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Licensed Referee Instructor Course Information

Referee instructors usually begin as players or referees in a particular sport before moving on to teach others. Some sports may only require previous experience as a referee to be a referee instructor, while other sports require some formal training. To learn about common course options in this field, read on.

Essential Information

Those wishing to train aspiring referees may kick off their careers by enrolling in a referee training program or course. These programs are typically offered through sport-specific organizations and can provide individuals with strong, foundational knowledge of the sport(s) they wish to referee. Upon completion of such programs and courses, individuals usually work as referees before becoming referee instructors. While licensure isn't a common requirement, referee instructors affiliated with some sports do need to be certified.

Here are some major concepts covered in various referee training programs:

  • Refereeing strategies
  • League specific rules
  • Player misconduct handling
  • Ethics in refereeing
  • Referee positioning

List of Courses

Basketball Referee Training Course

Basketball referee training may be a one-day course or may occur over a period of several days. Training usually consists of learning the rules for the specific league, discussing refereeing strategies and practicing on the court. A course may involve watching videos, taking quizzes or tests and discussing rule changes. Trainees may also have to complete physical training or pass physical tests. Tests may also be given to ensure trainees know proper court positioning and are able to make correct calls quickly.

Fencing Referee Training Course

A fencing referee training course is regulated by the Fencing Officials Commission (FOC) and based on the U.S.A. Fencing Refereeing Handbook. Aspiring fencing referees must be trained through an FOC-certified referee seminar. The seminar covers all the information in the handbook, including rules, ethics and penalties. Trainees must pass a test at the end of the seminar to complete training.

Hockey Referee Training Course

Training for professional hockey referees may be taken through a National Hockey League Officials Association (NHLOA) training camp or a training program approved by the NHLOA. The NHLOA training camp is held annually and usually lasts for one week. In this camp, trainees receive a medical review, complete fitness evaluations, participate in skating events, attend meetings to discuss referee related issues and study recent rule changes. Private training programs may last up to a week and involve skating practice, discussions of rules and positioning, fitness tests and analysis of past hockey games.

Soccer Referee Instructor Training Course

Soccer referee instructor training through the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) allows a trainee to qualify as a referee instructor for youth soccer leagues. The AYSO training program covers game rules of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and AYSO. Trainees are instructed on duties before and after games, handling misconduct, starting and restarting a game, penalties, fouls, physical demands and ethics.


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