SCOA - South Central Officials Association



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Let's become a better official this year.

As an official in the state of Michigan we each work as an independent contractor. That in essence means we are a business entity and we provide a service to schools as an official. Normally when a school hires a contractor to do work for them, they look to hire a person who has good credentials, knows his or her job well and can be expected to do a job that will meet the schools expectations. Most contractors are licensed by the state and have to meet a certain level of proficiency in order to get their license. In addition they are required to take continuing education classes at their own expense to keep their proficiency up to current standards.
Let’s examine what an MHSAA official has to do to become an independent contractor official. You must pay a minimal fee and attend an on-line rules meeting that includes answering a few multiple choice questions. If you miss any of the questions you simply need to go back and retake that part of the test over and with only 3 or 4 possible answers to choose from, you would need at most 4 tries to get any question correct. You are now a registered MHSAA official. You could be legally blind; you could be confined to a wheel chair; you don’t need to know a single thing about the sport you are registered to officiate. However, you are registered to officiate a MHSAA sanctioned event in your sport as an independent contractor. Would you consider hiring an electrician to rewire your house that doesn’t know what they are doing?
The problem the state has is there are not enough officials in any give sport so they can pick and choose only the best to work their events. We likely have all worked with or perhaps are an official who is very deficient in the skills required to be a great or even good official in your sport. How about if this year you make a commitment to fix that problem? Become a better official. You are trying to sell a service. Why not make it a great service? Here are a few thoughts to consider;
• Do you regularly sit down after an event and discuss with your officiating partners what went well and what didn’t go so well in the event and what should or could be done differently next time?
• Did you have to sanction a coach for getting out of line? Perhaps had you done your job better, you would not have had to issue a sanction.
• How many times have you read the rule book for your sport? I would suggest that 1 or 2 or 3 times is not near enough.
• Are you in good enough shape physically to get where you need to get to make the calls you need to make in your sport, if not try fixing the problem?
• When was the last time you attended a camp or clinic that was designed to make you a better official in your sport?
• Have you purchased a new shirt, new pants or a new pair of shoes in the last year or two so you look professional?
If I want to sell my services as a doctor, I had better be a darn good doctor or I will not have many patients. If I want to be a plumber, I had better be good at my craft or I will not have many calls to fix plumbing problems. So why not be a good official? Stop complaining about not getting assigned to good events and only getting crappy assignments. Do what you can to become a better official. It’s the only thing you can control that will get you better assignments. Read the rule book again and again. Lose some weight and get in shape physically. Spend some time and money and attend a clinic to get better at officiating your sport. The athletes you officiate deserve it.


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