As we all know, during a bout there are a million different things which can go wrong. Thankfully, they are not all the referee's fault. Bout Interpretation Meetings are something we've developed and used successfully here in Madison and are a chance for everyone involved in putting on a bout to come together and sort these problems out, to the satisfaction of everyone, instead of finding a solution that makes two groups happy, but doubles everyone else's workload. It is also useful for figuring out which group is most responsible for a particular aspect of the bout, which is often nebulous until there is a problem. Of course, adjustments to this outlined meeting system will need to be made to suit the needs and systems in each individual league, and this is intended to be a helpful starting off point. Meetings should happen within a week after the bout. Waiting any longer will allow memories to fade too much to provide real answers. That said, you may find that the day immediately following a bout is too soon.
Attending these meetings should be the following people:
- As many referees as possible, especially the head referee and jam referees
- The head of rules training for your league
- The head of overall training (skate training)
- One to three team representatives
- Support and volunteer representatives
- The head of bout production
- An administrative representative
- A note taker
Also, as much as possible, topics should stay away from specific calls (i.e."In the second period so and-so did this and the ref called that") and aim more towards bigger, general problems ("We feel like out of play wasn't called consistently between refs", "It took forever to get people in the door and we started way too late"). That way, for instance, if the venue's too dark you can work with support and production to find a solution, and if it's a technical issue, you can work with training to create new drills to improve everyone's understanding of the rule and shore up the calling. And of course, as always, an honest, open and civil tone will make everything work better. We understand that everyone's a volunteer, but that doesn't mean we're all doing things the best way the first time.