In preparation for the Highland Academy Community League Season that kicks off in around two weeks time, the Highland Wildcats in association with British Referees Association, put on a youth officiating course for volunteers in the area to gain knowledge and experience in refereeing.
The course ran from 10am to 4pm at The Blitz and was delivered by Martin Cockerill who has roles within the BAFRA as well as it’s governing body, the British American Football Association. The 13 volunteers were taken through the rules and mechanics in a classroom setting and then were given the opportunity to try out this new knowledge on the field with a mock game with players from the Highland Academy Community League teams.
Youth Development Officer, Robbie Paulin, commented, “Martin’s knowledge and delivery made the course a really enjoyable experience. It really is incredible the amount of information that an official has to process in the space of around 25 seconds every single play of every game. Everybody on the course picked up a lot of information that will give a massive boost to the quality of our Community League when the games kick off in early February. The volunteers did a great job of asking questions and getting as much knowledge as possible from the day and it was good to see a mix of age ranges getting involved. We had 14-18 year olds within our targeted Pathways age group but also older volunteers including former players and NFL fans that were looking to give back and get more involved in the sport.
None of this would have been possible if Martin hadn’t taken the time to fly up to Inverness to deliver the course. On behalf of the Wildcats I’d like to thank him for the work he’s put in.”
Martin Cockerill added, “I would like to thank the Highland Academy Community League and members of staff ably led by Robbie Paulin, for the warm and eager welcome I received from them. The development of sports officials to cover all American football games in the UK has been high on the agenda for the British American Football Referee Association and the British American Football Association for a number of years, and it is with great pleasure that I arrived in Inverness and was privileged to spend the day with keen, eager members of the Highland Academy Community League in their quest to drive the game on in the local area. Sports officials from all sports are key to the smooth running of the game, and often seen in not the best of lights. So I was pleasantly surprised with the turn out for the days training and greatly encouraged by the number of young people who took part. The level of knowledge and eagerness to learn, what is a complicated and involved set of rules, as well as the mechanics of officiating made the day great fun to do. The questions and discussions showed a level of commitment, knowledge and desire to make the HACL a great success. Thirteen members took part in a rules clinic as well as an on field mechanics session with players from the HACL, followed by a review of the day and a competency exam of which they all passed with flying colours. I hope that they consider taking their officiating career further as they will be a great asset to the sport.
I greatly believe that the additional skills that where learned on the day will make the upcoming season a great success.
The development of young players as well as young officials is crucial to the long term growth of the game, as well as the development and life skills that both paths can give to young people in their non sporting lives. I am certain that it is in good hands in Inverness and look forward to my next visit to the Highlands of Scotland.”