Is Officiating for You?

Officiating Opportunities

Today, the need for officials is great. There are often more games played than there are able and qualified officials to officiate them. The opportunity is there at all level of competition and in virtually every sport that uses officials.


If you're serious about expanding your officiating commitment, then consider these important questions:

Are you physically fit? Officiating at competitive levels requires running and endurance.

Are you emotionally prepared? Athletics is a highly charged and stressful arena.

Are you intellectually fit? You'll be expected to know the rules forward and backward.

Do you have the available time to commit? High school officials attend association meetings, camps and clinics, and may work several games every week.

Most officials start at the youth league level. As you improve your skills and gain confidence, you might find the opportunity to officiate middle school and high school games. From there, you may choose to seek advancement into the college ranks, where officials are often "scouted" by assigners, league commissioners or coaches. A very select and fortunate few will eventually work their way up to the professional level, such as the NBA or WNBA. Only after many years of hard work and selfless dedication might an official reach that pinnacle.

There are several paths you can take to expand your interest in officiating. Here are a few suggestions:

1.Set goals. Determine at what level you would like to officiate or level of competition you would someday like to officiate (e.g., high school, small college) and how much time you can commit.

2.Observe some local games in your area. You'll learn a great deal about high school basketball officiating, for example, by watching the officials at a local high school game. After the game, approach the officials once they've had a chance to relax and talk to them about officiating at that level. They'll steer you in the direction of the right people in your community.

3.Contact a local officials association in your area. Some associations advertise for new members in the local newspaper. Coaches, league administrators or your local parks and recreation department can also help you locate an association. Once you find an association, you can meet other officials in your area and begin the necessary training.

Skills for a Lifetime

The challenge of officiating can provide great personal rewards. You are in a position to be a positive role model for children and young adults. As an official, you must make instantaneous decisions, resolve conflicts and manage stress and pressure. The more you officiate, the more you will become adept at navigating those areas not found in the rulebook. These valuable skills will not only serve you as an official, but will serve you in all aspects of your life:


Treat players, coaches, and parents the same way that you would like to be treated -- fairly and with respect.

Judgment: Was it a block or a charge? Was it even a foul at all? Officials are required to make split-second decisions in the face of enormous pressure all the time. Often, the hardest decisions are the ones that earn you the most respect.

Communication: Officiating demands good people- handling skills. Having the strength of will and presence to speak clearly, calmly and professionally in the face of an irate parent or coach says much about your self-control and character.

Teamwork: Officials often work with a partner or in a crew of officials, but even when you're officiating games by yourself, it's essential to build teamwork with the coaches, the players and anyone else who wants to ensure the game is played fairly and according to the rules.

Confidence: The more you officiate games the greater your confidence becomes. That confidence in your skills, your ability and your authority becomes an inseparable part of your nature.

Responsibility: You've got to have broad shoulders to be a good official! Your multi-faceted levels of responsibility show that you can manage people and situations. You also must be punctual and lead by example.

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