1. Mentoring National Swimming Officials
2. Want to recommend a N3 mentor/evaluator?
Going to Convention?
Click here for a list of learning
|Welcome to the September 2012 Officials Newsletter. If you have never worked a national or Grand Prix meet, I encourage
you to think about it. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn and grow as an official while helping our athletes achieve their goals.
Besides, how else could you get a deck-side view of some of the best swimming in the country! Check out what some of the officials at Junior
Nationals had to say about why they work national meets by clicking here. |
I invite you to consider working at one of the
Grand Prix meets during the next season. The meets and dates are as follows:
November 9-11, 2012 – Minnesota Grand Prix, Minneapolis,
January 18-20, 2013 – Austin Grand Prix, Austin, Texas
February 14-16, 2013 – Orlando Grand Prix, Orlando, Fla.
11-13, 2013 – Arizona Grand Prix, Mesa, Ariz.
May 10-12, 2013 – UltraSwim Grand Prix, Charlotte, N.C.
May 30-June 2, 2013
– Santa Clara Grand Prix, Santa Clara, Calif.
If you have any feedback, comments, or suggestions for stories (or even want to submit
an article), please e-mail us at email@example.com.
forward to hearing from you.
Clark Hammond, National Officials Chair
Mentoring National Swimming Officials
Recruiting, training and retaining officials is the most challenging job every
officials’ chair, coordinator, meet referee or team director takes on, at both the local and the national level. Many parents will take the
initial plunge towards becoming an official, but soon decide the volunteer position isn’t for them. Everyone has heard stories about a sour
evaluation experience that lacked being taught some of the skills for a particular officiating position or that involved working with an evaluator who
needed some refined mentoring skills.
To address these issues, the National Officials Committee changed emphasis on the National
Certification Program. It now has evolved into a mentoring program that emphasizes education and teaching the processes and protocols used at
national meets. While this part of the program has been updated to specifically to teach N3 mentor/evaluators, there are skills that can be used at
the LSC and N2 levels.
The five main skills to be used when mentoring include patience,
encouragement, listening, questioning and feedback.
Patience: Try not to rush to judgment on skills or ability;
allow the official extra time to improve their skills; avoid doing it for them; be reassuring.
anxiety and insecurity can be roadblocks to success. Encourage officials that they have the “right stuff” and help guide their talent in a
new and different direction than they might have experienced previously.
Listening: “Seek first to understand, then
to be understood.” Try to find discussion areas that are free from distractions; focus just on that conversation; allow the official time to
finish communicating without interruptions; and ask questions if clarification is needed.
Questioning: Frame questions in
a positive way. Focus on what has gone well and then what can be improved. Consider using empowering questions that facilitate thinking and help the
official discover his/her own answers. Examples of empowering questions include: “How do you feel about your performance so far?” or
“What key things would you like to change? Why?” or “How are you thinking of changing that? What kind of support would you
Feedback: “You may not remember what someone says or does, but you’ll never forget how they made
you feel.” Use a blend of compassion, tact and diplomacy both to encourage and to help teach new skills. Use positive verbal reinforcement and
consider using non-verbal communication, including hand signals (thumbs up, high five, quiet clapping or fist pump), as well as smiles and head
It’s imperative to provide feedback at a time that is most comfortable for the recipient. Ask if he/she would like
feedback often during a session, only when a skill absolutely has to be corrected, or at the end of a session. Remember to start the discussion using
positive reinforcement before talking about skills that need refinement. Try to avoid overloading the officials with suggestions. Try just three top
suggestions at a time.
Some Helpful Mentoring Hints
It’s not unusual for officials who are learning new skills
to ask the mentor to model and demonstrate those skills. When that’s requested, consider modeling the skill off-deck, perhaps during warm-up
time or at the conclusion of a session. It also may be helpful for the mentor to step into the role during a meet, but that should be done only with
approval from the meet referee.
Remember to keep the mentoring and performance coaching private. Avoid recommending advancement until the
core skills have become a habit; otherwise the person being mentored may have a more difficult time achieving the next step. There also is a
possibility that an unprepared official will reflect poorly on the mentor. Document everything in OTS to make sure the mentor, official and future
mentor are all on the same coaching page
Want to recommend a N3
Consider these questions first:
- Are they people-oriented; do they like and enjoy working with other officials?
- Are they good listeners who respect their colleagues?
- Do they
recognize when others need support vs. independence?
- Do they regularly contribute to the
professional development of other officials and share what they have learned?
- Do they find
reward in service to others?
- Are they able to support and help without smothering, parenting or
- Are they usually patient and tolerant when teaching someone?
- Are they confident and secure in their knowledge of current rules and officiating protocols, and
do they make an effort to stay up-to-date?
- Do they enjoy teaching?
- Do they have high standards for themselves?
- Do others look to them
for information or advice about officiating? And can others be assured they’re receiving the correct advice and direction?
- Are they overall a competent professional?
- Are they able to explain things at various levels of complexity and detail so others can understand and implement?
If you would like to recommend an N3 Mentor/Evaluator click here.