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Officiating Style

This is an excerpt from Successful Sports Officiating-2nd Edition by American Sport Education Program.

This chapter addresses the following:

  • The four styles of officiating, with reasons for their application
  • How game context affects officiating style
  • How style communicates your purposes to participants
  • The personal characteristics and performance principles that lead to success
  • The importance of image

In sports officiating, there are preferred ways of operating that tend to lead to success, although there are no guarantees. The ways you choose to operate are revealed in the style you adopt. The four styles described in this chapter are not mutually exclusive, though. You may find yourself justifiably adopting a particular style to fit the occasion. A good official adapts to the age of participants, their skill level, their maturity, their grasp of the game’s protocols, the complexity of their strategy, and the overall context of game situations. A preteen, early-season contest may feature participants who are just learning the rudiments of the sport. On the other hand, a late-season game between skilled competitors and a substantial (and partisan) audience poses another set of challenges. Your style should fit the circumstances of the competition. This chapter also contains suggestions for beneficial personal behavior—ways of responding that are shaped by your attitude, performance principles, and the 10 commandments of style. This chapter should help you react positively to game situations.