nucula account--if you actually have one...  If this information doesn't answer your questions, go back into Nucula on their opening page and they offer more information for your reading enjoyment.

If you don't have a Nucula account or can't get one, call Julio Echevarria or Bruce Sampley for their help.

SPECIAL NOTE:  On Monday we will be offering information about how to become an ITA official for 2017.  Be sure to check back...

Here is the basic answer for many of you:

** Why is it that when I tried to apply for a background check, it says I already have one pending/completed?

Officials can only apply for a background check for 2017 certification AFTER October 1, 2016. If you attempt to apply prior to October 1, 2016, the system will prevent you from submitting the request if you have a cleared screening already on file.

** I submitted to a background check earlier in the year, do I need to submit one again?

Yes, ALL OFFICIALS seeking 2017 recertification need to submit a new background check after October 1, 2016, regardless to when they last submitted to the screening. Even if you are new Provisional Umpire who submitted to the background screening in September, you still need to resubmit to the background screening after October 1, 2016.

** Why am I being required to submit again if I already have one on file from this year?

The reason for requiring all Officials to resubmit is in an effort to keep ALL Officials on the same 2 year renewal cycle.

** Do I need to complete the USOC Training Module if I already completed it?

Yes, all Officials must complete the 30minute SafeSport Refresher Online training module before reapplying for the background screening.

**  Do I send a copy of my USOC Training Module Certification to the USTA Officiating Department?

No, you do not need to submit your current certification to us. We recommend that you keep it for your own records as a confirmation of completion.

**  Why didn’t I receive a confirmation email for my background screening application?

Please check your spam/junk email boxes for an email from compliance@ncsisafe.com. If you didn’t receive an email, you may not have completed the full application. The control number in that email is the confirmation that your application has been received. If you did not receive that email, please go to https://www.ncsisafe.com/members/selfreglandingUSTA.aspx and complete the application.

**  What do I answer for the question “Is this my first time using NCSI for a background screening?”

All Officials seeing recertification would answer “yes” to this question.

**  What is the member number the background screening application is asking for?

The member number on the background screening application is your USTA Membership Number.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Deadline Has Come And Gone... Now What A Mess!

The deadline for officials' certification on October 12, 2016, has come and gone and now we have a whole bunch of officials who don't know their status or are sitting around wondering if they have done everything they needed to do.  Seems that everytime they ask for help they basically get a deaf ear or some platitude that means nothing.  Saying, "I'll check on it" doesn't help a bit when we know you won't...

Part of genuine leadership is being smart enough to sit down after a debacle and find new ways to make things better and more effective.  Instead of just complaining, here are some thoughts and suggestions for the future:

*  Publicize things well in advance.  Don't want to argue about this--just do it.
*  Regularly communicate with officials.
*  Make a valid presentation of EXACTLY what an official has to do to be certified.  Don't hide the fact that we have to take a refresher course on "fair play" and then when we go to the site, we find that its nearly impossible to find stuff.
*  Answer your dang phone!  Nothing is more frustrating that calling someone in charge and then never get an answer or a returned call.  This has happened far too often and needs to stop.
*  When you make wholesale changes such as requiring new batteries of tests in order to be certified--BE SURE you have all the tests up and ready to go when you issue the edict.  Officials shouldn't have to spend time trying to figure out which tests are available and when...
*  If you can't get things done, then hire people who can do it or get out of the way and let someone else take charge.
*  Find something that works and send Nucula to south Africa.  That thing may be demon possessed.
*  Please don't ask us to put our work record in the thing and then ask us to find a button that we need to press to tell you that we want to be recertified.  Just recertify those who can be recertified and move on.  Its not impossible.
*  Everyone needs to learn to read their emails--and read the fine print.  The devil is usually in the details and we need everyone certified that we can get.
*  Get ready for the backlash--because its coming.  People don't like to be frustrated and sure don't want to lose their certification.

Hopefully I didn't get up today and then find out I have shaved for nothing...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tick, Tock--The Clock Is Ticking--and Here's What The USTA Is Doing For You

Today is the deadline day for all USTA officials to have completed all their tests, watched their videos, and passed their background checks so they can be certified in 2017.

The only drawback is that a whole bunch of officials haven't completed the requirements--but its not because of not trying.  Many have had problems even knowing what all is required...

