1 BASIC TRAINING FOR NEW TRACK & FIELD OFFICIALS The first of a set of modules developed for the training of new officials. The Introductory Module USATF Officials Training Subcommittee Initial Training Group
2 OVERVIEW The training modules represent a compilation of the best materials available for new officials. The modules are based on the feedback received from surveys sent in the summer of 2007 to over five hundred newly certified officials. Many officials have put in countless hours of work to assist others who want to join their avocation. The initial training committee has sought out and reviewed these works and compiled them together into one module to provide the most effective training available for new officials. When additional information was found to be needed, the committee provided it or sought out others to do it. The module is interactive, but should be followed up with working events and in-person mentoring by experienced officials. The committee wishes to thank and give credit to everyone who has contributed to the development and continuation of our sport. Specific credits are listed at the conclusion of each module..
3 Basic Training for New Track & Field Officials INTRODUCTORY MODULE Chapters 1. Governing Bodies 2. Disciplines within USATF 3. Track & Field Meet Organization 4. Qualities of an Effective Official 5. Safety, Risk Minimization and Legal Liability 6. Mentoring/Follow-up 7. Credits and resources The introductory module serves to introduce the new official to the structure of track and field, and general responsibilities and qualities of an official. Other modules are: Module 1: Umpiring and Marshalling Module II: The Throws- Shot Put, Discus, Javelin, Hammer, Weight Throws Module III: The Jumps- High Jump, Long Jump, Triple Jump, Pole Vault Module IV: Starting, Clerking, Timing, Lap Counter, Finish Judge The Committee emphasizes that these modules are for new officials, and recognizes there is more information needed and available for officials as they progress in responsibilities and levels of competition.
4 Chapter 1: Governing Bodies After completing this chapter, the official will be able to do the following: Identify the international and national governing bodies for track and field. Identify the organizations that publish a rule book for track and field competitions held in the United States.
5 The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the international governing body for athletics the name for track and field in the rest of the world. IAAF rules apply to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and other international competitions. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the umbrella organization of the Olympic Movement with the primary responsibility and supreme authority to supervise the summer and winter Olympic Games. IAAF IOC
6 USA Track and Field (USATF) is a member of the IAAF. It is the national governing body for track and field, road racing, race walk, cross country, and mountain/ultra/trail racing. It conducts national championships for elite athletes (senior and junior championships), youth (youth nationals and Junior Olympic program), and athletes 30 years old and older (masters athletics). IAAF IOC USATF
7 Like the IAAF, USATF has organizational members. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) are three of its organizational members. The NCAA is a voluntary organization of colleges and universities that governs their athletic programs. It is divided into 3 divisions and hosts 88 championships in 23 sports (including cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field). The NAIA is an affiliation of nearly 300 colleges and universities and offers 23 championships in 13 sports (including cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field). The membership of the NFHS consists of state high school interscholastic athletics associations. Its purpose is to the promote participation, sportsmanship, recognition, resources, education for officials, and uniformity and safety in rules for high school athletic competition in the United States. IAAF IOC USATF NCAA NAIA NFHS
8 The IAAF, USATF, NCAA, and NFHS publish rule books for their respective competitions. The NAIA uses the NCAA rule book. IAAF IOC USATF NCAA NAIA NFHS
9 Review Questions 1. Match the governing body with the correct definition. 1. IAAF A. Organization of colleges and universities divided into three divisions by size. Conferences include the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10, etc. 2. IOC B. Federation of high school interscholastic associations 3. USATF C. USA national governing body for track & field 4. NCAA D. International governing body of track & field for the world 5. NAIA E. Affiliation of nearly 300 smaller colleges and universities 6. NFHS F. Umbrella organization for the Olympic Movement Answer: 1. D, 2. F, 3. C, 4. A, 5. E, 6. B 2. Match the governing body with the rulebook under which its meets are conducted. 1. IAAF A. NFHS 2. IOC B. NCAA 3. USATF C. IAAF 4. NCAA D. USATF 5. NAIA 6. NFHS Answer: 1. C, 2. C, 3. D, 4. B, 5. B, 6. A
10 Chapter 2: Disciplines within USATF After completing this chapter, the official will be able to do the following: Identify the disciplines within USATF. When given an event, match the event to the most appropriate discipline.
