Tag Archives: GLOA

I Wrote A Book!

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Advancement Rules

I can’t believe it but I just sent the final version of my officiating book “Advancement Rules: Improving Your Lacrosse Officiating” to my publisher! CGP is responsible for the design of the front and back cover, my mother took all of the photos, my sister edited the entire book, and my dad kept me focused on finishing! It has been a long year of writing, but I am proud to soon be calling myself an actual author! My book will be available for purchase on the Amazon store as an eBook, and will also be available to order a paperback version.

This is a short book full of advice, insight, commentary, methods, and strategies for managing a game and improving as a lacrosse official. I want any official who reads this book to feel more confident when they next step onto the field. I am looking forward to putting out future editions of “Advancement Rules” every two to three years. Those editions will go into more detail of specific officiating techniques, interviews with top NCAA officials, and more strategies that I’ve implemented in my game.

This book has been a great labor of love for me, and it could not have happened without the contributions, advice, testimonials, and stories from numerous officials. They are, in no particular order: Wade Lenicka, Brad Lapinski, Rick Eltz, James Eubanks, Dave Adams, Jim Kennedy, Stuart Smith, Jeff Green, A. Nick Brown, Bill Powell, Jon Oschner, Don Stoppenbach, Jeremy Redmon, Tony Rouse, Lou Diaz, Andy Halperin, Topher Lawson, Eric Sanders, Mike Gossett, Patrick Fecke, Harold Buck, and Brian Higgins. Any omissions are the fault of the author.

To the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association – It has been one of the great pleasures of my life to officiate with the individuals that comprise this fantastic association.

To those that have shared a LAREDO event with me: Jeremy Redmon, Topher Lawson, Jeff Greene, Kurt Trampel, Jon Cisowski, Jeremy Bofman, Dave DuBan, Pat Finn, Nic Herriges, David Redfern, Ben Voskia. We went through the crucible of training and came out better officials. I had a blast working and hanging out with all of you.

Special thanks to the men who have mentored me over the years: David Clements, Peter Fleury, Trey Towery, Jeff Bruso, and Dale Hall. If it wasn’t for you taking me under your wing and advising me after games I would never have reached the goals I set for myself.

To every official I’ve ever worked with. I’ve learned something from all of you that helped to improve my game.

A special thanks to my sister, Caitlin Corsetti, for her hard work editing this book.

Finally, to my parents. My mother, Mary Jo, for all of her support and belief, and my father, Lou, who has always been my biggest fan.

I decided to put a little teaser of the book up on the AYL blog so here is the introduction to “Advancement Rules!”

My career as a lacrosse official began in the seventh grade. I helped run the scorer’s table during youth games at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse, one of the earliest youth lacrosse leagues in Georgia. On the final game of the evening, the scheduled officials did not show up. The players and coaches were ready to go, but we had no one to ref the game. I was the only person around who had read at least part of the rulebook. So I stepped down from the elevated scorer’s platform, grabbed a whistle, and soldiered onto the field for my first game.

I was alone, petrified, and had no idea what I was doing. I knew what a slash was, but I had no clue how to report it properly. I had a vague notion of the proper enforcement of a flag down slow-whistle. I had zero idea of how to conduct a play-on. At the very least, I knew how to signal a goal. I distinctly remember angering the head coach of the home team. A person who, up until that point, I had considered a friend and mentor in lacrosse. He was incensed that I did not award a free clear to his team after a foul by the opposing team in his team’s defensive half of the field. This is something I do without hesitation now, but I had no clue what he was talking about then. All I could do was stare at him as he yelled and gesticulated emphatically that I was the single worst official he had ever seen on a lacrosse field. That was the inauspicious start to my officiating career.

Despite that coach’s opinion of my officiating abilities, I found that I liked wearing the stripes for two primary reasons. One, I liked getting paid. It was a marvelous first experience to be handed cash after the game by the league administrator, and I was making a terrific hourly rate at roughly $20-25 per game. It definitely beat working retail. Two, I liked the authority. Not many middle and high school students get to exercise authority and command. The authority of being an official was intoxicating. I blew my whistle and play stopped. I threw my flag and handed out swift judgment. I reported fouls and people listened. For a young kid, the general deference people showed me when wearing stripes was just plain cool.

