PREPARING FOR THE SEASON PART 3

- George Tolliver

In part one of this series we discussed ways to prepare yourself mentally for the upcoming season. In part two we looked at physical preparation, how to get your body in shape. Finally letís talk about a very important part of officiating that is often overlooked, social readiness. This includes your appearance, how you feel about yourself, your interaction with others, as well as some other things discussed below.

1. Your uniform. Hopefully, you have already prepared your body physically for a challenging season. If not there is still some time. I suggest you take a look at part one before continuing. Your physical condition is important, but so are the clothes that you put on your body! At the beginning of each season you should evaluate your officiating wardrobe. Have you worn the same pants, grey shirt, and shoes for the past FEW years? Do you have to suck in your stomach to zip the zipper? Is there a black patch under the arm pit of your shirt? Does the height of the hem on your pants reflect that you are in a flood plain? If you answered yes to any of these questions it is time to update your uniform. Unfortunately officials are often judged well before they even blow the whistle. This is why it is so important to have a uniform that is clean, fits, and looks good. You canít go wrong with a new wardrobe to help improve your presentation and comfort when you hit the floor.

2. Your shoes. What condition is your current pair of officiating shoes in? Are they glowing on the outside but you are on your 5th new innersole purchase from the local pharmacy on the inside? If you want to stay involved in this game for a long time you need to invest in the proper shoes. Proper shoes will help the pounding you do on the floor. Take the time to research and learn what shoes are best for your feet and the type of activity you are participating in. You want shoes that will be comfortable but at the same time provide you with the proper support that will protect your feet. An annual change of new shoes is certainly in order to keep the reduction of joint stress injuries.

3. Be professional. This means while you are on the court, in the locker room or in the car or on an airplane. When you interact with other remember that you are not only representing yourself but also the league and supervisor for which you officiate. Let it be known that you are focused on the game the job you have to do. This will go along way with coaches, supervisors, table personal, and all others involved with the game. They want to feel comfortable with the officials and know that they are giving it their best effort. If your are late to games, disrespectful, and present an attitude that you are above the game or your surroundings then you are not only hurting yourself, but your crew and supervisor as well.

4. Self confidence. All of the above things will contribute to self confidence. It is very important that an official believes in himself and his abilities. There is an extreme amount of pressure placed on you every time you walk onto the court. You must be ready to handle this pressure and perform at the highest level that you can. By feeling good about your appearance and your relationship with others, you will feel confident that you can handle anything and everything.

5. Remember: Dress for Success, Be Professional, and Feel Good About Yourself when you step onto the court.