Photo Credit: Dale Garvey

If someone told you a they had a way to get better by next month, would you do it no matter what it was? How about if it only took a week,? Or maybe a year to see results? It’s safe to assume that most of us want to improve and be great officials. But getting there always takes time and effort.

How much time you are willing to devote to improvement is totally up to you. We’re ready to share some great ideas we’ve collected — things that will start to help you as soon as next month. We’ll follow these up next week with other ways to get better that will take some dedication and effort over the long haul. You can also read back to our list of ways to Get Better by Tomorrow and ways to Get Better By Next Week.

Apply the following ideas and you’ll get better. Whether you are new to officiating or getting close to hanging it up, you can upgrade your game by putting these short-term or long-term plans into action.

Get Better By Next Month

Develop a gym routine

It’s one thing to go to the gym and do 30-60 minutes of cardio and then head for the showers. You probably won’t see a difference short-term, but if you can get into a daily routine for several weeks, it will make all the difference. Incorporate weights, classes, a good diet and even sessions with a trainer, if affordable, and make it a regular part of your week, every week. You will be a healthier, slimmer official sooner than you think.

Find officials for a study group and meet

It’s not uncommon for a group of officials to get together before the preseason test and review the questions and use a little “groupthink” to improve everyone’s score. What about during the season? Do you forget about getting together for rules or video review? Find willing participants and meet regularly.

Read a book from the Referee Training Center

Referee creates training books covering the most important — Basework or Tough Calls: Block/Charge for example — include advice and tips from great officials at every level and video as well. Take the time to watch the video and dig into the book.

Review past evaluations and look for patterns

Whether you receive evaluations from your supervisors or write down the notes and feedback from partners during your postgame reviews, you can take a collection of those and review them to improve. Look back and if there are trends, work with your mentors and co-officials and make those a point of emphasis in your games.

Dig into the rulebook

We don’t mean reading it while you are in the restroom or on a beach somewhere. Yes, you should look at sections regularly. Yes, you should try to read a chapter weekly. You should also take time to really dig into it. Start with the definitions and the index. Get to know the penalties and casebook plays associated with each foul or violation. Spend so much time, going back and forth between pages, that eventually, the binding breaks.

Evaluate several games of other officials

It’s amazing how much you can pick up by going to a game and watching other officials work. Don’t just do it once. Go to several games. Sit at the top of the bleachers and take a note pad or tablet. Determine what the officials do well, and how they can improve. Most importantly, note techniques that are working and incorporate them into your game. If you know the officials, talk to them afterward. It will help them and you.

Train other officials

As long as you aren’t in your first year, there are always officials with less experience than you. Take time to be a part of a camp or clinic and pass along your knowledge. If you’re more experienced, take time to do a training presentation for your association, if your group is seeking volunteers. Go outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to make a positive impact on other officials.

Set short-term goals and reach them

If you haven’t worked a conference tournament, you aren’t likely to get assigned to the NCAA Final Four. And if you haven’t worked the first round of the state playoffs, you aren’t going to get the championship game. In fact, don’t set a goal based on getting a certain assignment. Most officials don’t control their assignments. Find something you can control and achieve that in 30 days — lose five pounds, create a pregame or postgame discussion template or establish a group of mentors and mentees for regular in-depth officiating discussion.

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