My high school coach had a saying: “I don’t care if you make a mistake. So long as you make it going a million miles an hour.” He could not get angry at us if we screwed up as long as we were hustling and running our hardest. This same principle applies to officiating at every level of the game. If coaches see you lazily walking to your position they will make several assumptions. One of the assumptions is that the official on the game does not care about the game. Once that thought is in the coach’s mind, the official will have a difficult time extricating that assumption.
Instead of fighting off the perception that you are lazy, it is better to hustle to your position. That does not mean that every official needs to be Usain Bolt. Some officials are faster than others, but speed does not necessarily mean you are hustling. So long as you are moving with purpose coaches will see that you are engaged in the game. Even if you are a few steps slower than the players, the coach cannot get angry at you if you are giving your sprint everything you have.
Take the position of the head coach on the first clear of the game. He is watching his team, and he is watching the officials to see if they are in their proper position. You could be the top official in the world, but if that coach catches you walking, you are automatically designated the laziest official in the world according to that coach. As unfair as it may be, officials are most certainly judged by how they appear. This is why we put so much emphasis on looking professional. Because we place a premium on how we come across to coaches, players, and spectators, it is important to not walk on the lacrosse field during play. Instead, jog briskly to position. An up-tempo jog makes it look like you are engaged in the game, even if your head is in the clouds.
Remember, everything we do as officials helps us sell the calls we make. If we lazily walk to our positions, it gives the coaches an excuse to label us as the bored, uncaring official. However, if we run/jog to our positions, it makes it hard for the coach to see anything but an engaged and confident official on the game. That hustle will help you sell a close call or no-call at the end of the game.