Tired of getting only poor assignments and never getting the good contests?

Have you ever felt like this or heard of another official who did. “What is the point? After 20 years of officiating, the only assignments I get are middle school assignments and tournaments that nobody wants or are turned down by officials.” If this is you, I understand your frustration. So let’s step back and look at this situation. As I see it there are a couple of possible explanations. The first is that the assigner doesn’t like you and give you the assignments you do get because you are the only choice left. That is altogether possible. But wait; there are likely several assigners who assign matches in your area. So apparently they all dislike you. Another possible explanation is that the assigner has evaluated your skill level and wants to keep their integrity with the schools they assign for and they place you at the level they feel comfortable you are able to handle. These are the only two explanations I can come up with for this official’s problem. If the reason is the first there is nothing you can do to change the situation other than try to make them like you. You could try flower or candy or even money. If it is the second reason you can control that by showing the assigner you are better than they think you are. So what have you done in the past 20 years to become a better official? Do you know the rules cold? Have you read the rule book several times? Have you examined your mechanics and compared them to the standard in the book? Do you sit down after every match with your officiating partners and discuss what went right and what went wrong? Do you ask them to give you suggestions that will make you a better official? Are you a member of an officials association and do you attend their meetings? Have you ever attended an officials training camp? Do you consistently show up 45-60 minutes prior to contest time and appear courtside in a nice looking shirt, good looking pants and present yourself as a top quality official? If the answer to most or any of these is “no” then you aren’t doing the right things. If you want to get better assignments you need to become a better official. The union idea that longevity should beget better pay is not how things work in our profession. A more quality product is what gets rewarded. Just because a golfer has golfed for 20 years doesn’t mean their game gets better and they get to win a tournament because they have golfed the longest of all the entrants; it’s who shoots the best score.
So if this is you, you can continue to be frustrated with assignments you don’t like and do nothing because the *&!@ assigners have it in for you or you can take control of what you can control and vow to become better at your craft. Talk to your assigners and find out what you need to do to get the assignments you would like. Become a better official and prove to your assigners that you deserve better assignments, not because you have officiated for 20 years but because you are better than the officials who are getting those assignments you want.