Football Officiating – the basics and some do’s and don’ts

August 13, 2009

The basics high school football rules for football officials, and some do’s and don’ts:

Well first off – this is just my opinion but here are some of the basics that I try to follow.

Player safety – the one thing I consider THE most important.   Always keep an eye out for player safety:

  • Clipping
  • Illegal blocks – chop blocks, block in the back, etc.
  • Face masks/pulling of the helmet openings/or chin strap – with twisting of the helmet
  • Unnecessary roughness – yeah it’s football – but an unnecessary hit to a player totally away from a play or a hit with intent to harm needs to be controlled

Slow down the game – make sure you see what you call.  It’s better to get the call right than to rush it.

Position, position, position – coaches and fans hate when a call is made 30 yards away from a play; and you know what – so do good officials.  Be in the correct position to make a call or to observe the play.   This is easier said than done and takes practice and good field mechanics.  KNOW WHERE YOU BELONG – AND BE THERE.

Communication – solid communication with your other officials is extremely important.  This starts with a pre-game dialogue. Talk about key aspects of the game, kicking game – position duties during kickoff and scrimmage kicks, measurements,etc.  just to name a few.

Whistle in Your Mouth? Do not officiate with a whistle in your mouth – chances are this is going to get you into trouble sooner or later by blowing an inadvertent whistle and if you do – own it, get over it, and learn from it.   It happens at all levels!

Read and study the rules – just about every chance you get.  It’s every official’s job to know the rules – not just the referee or umpire.   Sooner or later when communicating a call with the other officials you may be asked for clarification.  And sooner or later if you do this long enough your position is going to change – you may find yourself as the referee (white hat) one day.  Know the rules and learn them.  I will start covering some of the key rules in a future posting.

Lastly – have fun, an open mind, and always learn from what  you did during the game.  Keep a journal of what happened during each game, and set goals for yourself!

If you have other do’s and don’ts you’d like to add, feel free to leave a comment below.

Here’s a five yard delay-of-game penalty until we meet again!

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