Have you ever said to yourself, "I wish someone had explained this rule enforcement to me so clearly earlier in my career?" Have you ever made the comment, "I really think a better use of this sports’ mechanic would be this way!" How often have you wished there was a source for more specific information on a rule or mechanic topic? Do you remember the first time a veteran official shared a trick-of-the-trade with you?
Most of us have had these and similar questions cross our minds during our officiating careers. We have often been blessed with a mentor or a friend who helped us understand or improve in our sport. Rarely does an official pick up on every aspect of their sport or managing their contest from the beginning. Continuing education for sports officials is perhaps the most critical element to improving and advancing in our officiating careers.
If you have advanced, if you have benefited from mentoring, if you have learned ways to make your work easier, are you ready to give back to others?
The NFHS is actively recruiting articles for its new NFHS Officiating Today online publication to help educate officials in all sports at all experience levels. What was formerly the NFHS Officials' Quarterly is now online. On a regular basis, articles written by officials will be posted that can help you learn or improve in your officiating work. Can you share information that will help others?
The NFHS Officials Publications Committee needs your contributions. We are looking for articles prepared by active officials for active officials. Your topic could be explaining how you use certain mechanics to improve your game. You might share with others how you deal with an emotional coach or an overeager athlete. Perhaps you want to share your opinion on how or why a certain rule is beneficial to the sport or may need some modification. This is a great opportunity to share you insights and opinions with officials around the nation.
All you need to do is select a topic of interest to you. Write the article using the NFHS rules and mechanics as your guide. If you quote others or use outside sources, make sure to properly attribute the information to them. Using programs like Microsoft Word to complete your article will help with spelling and grammar, but don't worry about that. NFHS editors will review any article prior to publication.
The committee is seeking articles that can run up to 1,500 words. Shorter articles may cover the story and would be acceptable, while a longer article might be divided into multiple parts. Once you have the article completed, e-mail it to cboone, the NFHS liaison to the NFHS Officials Publications Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your article will be reviewed by a committee of officials who make the final determination on publishing the article. Sometimes an article is set for some rewrite work and a member of the committee can work with you to address any issues.
Articles from any sport are welcome, but we are most interested in those sports that are sometimes referred to as “minor" or "secondary" sports. Of course, for those officials and students involved, there is nothing minor or secondary about them. We seek articles pertaining to swimming, field hockey, softball, volleyball, cross-country, soccer, track and field, and wrestling. Information that you wish to share regarding football, basketball and baseball is just as welcome; your perspective will help some other official.
Some officials have even joined together with a local high school coach to approach a topic from the two different perspectives. We call those a "How it's Coached-How it's Called" article and they often provide insight into the debates taking place on courts and fields all over the country.
Another interesting angle in past articles is an official who works both male and female versions of a sport and they identify what differences, if any, they feel are experienced in the different contests.
Perhaps you are involved in the law, medicine, accounting or another profession that would lend itself to an article about how you might look at sports officiating from that perspective. Maybe your topic is how things are different from when you were an athlete or how you see sports differently as a parent of an athlete and as an official.
Hopefully, you see that the topics are nearly limitless. Your opinions, your experience, your sharing are what the NFHS Officials Publications Committee is looking for. Won't you please take the time to create an article? You will be helping another official somewhere and completing the link of giving to the next generation as you were given years ago. We look forward to seeing your byline on the NFHS Officiating Today online publication soon.