Town Hosts Officiating Clinics

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A Dec. 8 lesson on how to referee a basketball games will be the first of several clinics planned to recruit local officials for the Town of Payson's recreational sports offerings.

If Trevor LaHaye has his way, local men and women will soon have an opportunity to pocket a bit more spending money.

They can earn the cash by officiating and referring in upcoming basketball, softball, volleyball and soccer tournaments and leagues to be sponsored by the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.

“I am always looking for referees for all athletics and this is a good way to get on board with the Town of Payson as a referee and make some extra money,” LaHaye said.

But before anyone can begin counting their money, they must attend clinics designed to teach them the nuances and responsibilities of game officials.

The first clinic, which is on refereeing basketball, will be held 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 8 at recreation offices located at Green Valley Park.

“It is free of charge to all that would like to attend and is a great refresher for veteran referees or a great introduction to new referees,” said LaHaye. “Experienced AIA official Joel Wilson will be conducting the clinic and we couldn’t be happier to have him do so.”

The clinic is a necessity partly because basketball is widely considered the most difficult sport to officiate due to the instantaneous judgment needed, the speed of the game and the obligation to assure the game runs smoothly.

In the upcoming clinic, Wilson will most likely cover the “two-person” standard method of officiating.

In that method, each official works either the lead or trail position. The lead official positions along the baseline and the trail has a starting point at the free throw line extended on the left side of the court facing the basket.

Officials usually change positions after certain calls.

From their spots on the floor, the officials must stop action for violations including traveling, fouls, illegal dribbles, over and back and others.

There is a misconception among fans that basketball is a non-contact sport, but officials often allow a large amount of contact in order to maintain the flow of the game.

Rendering the job of officiating basketball even more taxing is the proximity to the crowds. Unlike other sports, the officials are always within a few feet of the crowd, coaches and players on the bench.

While basketball is the first clinic to be held, LaHaye plans for others in soccer, softball and volleyball to be held in the near future.

“It is my hope that I can bring a new core of officiating here in Payson that is top of the line, certified and experienced for all our athletes,” he said.

“With the tournaments I have coming here next year, I would really like to stay local with the officiating.”

Among those tournaments will be the ASA Girls’ Arizona State “B” Fast pitch tournament in July 2011.

“Officials will make anywhere from $30 to $35 per game,” said LaHaye. “I really hope people take advantage of this as refereeing can be a great way to make extra money, enhance the community through interaction in athletics and give back to the kids who are the future.”

Youth league a go

Also on the P&R agenda is the fifth and sixth grade basketball league, which will begin play Dec. 11 and continue until Jan. 29, 2011.

The league has drawn enough players for five boys teams and three girls teams.

“The turnout was right at about what I expected it to be and I believe the league will be a great success,” said LaHaye.

For more information on officiating clinics, call LaHaye at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

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