As an assigner or athletic director, you want to assign the best people to the games that need them. This means taking their experiences, rules knowledge and mechanics into account. But making the right calls isn’t the only thing that makes some officials great. What assigners and athletic directors should look for in officials are those qualities that set them apart. Here are some of the things that make great officials stand out.

Commanding Presence

A great official can handle the challenges assigners and athletic directors throw their way. These are the officials you want to assign to rivalry games or championships, and with which other officials want to work. They’re confident, in control and ready to make decisions. Confident officials step up and make calls every time, and do so without hesitation.

Competitive Spirit

Game officials are usually former athletes and great officials keep the competitive instincts that allowed them to succeed when they were players. These officials want to be better than the people around them, for the sake of improvement. Rather than sulking in the face of disappointment, competitive officials use failure as motivation to do better in the future. They strive for perfection in every game they officiate and every call they make, and quickly move past mistakes.


When you are assigning game officials, consider the people behind the numbers and calls. Interacting with coaches, players, athletic directors and other officials is part of officiating, so great officials need to have great people skills. Personality counts for a lot in game management, and while officials need to be confident, they also need to avoid being mean or intimidating. Respectful officials get respect in return, and people skills can be the difference between escalating a bad situation and defusing tension.

Stress Management Skills

Game environments are stressful, and great officials know how to rise above the pressure. Arguments and stressful situations happen in all sports, and officials need to be as good at handling stress and people as they are at calling commands. Great officials know how to manage situations because they can keep a cool head, know how to get out of bad situations, and make the right calls no matter what.

Passion for the Game

Game officials who aren’t passionate about the game can’t succeed. No one goes into officiating because they want to make a lot of money or become famous; they do it because they love the game and decided to make officiating a career. Just loving the game isn’t enough, though: An official needs to love officiating on and off the field. Great officials are the ones who go to their association meetings, stay after contests, and want to improve for the sake of getting better. Athletic contests at any level of play can’t happen without officials, regardless of recognition; that’s why it’s important to find the people who are in this business because they love it and are good at it, rather than those who want standing ovations or just a paycheck.

Finding and Assigning Officials With ArbiterOne

Now that you know who the best of the best are among your officials, you need a way to keep them organized. Our trusted ArbiterOne system helps thousands of leagues and associations manage their assignments, and it can help you manage yours. ArbiterOne’s online system keeps officials’ availability, contact information and pictures in one place. You can use the system to send notifications to anyone who needs to see them, take care of tax information, and make sure you have as much control over assigning as you need. For more information on ArbiterOne or any of the other ArbiterSports tools for game officials and assigners, call 800.576.2799 or email