by Roger Caulfield
The “It Factor” refers to skills and qualities that officials possess that allow him or her to stand out above the rest. No longer does passing the exam and working a lot of games necessarily ensure an official a post season assignment. Today’s officials are under greater scrutiny than ever before. Social media has the referee front and center when any perceived mistakes have been made. If today’s officials want to maintain an elite level of officiating and alleviate any unnecessary criticism the following points must become an integral part of their game .
1. PHYSICAL FITNESS. Maintain a very high level of fitness which can be achieved through a commitment to a yearly exercise program. Supervisors are looking for officials who move well and get to the correct spot on time.
2. PROFESSIONALISM. Conduct yourself as a professional both on and off the court at all times.
3. COURT PRESENCE. Sloppiness in appearance, attitude or commitment is not acceptable.
4. GAME AWARENESS. Know the score, shot clock situations, player fouls and bench decorum.
5. KNOWLEDGE OF RULES\MECHANICS. These are the cornerstones of officiating.
6. SELLING A CALL. In every game, an official will have three to five situations to “sell a call” - these are opportunities to enhance your credibility and respect.
7. LEADERSHIP SKILLS. Officials must be able to manage situations with partners, players, and coaches - especially at critical times.
8. COMMUNICATION. This is demonstrated with your voice, body language and personal mechanics. Always remain calm, poised and avoid unnecessary comments. Silence can be golden.
9. PASSION\ENERGY. These are excellent indicators that you love and take pride in your work.
10. JUDGEMENT. This skill can be improved by watching videos, attending games and going to camps.
It is important for all officials to continuously assess his or her individual qualities and skills .Also it is critical to never give in to a “been there, done that” mentality. Commitment to self-evaluating and identifying areas of weakness will help one become an elite official and set a standard for grassroots officials.