Here is the speed at which the USTA is working to fix the problems:

Suffice it to say--we deserve better!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Update On How Officials Are Feeling Today...

Thought you would enjoy a little update on all those officials who are still trying to take the tests and get certified before tomorrow...

 Just exactly how I describe what's happening to me!

Maybe a little sand will help.

I give up!  I can't win...

"Deadline Day" Is Tomorrow--How Are You Feeling Today?

The big "deadline day" for tennis officials is tomorrow--and things aren't looking good.  All we have done this week is try to answer calls for help from officials all over the country who either can't log on to the exams or can't get their scores recorded.  The worst crisis is the seeming inability of the USTA to get people into the Nucula system.  Here are some of the various feelings and then our shot at the "solution."

Crying is the most common response but it doesn't do much good.  It does however cleanse the sinuses and make us feel better so go for it!

Griping seems to be a popular option but it usually falls on deaf ears and will probably get you a divorce.

Throwing up sometimes helps but use it as a last resort...

Whining is really good but you have to have friends who are willing to join you.  Noone in authority will even give a hoot in hell if you are a whiner.

Getting mad and being overcome with disgust seems to be a popular option.

The most popular option by far!  We're going to see an exodus of officials like we have never seen before if they don't get this thing fixed!

Just lean way back and pull your legs up and tell them kiss your butt.  My favorite solution but will probably get you into trouble...

This would be our advice--but it often falls on deaf ears.  You may end up being decertified and have to come back as a dreaded "provisional" but at least there is hope...

Here is our SOLUTION:

Call Julio Echevarria (914 696 7280) or Bruce Sampley (817 371 1061) and keep calling until they answer.  They are the only two I know of who can actually solve your problems.

Good luck!  You are going to need it come tomorrow...

Monday, October 10, 2016

Time To Hurry And Get Those Tests Done!

D-Day is fast approaching and will be here on October 12, 2016.  That is the last day for you to be certified for 2017.

Just remember to "git 'er done" and you will be just fine.  If you need to know what all you need to do (and there is a lot!) just read down the page through some of the previous posts.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee--You May Still Have More To Do!

You mean there is more I need to do to be certified?

This is yet another wake up call to all officials--you need to be absolutely sure that you have completed ALL the requirements to be certified in 2017--or you may not make it...

Here are things you must do:

*  Click on "Becoming An Official" on the right hand side of this page to view all the requirements.
*  Be sure you are an up-to-date member of the USTA.
*  Be absolutely sure you have done the background check (click on "Background Check" on the right hand side of this page.
*  Be absolutely sure you have watched the video "Safe Play/Safe Sport" and have the certificate of completion that they give you.
*  If you are a previously certified official, remember you have to watch a supplement to the "Safe Play/Safe Sport" video.  Without this you cannot be certified in 2017.
*  Be sure you have a Nucula account.  This is where it gets real difficult so be prepared!!!  Once you have watched the video and passed the background check, you can then take the required tests for your level of certification.  THEN--your Sectional Chairman should be notified and open you up a Nucula account.  The Section Chairman in Texas is Bruce Sampley and his email is:  bruce-tnsref@charter.net
*  Once you have a Nucula account, you MUST go in and tell them to recertify you or it won't be done.  If you don't know how to do this, email us and we will tell you how (rmtennis@yahoo.com).

Once you have met all the requirements listed above AND HAVE A NUCULA ACCOUNT, then you can become a certified ITA official.  Without a Nucula account you cannot take the ITA tests and participate in the required webinar.

The DEADLINE for USTA certification is October 12, 2016, so be sure you get it all done.  You may be too late to do the ITA certification and you may have to apply as a new and provisional ITA official.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Easily Offended? Tennis Tournaments Aren't The Place For You...

In our world today it seems that everyone everywhere is getting offended over something.  There comes a point that absolutely everything we do is offensive to someone--and we may have reached that point...

One of the most fertile grounds for offense are TENNIS TOURNAMENTS.  That's why we have officials--to keep people from getting too offended over something that they find offensive.

Let's take a walk through an average tournament and check out all the offensive things...

It all starts at the gate if you are playing in a tournament that permits dogs.  They howl, bark, and chase balls--how much more offensive could they be?

Perhaps the greatest scourge of any tournament are screaming, yelling, unattended, and undisciplined kids.  Wonder why the parents can't see what they have given birth to...

