So, "someone" convinced you to check out this roller derby sport. They talked you into attending a bout or 9, or sweet talked you into volunteering. However you got interested & excited about it, at least you decided to volunteer by slipping on some black & white stripes to become a member of the Zebra Herd.
Okay, I've attended 5 or 6 practices, and I'm READY to make calls. Accept that it might be a few MONTHS of attending practices before the Head Ref will put you in the Officiating Lineup for a bout. Some leagues have ref by-laws or training guidelines that indicate how many practices need to be attended before being eligible to be listed in the lineup as a ref. Don't just be a spectator as you go through your probation period, volunteer as an Non-Skating Official (NSO). This is yet another key training point to BECOMING a ref. You aren't a ref just because you raised your hand to volunteer, you have to become a ref.
I've been doing this for a few months, what else can I do to learn about derby? Being put on the lineup for a bout is tied to 2 of the most important things.
- Skills to skate as a ref (click HERE to see what you should be able to do)
- Understand the WFTDA rules, calls, hand signals, and penalties
Get involved & watch derby whenever you can. There are probably some other leagues close to where you are, go attend their bouts (as long as they don't conflict with your league schedule). You can overdose on derby on DNN. It certainly replaces watching the local news. When I started, the WFTDA Officiating Clinics didn't exist, but now they do. GO ATTEND ONE IF YOU CAN (click HERE for more info). I will be attending the one in July 2012 in Raleigh, NC hosted by the Carolina Rollergirls.
As a side note, some personal thoughts to know as you BECOME a ref:
- It isn't an easy path you've chosen, be prepared to be yelled at, criticized, and cussed at by others. Don't take it personally, you chose to participate in an aggressive sport, it is going to happen.
- Leave what calls you make on the track, on the track. Don't bring your calls into your personal life.
- Even if you are in a relationship with a skater, leave it off the track during practices & bouts. You both have different mind sets to fulfill your duties to the league.
- Besides your skating gear, I suggest that you get a stopwatch, a whistle on a lanyard, and a finger whistle. You never know when you will need them at a practice or during a bout.
- LEARN TO USE YOUR TONGUE TO BLOW YOUR WHISTLE LOUD AND QUICK. You'll learn what the different whistle "chirps" are needed by reading the rules. PRACTICE.
- Be prepared to be taken out by a skater or another ref during a practice or bout. It is going to happen.
- Never stop learning as much as you can about derby & reffing.
Thanks again for volunteering as a ref... Maybe one day we'll run into each other... Good luck...