To Learn It, Teach It!
Now we are getting to the heart of things: consistency and accuracy in what we teach. The challenge is to be on fire with accuracy with what we teach and, of course, to not be dogmatic or condescending when doing it. When you teach something you learn it! Ever wonder how teachers got to be so smart in their subject areas? There ya go!
It might sound a bit philosophical, but I think it is comforting and fair to say that every time a mentor teaches and leads, the educational and performance levels of officiating in your league have risen by a factor of 2, the mentor and mentoree.
However, we can do great damage to a new referee's confidence, add to their confusion, add to the criticisms that will surely come their way, if we teach the wrong thing. The easy part of being a mentor is getting things done in those first 30 minutes, or conducting a pre-game, talking at half time and end of game. The real challenge lies in having all mentors teaching the same thing.
So, training sessions for mentors is a must. Hesitate in this area and inconsistencies are likely to be unwittingly taught throughout the year. The proverbial phrase shooting oneself in the foot comes to mind. Mentor training sessions ought to include the basics-the fundamentals that we expect the newbys to learn properly. Hopefully, your 'handful' of mentors will readily understand the need for consistency & teaching according to current interpretations of the Laws of the Game. Reviewing the basics would take no longer than an hour, including demonstrations. It cannot be assumed that everyone is current, especially if they are going to be mentors.
Once this has been accomplished and the mentors begin working with the new referees, the underlying axiom stated in the title of this section will kick in: mentors will learn their trade best when they teach it. So much rides on the quality of your mentor training that it really deserves top priority within your Mentoring Program.
This might mean reaching out to District level referees, to Assessors, to Instructors of the Laws of the Game to develop a comprehensive & totally competent crew of mentors.
Once mentors are trained and out working games with new referees, a well deserved sigh of relief and accomplishment is in order.
You've just packaged an educational component in your league that probably wasn't there before
* New referees will grow at a much faster pace than without the attention that you are now providing.
* Your Assignor will have better qualified referees to assign sooner than if no program was in place.
* These young referees will be learning how to take care of themselves - learning how & when to ask questions, how & when to lead, based on their experience with successful mentors.
Once you are sure that what your mentors are teaching is the right stuff, let 'em go, give them games with your new referees and you'll have started a positive chain reaction that will last a very long time. Teaching is the ultimate win-win proposition.