No tournament would be complete without the offensive parents offending someone.  They seem drawn to tournaments so they can offend someone.

Everyone seems to be offended when any old people show up.  Remember--you wouldn't be here if it wasn't for your grandparents.

There's nothing more offensive than the smell of a 16 year old boy that just played a 2 hour match in 100 degree heat--and didn't know enough to put on deodorant in the morning.  Everyone is universally offended over this one.

As we try to watch the tournament we find grandma sitting in front of us in the stands and we can't see our kid because of her HAIR!

Then the little princess walks on court for her girl's 18 and under superchamp tournament in her brand new hairdo!  Too bad Mom didn't check her before she came to the tournament...

Don't get too close to the court in a men's open singles match when the players are taking their shirts off between sets.  You might be offended sooner than you think...  Tattoos are everywhere!

Don't think the boys don't notice what the girls are doing with their hair--and they sure don't to be outdone--or take every opportunity to offend someone.

And then there are the players that offend everyone--they should have kept them in the nursery.

Shoe styles are definitely changing in tournament tennis.  These will be the next hottest item.

When your day at the tournament is all over and done with--don't be offended about something.  Just enjoy the day and the fact that you are still able to get out and go to a tournament...

Now that we have gone through the more humorous offensive things at a tournament, here are things that genuinely offend me at a tournament:

*  Players that cheat.
*  Players that play mind games with their opponents.
*  Players that deliberately "forget" the score.
*  Players that habitually footfault and then file a grievance on the official who dares call it.
*  Dogs that run on the court and steal the balls.
*  Players that smell bad.
*  Parents who think their child is perfect and has never made a bad call in their life.
*  Parents who cheat.
*  Girls who take their shirts off and then show off their sports bras.
*  Tournament directors that think they are overfeeding the officials with a $6 tuna sandwich and nothing to drink.
*  Tournament directors that are always complaining about how much the officials make.
*  Men in mixed doubles teams that think their goal in life is to hit the opposing female player.
*  Women in mixed doubles that think their true worth in life is determined by how many times they can peg and opposing male player.
*  Women that argue all the time.  Both sexes do it but women are the worst.
*  Players that check in at the tournament desk and say they are ready to play but when you call their name they have to go to the bathroom or "take just a second to change clothes."
*  Officials who don't do their jobs.
*  Officials who gripe about the pay or lack thereof.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Videotaping--What's Legal And What's Not

Have you ever been confronted by a player, coach, or parent and asked if they can video a match?  If so, its imperative that you know the rules and regulations.  Learn them well...

There are times that video taping a match is perfectly legal and there are times that it is expressly forbidden.  It is the responsibility of the tournament director and/or referee to know the rules--and know them well.

Here are the UIL and USTA rules for video taping in Texas:


According to section 1208 (m) of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules:

         (1)  Non-Conference and District Contests.
               (A)  Videotaping/Filming by Schools.
                       (i)  It is a violation to videotape or film a non-conference or district athletic 
                             contest in which your school or team is not competing unless prior consent
                             of the two schools involved has been obtained.
                       (ii) A school does not have to obtain permission to film or tape a non-conference
                             or district contest in which it is competing.  However, the film or videotape
                             may not be utilized until after the contest has been completed.
                       (iii)  Films and videotapes become the property of the school doing the filming
                              unless by district rule or by consent of the schools involved in the contest.
               (B)  Videotaping/Filming by Individuals.  Any individual taping or filming must have
                       permission from the schools involved in the contest and may not obstruct the
                       view of the other spectators of the contest.
               (C)  Commercial Uses.  Use of the films or tapes for commercial purposes must be
                       approved by all schools involved in the contest.
          (2)  Regional and State Playoffs.
               (A)  Schools and/or individuals must have prior approval of the tournament director
                       to film or videotape a regional or state tournament, and may not obstruct the
                       view of other spectators of the contest.
               (B)  Commercial enterprises must have prior approval of the tournament director
                      and the UIL director to film or videotape a regional or state tournament, and
                      may not obstruct the view of other spectators of the contest.


