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Officials are an essential part of sport. Sometimes this is not taken into account by clubs.

Without competent and capable officials the delivery of competitive activities becomes dysfunctional. Evidence suggests that many of the serious problems clubs face during the delivery of competition on match days stem from issues surrounding the perceived performance of the officials involved.

Officials require skills through education, training and mentoring.

It is important to create a respectful, appreciative and supportive environment for everyone participating. Recruiting, training and retaining officials at clubs requires good planning.

You want your officials to be the best they can be!

Here are 20 basic tips for officials your club can use to get them started. The tips provide some helpful guidelines for new and existing officials. Good officiating, playing and coaching ensures everyone enjoys the experience!

20 tips for officials

  1. Complete basic accreditation courses and training.
    • Clubs should ensure their officials access the National Officiating Accreditation Scheme (NOAS) that is in place to support the education and development of officials. It provides competency based training and a nationally recognised accreditation to officials working at all levels of sport.
    • Contact your State Sporting Association (SSA) who will provide guidance in accessing the NOAS and any other education and training opportunities sport specific courses.
  2. Remain updated and current with accreditations.
    • Rules and techniques often change.
    • It is essential that you keep updated with new trends to improve your knowledge.
  3. Attend player training sessions, rules workshops and courses conducted by your state or regional associations regularly.
  4. Be fit! It will enhance your performance and allow you to be mentally and physically ready.
  5. Attend any extra seminars or workshops that are educational and will provide you with more training.
  6. Be responsible for your own actions
  7. Be familiar with your sport’s Codes of Behaviour
    • Contact your SSA for your sport’s Codes of Behaviour documents
  8. Visit the Sport and Recreation and Australian Sports Commission (ASC) websites
  9. Understand the rules and how to apply them to your sport.
    • Attend rules discussions and club raining sessions.
  10. Ensure the match/competition is fair and equable for all participants
  11. Know who you can get support or assistance from when you are officiating
    • This may be a match day supervisor or association coordinator
    • Your role model or mentor could also assist you when you are officiating
  12. Be approachable, friendly and confident! Stay cool and controlled even when under pressure from criticism from players, coaches and spectators
  13. Look the part! Dress appropriately to officiate your sport
  14. Ensure you have the correct equipment to officiate your sport and a current rule book
  15. Ensure the playing environment is safe for all participants and spectators before commencing the match/competition
  16. Respect the players, coaches and spectators – treat them the way you like to be treated, but keep at arms length and stay independent in your role. Your call in applying the rules is the final call in the heat of competition – some independence is required even between friends.
  17. Know how to deal with conflict or whom you can go to if you need help
  18. Set goals for yourself – short, medium and long-term
  19. Have a mentor or role model to encourage and coach you
  20. Self analyse and assess your performance
    • Video your match and watch it later with your mentor
    • Be honest when you are assessing your performance.

Be a good ‘role model’ to others and enjoy being an official!

Five steps to recruiting, training, recognising and retaining officials

  1. Appoint an Officials Development Officer (ODO) or manager as a point of contact for officials. The ODO could be responsible for:
    • Training, educating and recruiting officials
    • Allocation and rostering of officials to matches/competition
    • Recognition of officials through uniforms, awards, payment and/or scholarships
    • Being the contact/communication person for the club between associations and committees
    • Providing support for officials and dealing with any issues that may arise
    • Organising mentors for new officials.
  2. Support your new officials by providing a ‘Welcome and Information for Officials’ pack. Examples of information to include:
  • Calendar of events – course, program and workshop dates
  • Career pathways
  • Role of the official – responsibilities
  • Codes of Behaviour
  • Payment and/or costs
  • State and national sporting association information
  • Outline of available training/education programs.
  • Provide quality training programs and courses to encourage people to become officials
  • Provide mentors, role models or supervisors to assist juniors to encourage them when they officiate
  • Encourage parents and players to become officials and train them
  • Get support and develop links with your SSA.

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Page reviewed 11 September 2023