11 Track and Field Track and field competitions during the year are divided between the indoor and outdoor seasons. In the United States, the indoor season generally starts in December and concludes with the championships in late February or early March. American outdoor competitions are held from February through early August, with the European season concluding in September.
12 Track Events Track event competitors participate in running events of various lengths, from sprints and mid-distance to long distance races up to 10,000 meters. They also compete in hurdle and relays races.
13 Field Events Field event competitors combine the talents of speed, strength and control. Field events are categorized as either throwing events (from a circle as in the Shot Put, Discus, Weight and Hammer, or from a runway as in the Javelin), or as jumping events, both vertical (the High Jump and Pole Vault), or horizontal (Long Jump and Triple Jump).
14 Combined Events Some track and field competitors compete in combined event competition. Combined event athletes compete is a certain number of events in a particular order over one or two days of competition, trying to score the highest overall point total. The most well known combined events are the men s decathlon and the women s heptathlon.
15 Cross Country Cross country competition is run on a course, generally open country, fields, parks, golf courses, or grasslands. The course avoids deep ditches, dangerous accents or descents, and thick undergrowth.
16 Mountain and Trail Running Trail and mountain running often occurs on hiking routes in remote, woodland or uninhibited areas on terrain generally more rugged and challenging than standard cross country courses. Trail courses are characterized primarily by terrain and topography, while mountain courses are characterized by significant changes in elevation between the start and finish of the course.
17 Road Running and Ultra running Road running is the sport of running on a measured course over an established road (as opposed to track and cross country running). These events normally range from 5 kilometers (about 3.1 miles) to long distance, such as half marathons and marathons (26.2 miles/42.2 km), and may involve large numbers of runners or wheelchair entrants. Running that covers a distance farther than a marathon is called ultrarunning; the event is an ultramarathon. Such events can be measured in distance (for example, 100 kilometers) or by time (whoever has run the farthest after 24 hours).
18 Race Walk Race walking is an event contested in all levels of the sport of track & field, from youth athletics up to and including the Olympic Games. It differs from running in that it requires the competitor to maintain contact with the ground and straighten their front knee when the foot makes contact with the ground, keeping it straightened until the knee passes under the body. Specially-trained judges evaluate the technique of race walkers and report fouls which may lead to disqualification. All judging is done by the eye of the judges and no outside technology is used in making judging decisions. Race walk can be contested on the track or on a road course.
19 Review Questions Which of the following are NOT a discipline within USATF? A) Triathlons B) Ultra running C) Mountain running D) Road running A) Triathlons. Triathlons are governed by USA Triathlon (www.usatriathlon.org) In what discipline would a 50-kilometer road race best fit? A) Road running B) Cross Country C) Track D) Ultra running D) Ultra running. Ultra running covers distances greater than a marathon (about 42.2 kilometers).
20 Chapter 3: Track and Field Meet Organization After completing this chapter, the official will be able to do the following: Identify the meet and officiating organization of a track and field meet.
21 Like most sporting events, a person or group of people are responsible for organizing a track and field meet. The games committee is the administrative body responsible for the proper conduct of a track and field meet. In small meets, the games committee may be a single person; at championship meets, its members may be appointed by the governing body or conference. Regardless of the size of the meet, a meet director is generally appointed and is the central person behind the success of the meet. This person organizes both the competition and non-competition elements of the meet. Games Committee Meet Director
22 Once the competition begins, the referee is responsible for the fair and safe conduct of the meet. In small meets, there is a single referee. At larger meets, there may be separate running and field referees. The referee s decisions are final and without appeal except when a jury of appeals has been established. Games Committee Jury of Appeals Meet Director Running Referee Field Referee
23 In the running events, there are officials assigned to check in the athletes (clerks), start the races (starters), observe the athletes during the competition (umpires), and determine the time and place of the athletes at the conclusion of the race (finish line crew). In the field events, there are officials assigned to conduct each event. Games Committee Jury of Appeals Meet Director Running Referee Field Referee Clerks Starters Finish Line Crew Umpires Shot Put Discus Throw Javelin Throw Hammer Throw High Jump Pole Vault Long Jump Triple Jump
24 At larger meets, marshals are assigned to ensure the safety of participants. If a race walk is scheduled, a race walk referee, race walk judges, and other officials are appointed. Games Committee Jury of Appeals Meet Director Running Referee Field Referee Race Walk Referee Marshal Clerks Shot Put Race Walk Judges Starter Discus Throw Race Walk Officials Finish Line Crew Javelin Throw Umpires Hammer Throw High Jump Pole Vault Long Jump Triple Jump
25 Review Questions 1. Once the meet begins the is responsible for the fair and safe conduct of the meet. A. Jury of Appeals B. Starter C. Umpire D. Referee Answer: D Referee 2. Regardless of the size of the meet a is appointed as the central person behind the organization of the meet. A. Marshal B. Meet Director C. Referee D. Starter Answer: B Meet Director 3. In running events the is responsible for checking in the athletes. A. Clerk B. Games Committee C. Marshal D. Referee Answer: A Clerk
26 Chapter 4: Qualities of Effective Official The chapter is adapted from the handout Qualities of an Effective Certified Official produced by the Pacific Northwest Track and Field Officials Association (which is associated with USATF Pacific Northwest Association). After completing this chapter, the official will be ~aware of the skills needed to be an effective official.
