Bay of Plenty Rugby referees broke new territory on Tuesday night when they used Google's Hangout platform to connect their education meetings in Tauranga, Whakatane, Rotorua and Taupo together into one shared session.
With the demand being placed on community referees to improve their performances, distance was once one of the barriers to achieving this – but not anymore.
“New Zealand Rugby's High Performance Referee Dept worked hard over the summer months to create quality educational material for all of the provincial union referee associations,” says Bay of Plenty Rugby referee manager Pat Rae.
“A major obstacle for me was the sheer distance I had to travel to deliver these resources. Using Google's Hangout platform was something I'd been working long and hard at getting off the ground and last night was a measured success and something we can build on moving forward.”
King Country Rugby Referees Association operations manager Kieran Smith says, “It was a very easy process to set up. One click and we were in. It means a lot to the King Country Taupo referees because we get real time access to top level resources and have a chance to add to the conversation with our peers. This helps reinforce what we know as a referee and is also an opportunity to tweak or learn new styles of how to become a better referee.”
Bay of Plenty Rugby referees chairman David Hodgson says, “One of the tactics of our five year strategic plan is to use modern technology to communicate collaboratively and remove distance, time and cost as being barriers to growth and development and this is the first step in achieving that.”
“Google's YouTube platform is the perfect platform for us,” says Pat.
“Not only was our session broadcast ‘LIVE' to our channel's subscribers, it means our referees now have three different opportunities to be exposed to further education; they can attend the actual education session, if they can't attend, they can watch it live on our YouTube channel, or if they can't do any of those, they can watch the uploaded video of the broadcast at a later date.”