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NIRSA Flag Football Officials

A Weekend Shaping the FUTURE of Sports Officiating

 by 
Kyle Armstrong

It was a crisp morning in Florida’s panhandle. We had just arrived at our first NIRSA Flag Football National Tournament, as we had recently partnered with NIRSA to help support the Student Officials Development Campaign.

We entered the officiating hospitality suite and found 48 student officials, men and women from universities across the country, who had made it to the pinnacle of their young sports officiating careers. They were about to share an experience very few sports officials ever have.

Day 1 – Training Day.

A staff of 16 veteran officials began a full day of training, which kicked off with rules review. It was easy to sense the enthusiasm in the room as these eager referees began a phenomenal discussion which lead to in-depth on-field training. It was a learning environment unlike anything we’ve ever been a part of.

As the sun set, we wrapped up the day with video review powered by ZOOOM. A series of unique plays had been loaded to ZOOOM from previous years’ tournaments. The officials watched plays, from their level of competition, using ZOOOM’s presentation mode. The discussions were focused, effective and engaging.

The knowledge gleaned from this experience was invaluable, and because the plays had been loaded in ZOOOM, they were able to be shared to the entire officiating staff with the click of a button. Everything they had just discussed and learned, now available at their fingertips 24/7/365!

Day 2 – Game Day

The student officials arrived 90 minutes early for pregame the next morning. Mark Baltz, President and CEO of ZOOOM, welcomed them and shared an inspirational message.

They learned about his career, which began on the intramural fields at Ohio University, and spanned 50 years including 25 highly successful seasons in the National Football League.

After Mark’s speech, as the officials took their fields, ZOOOM moved to the press box to join the video crew. This experience was simply amazing. The planning, the process, the execution, were impeccable. Two video cameras simultaneously recorded Fields 1 and 2, while veteran collegiate football officials recorded real-time feedback for the crews working the games.

Each game video was quickly uploaded to ZOOOM, key training plays were tagged and broken down, then shared to the officials.

Their game videos, with deep interactive feedback, were available to them before they worked their final games of the night. The process took officiating training to a whole new level, and ZOOOM provided a platform to engage and elevate these student officials like never before.

After a long successful day, 48 officiating leaders traveled back to the hotel, where four brilliant officiating minds sat at the front of the lobby. A panel discussion commenced, which allowed the student officials to learn the ins and outs of officiating at all levels, from the Missouri Valley Conference to the NFL.

Sixty-six sports officials (students and staff) came together with a common goal, to provide the highest level of flag football officiating in the country. Not only was this goal exceeded, but these 66 game changers set in motion a series of events that will forever reshape the future of the sports officiating industry.

Learn more about how they are doing it with ZOOOM!

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