Young Officials’ Conference 2013
Craig Birch has attended the official’s conference for the past three years. This year, however, held even more significance because it was the first time there had been a workshop aimed specifically at young officials. Moreover, Craig and a few other young officials were from the Youth Advisory Group were delivering it. Here’s how Craig found the day:
We had a prodigious gathering of young officials at the session who were all more than willing to make contributions in all of the activities that we had rigorously planned prior to the workshop. We were also very fortunate to have Chris Haxell attending as the keynote speaker. Chris has been officiating athletics for 16 years now and started when he was not much younger than I am (I’m 22). Chris was a judge at both the Olympics and Paralympics last year and he was, in fact, meeting manager for the Olympic test event. His message was quite clear; take every opportunity that comes your way. It certainly hasn’t done him much harm!
Our sessions were focussed on overcoming barriers, some more controversial than others might I add. We proposed a situation that a young official might encounter and each young official presented how they would resolve the situation. The scenarios ranged from pushy parents to overbearing officials (not that I’ve had the misfortune to encounter any of those) and there was a lot of interesting discussion following each proposed solution.
Following this, we had a brief Q&A session with Chris, Andrew Minnis, Aidan Smith and myself where our guests had the opportunity to ask us how we got into officiating and what we enjoy about it. ‘Free’ packed lunches were a common attraction to all in the room.
Hopefully the young officials took something from the session and will now go off into their next meeting with confidence and an increased hunger to learn and progress to the next grade.