GLLOA Officials: We have rolled through mid-season and are heading into the final weeks of the Illinois Boy’s Lacrosse season. We have had several observers out this season and we have seen interactions between coaches and officials get tense as sideline behavior, language, or professionalism slips. The GLLOA Board met this past Sunday to discuss coach / official interaction. Our aim is to reinforce the adjudication of poor sideline conduct and unacceptable behavior. There is no manual on this subject, it takes years to develop and the most senior of us get it wrong sometimes. The bottom line is … lacrosse officials cannot afford to be distracted or removed from the task of officiating.
First and foremost, GLLOA believes officials should interact with coaches; it is necessary within the game and should always be professional. We owe reasonable explanations and rule interpretations to coaches when warranted and when approached in an appropriate manner. It is also every official’s job to properly and professionally communicate with coaches, including our tolerance level – both verbally and non-verbally – in relation to the game at hand.
If you and your partners have exhausted your options in managing the game (see list below), you may have to flag the offending coach for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. The conduct foul is not useful at this point. In these situations, it is advisable to throw the flag and walk away. Talk to your partner at mid-field; let things settle. Agree on a 1, 2, or 3 minute USC non-releasable foul. If ejection is warranted, there is no need to wait for a second episode. Regardless of how the sideline behavior was during a game, do not engage fans on the way out. If you experience a post-game issue involving non-field personnel, you need to discuss this with your assignor immediately. Hostile environments are not acceptable anywhere at any level of lacrosse.
To help aid you in understanding this while reinforcing our mechanics, we offer this list:
The timer is your friend, turn on the 20 second timer before your discussion starts.
In an injury situation, move away from the injured player.
During a time out, watch the players cross and then mark your cards.
Equipment checks should be done near center X well away from the sidelines.
Do not hang around the bench area before / after games.
At halftime, converse at midfield not in the table area.
Keep the box clean during the game and do not tolerate cross-talk between coaching staffs.
If a coach comes on the field, be sure to walk him back to the bench before responding.
During difficult situations, let the R handle the majority of bench communications.
If a coach wants to talk at halftime, do it with 4 minutes to go and invite both coaches.
If you throw a flag during the game, you should be prepared to concisely explain why.
If emotions are high in the game or on the sidelines, regulate the pace of the game for a bit.
Talk to your partners and disengage with coaches as conversations heat up.
Remove yourself from the box area by running along the wing line.
As a final note, GLLOA believes that good officials value, learn from, and can enjoy most coach interactions. We will continue to teach and expect open communication; it is in everyone’s best interest. But, officials cannot and will not tolerate behavior that detracts from the sport.