Welcome to the team!
Thank you for making the investment to support and grow the game of lacrosse in St. Louis. We are a community and we will do everything to support you to make you confident and successful.
You have a partner out on the field. We pair up new officials with experienced ones that you can consult with to get the call right. The players respect your authority and you have the power to enforce appropriate actions as they are called out in the rulebook.
As a new official, you will learn to recognize what to look for to make a call, and build up a vocabulary and a style for responding. There will be close calls, coaches and the crowd will have suggestions throughout the game, and at the end, everyone will be grateful you showed up so they could play. It is very rewarding.
Officiating a Game
In the clinic, you learn how to check the field, sticks and setup a draw. You learn about where to stand so you can best see what is happening on the field. You learn about you and your partner's responsibilities. And you get some practice identifying and making those calls, with feedback on how to improve and better support the game.
The season starts out with scrimmages, with low pressure situations to practice blowing the whistle and making calls. Rarely are rules broken on purpose, but when they are and it creates an advantage or a safety concern, you are there to provide balance.
As games start, there are ample opportunities to tune your skills with youth and development games as you get more comfortable. Even while the JV and Varsity games are faster, they all have the same rules and you will quickly adapt to the players and the common things that happen during those games.
Thoughts and Advice from a new official
As coaches, parents and fans, we see the game differently. We see it as a contest with a winner and loser. We see it as an evolving arc of activity with momentum changes and important moments as the game plays out. As an official, you rarely have the luxury of appreciating the context of the game at that high of a level. You are laser focused on whether that "push" was a foul, or which stick covered the ball. You are the one primarily responsible for making the call. Not just recognizing the call once it's been made. Your goal is to keep it safe and fair and all of your energy is spent in analyzing second by second changes on the field for infractions that impact safety and fairness.
All of this is balanced with keeping a flow of the game. As you work with mentors and other experienced officials, you develop a style. You learn about setting the tone early for what will be tolerated and reigning in players and coaches when emotions run high. You have a partner on the field and together you deliver on your mission. It is hard, but extremely satisfying and best of all, the kids get to play.
You will feel overwhelmed at first, you will make mistakes. You will apologize for those mistakes and everyone will go on. And at the end of every game, the coaches and players will thank you, because your presence made it so they got to play. It is extremely satisfying.
Thank you for joining the team. We look forward to working with you and growing the game of lacrosse. We are here because we love the game and want the players to have the opportunity to grow their love of this game. If you have any questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to answer them!