27 General Qualities There are many qualities, which make an effective official. These generally fall into four categories: (1) knowledge of the rules, (2) focused, (3) communication with athletes, coaches, and other officials, (4) consistency, and (5) personal qualities. All these qualities move to the goal for the official to be athlete-centered. Competitors are the central reason for having the meet, not the officials or the spectators. The interests of the athletes must be considered primary.
28 Knowledge of the Rules Officials should know the current rules for the event they are working. This is important because officials may work events covered by up to four different rule books which have slight differences. Also, rules changes occur regularly (either annually or every two years) so current knowledge is essential. Officials should verify non-routine rulings by looking them up in the current rulebook. Knowing the rule is only the first step. As an official progresses, he or she should also learn the rationale and intent behind the rule.
29 Focused Unlike other sports where the action occurs in only one location at a time, track and field regularly has a number of simultaneous events being contested. The official must focus on the event they are working and concentrate on their job whether it is watching the runners hurdling, or the foul board of the long jump, or the place the discus lands. However, this focus is more global. The officials must ensure they and other do nothing to interrupt the competition while the race is underway or a competitor taking a field event trial. He or she must always have safety in mind and be aware of the other events happening and their possible impact on his or her event.
30 Communication The official should take a positive approach to interactions. A dictatorial manner is usually upsetting and distracting to nervous competitors. But going to far in the other direction, being overly friendly and maintaining long conversations with competitors, is also undesirable. The official should be firm and tactful, communicating instructions and announcing marks loudly and in a clear manner. An official s communication skills are also essential in working with other officials. Clear communications between officials allow them to work as a team. If necessary, officials should confer to clarify and avoid possible problems. When reviewing the Umpiring Module, officials will notice an exception in the communication. Umpires are to complete their infraction reports without communicating with another official. Officials should generally not communicate with spectators. However, if coaches have legitimate questions and approach the official in an appropriate manner, an official may respond as appropriate. As a new official, the best response may be to direct the individual to the chief official at the event or the referee.
31 Consistency Officials should treat all athletes and events equally. No one should get special treatment, nor should the official s goal be to catch the competitors. Consideration should be given to ensure to each the fair opportunity to compete. Officials should maintain fairness, objectivity, consistency, and impartiality in every situation and in every event. Sometimes, however, fairness requires unpopular decisions by the official or disqualification by the referee. When this occurs, an official should not shy away from this duty.
32 5. Personal Qualities Use common sense. 1. Be punctual in commitment and in honoring assignments. 2. Dress appropriately - - Wear the uniform as designated by the meet management. 3. Refrain from smoking in the vicinity of the event. 4. Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages on the day of the event. 5. Interact with other officials in a professional and positive manner. 6. Do not over-react to spectator and coaches comments. 7. Approach each meet as a prestigious meet. 8. Be able focus on actions that will occur quickly. 9. Be able act quickly, decisively and sometimes under pressure.
33 Review Questions 1. All of the qualities of an official move to one common goal. A. Complete the meet on time. B. Catch all violations of the rules. C. Don t miss any record performances. D. Be athlete centered Answer: D Be athlete centered 2. The qualities of an effective official require all of the following except: A. Knowledge of the rules B. Communication skills C. Membership in the conference being officiated D. Common sense E. Focus and consistency Answer: C Membership in the conference
34 Chapter 5: Safety, Risk Minimization, and Legal Liability The chapter is adapted from the e-learning module Legal Responsibilities and Risk Management produced by SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand). After completing this chapter, the official will be able to do the following: ~ Complete their assigned duties in manner insuring their own safety. ~ Provide a safe setting for the competitors. Insure that spectators are not in harms way.
