By: John Puglisi, NISOA National Clinician
The start of a new college soccer season is an exciting time. NISOA officials prepare physically, attend rules clinics, and take NCAA Soccer rules tests so they can be at their best throughout the season. However, when December comes around and the soccer season has ended, it can be a melancholy time. However, we have a unique opportunity to reflect on the past season and even start preparing for next autumn. The time is perfect for each NISOA member to do a personal self-assessment. Here are some topics that can be used as a basis for your own self-assessment.
How do you feel physically and mentally? Did you physically handle the schedule of assignments you accepted? Did you maintain a high level of physical performance throughout the season? If you feel like you fell a little short in this area, make a note of it for next year. You may need an extra day to recover after a match. When you put your availability together for next year, make a note to put a limit on your back-to-back games. Identify the muscular aches and pains so you can alter your offseason physical training and stretching to minimize nagging injuries and maintain peak performance.
Our referee equipment takes a beating during the season. Go through your stuff before you pack it away and refresh it now. Maybe that set of flags, shoes or your trusty (and 10 year old) yellow short sleeve shirt have seen better days. Maybe your badge is a bit worn from inclement weather. Now is the best time to get new equipment and get rid of the worn out uniforms. Better yet, add the new equipment to your holiday gift wish list.
If you had a great season and are ready for new challenges, now is the time to consider the NISOA National Referee Program. Make sure you get the required assessments and letters of recommendation so you can apply for the next annual cycle. If you are applying for the current National Referee Academy, make sure you have all your assessments, and physical test scores now so your application, which is due in March, is complete. This is also a good time to talk to your assignors. Get feedback now so you can act on it and be ready for next season.
NISOA is based on the principle that your college soccer officiating career comes after your family and job responsibilities. Did you maintain these priorities during the season? If not, you should consider changing your approach. Some of us may have officiated our last college soccer game this year. If that’s you, please consider becoming a mentor to the younger officials that will sustain our organization.
Before you bag up all your equipment and put this past season behind you, take a few minutes to recap and assess your experiences. Make some mental, or better yet, written notes about what you did, what you liked, what you didn’t like and what you need to do. Believe it or not, next autumn is sooner than you think.