Tag Archives: officials

Family of Fouls: Using Scaffolding to Teach Penalties to New Officials

lostThere is an old joke among refs about the three stages a young official goes through during the course of his career.   In the first stage, the rookie is nervous, not sure of where they are supposed to be on the field, unaccustomed to the speed of the game and terrified of making a mistake.  So, they call nothing.  A player could be decapitated in front of them and they would be loath to throw a flag.  After a year of working games and time spent diligently reading the rule book, the young official thinks he or she has “figured it out,” Comfortable recognizing fouls, they call everything! Hey that’s illegal: flag!  Oooh, another penalty: flag! Can’t do that: flag! Finally, after a few seasons and numerous discussions with trainers and mentors, the official “gets it” and begins to understand how level of play, type of game, time and place factor in the decision making process on whether or not to call a foul and what to call. They develop what we call game management.

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An Introduction To SOPTI

I’m used to being on my feet sprinting and jogging for hours at a time in sweltering Georgia heat during a summer lacrosse tournament. I thought I was in fairly decent shape, but twenty minutes into a SOPTI (Sports Officials Physical Training Institute) workout quickly purged that thought. After twenty minutes, half of which was a warm-up, I was on my hands and knees trying to get more air into my lungs while bright spots lit up in front of my eyes. Ten minutes later I was hurling over the side of the fence.

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