While my officiating career began in my early teens, I did not consider it a profession until I joined the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association, GLOA, in 2008. When I hit the field for my first game as a newly certified GLOA official I was a nervous wreck. But, game by game I got a little more confident, and a little more sure of myself. I was also incredibly lucky with the officials I was partnered with. Those individuals, many of whom contributed to this book, were my first mentors and they helped navigate a hapless first year official through the treacherous terrain that all new officials must go through. By the end of that year I was a better official. Mainly due to the experience I gained on the field and the advice I received from my mentors. However, I was far from being the official that I wanted to be.

That off-season I was consumed with improving my officiating skills and reaching that next level. I read as many books as I could find on officiating. I watched the college officials on television. I called my mentors after fall ball games if I had questions. I even practiced signals in the mirror. My goal was to get assigned varsity games, and I wanted to do everything possible to get to that level. Eventually, I put in enough work and started seeing assignments pop up every so often with a varsity tag next to it. To say I was both thrilled and nervous is an understatement. Having reached my goal, I needed a new one. Which became how do I become the referee on games instead of the umpire? Once I started getting referee positions, the next thought was, “Maybe I could be a college official.” I am proud to say I was recently recommended to become a collegiate official, and will have some college games in the 2013 regular season on my schedule.

Every year there is a new goal, a new level to reach or place to advance to. The question you must ask yourself is how do you get to the next level in lacrosse officiating? Whether you want to move from youth games to junior varsity, JV to varsity or varsity to college. This book will help you advance and reach your goals in this fantastic profession.

I’ll do another post once the book goes to print and is available on Amazon!

Cheers,
Gordon

Bigger Than The Game

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bigger-than-the-game

One officiating concept that I try to live by is to not be bigger than the game. That concept means that I do my best to not take over the show that the players and coaches are putting on because there isn’t a fan in the stands that paid a ticket to come watch me officiate.

When I was a less-experienced official I was definitely bigger than the game mainly because I didn’t know any better. I was like Leslie Nielson impersonating a major league umpire in the clip below.

While Mr. Nielson was doing a parody of umpires, that clip illustrates an official being bigger than a game and making a mockery of the game in the process. While the clip was a joke about baseball umpires it could have been done with any official in any sport. The potential always exists for an official to be bigger than the game, which is not a good spot to be in. It is a bad spot to be in because other officials really disapprove of a showboating, or overly officious, officials. So do fans, players, and coaches especially.

After my second year officiating for the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association I went to an officials training clinic at UNC, Chapel Hill. I thought I was a real hot-shot official and I set out to prove that I knew what I was doing. As it turned out, I knew absolutely jack squat.

My evaluators at the training clinic ripped my officiating abilities apart. My positioning was terrible, my mechanics horrible, and my game management skills were non-existant. To top it all off one of the lead evaluators told me that it looked like I thought the fans came to watch me officiate. I was devastated and spent much of the drive back home thinking of quitting officiating.

It took a month before I stepped onto the field again. Since I decided to continue reffing I had to change my mindset. I had thought I was some reffing prodigy who knew everything there was to know about officiating. That old mindset contributed to the perception by my evaluators that I thought I was bigger than the game. While I could not change my training evaluators’ perception of me, I could certainly ensure that no one perceived me in that way ever again. So I made it my mission to become a student of officiating.

I decided to approach every game as a learning opportunity. Each and every game was a chance to get better and get my officiating to a new level. However, I also needed to work on removing my ego from my officiating. While it is a good thing for an official to have a high amount of self-confidence, I think it is important for officials to keep their egos off the field. If we don’t, we give the impression that we think we are the most important people on the field. To be fair, officials are necessary for the game, but as I said earlier no one pays for a ticket to watch us ref. Fans come to watch the players. The coaches come to coach the players, and the players come to play each other. The officials are meant to filter out bad behavior and leave a good game in their wake. If we leave the field of play and no one can remember we were there, then we did a good job.

Some officials call this blending in, or being “green.” All that means is that good officials are rarely noticed. They seem to blend into the field. Only appearing when a foul needs to be called. That is what good officials strive for. We don’t want people to remember us. We want fans, players, and coaches to remember the game and how it was played. Not how it was officiated.

It is a little strange to think that we aspire to not be noticed. That my fellow zebras and myself don’t want any recognition from anyone during or after the game. We don’t want applause for a job well done, we just want people to forget we were even there.

Cheers,
Gordon

Learning the Field Dimensions

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As part of my work with the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association I am pleased to provide this video tutorial to our players and parents. After watching this video you will have a solid understanding of the proper dimensions and measurements of an ideal lacrosse field.

To watch this video on youtube please visit this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MM88zAuUIU

To watch this video at the highest quality please select 720p from the video menu.

Cheers, Gordon