Frank Oppenheimer was a world-renowned physicist and University of Colorado professor, who as a result of McCarthyism, was blackballed from teaching in the 1950s before settling at a Colorado high school in 1957.

Imaging knowing a subject that intricately and trying to teach it to a high school kid. It’s the difference between knowledge and understanding. Being able to interpret a subject you’ve mastered for a new learner gives a unique perspective.

November marks the beginning of training season for new and returning officials. Every active official in every association should find a way to participate in training. Whether you assist in the classroom, take the lead on a topic or participate in on-field training and observation, being on this side of the learning dynamic will make you a better official.

Can you see yourself in the students in front of you? Can you see their understanding as a progression?

When certain concepts or verbiage stumps new officials, how will your explanation help them? Can you develop a way to understand a rule or mechanic that could not just help your students, but all students of the game?

When you think this deeply about your skills and profession, the next time a coach barks out a similar question during a timeout, you will be prepared with answers.