She is the first referee in the country to have earned the FIBA 3×3 Referees C License, after attending a clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel, earlier in the summer, and now Mariann Dodds-Miklosik is on the brink of another incredible feat as she gets set to pick up the whistle and officiate at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
A vastly experienced referee in the 5v5 game, Dodds-Miklosik – who works closely with basketballscotland – said the demands of 3×3 are completely different for a referee, and her short officiating journey in 3×3 is set to come full circle in the coming days as her first experience refereeing the short-sided version of the game came in the Spring in the Commonwealth Qualifying Tournament.
“My first time refereeing 3×3 was actually in the Commonwealth Games qualifying tournament and it was just so different to what I was used to!” she said.
“It was a great experience, but we had to learn quickly as we didn’t have much time beforehand to prepare and we were fortunate to have somebody from FIBA 3×3 there to guide us and support us a little bit.
“It is a different mindset in refereeing from 5v5 as I said, but it is absolutely a thrilling sport to referee – it is such an exciting format of the game and the adrenaline just rushes throughout the games.
“I enjoyed it so much and I was really eager then to go on and try and get my international qualifications, because the experience I had refereeing those qualifiers was just brilliant.”
“It does take a lot of confidence to pick up the whistle.”
Basketball has been a fundamental part of Dodds-Miklosik’s life, having played professionally to a very high level in Europe in the past, before coming to the UK almost two decades ago.
She decided to take up refereeing in the first instance, as a means of helping her integrate more quickly in her new surroundings but also to see if she could pursue life with the whistle to a similar standard – or better – to that which she had played at, and Dodds-Miklosik was keen to share some advice for any aspiring referees.
“I played professional basketball in Hungary and when I moved to London 18 years ago I obviously needed to learn English quite quickly, so I thought I would do a refereeing course because I know basketball so well and I thought learning to speak English in that environment would help.
“I enjoyed learning the language that way, but I also really enjoyed refereeing and discovered I had a talent and desire for doing it, so I just carried on pursuing that side of the game and now I’m here. I’m an ambitious person so once I started refereeing I always wanted to see how far I could take it and get to the highest level possible.
“It does take a lot of confidence to pick up the whistle, but my advice to people who might want to give refereeing a go would be to just try it. It is challenging, of course, and there is stigma around refereeing in all sports, but you learn so many transferrable skills from refereeing that help you develop so much outside of the basketball court and gives amazing opportunities to people.”
“There are going to be some excellent teams involved on such a big stage.”
Looking ahead to the opportunity of officiating in the Commonwealth Games’ 3×3 competition, which will include GB representation on the English and Scottish Men’s and Women’s teams, Dodds-Miklosik was naturally in buoyant mood about the prospect of being involved in such a major event.
“When we qualified we were told we’d be getting nominated for events and competitions, but I honestly didn’t expect at all that my first nomination would be at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, so that is an amazing honour for me – especially for it to be my first tournament since passing this course!
“There are going to be some excellent teams involved and it is such a big stage, with the likes of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, England and so many more teams competing, so I am really excited for the experience.
“I don’t know yet what will come after the Commonwealths, of course, but if this is the only nomination I have to referee at a major event this season then I can’t really complain!”