Referee’s Corner – Pickleball Canada Officiating Program Proposed Changes for 2024

March 28, 2024

Al Thomson

Pickleball Canada’s Officiating Program is driven by the Officiating Advisory Council (OAC) which is comprised of Representatives from each of the Provinces and Territories across Canada, with other’s named as required. This group continues to review established practices and recommend changes when deemed necessary and is also driven by our relationship with USA Pickleball. Having a reciprocal program with USA Pickleball means that we accept and recognise each other’s Credentialed Referees. This requires that our program be up to standard so that when a Referee obtains their Credentials their on-court performance meets or exceeds expectations in both countries.

While these proposed changes have not been officially approved by the Council, I thought it would be worthwhile to communicate what is being considered and what changes you may well see during this 2024 Officiating year.

All levels of credentials will expire after three years from the date of issue, and will have to be renewed prior to the date of expiry.

To ensure that Referees are keeping themselves practiced and current, Referees will be required to complete an annual maintenance program.

  • Record the number of matches Refereed throughout the year, distinguishing between tournaments and recreational matches.
  • Review all on-line documentation, especially the Rules, and Best Practices.
  • Complete on-line tests achieving minimum results as established for each level.
  • Annual Observance of on-court performance – Casual review by equal or higher credentialed Referee.

All credentialed Referees will be required to complete a re-credentialing program from 3 months prior to and up to one month past the credential expiring date, comprising of;

  • An official & documented on-court review…. Not an assessment nor evaluation… an observed performance review. (OPR)
  • Correctly answer 5 questions, scoring will be dictated by the level of credential being renewed.

The assessment program will be amended to ensure that those conducting assessments are trained to do so and are documented as ‘Trained Assessors’ in the PC Officiating Database. The current Referee Assessment Form (RAF) and process will be changed to encapsulate a broader range of performance objectives and will see a tightening in the number of mistakes allowed to achieve each level of credential.

USA Pickleball has recently changed their Advanced Training Session (ATS) program (1 March 24) with the main objective of improving a Level 2’s chances of passing their Evaluation for Certification. The process will ensure that only a trained ATS Assessor (ATSA) can complete and submit the approved documentation. The process further defines who can initiate the ATS request, and who and how the ATS is to be conducted. As a result of the OAC March Meeting, this new process will be followed and instituted as soon as documentation and training are completed;

As you can see some significant changes being considered and proposed for the Officiating Program in 2024. The sole intent is to ensure that Canada’s Referees are up to date and current in all aspects of Refereeing wherever they are in North America.

Two other items of note;

  • Congratulations to two new PC Certified Referees, Ross Priebe of Surrey BC, and Doug Hill, Penticton BC. Both passing their evaluations in Phoenix Arizona in January 24.
  • The National Leader of Officiating (NLO) conducted three Referee Zoom Training Sessions in February, which were recorded and are now accessible on the PC website under Officiating and Training Material.
    • These 3 videos are an excellent starting point for someone interested on Refereeing, but you must be prepared to do a fair amount of studying and lots of on-court practice before being considered for assessment to become a Level 1 Referee, which is the first step towards being a fully Certified Referee.

Officiating Program Information