Officials' Developmental Clinics Support the Growth of the Game
BIRMINGHAM, AL - The weekend of Feb. 15, Dr. Arthur DeCarlo participated in two events that he didn’t foresee taking place individually, let alone the same weekend at the same location. Dr. DeCarlo and his daughter, Julia, attended the US Lacrosse Officials Education Program (OEP) women's Developmental clinic in Birmingham, Ala., where the temperature dropped low enough that it snowed.
||US Lacrosse's Developmental Clinics support the the training and education of women's game officials.
It’s not that Birmingham doesn’t have a solid girls’ lacrosse foundation – it does, according the man who held the first youth lacrosse clinics for boys and girls in 1989. But he had always been on the playing or coaching side of the boys’ game and the coaching side of the girls’ game. Officiating wasn’t in the original plan. And in Alabama, snow is never in the plan.
"I attended the US Lacrosse OEP Developmental clinic because my daughter, Julia, asked to get into officiating," said Dr. DeCarlo, the head coach of the Vestavia Hills (Ala.) Middle School team. "She is in eighth grade and I am still her coach. We face tough competition every year, so I decided to attend with her to learn more so that I might be a better coach."
US Lacrosse, its officials’ education and recruitment subcommittee, and both men’s and women’s officials subcommittees have a strong commitment to support the basic training, retention and advanced education of officials whose skill set is considered established, developing or new, regardless of where they live. The US Lacrosse OEP Developmental clinics are designed to deliver that support with all of those factors in mind.
"Developmental clinics are an important part of getting emerging areas up and running," said Lucia Perfetti Clark, officials education and training manager at US Lacrosse. "We encourage any and all areas to apply for a Developmental clinic for the July-December 2013 clinic season."
Tony Kingslover, a current football, basketball and softball official in Alabama and a first-year women’s game official, walked away from the clinic with more than he had originally hoped.
"I attended the clinic with the expectation that I would gain knowledge and experience in the game," Kingslover said. "I was able to acquire ample knowledge to start developing as an official for the girls’ game. The clinicians provided great feedback and information about ways to apply my previous officiating experience to the girls’ game."
In addition to a trained, knowledgeable pool of clinicians with District, National, National Emeritus or International ratings, the US Lacrosse OEP Developmental clinics also supply attendees with individual feedback and instruction, workbooks, rulebooks and the women’s game officiating manuals.
Two other developmental clinics were held this year during the Fast Break Initiative weekend in Burlington, Vt., March 8-9, and another during the same weekend in Fairmont, W.Va.
"I knew the men’s rules fairly well, but the women’s rules were vastly different," said Tom Zacoi, a West Virginia clinic attendee, Pittsburgh native and his daughter’s former lacrosse coach. "That was a big reason why I decided to become a US Lacrosse-certified official. I am more convinced now than ever before that most disagreements between coaches and officials would be mitigated if coaches were required to become US Lacrosse officials."
"[Going into the clinic] I had hoped to learn the nuances of the game through a better understanding of the rules," Dr. DeCarlo said. "Because I have played [lacrosse] since my youth, I hoped to translate some techniques and strategies I know into good coaching for my girls, but to do that I needed to know the rules and their intent more clearly. The clinic was great. I learned much more about fouls, the corresponding penalties, the importance of signals and officials positioning. I think my talents are more suited for coaching than officiating. I do understand the need for officials, especially on the girls’ side, so I may register properly next year so that I can help."
Whether you’re looking to get into officiating, develop a healthier understanding of the rules, grow a greater appreciation for the difficult job of the officials or apply what you learn to your coaching, a US Lacrosse OEP Developmental clinic is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the women’s game.
To learn more about Developmental clinics and women’s game officials education or to apply to host a clinic, visit www.uslacrosse.org/WomensOfficialsProgramsClinics.
For information about men’s game officials education, visit www.uslacrosse.org/MensOfficialsProgramsClinics.
- Emily Gibson