This story first appeared in the February 2012 USA Football Magazine.
The best officials are the ones who go unnoticed.
One way to help start along that path is education through USA Football’s officials certification courses.
In 2011, CYO Indianapolis directed all 200 of its crew members to take the USA Football online course that provides up-to-date theoretical and practical knowledge designed to help officials improve their game.
CYO Indianapolis coordinator of officials Jerry Ross said participants – both rookie officials and veterans of the game – came away impressed with what they learned.
“It is important for all our sports officials to be educated and armed with as much knowledge as possible before they take the field,” Ross said. “The course helped new officials get their feet wet and served to reinforce the returning ones. You saw through the season that it helped in terms of using the same signals and being in the right position to make a call.”
The two-hour certification courses include instructional video and 3D animations that illustrate proper techniques, signals and positioning. Quizzes are included in the course, and officials who pass receive a certificate. Additional courses are available for crew sizes of two, three, four and five.
CYO Indianapolis will make the course a regular part of its officials training going forward, Ross said, encouraging individuals to take the three-person crew certification course as well.
“Feedback was very positive,” he said. “All the topics it covered can come up in games. It’s user friendly, easy to navigate and presented in a way that both a veteran official and a new official can understand.”
For more information on the officials certification program, visit: www.usafootball.com/game-officials.