Photo Credit: Bob Messina

You can stand out at an officiating camp best by doing exactly what your prospective boss expects in everything that matters. What matters? Here is our unabashed list of some of the do’s and don’ts of going to a camp if you want to improve your chances of getting picked up:

DO: Come to the camp prepared.

Study up on your mechanics before you come to camp. For instance, you may never have worked college mechanics before you come to a camp, but you should make sure to go through the course material and manuals to learn as much about what you should be doing ahead of time. At a good camp, the instructors will understand and probably notice that you may never have worked the position you’re covering in the scrimmage. But they’ll also pay attention to how effectively you work to come up to speed.

DON’T: Try to be who you think the counselors want you to be.

Show up and be yourself. If you have the people management skills and the fundamental psyche that will withstand the mental pressure of the game, there’s a lot of leeway for otherwise being your own person.

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Hiring camps (those run by college coordinators looking for prospects) want people who are approachable from a social standpoint. People who are rigid are going to be rigid with coaches and it’s going to be a problem.

DO: Look the part.

If you show up 20 pounds overweight, it colors whatever other perceptions observers have of you. Simply put, if you were looking for a Division III official from among 50 high school referees, wouldn’t there be less risk in the ones who looked like they could keep up to the game? Conditioning and your physical appearance are qualifying points from which your ability as an official proceeds.

DON’T: Reject criticism.

The counselors are very likely to be at least a little bit more established than you. Accept the fact that they have something to teach you that will help your development. Get used to receiving advice and be humble.

DO: Come to the camp with the primary objective of improving your skills.

Do not go to a camp if you’re looking to promote yourself. Go to a camp because you feel it will make you a better official. Many successful officials have described their development as a trip up a spiral staircase. They can look up and down at their progress and objectives each time they return to the same challenges. A good camp has the philosophy that it is trying to teach developing officials how to work games in addition to how to referee them.

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DON’T: Think that the scrutiny’s off when the lights go down.

When you go to a camp, try to aim closer to a church picnic than a frat party when Happy Hour rolls around. Your future boss doesn’t want to worry about whether you’re a big enough boy or girl to get a good night’s sleep if they hire you.

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DO: What the boss says.

It isn’t nearly as critical how you think it should be done as what your potential supervisor thinks. You have to show a willingness to adapt to his or her style. You are an extension of the personality of your supervisor, and the league has hired your supervisor because he or she projects the attitude and philosophy it desires in its officials. It follows that supervisors are going to want to see a lot of their methodology in you or at least not see things about which they patently disagree.

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Note: This article is archival in nature. Rules, interpretations, mechanics, philosophies and other information may or may not be correct for the current year.

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