On Deck Training

The AMS Officials Committee has been discussing our training regimen for Officials. Certainly, we have minimum standards promulgated by USA Swimming that we must follow but it's up to the LSC to determine the well rounded approach to be used in training Officials at each level.

A (maybe the) critical piece of the training process involves on deck shadowing. As most of us are visual learners, being on deck and seeing first hand what is required of each position is the most valuable component of our training approach. Two important issues have been raised in evaluating our on deck training/shadowing...


  • It is not unusual that we have inexperienced officials on deck (some of whom are acting in the capacity of a certified official for only the first or second time) training our Apprentice Officials. That also holds true for training for the Starter and Referee positions. 
  • We have a number of training officials who "cram" train and try to satisfy their on deck training requirement in a weekend or two, working 4-6 sessions in a single weekend. This doesn't allow the training official to reflect on and absorb what they've learned during their shadowing and, therefore, the shadowing becomes ineffective.

To address this, effective immediately, the following on deck training rules will apply...

  1. For Stroke & Turn: The Meet/Deck Referee will determine, based upon the make up of the certified officials on deck, who will spend time training Apprentice Officials. It is more important that the Apprentice Official spends quality time with fewer, more experienced officials than to spend time across a broader range of officials around the deck who may not possess the experience necessary to properly train the trainee. In addition to identifying what certified officials will be used to mentor our Apprentice Officials, the Meet/Deck Referee will also determine how many Apprentice Officials can be on deck for a particular session. It is certainly our goal to allow an Apprentice Official to train at whatever session they desire, but there may not be enough certified officials present to allow for this. Apprentice Officials will be allowed to train on a first come basis.
  2. For Referee and Starter: Clearly, we have a wide range of experience among our current Starters and Referees. We don't want new and/or inexperienced Starters and Referees to have to train those officials who are looking to step up to a higher level. As a result, the AMS Officials Committee, through its Officials Chair, will identify those experienced Referees and/or Starters who will serve as "Trainers" for the Starter and Referee trainees. Those wishing to train for either Starter or Referee can do so only if a Starter or Referee Trainer is on deck for that session (refer to the centralized meet sign up to see if a Trainer will be present). Trainees for these positions will be allowed to train on a first come basis.
  3. For all Shadowing Officials: For any meet, a trainee can only satisfy two of their minimum required training sessions. In addition, a trainee can only count one session per day against their minimum required training sessions.

It is our hope to continue to enhance our training program so that we properly develop our AMS Officials. We have added the list of qualified Trainers for the Referee and Starter positions to the "Officials Rosters" section of this website.