The NFHS Learning Center has released three new officiating courses that complement the goal of the NFHS Officials Recruitment Campaign to recruit and retain prospective officials nationwide.
“Officiating Football,” “Officiating Soccer: Fouls and Misconduct” and “Officiating Swimming and Diving” expand on the NFHS Learning Center’s commitment to reach the numerous groups that comprise education-based activities and athletics.
Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services, said by delivering courses for officials, it supports the organization’s goal to properly educate all who have a stake in interscholastic activities.
“This is all part of bringing the professional development for officials into the forefront,” Schuster said. “Over the past few years, we’ve put an emphasis on educating all members of the interscholastic community, and the past two years we’ve certainly been focusing on officials and sport-specific courses.”
“Officiating Football,” the first course released this summer, was developed to appeal to new and experienced high school game officials alike. The goal of the course is to use professionalism and knowledge of the rules to explain what it takes to become a good football official. In addition, the course addresses risk minimization and the potential impact on injuries, as well as the fundamentals of legal blocking and catching.
In taking “Officiating Soccer: Fouls and Misconduct,” officials can learn how to recognize various forms of rules violations. A better understanding of fouls – such as tripping, holding and obstruction – can help promote a safer game. This course also provides examples of situations in which to call fouls and show cards, along with offering guidance on how to deal with disciplinary issues and other forms of unsporting contact.
The third course, “Officiating Swimming and Diving,” was developed by the NFHS in conjunction with the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA). The course allows officials to choose the swimming tract, diving tract or both, depending on which rules are required by their state association. Officials who take the course will explore aspects of officiating and judging diving, as well as gain a judging practicum featuring feedback of submitted scores.
“Officials are always looking for different means of educating themselves,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials. “Information for each sport is provided in short segments so that the official is able to break down the learning and not have to grasp the concepts all at once.”
Each of the new courses offered by the NFHS Learning Center costs $20. A $10 discount is available to all members of the NFHS Officials Association by entering a registered officials association email at checkout.
“To prepare anyone for any profession, you have to have education to build confidence and knowledge to be able to handle the situations that are going to be thrown at you,” Schuster said. “When you prepare for a situation and then have a bad experience, that can lead you to drop out or leave a profession. When properly trained and prepared for the task at hand, you understand the expectations that are on you and can better handle different situations with the proper education.”
The launch of “Officiating Volleyball: Ball Handling” in September 2016 paved the way for subsequent officiating courses. It was followed by “Officiating Basketball” in November and “Umpiring Softball” in February. The six sport-specific courses currently available are expected to be joined this fall by an officiating course for wrestling.
The NFHS Learning Center now offers more than 50 online courses, including more than 20 free courses. Since the launch of www.NFHSlearn.com in 2007, the NFHS has delivered more than 5.7 million courses.