Pickleball Tournament Directors: How to Make Your Job Easier

Referee training program should help you recruit refs and line judges

By Lynn & Linda Laymon – USAPA Training Chairs

Do you have trouble getting enough qualified referees and line judges for your tournaments? If so, you are not alone. In fact, difficulty in finding competent officials is one of the reasons why some directors are reluctant to sanction their tournaments. (USAPA sanctioned tournaments require referees for every match and line judges are recommended for medal matches.) Well, now there is a USAPA program that will make the task of finding referees easier as well as greatly improve the quality of officiating!

On December 1, 2015 the USAPA/IFP Referee Handbook and Trainer Guide were made available to all USAPA members via the USAPA website (Rules & Referees/Referee Materials). The Referee Handbook details USAPA/IFP officiating standards and procedures in an easy to follow format, including explanation of some of the lesser-understood IFP rules. It is a comprehensive reference and training resource designed to provide referees – both new and experienced –everything they need to begin practicing their skills with an extra measure of competence and confidence. The accompanying Referee Trainer Guide provides the individual in charge of preparing referees for your tournament with all the material presented in the Referee Handbook, plus detailed notations throughout with presentation tips and rule references.

Although this newly released referee training material represents Phase II of the USAPA/IFP Referee Certification program, it is a giant step forward in creating competent referees, even if they do not intend to pursue certification. The Handbook assumes that the prospective referee already knows the rules and has previously taken the online Referee Rules Test available under the usapickleball.org Rules & Referees dropdown menu. Tournament Directors should consider scheduling a referee training session (2-3 hours) a couple of weeks before a tournament and recommend that participants practice refereeing during recreational play. A copy of the Official USAPA Scoresheet (manual version) can also be downloaded under the Rules & Referees dropdown menu.

For those who don’t feel comfortable refereeing, but might consider line judging if they knew how, now there is an online resource to help them prepare. Again, under the Rules & Referees dropdown menu at usapickleball.org you’ll find a tab for the Line Judge Guide. This resource, which contains the USAPA line judging standards and procedures, provides everything a line judge needs to know to be a competent contributing member of the match officiating team. A Line Judge Knowledge Review is also available under the usapickleball.org Rules Tests tab.

Now that detailed standards and procedures are available for both referees and line judges, hopefully more and better prepared officials will step forward for your next tournament.

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