It’s hard to believe that we are now past Memorial Day weekend, which for many of us means that the long spring season is over, and we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming. It also means that the summer season is right around the corner and before you know it, it will be August!

It’s important to take some time and reflect on the past season before it gets too far behind us. Regardless if your season ended up with a championship game or it ended before the playoffs, it’s important to think about the things you did well, and the things you want to improve on for next year.

Here are some tips to get feedback and establish a development plan that you can work on over the next eight months before the next spring season begins. After all, summer and fall lacrosse is supposed to be there to help continue developing the players' skills, why shouldn’t we use this time as officials to work on our skills as well?

Ask Yourself

The first thing you need to do is self-reflection on your past season. Be brutally honest with yourself too, it will help in the later stages of this plan! This also means don’t blame others. Don’t blame the assignors because you think they are biased against you. Were you a little heavier than you wanted to be? Were you a little stressed and that stress showed up on the field? Did you understand the new rules as well as you should have? What did you do well?

Ask your Assignors

A week or two after the season, reach out to your assignor. Ask them what things they think you did well and what things they think you need to work on. Multiple assignors? Ask them all, independently, so you get different viewpoints. Ask them about the feedback they received from coaches or peers. Tell them you want to get better; they will respond and help you. Assignors know what is needed better than most people.

Ask your Peers

Notice this says peers and not friends. Peers are other officials; some may be your friends but some you may not have a close relationship with except that you worked some games with them. Ask them for feedback. Ask them to be honest. What could you be doing better? What do you do well in their opinion?

Ask Others

Were you evaluated during the season? If you didn’t get written feedback, follow up and get that information. Ask some veteran officials, often they may have had a conversation or heard about you and can provide some insight. If not, ask them what things sperate the best officials from the good officials.

Once you get all this information, and the amount you get back is the amount of effort you put into it, compile it all together. Try to find some common themes from all the feedback. Once you have those broken down into some different things, prioritize how you want to work on those things. Some will be easier, and some will be harder.

Work on the things you can work on bit by bit and don’t get frustrated if you don’t get better at something overnight. The best officials know that they can always work on something in their game and that it’s a constant tug-of-war. Don’t forget to work on the things you are good at too, take some time on those things and get even better at them. By the time you step on the field next spring your goal is to be better than you were when you stepped onto the field at that same point the previous year.

Charlie Obermayer is the senior manager for officials development for US Lacrosse.

Officials Development Program

US Lacrosse has a multitude of resources — online courses, in-person clinics, documents, rules tests — available to help you develop as an official.

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