It is high time to start aWe are happy and proud to announce that Richard Stokes will join our instructor team at REFEREE.PL camp for the second time (first in 2017)!
Richard brings the experience and know-how from the best league at the continent – Euroleague, where he works as an Officials Director for four years already. Before for ten years Richard was in FIBA Europe managing the Competition and Referee Department.
The basketball history of Richard’s starts much earlier though, as since 1985 he held referee license and became international official in 1993, and join the Euroleague list of referees in 2000.
At REFEREE.PL Richard will be working with all of you on your personal progress during the games, helping to analyze games, presenting the Euroleague strategy and approach for the coming season and many other interesting topics.
Cannot wait for the camp to start. Here is a short talk with Richard before the camp.
Second time at the camp in Poland. Many different level camps in your Euroleague director role, instructor and as a referee. What are your expectations this time towards the participants and other instructors this time?
Richard Stokes: As always it is good to be part of any camp that is engaged in trying to develop referees and to improve their skills and understanding of the game, no matter what their level. I expect to see some new faces this year as I have not been here since 2017, but I also expect the referees to come ready to watch, listen, and learn and to use the feedback to improve their job. You can never stop learning at any level, referee or instructor. Even as instructors we can learn something from each other and from the referees.
How, in your opinion, officiating basketball has changed in past years? Do referees need to work more to stay on the top level?
Richard: There is no doubt that the game is always moving forward. Our challenge is to keep pace with those changes and to not fall behind. This means even during the season from week to week, we have to be ready to react and adjust when we see new things or have new experiences. We must be ready for the unexpected! Yes, referees need to work harder both physically and mentally the work of the referees is very different from even 5 years ago, especially with the use of new technologies.
What is your three tips and tricks to stay on top level and progress to achieve your referee goals?
- Never stop being ready to listen and learn
- Never stop evaluating your own performance and recognize your weaknesses or errors
- Always give 100% mentally and physically to your team in any game and communicate all the time
How do you nominate your Euroleague referees? What are the criteria to become Euroleague?
Richard: Well, like any team or coach, we are constantly looking at how we can improve. Therefore, part of that job is to scout referees outside our current group to see if they can help improve the quality of what we must deliver to our stakeholders. If there are talented referees out there, that can help us, then we will look at them, but in any one season we are following 15-20 referees each year at any one time. The criteria that we often come back to and ask ourselves is, “Whether we have the best officials and the best team of officials in Europe?”. Of course, on the other side we are always looking to see if any of our referees are not consistently performing at the required level – we must consider both sides of the equation.
Could you give us a sneak peak of what do you think how coming Euroleague season will look for the group of referees, from rules perspective, players and coach’s perspective and current game trends?
Richard: We have added 4 new referees for the 2019-20 season. Two of them were international referees and two were not, so I think it is fair to say that there are less barriers in becoming and remaining a Euroleague Basketball (EB) referee. We reviewed last season with all our coaches in both competitions and have announced some small changes with their agreement, some of which we had been discussing for some time in different forums within in our organization, so we are comfortable with these changes. We place a lot of value in our dialogue with the coaches during the year and there is no doubt that this dialogue helps us get better and have a better understanding of what we need and where we need it. I think this season can be one of the most competitive since I joined EB and looking at the rosters for each club, I expect some very tough and competitive games. The fight for play off places is always hard, but I think we will see a step up this year in that respect, so we must be ready.