Every year is a recruiting year in an officials organization. Let’s face it: officiating does not suit everyone, only some of the newbies from last year will return, and of the ones who return, only some of them will be the kind who run with it.

In order to maintain the health of your organization, you need to make sure you get a good class of new officials every season. Why bring this up now? You have to plan your work in order to work your plan.

Now is the time to set up your classroom training dates and on-field training sessions and evaluation. Getting a classroom is usually pretty easy, but the on-field training is where the material comes to life. It is essential to have at least one play day to get new people on the field, and this takes more planning and organization: teams, fields, scheduling trainees and veterans, etc. Start that ball rolling now.

Figure out what you’ll charge for training, and don’t undervalue your product. Officials training gives people a skill to make a competitive wage. Trainees must invest in this skill. At the same time, don’t make the cost of training a barrier to signing up. I suggest pricing your training between one and two game fees. Pay your instructor or instructors. Think about having multiple instructors to involve move people in your organization, keep materials fresh, and give the trainees variation in teaching techniques and styles.

Knowing when your training is happening and what it will cost are the first steps to putting your recruitment and marketing plans in motion. Most officials organizations are run by people who volunteer time to the sport they love. They don’t have a marketing department, but US Lacrosse does! There are free posters and brochures that help your group look professional while you get the word out about local training. Target other officials groups who are working other sports. Put signs up at schools, gyms, police and fire stations. Think about waiving association dues for anyone who recruits a new person who completes training and takes at least one game.

Recruit, train, retain and promote! Don’t be complacent. Start the search today.

Stay Fit, Choose Adventure

The 2011 season has long since passed. Summer play is winding down, and fall ball is limited. You prepared to officiate during the preseason. You maintained fitness during the season. So now what?

If your body feels extremely fatigued, then a short break might be in order. But don’t let the break last too long. A three-week break in physical activity has shown to cause significant decline in fitness. This amount of rest is called detraining. Too many officials make the mistake of taking too much time off and then have to redouble their efforts in the preseason. This approach not only hurts your fitness it affects your whole game performance.

Of course going hard all the time is not the answer either. That leads to injury and burnout. What’s the solution? High intensity training does not have to take very long (maximum of 30 minutes), and as little as two high-intensity workouts (think intervals, book camp, reserve split running) per week can maintain that fitness you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

All of those other days can be used for the fun stuff of cross training, biking, swimming, tennis, golf, trail running, kayaking, or even Wii! It doesn’t have to be boring. Make a weekly date with friends to run, or join a group and learn something new. Whatever you do, stay active. Maintaining your fitness will allow you to set higher goals for your game, because you’ll have that fitness part in the bag!