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Ideas That Work

  • 7/28/2017


    By Tim Leighton

    It is a moment of dread that no official wants to face.

    You, or another member of your crew, has just made a mistake while officiating a contest. The angst quickly builds as you assess the play where a misapplication of the rules or a miscalculation in judgement were used.

    A byproduct of such an occurrence is what follows: the wrath of a coach or an emotion-filled reaction from players. You know it is coming, but how does an official deal with it? Where is that magic point where you allow a coach or player to fume, yet make sure the backlash doesn’t carry over into a violation of the rules?

    “Managing emotions and maintaining a high level of game decorum are two major keys in these situations,” said Bryan Kemnetz, a 27-year high school official from Stillwater, Minn. “There are limits to them being upset or frustrated. We have to reel in emotions during these tense times.”

  • 7/28/2017

    Setting up a mentorship program is as easy as 1-2-3

    By Ivan Cardona

    If your officials’ association is interested in developing a formal mentoring program, but the state association doesn’t offer guidance, it isn’t time to panic. Instead, try following these steps in the creation of a mentorship for your association to utilize for seasons to come.

    In creating a mentorship program, I did so with three things in mind: Setting the Stage, Process and Resources.

    ·         Setting the Stage – Create a mission, objectives and roles for both mentor and mentee.

    ·         Process – Setting guidelines, establishing framework and mapping out the steps.

    ·         Resources – Identifying tools to achieve your mentorship goals. (There is no need to reinvent the wheel!)

    This creation and implementation begins with someone that is willing to step up, someone that recognizes, either individually or as a board of directors that there is a need for a mentorship program, especially if the state association does not offer one. Most importantly, the program is going to rely on strong mentors. They are the foundation of any kind of success you hope for your mentorship program.

  • 2/16/2017

    Healthy Lifestyles

    “Your Feet are Your Friends – Take Care of Them”

    By Dr. Dan Davis


                                                                                                                                                                                No matter how well you know the rules and how good your ability to make proper rulings, if you can’t run well, your officiating performance will be compromised. How your feet feel has a huge impact on whether you can run well. Every time you take a step, you put a force equivalent to one and a half times your body weight on your feet. When you run, that force increases from four to six times your body weight – and could be as much as eight times your body weight if you’re running fast. That’s a lot of force your feet must be able to absorb, and you want to be able to do so without pain, irritation or injury. So, taking care of your feet is essential to your ability to officiate.

  • 7/15/2015

    “I Am Third”: Learning to Find your Place on an Officiating Crew


         With all due respect to Gale Sayers, I chose this title because I sometimes feel this sentiment when preparing to officiate a varsity basketball game. It is not a scary feeling, not a defeated feeling, it is an honest feeling. In fact, I believe it can be a very healthy feeling.

         I would submit that you could have this feeling in officiating with crews of two, three, five or more. It is simply an acknowledgement that on this particular crew, on this particular day, you are not the lead dog.

         In Indiana, most officials still book their own games with the schools and form their own officiating crews. This creates opportunities to work with new people or rely on the comfort or regular partners.

  • 3/25/2015


    Rob Kaminski

    The group of approximately 50 officials from the Capital Area Officials Association (CAOA) in Lansing, Michigan, watched the same high school football play repeatedly for nearly a half hour at one of its regular Monday meetings.

    There was spirited discussion as to whether the play resulted in a touchdown or fumble. Opinions flowed as to how their fellow officials – some of whom were also in the room that night – might have positioned themselves differently, focused on keys differently, reacted differently.

    And, at the end of nearly 30 minutes, no definitive conclusion was reached.

  • 1/15/2015

    Helpful Hints for Officials Using Social Media

    Dana Pappas


    Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter can be great tools for reconnecting with old friends, staying in touch with family and even networking with colleagues. One of the “hot-button” topics of discussion among the officiating community over the past couple of years has been the use of these media. While most agree that associations do not need to have a steadfast policy for such use, industry leaders advise that association leaders provide officials with some helpful hints for using these communication avenues.

  • 10/30/2014

    What officials expect from athletic administrators and school districts

    By Bob Kersch

    Since officials first donned their officiating togs, we have been told that the schools we officiate at expect this … and this ... and this. And, when we meet these responsibilities, we’re meeting our professional responsibilities. No argument here - that’s the way it should be!

    But, the schools also have a responsibility in this partnership. They too must live up to certain standards and meet certain obligations for those who are officiating and conducting those athletic contests. This article explores some of the obligations of a school district to officials.

  • 8/21/2014


    By Gary Whelchel

    Like dominos falling in unison;

    It is the lining up a cache of items that assist in reaching an ultimate goal,

    The BIG Dream.

    Then watching them tumble together to reach the destinations;

    First varsity contest,

    Tournament consideration,

    Tournament games,

    That championship high school game assignment,

    Then moving on up the ladder to the next level.More...

