By Kirsten Boessneck, Magdalena Gleaves and Troy Gravett
Early in the afternoon on Nov. 19, 2019, we emerged from the airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. While the Caribbean nation is known for its warm beach resorts, the three of us had more serious interests at hand. We were representing the United States’ growing pool of talented beach volleyball referees at the NORCECA Continental Beach Volleyball Referee Course.
The course we attended prepared emerging referees from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean for the rigors of international beach volleyball matches. Hosted at the NORCECA/FIVB Regional Volleyball Development Center, we joined referees from Belize, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and St. Kitts and Nevis. At the opening ceremony, President of the Dominican Volleyball Federation Ramon Garcia expressed his gratitude towards NORCECA for organizing such an important beach referee course. Additionally, Director of the Beach Volleyball Department of NORCECA Confederation Indhira Ramirez highlighted the importance of the development of beach volleyball in NORCECA and the growing participation of female referees, including five women at this course.
We reviewed the theoretical aspects of officiating during morning classroom sessions. In one session, FIVB instructor and International Referee Andre Trottier discussed critical issues in beach volleyball where changes in play are creating challenges for interpreting and applying the rules. Miguel Ramirez directed theoretical scorer training, and he led practical on-court sessions in the afternoon.
Our class was divided into four groups. Each team rotated through working as a first referee, a second referee, a scorer and line judges.
Every day, two teams were grouped together to simulate working with different languages and personalities. We also were introduced to nutritional advice and the psychological aspects of demanding work to help us take care of our minds and bodies.
The course culminated in a final exam of theoretical knowledge and practical performance. After the exams, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with the rest of the class, visiting the historical district of Santo Domingo.
At the closing ceremony, NORCECA recognized Kirsten, Magdalena and a Canadian referee for achieving the highest marks in the class. We all received a certificate of course completion from NORCECA President Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, and he concluded with an encouraging speech to the officials and staff indicating the importance of striving to be the best officials we can be. Afterward, Kirsten gave a speech thanking the officials and staff for their hospitality and dedication in this wonderful course.
We were all honored to be selected for this opportunity and look forward to continuing our growth as officials in the future.