Tag Archives: focus

The Ball Will Distract You

I vividly remember one particular clear during the 2012 Vail Shootout while I was officiating at the LAREDO 3 clinic. I had reached the far cone as the single side official after starting my timer when the new trail official signaled reset once the goalie made a save. My feet were ready to take me down the other half of the field at a moment’s notice and I was focused on the clear coming towards midfield. All of a sudden the goalkeeper noticed his attackman on the far side was wide open and he launched the ball towards his teammate. I tracked the ball as it flew through the air and before it reached it’s apex I heard:

“You’re ball-watching!”

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Mental Prep Work

I think officiating boils down to one major attribute: the ability to stay focused for an extended period of time. The youth officials I’ve trained laugh when I tell them that they are getting paid to pay attention, but that is an accurate observation about what officiating is. I’ve been in games where I mentally blinked, or started daydreaming and suddenly I’ve got a player moaning on the ground with no clue how he got there. I felt bad knowing that I probably missed a major safety violation because I was not paying attention to the game in front of me. After evaluating how I lost my focus I concluded that my game preparation contributed to my hazy mental state in the game, and I resolved to find a way to get focused as an official.

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Keeping Your Focus In Blowout Games

Keeping Your Focus In A Blowout Game

It is not difficult to pay attention in a tight 10-9 game between two rivalry teams with the stands packed and the stadium filled with electric excitement. In those games it is not hard to hustle to every position, signal with authority, and get a good feel for the temperament of the players and coaches. Those games demand that the officials pay attention, and the environment presses the officials to focus. Blowout games are an entirely different exercise.

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Focus, Focus, Focus, and Have Fun

It took me three years to understand the importance of perception for a lacrosse official. I started officiating for the GLOA in 2008 at twenty years old. For most of my first season I was primarily assigned JV games. Towards the end of that season my assignor threw me a few low-tier Varsity games with experienced officials to help guide me along. In my second season I reffed a 50/50 mix of JV and Varsity games, but I wanted more competitive and more challenging games. In order to do that I had to get better and I had to take officiating more seriously. Continue reading