  • 6/2/2014

    Preparing your Championship Officiating Team for Track and Field

    By Rus Schreckenghost

    The task of assembling and preparing a complete team of track and field officials for a championship event is a very daunting experience and needs to be implemented during previous years and maintained throughout the entire current season. The preparation that goes into the team of officials will determine the efficiency, safety of athletes and accuracy of that meet. It is similar to that of the school teams that qualify for the championships. Just as the coach prepares the athletes, the meet director (and meet referee) prepares the officials. This preparation is never ending and needs to be visited quite often for updates and modifications. The following are a few points to consider when a big meet is approaching.

  • 11/25/2013

    A Veteran’s Tips on Officiating Basketball

    By Benton “Chick” Smith


    Officiating high school basketball is unquestionably the most challenging, demanding but rewarding high school sport to officiate. You are expected to be perfect in your first game and then get better after that. In what other high school sport are the coaches, players and fans so close to the action and people more attuned to the rules (or at least they think they are) than in basketball? Every call is scrutinized by someone.

  • 6/4/2013

    Transferring to a new officiating locale

    By Jay A. Cornils, CMAA

    For more than 30 years, I officiated football, basketball and track out of my hometown associations with a relative degree of success. Living in Colorado Springs, a city with a heavy military population – with Fort Carson, NORAD and the Air Force Academy – I saw many excellent young and veteran officials come and establish themselves as varsity officials before moving on and starting all over again. Until nine years ago, I related with these individuals with only a modicum of distant empathy. In June 2004, I retired and moved to Fort Worth and had to start all over again myself as a football official.

  • 5/20/2013

    Officials need to practice good sportsmanship

    By Jay A. Cornils, CMAA


    A number of years ago, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) formed a Sports Citizenship Initiative to prepare a report for high school officials. The report included a bullet list of "should's."



    To begin with, officials should make the welfare of all players their paramount concern when administering all contests.

    Officials should officiate in an unassuming manner. They should maintain poise, self-control and dignity throughout the contest.

    Officials should never assess penalties out of anger, but rather because the behavior is inappropriate and deserving of consequences.

    Officials should always shake hands with both coaches and administrators in public prior to a contest.

    Officials should never make their partners look bad, even when they may have missed a call.

  • 5/8/2013

    Creating your officiating resume

    By Thomas E. Neubauer, CMAA

    The idea of keeping an updated resume for our primary occupation is fairly standard today. The ever-changing job market has forced many of us to be continually ready to change employers, job locations and, in some cases, even occupations. The notion of keeping a resume for our officiating career is not so standard. However, I would like to point out several reasons why you should do it and then give you some pointers on how to do it.

  • 1/30/2013

    Improving Basketball Officiating

    By Dana Pappas

    We have often heard the expression, “You don’t have to be sick to get better” in the world of officiating. The question that usually follows that statement is: “How do we get better?” That is a question that was tackled by a group of retired basketball officials in the state of New Mexico six years ago when they began to develop and implement a comprehensive evaluation system for basketball officials in the Land of Enchantment.

  • 1/14/2013


    By Tim Heenan


                As I am clearly in the autumn of my career (I still referee basketball and football), some recurring themes still visit me from time to time. In 38 years of refereeing (still a rookie when compared to some other careers) and 25 years of supervising, observing and evaluating officials in several sports, there are some common denominators that I have seen in most referees.

  • 11/12/2012

    Tips for new officials - good officiating

    begins with a good attitude

    By Mike Guy

    In the years that I have been a high school sports official, I’ve learned a lot from books and articles, but I've learned more from good veteran officials who are willing to take the time to help me learn.

    One thing that has become clear to me is that good officiating begins with a good attitude. Major elements of that attitude are self-control, the willingness to learn, respect for others, patience and the desire to improve.

    Based on my experience, I've tried to summarize the habits and characteristics that I think are needed to develop a good attitude and to get a new official off to a good start, regardless of the sport. Here they are:

  • 10/29/2012

    The Pregame Conference

    By Dr. Ralph Swearngin Jr.

    Officiating requires continuous concentration and a positive mindset during the action, so it is crucial that officials find ways to disengage temporarily from personal concerns they may carry with them to their assignments. Since officials do have lives outside officiating, it is not unusual to go to games with personal concerns on their minds. These problems (serious, petty or in-between) may come from family difficulties, work issues or other personal concerns. Regardless of the source, this is an issue that needs to be addressed by all officials, because it is easy to transfer one’s emotions from one area of life to another. It’s like the old story of kicking the cat because you’re mad at your boss.

  • 5/15/2012

    The Mechanics of the Track and Field Referee

    By Jay Cornils


    The mechanics of officiating are laid out in specific detail for most sports for which the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) writes an officials manual. The NFHS Track and Field and Cross Country Officials Manual, likewise, lays out in specific detail how event judges and track umpires (inspectors) are to position themselves while officiating the different individual events that make up a track and field meet. However, the mechanics of the referee are conspicuously missing. The referee has the most extensive and elastic powers of any official at the meet, and quite frankly, of any official in all of officiating at the interscholastic level. And yet, there are no mechanics listed in the manual for the referee. Where should the referees position themselves; indeed, do they have assigned locations? The answer is no.

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