"The videotaping/photography for personal non-commercial purposes of any portion of a sanctioned USTA event is permissible under the law, much like any event in a public place (zoo, park, mall, etc).  If a parent or party objects to their player being photographed, they may as the tournament director to intercede on their behalf and request that any photographer stop photographing or reposition their camera to exclude their player.  However, other than optional compliance or respectful consideration, there are no ground to DENY anyone the right to photograph."

Be especially sure that you are aware of the specific rules where express permission is required.  We would strongly suggest that every official have a printed copy of their rules in their on-court bags.  You never know when you will need it...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Officiating in Houston, Texas--What Its Like!


Since we became a group site, we have included articles by different officials from around the state.  Here is a great article by Nancy Vivero--President of the Houston Tennis Officials Association.

Tennis officiating in Houston is very challenging with tournaments almost every weekend.  Since Houston is so large with surrounding cities it is tough to find enough officials from the Houston Tennis Umpires Association (HTUA) to supply the tournaments.  We have a training shadowing project where newbies shadow a seasoned official for 8 hours of a junior tournament and 8 hours of an adult tournament before we release them to work on their own.  We have a roving clinic that all newbies attend that is taught by a sectional trainer.

Supplying tournaments with officials:  Our HTUA Operations Manager receives requests from tournaments for officials and then our manager sends out a broadcast email to our members for them to reply that they are available for the tournament dates.  She then sends the available officials back to the tournament referee who then assigns the officials to the tournament sites.  Many tournaments use the 3 Houston Public Parks which have 16 to 26 courts for use.  And with the guidelines that the Junior Tennis Council mandates to tournament referees on the number of officials per number of courts, it does get a little tricky with multiple tournaments going on.  Of course there are tournaments that find their own officials for their tournaments and do not go through the HTUA.

High school team tennis in the fall and individual tennis in the spring have started using more officials for their district and regional tournaments.  Many of the Houston official work the high school state meets in November and May in College Station.

College is another challenge.  We supply Rice men and women, University of Houston women, Lamar men and women, and Prairie View A&M men with ITA officials.  Our college coordinator goes bonkers when many of the collegs have men's and women's dual matches on the same day at the same time.  Many of our ITA officials work Big 12 matches that are in Waco, Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Corpus Christi, and Lubbock.  But most of the college matches are from January to May.

Then add in all the other tournaments--National Senior Women's Clay Court Championships in April; the US Men's Clay Court Championships in April and the pro circuit Tamale Cup are Rice, and various other junior national tournaments in Deer Park and in Spring--you have a full slate of tournaments.  The National Senior and SS Mother Daughter tournament is also held in Conroe.

So if you know of anyone that would like to be a tennis official here in Houston and the surrounding areas please have them get in touch with the area coordinator, Nancy Vivero, at nancymv243@aol.com.  WE NEED MORE HOUSTON OFFICIALS....

Nancy Vivero
HTUA President

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bees, Boobs, & Banter--What More Could You Ask For?

After another weekend of officiating in the state of Texas we wanted to share some of the unique experiences and then ask you, "how would you rule?" in these situations.

Scenario:  The Stinging Bee

We got a message from a fellow referee asking this question:  "If a player gets stung by a bee during a point, do they get a let?"

Rule:  (Friend at Court page 13.  26 Hindrance)  "However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by either an unintentional act of the opponent(s), or something outside the player's own control (not including a permanent fixture.)"

Ruling:  This was my response since I wasn't totally sure...

a.  If you like the player and he is behaving, give him a let.
b.  If you don't like the player and he is misbehaving, deny the let.

Not sure it was the correct ruling but at least it was fun sharing my opinion!  How would you have ruled?

Scenario:  Balls in the Bosom

I was actually the referee for this weird scenario this past weekend.  Team A came to me after the match and asked what they should have done in this situation.  Team B would place the extra ball in their bosoms during the point.  They would then give Team A the ball and it would be wet with sweat.  Team A asked Team B not to do but they refused.  What should they have done?

Rule:  Friend at Court page 5.  USTA Comment 3:1:  May a player cause a ball to become wet by using the ball to wipe perspiration from the player's body?  No.  A player may not take any action that materially changes the condition of the ball; therefore, a player may not use a ball to wipe off perspiration.  

Never had this happen before nor ever heard of it!  What would you have told them???

Scenario:  The two happy opponents.

