At the recently held under 12 Basketball Victoria Country Championships in Bendigo, Ballarat was awarded the John Holden Award for best referee development program for a large association. One of the strong reasons given for this award was that Basketball Ballarat have been committed not only to their local referee body but also to the greater Ballarat region.
This award outlines the commitment Ballarat have to not only their existing referees, incoming ‘green shirt’ referees but also aspiring referees in neighbouring towns. Locally Ballarat has almost doubled its referee base from 65 referees in 2015 to 123 in 2016. This can be credited to Neil Black, John Kearle and James Ronan who have re-focused their efforts to ensuring current referees have a clear and reachable pathway, to hopefully one day be eligible to referee at the highest level. Mr Black commented “this pathway has always been in place, unfortunately our referees may not have known how to progress along the chain to reach the top.”
One of the most exciting aspects is the 40 new level 0 or green shirt referees that will learn the ropes and help to build a solid base of junior referees. All new referees are now paired with a mentor to fast track their learning and make the experience personalised to each individual.
Ballarat has also been actively involved in Ararat, Stawell, St Arnaud, Maryborough and Bacchus Marsh grading referees, recruiting referees into their programs and also officiating finals series. Basketball Ballarat has understood that developing the officiating body and improving the standard of refereeing in nearby associations will eventually better us all.
Neil Black who received the award on behalf of Ballarat commented “This award represents a significant effort by a team of people to promote the referee program at Basketball Ballarat, along with recognition by the Association that referee development plays a major role in the progress of the sport into the future.”