High school football stands

How to Become a Trained High School Football Observer

About 6 months ago I stumbled upon a “Recon and Sniper Foundation” Facebook group. They provide useful precepts from a Recon/Sniper perspective, and wouldn’t you know, this morning’s post dovetails nicely with one of the principles we discussed at last night’s crew meeting.

Rule 7- BECOME A TRAINED OBSERVER. Learn through observation.

Take advantage of learning through other people’s mistakes. It’s a great way to learn without having to suffer through a lesson. When you are in learning mode speak only when you have something worth saying. Remember, you have 2 ears and 2 eyes, but only one mouth for a reason. Watch, Listen, Absorb, Analyze …then contribute. When you do contribute provide honest, accurate, truthful feedback. Avoid embellishing or exaggerating to make your point more valid. A truly valid point will always stand on its own merits. See things for what they are, not for what you want them to be.

Recon and Sniper Foundation

How this Applies to High School Football Officiating

As high school football officials, we can glean a lot of goodness from this paragraph. I especially like the “avoid embellishing or exaggerating to make your point more valid” statement. I’ve found the more words an official uses to describe a foul, the less I believe what he is saying actually occurred.

We don’t like being called out, and we don’t like it when we’re wrong, so we tend to protect ourselves by “raising shields” and becoming defensive. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of how we should receive correction/criticism.

The Success of Failure

In our business, we must become accustomed to and embrace correction. One of my favorite General Officers, John Hyten, spoke of “failing forward.” Robert “Cujo” Teschner, author of “Debrief to Win” (a book I highly recommend), said high-performing teams will embrace failure as an opportunity to get better. If we approach every pregame, game, and postgame with an open mind and open heart with the goal of improving, I believe we’ll be able to absorb and retain more information.

I confess, I’m not always good at receiving correction. Nathan McCrary, the back judge on our crew, is my “Jiminy Cricket” on the field, and I haven’t always taken his advice/correction with the proper mindset. That’s one of my goals for this year; to be a better listener and observer.