PLAYERS AND OFFICIALS
I have always attempted to find a way to get a local official or two to come in and work a Saturday pre-season scrimmage during one of our practices. It really doesn’t have to be a Saturday practice, I just found that it was easier for many officials to come in on a Saturday than a week night. I also like to use Saturday’s for pre-season scrimmages.
I am not talking about a public scrimmage, just the section of the practice that you use to go 5 on 5, but I make this one game like with a manager doing the clock, playing four quarters, etc… I pay them the going rate for a JV game. If you can’t afford two or three (which we usually can’t), then we have assistant coaches be the second and third officials.
I have found that the officials like it because it does help themto prepare for the new season. It helps our players because I ask the officials talk to them about new rules and just some quick thoughts on what it is like to be an official. I think it helps to humanize the officials to the players and gives our players a different perspective on them as people.
We also expect our players to hand the ball to officials rather than tossing it or throwing it. I think that helps show respect to the officials. We also address them as “yes sir” (ma’m for lady officials), “no sir”, and respond with “thank you sir” when receiving a handoff or a bounce pass from the official.
I have found as Coach Meyer says that “you get what you expect, inspect, and accept.” We strive to expect and then remove players from the game, who show disleasure with an officials call, no matter how much the crowd reacts. My feeling is that regardless of how much we dislike a call, we cannot lose our poise and focus on playing the game and becoming upset with the officiating does not help the performance of our team. I am not saying that we are perfect in this regard, but that is what we strive for in practice and in games.