Sunday 22 September 2019

Closing the instructor team cannot happen without talking to Kuba, whose passion, engagement and dedication for basketball, and training other has been unstoppable for past 16 years and he keeps organizing this international basketball referees camp on the highest level. Every year referees wait for the camp announcement and the instructors list, so they can come and make progress in their career, meet same crazy people as them and prepare best to the coming season. This year is just the same.

REFEREE.PL is a well-known brand in the referee’s world and it is thanks to Kuba that this continues and rows from year to year. This year will be amazing, we have a full group already registered in a short time after announcement, we have list of instructors (check referee.pl), please see below quick few words with Kuba before the camp starts in 7 day.

Career highlights:

Referee since 1989.
International referee since 1999.
From 2000 in Euroleague.
Refereeing EUROLEAGUE and EURO CUP games.
2003 - European Championship in Greece
2007 - World Championship U20 in Moscow
2008 - Euroleague Final Four in Berlin
2009 - World Championship U19 in New Zealand
2009 - European Championship in Poland
2010 - World Championship in Turkey
2012 - World Championship U17 Man in Lithuania
2014 - Women World Championship Turkey
2015 - Eurobasket in Germany, Latvia, Croatia and France
2018 – F4 VTB

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This is already 16th edition of the camp... It is incredible how time passes so quickly. Kuba, how do you find the power, new ideas and support to conduct the camp for that many consecutive years?

Kuba: I love officiating! Perhaps this is my FUEL for doing it. 16 years. This is looong time...:)

Tell us a little about how it was at the beginning, and how the idea was born in 2004?

Kuba: Since I have seen first camps in USA, I got idea to have a camp like this in Europe. It is easier to bring one person from US to Europe then 30 (campers) to USA. Also, we have a lot of knowledge and experience in Europe. One day someone called me and asked if I would be interested to organize referees camp on the side of players camp. It took me 10 s to decide. It was in Bydgoszcz 2004...This is how it started.

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What have changed since then or maybe nothing? What have you learned through these 16 editions?

Kuba: I can say that 2004 comparing to 2019 camp looks completely different. Our knowledge on what referees need for their education developed through all those years. Years ago, camp was the only source of knowledge from more experience refs. Today we have internet and all information are there available. Today we train refs, we work on their personal skills. We use technology to develop all the aspects. What haven’t changed it the networking part, friendships made along the years, which helps a lot to go through your career having a feeling you belong to a family tat takes care of your progress.

Which edition is the most memorable for you and why?

Kuba: Difficult question. For sure I remember the first one...I still do not know how we did it in 1 month without any experience, not much knowledge, not really help from outside. Apart of this each year had something special. One time we organized players camp to have game in house. That year even Polish National Team played at our camp :) I also remember when I succeed to invite the Director of NBA refs. That time there was an ocean between us (huge difference in basketball and refereeing). Today we work more or less similar way. That year was eye opening and fantastic experience. Very memorable times also come to my mind when we organized the camp outside of Poland, like twice in Tallin, beautiful Cluj Napoca in Romania, and amazing Turkey in Antalya. I could talk about it the whole day, all the challenges, all the lessons, all the excitement, happy moments, fun with campers and instructors will stay in our heads and hearts for all the career and beyond. I met so many great people on my way since the beginning of the adventure with the camp. Perhaps coming back to first question, this is also what gives the power to work, having camp every year, with all these special people, who are crazy about basketball and officiating and come from all around the world to meet with others like this.

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So many referees and instructors have visited your camp over the years, this really looks like a big family, I have counted 55 instructors only, all from different leagues, countries and environments. I should start counting the campers... 😊 This is amazing that such an initiative like camp exists and takes place every year to gather together the group of people, who later become better referees. People who attend your camp in the past are now officiating highest leagues in the world, top games, and coming back as instructors sometimes. How do you see it?

Kuba: As I mentioned before I am very grateful to everyone who supported us during the years. It was different people, from different countries. It was great that referees try to help and support each other. NBA and Euroleague referees are passing their experience to the next generation. Some of our campers are officiating now Euroleague and FIBA. With many of them I keep private contact. It is really great that camps are a platform for creating friendships, and even ... marriages 😊

As an active referee, with a list of successes, leading the best international games and tournaments, what are your referee goals and dreams. What is real from this list still, knowing that soon you will cross the age limit?

Kuba: Lucky for some of us the age limit is not everywhere :) Each year I start with the goal to go to Euroleague F4. Always highest goals give the highest performance. This gives you motivation to work harder and harder.
To get any success I think important is to work hard and be focused on it most of your time.
Now, before the season is to work on physical preparation and theoretical work. Very soon friendly games/tournaments start where we can practice what we need to improve and get ready...the same way as players do.
Physical preparation is very important specially that in the season with all those travels is not easy to improve it and keep the shape on the best level. Other aspects are also very important in officiating; Like mental preparation, understanding basketball, understanding our role on the court.

If you weren’t basketball official what would you do?

Kuba: For sure I would spend more time for things I do it now anyway...like on business side. On weekends perhaps I would use my free time for other of my loves: sport sailing and at wintertime skiing.

What is the most important difference in basketball refereeing for you comparing now to 20 years ago?

Kuba: speed, physicality and number of cameras that catch our mistakes.

Do you have any referee idol that you watch and learn from, also as you started your career someone who helped you to build up and supported?

Kuba: I never had one person as idol. I try to find what is good for us from different refs. Sometimes you can learn something from not top referees.

What kind of referees are needed by nowadays basketball?

Kuba: Brave and those who understand basketball, knows what players are doing on the court and why. We need to understand how important is for the play the contact we judge.

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When you finish your career will you become an instructor? Will you further organize camps?

Kuba: Difficult question. Active referees do not like to think what will happen when they stop officiate. Will be difficult to stop :)
On other hand it would be good to share so many years of experience with younger generation, to help them go thru all this not easy way.

As an experienced official, who had games on European and World parquets, what would you say to young referees, who want to learn and develop themselves and dream of the best basketball games to referee?

Kuba: Never stop working! Basketball go forward (thousands of coaches think every day what to improve) and officiating must follow, it means we need to work on it each day. Also important is to work on details, on small weaknesses, which all of us have. Last 3 years we organize new kind of camp - we call it Survival Camp. This is the week (5 days) where small group of campers work together on each detail. The interesting thing is that instructors are also active campers, because each of us can learn from each other. And each of us need to improve, each of us need to prepare to the next season, does not matter, if your next goal is NBA final, Euroleague F4, VTB finals or to be promoted to next league.
We work there not only for physical preparation. Mostly we work on details like understanding basketball, exchanging ideas with players and coaches. But also about individual aspects for example presence, movement on the court , even signals ...