Give a warm welcome to Lars Klaar, who for the first time will join instructors team at REFEREE.PL 2019.
Lars started to referee in the age of 15 in 1975 in Sweden and in 1981 he became National referee. In the years between 1985-2009 he officiated top league in his country and international games as FIBA referee in 1990 -2009. Since the league beginning, he joined Euroleague 2000-2009. In his career he officiated EuroBasket Men and Women and F4 Women twice. Lars worked as National Instructor in Sweden since 2011 for 5 years, and from 2012 as FIBA commissioner. In years 2012-2016 he also worked for FIBA as FIBA Europe referee instructor. He is certified FIBA FRIP in 2016, and an Euroleague referee coach since 2009.
Before you meet in September for the camp in Radom, please check the short talk with Lars below. Stay tuned and have a successful camp!
You are one of the referees that helped to build the Euroleague brand, as you started in 2000 in that league, what is special in being a part of this family for nearly 20 years?
Lars: It was special to be a part of something new. For me personally it meant that I took a chance on something nobody new how it would end up. I just had a feeling, that this was something I would regret, if I did not do. Looking back now twenty years later, I am very happy that I made that move. It is a kind of family, and as we are a smaller group of referees and referee coaches it´s easier to communicate and keep us tight as a group. We see each other often, we know each other as referees and coaches and as persons, that is an asset. We always strive to be better as you cannot relax in this kind of competition, where the level of basketball is very high. We need to be on the top of our game every time we step on the court.
Now you work as an instructor/coach in Euroleague, tell us more about it.
Lars: We are a group of 15 coaches who work with 71 referees for next season. Some coaches get two or three referees assigned, in order to work a bit more closely together during the season as a developing project. When I am coaching it´s much about play calling, accuracy, mechanics, teamwork, communication and management. I am also interested in watching how a referee handle different kind of pressure.
How did you switch from watching the game as referee and now watching referees?
Lars: That was really the hardest part, especially in EB. When I finished my refereeing career in 2009, I was happy with what I had accomplished as a referee. For sure I had an idea of wanting to be teaching younger referee in Sweden, but that was it. When the letter came from the EB inviting me to be a referee coach in the EB, it was a big surprise and a big challenge, far bigger than to be a referee in EB. But again, if I did not take this opportunity, I would regret it. So how to make the transition? Well, you have to be humble and understand what you can contribute with and what you need to improve as a referee coach and listen and learn from other coaches. Some of the referees that I now would start to coach had far more experience as referees than myself, so you must earn their trust. It took sometime but gradually I felt that I worked myself in. You must listen, ask question and not go about “ball breaking” that leads nowhere. At the same time, you need to get your message across, it´s a balance act, you need to be patient but clear. I have to thank Alan Richardson and Costas Rigas for their trust and giving me that opportunity to start working as a referee coach in EB.
What do you like in Euroleague officiating, is it different than other leagues in some way?
Lars: I cannot speak for any other league, but I do not think that our way of officiating and working is so much different if you look around Europe. NBA and NCAA have their own set of rules and mechanics, but I guess much are similar. EB follow FIBA rules and mechanics, we have some tweaks on the rules and mechanics but not many. EB always try something new. EB implemented 3PO from the first season 2000/2001 and it´s always been about pushing forward. We have an advantage as we are a smaller group, it becomes easier to get everybody on the same page and get the message across. We break downplays a lot, trying to get everything correct. We started to use technology in order to get help on tricky situations, like the IRS. We have a very good video platform that provide us with all game broken down to play by play. We will never be 100 %, but we strive to be as good as we can. We all need to work and improve if we want to stay on top of our game.
How does a match day from a life of instructor looks like?
Lars: I participate in the pregame meeting with the referees, mainly just to listen to how they are going to work in game, any special issues with matchups etc. I will sit in the stands during the game watching and taking notes. After the game we have our postgame where I ask questions and let the crew tell how they feel about the game, teamwork, different play situations, good things and things to improve. I have my part where I tell how I saw the game as a crew performance and on an individual basis. It´s mandatory for me to have a written report ready for each referee and to Director of Referees within 48 hrs. after the game. In that report I will have my conclusion of the game and supplemented with play situations.
Question from Kuba: Is it true that in Sweden you are painting your house every year? 😊
Lars: No, it was just for this summer.... And that´s enough...