This occurred this past weekend in an adult tournament where I was the referee.  Two ladies were playing each other and having a great time laughing, talking, and hugging during their match.  They would even go to the net and hug each other after a good point!  I was standing a few courts away and was observing them--and enjoying watching the love fest...  Just out of curiosity, I thought I would time their changeover since they seemed to be having such a good time.

From start to finish, their changeover after an odd number of games took SEVEN MINUTES!  Don't hyperventilate and accuse me of ignoring the rules about a minute and half on changeovers--I was just doing a social experiment...  I did go out and tell the ladies about their time limit and they promised to obey the rules but somehow I doubt that it happened!

Just one of the special joys of officiating and it was good to see players enjoying their match.

Friday, September 23, 2016

What Aren't We Teaching People Skills? Here Are Our Recommendations.

Now that the new USTA tests are about to become required reading and history on October 1, 2016, its time to take a long hard look at how we are training, teaching, and testing our officials.  While the new exams are a fantastic improvement over the old school methods, there is still a huge gap staring us in the face--teaching people skills--and we need to figure out what we are going to do about it.

All of us have seen officials (both new and older) come and go and its usually not because of a lack of knowledge of the rules of tennis.  Its usually because of their lack or misuse of their personal skills.  Officials without a good understanding of their own personal skills will usually react in one of two ways.  They will either become overly aggressive or hide themselves in a shell.  Its time to help them move on to a better grasp of their own lives and how to deal with others.  Check the picture below to see how important people skills are in our futures and you will begin to grasp how important it is for us to begin to teach people skills and constantly affirm their importance.

Teaching people skills is not nearly as easy as teaching the fundamentals of a rule book.  It requires personal knowledge and grasp of the skills, experience in utilizing them, and a willing and attentive audience.  Usually when a person is lacking in an area of personal skills it will be MAGNIFIED the moment they arrive at a site to begin officiating.

Maybe its time to take some of that accumulated USTA money and hire some experienced (and good) personal skills teachers and make them readily available to our officials.  This can be done in a classroom setting or letting the instructors roam the courts of some of our tournaments and help our officials as they are involved in the heat of the battle.

An official has to have the personal maturity, patience, and skills to deal with an abusive player--and this occurs at all levels.  Some of the most difficult challenges we face are in the super-championship boys 12's division.  A wise instructor can teach an official how to deal with this situation and these abusive players--and their parents.

An irate parent poses an even greater challenge because they are adults and have personal skills (or lack thereof) of their own.  They come from every walk of life and every income level so they offer one of life's greatest challenges.  We need to offer training in dealing with abusive parents or we're going to be losing officials by even greater numbers.

And there is everyone's nemesis--the abusive coach.  If you don't have some fairly well-developed personal skills they are going to eat you alive.  They are masters of how to manipulate and dominate and we offer nothing in our own defense.  Officials should be begging on some teaching to help them with their greatest challenges.

Tournament sites (both on and off the court) are going to feature everyone from adults to children who are creating havoc with their personal relationships and with those around them.  A well-trained official will know how to deal with them in the proper manner--and then everyone can go about enjoying their tournament.  Problem is--we aren't offering any of that training...

The truth of the matter is that adults (and kids) don't always get along.  Its their nature--and we can't change it.  But we can (and should) learn how to deal with it.  An untrained official will ignorantly jump into a volatile situation or run and hide if they have no training and teaching.  We are being asked to send sheep into the wolves' den without proper training and that needs to stop.  We can and should be teaching and equipping in the area of personal skills...

Learning to diffuse a difficult situation or person is an art--but one that can be learned.  Older officials usually have learned this art by trial and error (lots of them) but we need to train and re-train our officials on how to deal with difficult situations.  People don't care if we can make a 100 on our rules exams if we can't handle the situations in our everyday tournaments.  Let's get to work and start some real and valid training...

A few years ago there was a seminar offered for officials in the DFW Metroplex--and I immediately got car sick because I thought I was going to be forced to sit through yet another boring class about a bunch of nothing.  However, when we got there we were introduced to our speaker--a psychologist!  We didn't hear a word about rules and regulations but we heard a lot about people skills and how to utilize them as a tennis official.  IT WAS GREAT!  But, I've never seen or heard of it again...

