Officiating: Two NBL referees benefit from European camp experience

Two well-known NBL referees took the opportunity to improve their skills during the off-season.

Paulina Chyrc and Bence Szilvagyi attended the ‘Referee Survival Camp’ in Poland in July to better their officiating. 

Both covered NBL D1M games in 2022/23, with Paulina also being part of the Level 4 Referee Pre-Assessment Phase, while for Bence it was his first season at that level.

The five-day camp included specific training programmes to improve refereeing skills and officiating techniques, including individual movement on the court, positioning and observation as well as teamwork, communication and cooperation with players and coaches.

Each session included practical training as well as theoretical classes.

Bence Szilvagyi in action

“It was an eventful week!” said Bence, who started refereeing in 2017 and only moved to senior games in 2021/22.

“We not only worked in the classroom to gain more knowledge and experience on different situations but we also had a chance to work on our skills on court too.

“We had different equipment, like microphones for one game where we got instant feedback and we could communicate with each other during play.

“On the senior game we had glasses which were equipped with a camera so we could discuss certain plays in the evening from that day. It was useful to see all the angles from each play. 

“My main takeaway from the camp was gaining more knowledge about the techniques and methods I could use to be a better official on and off the floor, and the fact that refereeing is not only about what you know. Your body is just as important to train and keep fit.

“Gaining these insights allowed me to perform at a recent pre-season game at a greater level after I’d returned from the camp.

“I also can’t leave out that apart from everything I learned, I gained some great friends too.

The camp involved officials from across the globe, including Poland, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, Portugal and Sweden and this summer’s gathering in Jezierzyce Slupskie was the seventh time the camp has run.

“Most of us didn’t referee much after the season finished, enjoying the summer break, and it was a good moment to start putting ourselves back on track,” said London-based Paulina, who officiated in both D1M and the WBBL last season.

“Everyone had a long journey to get to the camp, but it only shows how much we all want to be there.

“We didn’t know each other, but it only took a moment before we all started feeling like we knew each other really well.

“The passion to referee and the love of basketball connected us.”

“I would definitely recommend this camp to others,” added Bence.

“The camp is very intense, but it’s a great way to level up your skills and become a better referee as they gave us all the tools we needed to succeed.

“I learned a lot about officiating, but also a lot more about myself.”

If you want to start your journey as an official, or take your skills to the next level, why not check out our officiating courses using the button below.