NOBODY LIKES TO BE IGNORED. One of the things that turns off coaches
and players is an official who seems unapproachable, standoffish, even cold.
You can be great with rules and mechanics, but if you aren't tempered with
human-relations skills your career will be fraught with problems.
NO ONE SHOULD TRY TO WORK A GAME WITHOUT FIRST DISCUSSING
THE GAME. No matter how long you've refereed or how many times you've
worked with the same official, it's crucial to have a pregame conference before
every game. Even if you've worked 20 games with your partner already this
season, you've got to refresh your memory; you've got to make sure everybody
on the crew feels at ease.
AT TIMES, IT'S ROUTINE THINGS THAT CAN TRIP OFFICIALS. Concentrate
at all times, because there will be times when routine duties are poorly
executed. Have you doubts? Consider whether you've ever seen a football
official mark off an 18-yard penalty, watched a basketball referee hand the ball
to the wrong team or seen a batter go to first on ball three.
IN ORDER TO DO A SOLID JOB, YOU MUST MAINTAIN CONCENTRATION
THROUGH THICK AND THIN. To do that, you cannot allow anything to get
under your skin. Some rookie officials are convinced nothing is worse than three
dozen little league parents screaming at them. In fact, some pro officials agree,
even after facing more than 50,000 spectators in an afternoon. Why? Because
the pros learned quickly to "tune out" what the spectators have to say.
DEVELOP YOUR SIGNALS AND MECHANICS UNTIL THAT ARE
INSTINCTIVE, BUT KEEP YOU PERSONALITY INTACT. Control the game
first and foremost, and administer it within the framework of the rules. Then, go
out and work the game and have some fun. Keep control of the game; use
preventative officiating. But, at the same time, let the players know what is
going on, what you're trying to do. Talk to them. Don't just stand there during
timeouts like a toy soldier.
DEVELOP THE SELF-DISCIPLINE THAT PREVENTS "PHANTOM" CALLS.
Often, the best call is a good no-call. Many top officials agree their greatest fear
is a phantom call at the end of a game. Every call is important, but to call
something that's not there at a crucial time is devastating.
LOOK BOTH WAYS AS YOU CLIMB THE LADDER OF SUCCESS.
Remember, if you move up too soon, you may forever eliminate the chance of
another try. Your officiating friends might think you're crazy for turning down a
promotion, but that's what you should do if you're really not ready to move to the
GAIN EXPERIENCE BY WORKING "EVERY GAME YOU CAN," BUT
RECOGNIZE WHAT QUALITY OF GAMES YOU CAN WORK. It's
counterproductive to work too many games or to work games at levels which
don't offer challenges.When your officiating glass is full, whatever experience
you pour into it will simply spill over the top.
"SPIRIT AND INTENT" IS MORE THAN A CATCH-PHRASE, IT'S A DEPTH
OF KNOWLEDGE AND A WAY OF LIFE. Knowing the rules is an initial step
toward becoming a capable official. The next step: Truly understanding why
level, top supervisors agree they're less interested in rules knowledge than in
rules understanding. If you don't see the difference, you're probably not ready to
COMPLACENCY CAN BE AN OFFICIAL'S WORST ENEMY. No matter what
you've done lately and no matter how lofty your reputation, you must firmly
believe that you can become an even better official. Set your long-term goals
early. Enter each season with clearly defined intermediate goals. Work each
game with a careful number of objectives in mind, aimed at helping you meet an
intermediate goal. Whether it's timing, positioning, positive communication or
another objective, if you don't have one tonight you're wasting a game.
IF YOU SOUND OR APPEAR TIMID, YOU'LL BE PERCEIVED AS WEAK.
Cultivate you voice. It should be firm: loud enough to be heard, yet not
challenging. Develop a brief list of planned statements that will convey your
message without provoking anyone. Example: "Hey, I've heard enough," leaves
no doubt that you do not want a conversation to continue, but it's not a threat.
THE MORE YOU SAY, THE LESS IT MEANS. Rookies and veterans alike are
often guilty of the "Yeah, but" syndrome. When another official or supervisor
questions your mechanics or your judgment and your first utterance is, "Yeah,
but," you're usually not listening. Grandma used to say, with rolling pin hand:
"Be quiet and listen. That's why you've got two ears and only one mouth." Moral
of the story: You'll learn more by listening than by talking.