*  Find and employ instructors who know how to teach personal skills.
*  Be more attentive to those officials who have difficulties in this area and take steps to remedy the problem.
*  Offer localized seminars with good instructors.  This can be a requirement or optional as long as its done.
*  Have the instructors work at tournaments and dual matches.  Pay them enough to let them branch out with their teaching methods.
*  Develop some quality materials on personal skills and make them available to all officials--free of charge.  Its worth the investment and someone who is lacking in personal skills probably won't pay for materials that will help them out of their situation.
*  Develop comprehensive exams that deal with personal skills and all aspects thereof--and then make it part of the requirements for an official.  In the long run, you will see some great results!

Its time to build on what we already have.  We have a great foundation for teaching rules and regulations--now we need to teach officials how to use everything they learned with their new-found people skills!

Don't leave your latest tournament feeling like the guy below...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Help With Nucula Is Here!

Here is a comment that we received from one of our readers this morning:  (Feel free to utilize the advice to solve any problems you are having with Nucula)

Julio Echavarria still answers his line in New York if you have a nucula problem. Can't imagine what it will be like when he leaves. 
914-696-7280 call at 8 am our time.

Evaluating The USTA Tests

Since we as officials are evaluated regularly by everyone who has even hit a tennis ball, played in a tournament, had a child who played, or watched a match on TV, perhaps it is time for us to openly and honestly evaluate the new USTA and ITA tests.  In their effort to overcome mediocrity and to become "relevant", the USTA has gone entirely to the internet--and a minimum of five tests for every official (new or older).  That doesn't include additional tests for referees, chief umpires, line officials, and chair officials--and some of these won't even be ready until 2017.

Since everyone in our officiating world should have taken all of the required tests by October 1, 2016, we would welcome your thoughts, comments, and evaluations of the new tests.  Not that our opinions really matter or will be received, its sure fun sharing them...

Here is our evaluation of the USTA tests:

FIRST IMPRESSION AND OVERALL PRESENTATION deserves an A-.  The videos are done professionally and well with the voices and actors doing a good job.  The presentation didn't come across as aggressive and provided a fresh, new approach.  Excitement was at a high level in the beginning presentation or two but soon faded about the 5th hour in front of the computer.

In any internet test or presentation, the EASE OF NAVIGATING THE SITE is important.  While the site gave good explanations there were a tad too many clicks on each page to access different information.  Overall though it was fairly easy and deserves a B for a good effort.  Sometimes there were so many clicks required that you got lost in the process.

CONTENT is always important in any presentation and the tests provided good content.  They got a little slow when they kept asking you to click on the pages from the Friend at Court.  Noone has eyes good enough to read that!

TEACHING TO THE TEST is always a good thing to do when you have a minimum requirement of 90%.  There was much information from the Friend at Court that wasn't covered in the presentation but then we don't have a year to sit in front of the computer.  One of the attributes of the old schools was that different scenarios could be discussed in conjunction with a rules discussion and maybe that's what we lose when going completely to the internet.

LENGTH OF TIME to take the test and watch the video presentation was biggest drawback to the tests.  The first five tests took around 5 to 6 hours to complete and if you add in the referee test, you are talking about an inordinately long time in front of a computer.  Perhaps the length is due to the fact that many in leadership felt that the schools were getting too short and that more instruction time was needed.  Making an official sit in front of a computer for this length of time is not the solution and will probably drive off new officials in the future.  I cannot fathom a new official being told that he/she will have to take a 6 hour test before working being excited about joining our ranks. This length of time will probably prove to be our undoing in recruiting new officials--but we can only hope that it won't...

OVERALL GRADE of "B" seems appropriate for the new tests and their implementation.  Hopefully things will improve in time.  Most of the experience was good but the length overshadowed everything and all of the required tests should have been ready to go when the new requirements were initiated.  Poor implementation of a new program is never a virtue.  Thank goodness for the redemptive traits of smoothness and professionalism in the presentation.  They saved the day!

Our BIGGEST QUESTION is what we do require when it comes to shadowing and real-life training? Just taking a bunch of online tests isn't enough but then I guess that is left up to the local associations. The only problem we encounter here is that there are not enough valid local organizations in Texas to implement much of this kind of training and teaching.  A newly certified official is not going to respond too positively when we tell him/her that they have to work a shift or two for FREE and then take additional training if someone feels they aren't ready.  Maybe its time for more emphasis on on-court teaching and training and a tad less on book learning...