Between the lines blog: An official’s off-season guide
Looking back on another season using the 5 ½ R’s
Photo credit: Louis Christ
By Ron Hallock, Between the lines contributor
Now that another season has come and gone, what should an official should do next? The process includes the 5 1/2 R s: R&R, review, reevaluate, redesign, and restart.
R&R (Rest and relaxation): First thing’s first, once the season is over it’s time to take a break and reacquaint yourself with family, friends and work. Take some time off, spend time with loved ones, catch up on chores around the house or work that’s been neglected. Most importantly as December creeps up on us, remember to enjoy the approaching holiday season.
Review: In January (some can’t wait and may do this sooner), take out your notes from each game of the past season and identify the positive areas of your officiating and those that need support. If you haven’t done this for the past season, write your thoughts down or start a conversation with your fellow officials about your performance.
Reevaluate: Review the goals you set using the SMART (Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Realistic; Time based) program.
Identify the progress you’ve made on both short and long-term goals.
If you have yet to incorporate goal setting into your routine, there’s no better time to start than now. Remember to write them down and keep them in a safe place.
Redesign: In keeping with the SMART method of goal setting (http://www.yourcoach.be/en/coaching-tools/smart-goal-setting.php) alter your goals, where necessary, making sure they are SMART.
Dan Louie, an official from Seattle, has developed check-lists for officials’ development on the following topics (or available on request from this writer).
- Rules Knowledge
Review the resource here: http://football.refs.org/workshop/intro.html
Restart: Once you have your goals identified, it’s time to get back into a routine that will prepare you for the upcoming season. Remember to incorporate the aspects below into the process of how you will reach your goals.
Here are some areas to support your development:
- Rules review: Everyone learns differently so it’s up to you to find out the best method that works for yourself.
Try: To study one rule situation per day and set-up a weekly plan for going over the rule and case book.
Also, try joining a rules study group. Let’s face it, reviewing the rulebook isn’t always the most compelling on your own, but it’s essential for every official, so learning and reviewing alongside others makes the process a bit more engaging.
Remember to have fun with your rules review and keep up-to-date on the rulebook.
- Video Review: Video is everywhere in football. It’s a great way to not only analyze your performance but see ways to improve. Take advantage of the available film to study clips of your performance and any video that you can find on specific situations that you determined in your goal setting or performance review as areas or situations that you need to work on.
Remember: Prior knowledge of what the infraction looks like makes your calls more automatic when they occur in a game situation. Many great web resources exist including Aloha clinic (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL89iax2RvwDjnLyaZJap5-JBDFdWh2VPx ), Arizona FOA (http://azfoa.org/2016_AIA_Experiments.php), or You tube MrRef 204 (https://www.youtube.com/user/MrRef204) to name a few.
Don’t forget: There’s tons of football taking place over the next few months with league championships, U Sports playoffs, the Vanier Cup, Grey Cup and the NCAA bowl games. Watch the games and focus on the officials to see if you can pick-up anything.
- Clinics, FOA meetings, etc.: Take advantage of opportunities to attend officiating clinics in the offseason. Regardless of whether it’s a guest seminar or lecture from a more experienced official or attending an FOA development clinic, professional development will contribute to your growth. Incorporate and seek opportunities that help you to meet your specific goals.
The important element is to keep the game fun and within your expectations. To reach the elite level, officiating is a twelve-month event. Plan your development as a New Year’s resolution that you will KEEP. Your successful development makes the game better for all those involved.
This post is also available in: French