5 Questions with Head of Officiating, Jason Tessier

After recently attended the World Skate officiating seminar in Rome we have a chat with Jason Tessier about all things officiating.

If you have any questions about officiating or want to get involved email Jason at jason.tessier@inlinehockeyireland.org.

How did you first get involved in refereeing? When did you first start refereeing in Ireland?

Years ago, when your team played your team also provided refs for other games that day. I volunteered because I thought I could do a decent job and it was a way I could contribute. A lot of people started that way, stepping up for their club.

Being already an experienced official, how did you find the seminar in Rome, were there still learning opportunities? What will you be bringing back to the structure here in Ireland?

There were plenty of learning opportunities at the seminar. The speakers were really excellent, and they had plenty of experience.
Their experience came through in a lot of ways, for example how they added small details that can make a big difference. We all learn from experience, from reffing games ourselves, watching other refs, and asking questions.

Having the opportunity to get some game time with other refs and to get feedback on it from the instructors was incredibly valuable.

For the content I was familiar with, I learned a lot about how to explain it better or how to enhance the way we might teach it to others. I made pages of notes on ways we can improve our training seminars here in Ireland.

Some specific things that I'll be bringing back are improving our teamwork and procedures on the floor, and some additions to coincidental penalty and penalty terminations sections of the course.

The timing of the seminar worked out well to attend Italy vs Ireland in the six nations. Can you tell us how officiating has given you 'life' opportunities?

I had wanted to see Ireland play Italy in Rome for a few years, and the seminar finished the day before the Ireland/Italy fixture this year. It worked out that I could stay, so I took advantage of it.

Making connections with people is something I really value. Reffing allows me to work with other refs and players and we have a good bunch here in Ireland, so that's very rewarding. I really enjoyed meeting other refs from around the world at the seminar, as well as making connections with the instructors.

Teaching the referee seminars is a reward believe it or not. It is a 'soft' skill that I get to work on, and I'm better at it now than I was at the start.

I think some of the future life opportunities I will get from reffing will come directly from having attended the seminar. After doing this I hope to have opportunities to ref internationally, which will be there for other officials as they move up the ladder.

You have put tremendous work into your role the last 2 years which has seen officiating standards go up. Can you give a few key referee characteristics which have had the biggest effect on this improvement?

We've had a lot of refs trained in the last few years, and we've had some advance through levels as well. Passing the tests is not trivial and requires a good amount of work. We've improved overall because people do the work in the training classes and keep advancing and improving, always asking questions.

Experience is perhaps the biggest contributor. If you look at the people reffing now, they have a lot of games reffed in the past couple of years. They've put in a lot of hours practicing their craft as referees, and have improved greatly because of it.

The attitude towards reffing is different. It is something that people used to be forced to do, and now we have people wanting to do it and working to get better.

If someone is looking to take up officiating, what would be the 'selling' points to them?

People like making a contribution, and reffing is a great way to make a contribution to our sport. Through your efforts, you enable teams to play fun and fast games that are entertaining to watch.

Referees are the third team on the floor, and there's a real sense that we're doing this together. We've all been through the same things as the other refs, the ups and downs, and that is something that as teammates brings us closer together.

As you improve, you will likely get to do games that are higher level and more important, while also being given the opportunity to travel. There's the reward of being challenged and meeting the challenge, but also being recognized for your ability and work.

I think refereeing builds character. Every time you face a tough situation and make it through, or every time you are under pressure and still perform to the best of your abilities, you'll walk away with greater confidence. These kinds of skills, working under pressure, facing up to challenges, being courageous when it is sometimes difficult, are lessons that will pay off all through your life.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Jason and for representing us well at the recent seminars!

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