Managing Your Referee Clinic

By Larry Huey, NTX SDI

There have been a number of changes over the last few years and this article is intended to help you get the most out of your Association’s Referee Clinic. Only an NTX Association in “good standing” may request a clinic and the request should be made by a Board Member or someone approved by the local Board. Someone other than a Board Member can be the contact and clinic manager if desired; e.g., an Assignor or Referee Director/Coordinator.

First, you need to select the location and the date. Each clinic MAY have up to 30 seats for the Grade 8 or Grade 9 clinic. If your facility is too small for 30, select a maximum number of attendees to comfortably fit your clinic. Please give at least two possible dates to insure the Instructor Assignor can work out conflicts and support each clinic with Referee Instructors. There can be exceptions to the 30-seat maximum if an appropriate facility can be pre-approved as a part of the original request.

The Grade 9 clinic takes place over five-and-a-half hours, on one day. The Grade 8 clinic is an eight-hour course and may be done in a single Saturday or Sunday. If you want to split up the course into two days, that’s OK. Day one would be three-and-a-half hours for Session B, and four-and-a-half hours for Sessions C-E. Don’t forget the one-hour lunch break in your planning if you choose a single date.

Your request is made through the gameofficials.net site. Select REQUEST COURSE and fill out the template for the appropriate clinic. If you want to reserve 25 of the 30 seats for the local Association, you need to note: “Request override code,” in the Special Instructions. That will give you a four- or five-digit code to use when making your reservation. Reserved seats may be held until 25 are filled, or seven days prior to the clinic start, whichever comes first. At that point the override code is removed for first-come, first-served access.

Although there is a minimum age requirement setting (12 for Grade 9 and 13 for Grade 8) you must verbally verify that the student meets the minimum age BEFORE providing the override code. Hands-on management of the registrations by the designated contact is essential. Normally, the Instructor(s) will be assigned at least two weeks prior.

Associations with two or fewer votes at the NTX AGM should have a minimum of 10 students for the clinic. Those with three or more votes require a minimum of 15 students. The NTX Referee Program DOES NOT make the decision to cancel a clinic. A decision to cancel may ONLY be made by the local Association. (Courses not cancelled, yet unable to meet the minimum numbers required, will be billed the clinic fees for the difference.)

An Instructor-in-Charge is designated and should contact you well in advance to verify location, student classroom set-up, equipment available and required. PLEASE DON’T FORGET, the Association must insure the availability of at least half of a marked field with at least one properly anchored goal and net for the field session.

The Grade 8 clinic has 17 pre-clinic video sessions which MUST be completed online before the student may attend the first on-site session. Both the local coordinator and the Instructor-in-Charge should monitor progress and completion of the pre-clinic sessions.

Clinics are closed to NEW registrations about 72 hours prior to the clinic start. While students already registered may log in to complete their online requirements, generally no new student is permitted to register after the clinic is closed without the permission of the Instructor-in-Charge.

Now, it’s the appointed hour for your clinic. Instructors are expected to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to start and should have coordinated with the local contact to make sure the building is open and ready for class. The timing is critical, especially if you must coordinate with the owner of the facility to make certain it can be opened on time. Tables and chairs, or desks, are required for student comfort. Please make sure there is adequate heating or air conditioning.

One question we often receive is, "Does the local contact have to stay for the entire clinic?" We have changed this policy in the past year. At a minimum, the local contact MUST be on-site for the opening, lunch break, restart and closing of the clinic. If the contact chooses to be out of the immediate area, a phone number contact is required.

A successful clinic is a partnership between the local Association, the assigned Referee Instructors and NTX. Communication is key. Once your request has been submitted and approved, don’t hesitate to contact Cathy Collins (Instructor Assignor) if something changes or if you have questions or special needs. If you need English- AND Spanish-language exams, or a Spanish-speaking instructor, it’s essential that we know as soon as possible.