chicken foraging in a forest

Your Officiating Development: Do you Want to be a Robin or Chicken?

What is the difference between how a mother robin feeds her babies and how a mother chicken feeds her babies?

The mother robin partially digests the food and then regurgitates the food into the babies’ mouths.

The mother chicken doesn’t directly feed her chicks. Instead, she helps the chicks forage. She shows the chicks where to find the food and they eat for themselves.

Here’s the point for football officials:

You get to decide if you want to be a baby robin or a baby chicken. Do you wait around for someone else to find the food, eat the food, digest the food, and then spit it into your mouth? Or do you want to forage for yourself?

This doesn’t just apply to new(er) officials. It also applies to veterans. You may have heard the description, “He’s a first-year official, 20 years in a row.” Some officials are content to be followers, to apply minimal effort (take the tests, wash the uniform, step on the field) to get by. They only consume “food” (information) that someone else provides.

How to Become a Mother Chicken

I highly encourage everyone reading this post to apply themselves to not only be a baby chicken but to one day become a mother chicken. There is a plethora (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence) of information to help you.

Find a mentor and connect often with him. Read the rule book cover to cover. Read the Redding Study Guide cover to cover. Use a highlighter, take notes, and then send an email to your mentor if you have questions.

YouTube is FULL of useful videos. Do your own Hudl review and send clips to your crew for review. Bottom line, don’t step onto the field without working as hard as possible on your craft. One of our guest speakers from 10+ years ago said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Spend time interacting with and teaching someone else. Impact Image Marketing says “The learning-by-teaching effect has been demonstrated in many studies. Students who spend time teaching what they’ve learned go on to show better understanding and knowledge retention than students who simply spend the same time re-studying.”

Become a Producer of Information

Instead of just being a consumer of information, become a producer. Send out a rules question to your crew. Participate in an online forum. Randy Hodges and I are always looking for officials who would like to lead a segment in the association meetings.