Volume 20, Issue 11 | November 10, 2020
Officiating Solutions
Officiating may be the most difficult job in youth and high school sports. While we acknowledge that both coaches and young athletes frequently make mistakes, nearly every decision by an official is regularly scrutinized by the parents, coaches and athletes involved in a game. Even though any review of film or overall performance suggests that officials are most often correct, they are often questioned and sometimes verbally assaulted for playing their part in an athletic contest. For many officials, it's simply not worth the trouble. So it should be no surprise that the number of officials is decreasing rapidly, resulting in a shortage in youth and high school sports across the country. The impact of this decrease is already being felt in a very real way, as schools and organizations across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to schedule games. Unfortunately, the current pandemic may be making matters even worse.
The truth is, officials play a critical role in youth and high school sports. We need officials to provide competition for our kids that is fair and organized, to make the calls that help young athletes to learn the rules and recognize their mistakes so that they can grow.
Play Like a Champion is committed to finding solutions to this problem. As part of our annual webinar series, we sat down with retired NFL Official and current ESPN Analyst John Parry to consider ideas for increasing the number of officials. A veteran of three Super Bowls, Parry provides several innovative solutions in the video above. He's joined by Dr. David Pierce, the Director of IUPUI's Sports Innovation Institute, who last spring tackled the officiating problem with a unique approach.

Parents can be part of this solution. Watch the video highlights of our conversation and consider how you can help increase the number of officials involved in your local leagues:

  • Reflect on your own interactions with officials. Are you creating a positive environment that respects the role of officials? Are you setting a good example for athletes and other parents when it comes to officials?

  • Encourage your own young athlete to become an official. Many local leagues provide an opportunity for high school aged kids to become trained and begin to officiate games. Officiating can provide a rich opportunity for current athletes to give back by teaching a younger generation the game, allow teenagers to make some extra money, and extend their careers in sports. An increased understanding of the sport that comes with officiating can also help young athletes improve their own game as well.

  • Encourage your school or league administrators to consider electives or other opportunities for kids to learn more about not only officiating, but the many other avenues to get involved in sports beyond playing.

It's important that administrators, coaches and parents all work together to create a positive environment for officials and develop sustainable solutions to the current shortage that threatens our childrens' games. Doing so will assure that future generations can continue to learn and compete in the games they love.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing. ~ James 1:22-25
Virtual Clinics & Workshops Offer Unique Training Opportunities During Pandemic
With sports continuing to return to communities and schools across the country this fall, Play Like a Champion has been back at work with coaches and parents, presenting our Coaching as Ministry Clinics and Parent Like a Champion Workshops across the country... with a twist. While the pandemic continues to curb travel and restrict large gatherings, we've taken our clinics virtual for a limited time. Now, more people than ever can experience Play Like a Champion presentations in a format that allows participants easy access from the comfort of their home. We've learned a few tricks to make our virtual option as interactive as possible, allowing our expert trainers to educate coaches and parents as you prepare to return to the field. Interested in learning more or scheduling a virtual training as you plan for winter or spring seasons? Call 574-250-6424 or email us at information@playlikeachampion.org. Join us as we continue to transform the culture of sports and return to play stronger than ever!
A Prayer for Parents
Lord, give me the eyes to see you in my children,
your heart to love them and your gentleness to help them grow. Give me your wisdom to guide them and your strength when I need to let them go.
Play Like a Champion's "Daily Prayers for Champions" page has been updated! Visit www.playlikeachampion.org/prayer for more than 200 prayers plus resources that can help you and your team grow closer to God while participating in sports.
Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series
PO Box 72, Notre Dame, IN 46556 | information@playlikeachampion.org