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Satellite Workshop - National Officiating Scholarship Part 4

Satellite Workshop - National Officiating Scholarship Part 4

Apologies for the delay on this - it turns out that the busier you are in derby-land, the less time you have to write a blog!

Following a Sun State Roller Girls home team double header on 25 May, I found myself driving into South Bank (in Brisbane) the very next Friday for the National Officiating Scholarship satellite workshop.

The planning for this scholarship started back in April with a phone call from Ben (from the Australian Institute of Sport) - 'because this one's in your home town, do you want to stay in the host hotel, or do you want to drive in each day?'

The answer to that question, by the way, is always ALWAYS choose the fancy hotel. Two nights of luxury and wonderful food in the South Bank precinct.

The workshop itself was again chock full of seminars and information from the experts involved with the program. The first morning started with a psychology session on knowing your stress, as well as a nutrition session on busting the myths.

I cannot over-emphasise how important the psych sessions have been to my development - being able to recognise when you're reacting in an unhealthy way to stimulus, and now being able to recognise when you are 'stressed', even if the stress is not necessarily manifesting with what you think of as the 'standard' feelings (for me, nervousness and butterflies in the tummy). Being able to recognise the difference between good stress (or eu-stress) and bad stress.

In fact, I can specifically relate to eu-stress thinking back to the ANZAC tournament. I recall in the first fifteen minutes of the grand final, every time I stopped in between jams I could feel my knees wobbling inside my knee pads, I had so much adrenaline pumping through me. I felt alert, aware, almost with a heightened sense of focus, with the world slowing down around me and plenty of time to do everything perfectly. There's no question that my body was absolutely flooded with adrenaline, but it was being focused and channelled perfectly into my reffing, rather than distracting me and making me over-excited, shouty or frantic.

The day continued with more one-on-one psych and nutrition sections (where I discovered that I lose weight 'like a male' - minimal difference in most places, but weight absolutely melting off my calves), and also with a small-group officiating conversation (similar to one we had in the first workshop). These officiating conversations are an ideal way to get to know your other officials and their challenges and accomplishments in a facilitated discussion - conversation is free-flowing and covers any number of topics, but is always carefully guided.

The second day of the workshop included another group psychology session - know your environment. This session built on the stress session to help you learn the concept of 'mindfulness' - being in the moment, living in the moment, and using all your senses to make sure that you're fully experiencing the moment. In general, the times when you are stressed mean you're thinking about something that is not what you're doing at that exact moment, or focusing your thoughts on parts of the situation that are out of your control. Sometimes, if the object of the stress is outside of your control, the easiest thing to do is to simply focus on your environment and attempt to 'let it go'.

The timing of that session could not have been more amusing - throughout the session, several officials were clearly getting edgier and edgier as we headed full speed towards presentation time. The presentation element of the workshop was left deliberately vague - you had five minutes, absolutely no more, and you could present on whatever topic you wanted.

Naturally, I chose roller derby - only to discover that it's VERY hard to summarise roller derby in five minutes. Still, I did a decent job, except that apparently when I'm presenting without wrist guards on I have a nervous tic where I click my fingers. A lot. Apparently 26 times in five minutes.

The final part of the day consisted of an impromptu discussion around some of the challenges that some other officials were having - mentor issues, appointment issues, issues with a lack of involvement from their sport. It was a lively discussion with a lot of input from the room, and I felt quite fortunate to have complete support from my mentor Kruger and Roller Derby Australia.

Heading to scrimmage that afternoon, I knew there would again be no rest for the wicked - it was less than a week until TGSS!


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