On August 30, USF was host to the fourth annual Suncoast Flag Football Official’s Workshop. The workshop is an opportunity for students from various schools to learn from some of the best flag football clinicians and take that knowledge back to their respective schools. This was the first year that USF has hosted the workshop.
The Suncoast Workshop first started four years ago. There were other flag football officials workshops beforehand, but none that were in Florida. Representatives from the state of Florida decided to form their own workshop to ease the burden of traveling for those students who wanted to further their officiating knowledge.
According to Workshop Director Mark Comer, this workshop is different from others because it not only prepares the students for the upcoming season, but also equips them. Participants received official rule books and equipment for officiating such as whistles. “The workshop is special because it gives the students an opportunity to learn from experienced clinicians from all over the southeast. There are few opportunities in flag football to learn from individuals at other institutions,” Comer said.
The workshop included classroom instruction as well as hands-on practice on the field.
According to Deliah Autry, a USF student who attended the workshop, what made the workshop difficult was applying what was learned in the classroom to the field when given the chance to practice officiating. “I was very nervous and did not want to mess up.” Autry has been officiating since last year and decided to attend the workshop to further her flag football knowledge since it is her favorite sport. “I learned a lot about penalty enforcement, which is the one component of officiating that I struggle with the most,” she said.
Natasha Pryce, another USF student in attendance, agreed that the most challenging part was the hands-on practice. Pryce officiated a men’s game during the workshop. “Men’s teams are very fast moving and athletic so it was challenging to keep up and make sure the right calls were made, however the entire weekend helped us to be prepared for it,” she said.
This year’s event saw 72 student officials from 11 different schools and featured 19 clinicians.