35 Safety, Risk, Liability While a key role of officials is top ensure the competition is carried out in accordance with the rules and that the spirit of fair play is observed, an equally important role is to ensure the safety of all participants. This includes athletes, coaches, spectators, and other officials. As an official, you need to do everything reasonably possible to reduce the possibility of accidents and injuries. Officials must realize there is really two rule books for every track meet: (1) the competition rules and (2) the law. The officials must obey the competition rules. Many of these rules were designed with safety in mind to minimize the risk of injury. For example, the requirement of a cage for the discus and hammer throw and the size of landing pads for the pole vault. There are specific duties officials can take to meet their obligations. These include the following: Enforce the rules Control and supervise the event Protect the participants Warn of risks Anticipate reasonably foreseeable dangers Take reasonable step to ensure safety Consider specific factors Be informed Safety rules will vary between different events. i.e. Pole Vault, Javelin, and Steeplechase safety will be different. These will be addressed in the specific event training modules.
36 Risk Management Risk management is about eliminating, isolating, or minimizing the risks and hazards present at an event. There is a difference between a risk and a hazard. A risk is the probability of harm or injury occurring as a result of a situation, an event, or a process. A hazard is an activity, arrangement, circumstance, event, occurrence, phenomenon, process, situation, or substance that has a potential cause or source of harm. There are three possible actions that you can perform to control risks and hazards: (1) Eliminate get rid of the hazard or risk altogether (2) Isolate contain the hazard or risk (3) Minimize reduce the likelihood of any harm
37 Review Questions If the officials rope off a perimeter outside the throwing sector to maintain spectators at a safe distance, which of the following actions are they taking? A) Eliminate B) Isolate C) Minimize B) Isolate. True or False: Common sense should prevail in the prevention of accidents and injuries. True. You are working the hammer throw and have identified that there is inadequate light during the preliminary flights, making continuing unsafe. If you stopped the competition, there would be costs involved from the delay and you can feel the crowd getting impatient. What should you do? A) Continue the competition; the financial implications make it unreasonable to stop the competition and keeping the crowd entertained is the key to a good sporting event. B) Stop the competition to discuss with the other officials about what you should do next. C) Stop the competition; safety is of the utmost importance. D) Continue the competition until there are clear signs the officials in the sector are struggling. C) Stop the competition; safety is of the utmost importance. True or False: Risk management plans eliminate the likelihood of injury or accidents occurring at a track and field meet. False. It is impossible to eliminate all the risks in track and field.
38 Chapter 6: MENTORING/FOLLOW UP The follow up phase of a new umpire s training. Purpose: To assist the new official develop competency and confidence on the job. During a new officials first season (s)he will be confronted with many situations. Few will be exactly like the information you have received. Sometimes you will need to remember the exact ruling for an uncommon situation. To assist the new official develop a competency and comfort while working at meets, it is best to have a fellow experienced official to look to; a Mentor. The mentor is someone the new official can easily and comfortably turn to when they have a question, concern or need reassurance. George Kleeman has adopted a mentoring monogram for track and field from a Lisa Peterson manuscript. George s adaptation can be found at the officials training section on the USATF website. It is recommended that at the conclusion of a region or local training session the new officials be paired with an experienced official from their area. The mentor should be given information on how to be an effective mentor.
39 Review Questions 1. The purpose of mentoring is to: A. Assist officials to develop comfort and competency while working meets. B. Provide a person to whom a new official can turn to with questions. C. Assist new officials in applying and interpreting rules to specific situations D. Provide the new official with a continued learning environment. E. All of the above. Answer: E All of the above
40 Chapter 7: Credits and Resources USATF Rule Book Wikipedia.org Road Running Athletics Officiating: A Practical Guide, IAAF, 7 th Edition, Successful Sports Officiating, National Association of Sports Officials and Referee Magazine. A Guide for USA Track and Field Officiating, USATF Officials Committee, Version 4 (2002). -- IOC website NCAA Rule Book