Have you ever received a questionable call during a competition? A bad mark, or maybe a foul that you disagreed with? How did you respond?
Maintaining manners and respectful candor with officials is an important part of being a successful athlete in most sports, but specifically as a thrower. Before discussing proper relations with an official, it’s pivotal to comprehend the role they play in our sport. Officials carry a lot of responsibility with them at competitions. They control the tempo, flow, and overall atmosphere during a meet. Enforcing rules, pacing warmups, calculating results, and marking throws are just some of the ways officials control the various factors in play during a meet.
Now that we understand the role they play, we can determine how to build a respectful relationship with officials. The first step is familiarity. Take time to introduce yourself before a competition, and thank them for their work after the competition has ended, no matter how you performed. This leaves a positive impression on yourself as an athlete, your coaches, and your program as a whole.
Respectful behavior during a competition is essential as well. Follow their instructions, even if they seem trivial to you. Some officials prefer you don’t enter the ring until they announce the lineup, others are less concerned with this rule. This is only one example of a rule or preference an official may ask of you.
This brings us to the final piece of interacting with officials. Competition among throwers often breeds strong emotions and high intensity situations. In a close competition, every centimeter or inch matters. Receiving a bad mark or questionable foul is something almost every athlete has dealt with at some point in their career. Reasons for questionable calls may vary, but the way successful athletes respond to these situations remains consistent. They show respect, remain calm, and do not project their emotions toward any officials. If you feel a mark was given incorrectly, or a foul was called out of place, consult with your coach on how to proceed. Chances are you will be interacting with the same group of officials throughout the season.
As athletes, we carry with us a responsibility to show respect to everyone we meet and interact with, especially officials. Respectful candor and professional relationships with officials will not go unnoticed. The level of respect you show to officials is a direct reflection of yourself as an athlete, a person, and a teammate. There are many pieces that must fall into place for a competition to be successful, and officials are one of the most important ones.
As you build repor with officiating crews through out your career, opportunities will open for that official to help you in your own performance! You might prefer a quiet atmosphere, or a quick paced event, or maybe that official will allow you that one extra warm up attempt before competition begins. These little accomodations afforded to you by an officiating crew can make big differeneces in the later years of your career.