Men’s Officials ‘Rockin’ USL Training Programs
Officiating a high school boys’ lacrosse game in Arizona in late April, Ben Vosika and the rest of the crew came upon a call that confused them.
"We were dumbfounded for a second," Vosika, 26, said.
"But then I was talking with my fellow officials, and I was like, ‘Well, I’ve been in this situation before. I know what to do,’ he said. "We talked about that in Florida, so I knew exactly how to handle the situation. That happens all the time."
||Ben Vosika gained invaluable experience at the 2011 Level 2 LAREDO program in Florida.
So Vosika made the call, and he made it with conviction. He was referencing his experience at the 2011 US Lacrosse Level 2 Lacrosse Referee Development (LAREDO) program in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at the US Lacrosse Under-15 National Championships, presented by Champion.
Since the late 1980s, LAREDO clinics have provided training for lacrosse officials across the country. Initially hosted at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout in Vail, Colo., the LAREDO program was designed to teach three-man mechanics to officials on the West Coast.
US Lacrosse in January announced its newly redesigned certification and training program for men’s lacrosse officials. As part of the changes, Vail now is known as a Level 3 LAREDO. It is designed for officials ready to make the jump from two- to three-man mechanics and join the ranks of the US Lacrosse Collegiate Officials Committee.
Vosika was one of eight officials selected from a group of 28 applicants to attend the 2012 Vail Shootout, the premiere Level 3 LAREDO for the "cream of the officiating crop."
US Lacrosse supports the promotion of amateur lacrosse by providing men’s officials nationwide for games at all levels. Through its men’s officials training program, US Lacrosse gives training, services and representation for those who wear the black-and-white stripes. The LAREDO clinics play a significant role, as more than 250 officials will go through the program in 2012. In turn, the LAREDO program aids in US Lacrosse’s standardization efforts.
"Consistency is huge," said Charlie Obermayer, officials program manager at US Lacrosse. "As the game gets bigger and bigger and we’re more visible, the pressure is on us to grow the game the right way. The LAREDOs bring everyone together and gets everyone on the same page."
On an individual level, the LAREDO programs provide instruction on mechanics and game management, but also "nit-pick the little itty-bitty finer details of officiating to make each official the best they can be," Obermayer said.
Like Vosika, Gordon Corsetti attended a Level 2 LAREDO in Florida and will complete the Level 3 LAREDO in Vail this summer.
"The best thing I gained was confidence," Corsetti, 24, said. "It was a night-and-day difference. Clinicians with 30-plus years of experience looked at me and said, ‘Hey, you’re doing a solid job. Keep it up.’ That was huge on top of the intricate teaching methods."
Corsetti and Vosika raved about the relationship-building benefits of their Level 2 LAREDO experiences, and they’re both looking forward to Level 3 at Vail in July, as it will position them for future NCAA assignments.
"I had a blast. It was a rockin’ time. It was a lot of fun," Corsetti said. "My only thing was I wished it hadn’t ended. I wanted to keep going. Overall, I would give it two thumbs up. And I would give it more if I could."
For interested officials, space still remains in several of the July LAREDOs, including the Level 2 clinic in Florida that needs 25 members, and several Level 3 events in Ann Arbor, Mich., Springfield, Mass., and Chapel Hill, N.C. More registration information can be found by clicking here.
— Matt Forman
• US Lacrosse Men's Officials Homepage
• LAREDO Program PowerPoint and Expectations Statement PDF
• Men’s Officials New Training Press Release and FAQs