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Top 10 Referee Tools You Can’t Live Without

As a youth sports official you will be expected to provide all of your gear necessary to perform your duties as an official. Though every sport has a different set of rules and all, however, the basic necessities remain the same.

Before you can officiate your first game you will need to be prepared to handle all situations and have all of the necessary equipment. Below is a very detailed list and explanation of each of the crucial tools that you will need to have in order to be a successful youth sports official.


Top 10 Referee Tools You Can’t Live Without - Whistle1. WHISTLES – No matter what sport you are looking to officiate, the whistle is a must have piece of equipment. You want to be sure that the whistles you use deliver the optimal sound and that it is loud enough to be heard all over the playing field.

You also need to be sure that the sound can be heard over any of the external noises around the field, court or ice arena. You also want to be sure that you have a good backup whistle with you during the game as well, that way if it fails for any reason, you are able to pull out your backup without having to miss beat.


Top 10 Referee Tools You Can’t Live Without - Referee Uniform2. REFEREE UNIFORM – This uniform is designed to make you stick out from all of the other participants in the sporting event. You will be responsible for maintaining your own uniform and it will be up to you to ensure that it is kept up with the standards established by the NYSOA or whichever other association that sanctions the youth sports in your area.

All eyes will be on you on a regular basis and you to be sure that you are always looking your best and the uniform is where it all begins.


3. PAPERWORK (SCORECARDS) – Regardless of what sport you are officiating you will need to have a supply of score cards. These are a vital part of you being able to keep track of the important happenings during the contest. There is no way anyone could be able to keep track of everything that goes on during the game without them.

Each sport has its own unique way for the officials to be able to keep track of the things they are responsible for. In baseball, the home plate umpire is responsible for keeping track of everything and he needs to keep an up to date score card at all times.


4. COMFORTABLE SHOES – Since all officials are on their feet throughout the entire game, it is very important that you choose a pair of footwear that is very comfortable and designed to be used on the field or court for the given sport.

You should only wear shoes that go with the uniform and that does not draw undue attention to yourself during the game you are officiating. It is also a great idea to always keep a spare pair of socks and shoes handy just in case of inclement weather. That way if your shoes get wet you will have a dry pair of shoes you can change into to minimize discomfort.


Top 10 Referee Tools You Can’t Live Without - Referee Accessories5. ACCESSORIES – All sports have unique items that are used to signal difference situations that occur such as:

Flags used in football to signify when a penalty is called

Cards are used in soccer to signify severity of the penalty; yellow is for a warning, red is for ejection.

You will want to do your research and see what other types of things are necessary for your chosen sport and make sure to have plenty of each.


6. SUN SAFETY – If you chose a sport that is played outdoors you will definitely want to be sure that you take all of the necessary precautions when you are outside. The sun can be extremely dangerous depending on where you are.

Be sure to have a referees hat to keep your head protected from too much direct sunlight. You will also want to wear plenty of strong sunscreen to avoid sunburns. Last but not least, a good pair of sunglasses. If you wear regular glasses, you will probably want to consider prescription sunglasses.


7. WATCH/TIMER – Most games have some sort of time limits built in and it is very important that you have an accurate way of keeping track of time. There are several different models of timers and watches that you can use. It would also be good to note whether or not your particular sport requires multiple times to be recorded simultaneously. This way you can make sure to choose a watch or timer that is capable of keeping multiple times at once. Also, you will want to be sure to have a backup timer or watch just in case the original one stops working in the middle of the game.


Top 10 Referee Tools You Can’t Live Without - Referee First Aid Kit8. MINI FIRST AID KIT – Most sports involve some sort of contact between players and with the contact comes the possibility of injuries. It is very important that there is a one available and that is close by to field or court. You never know when you might need one to help one of the kids who got injured.

There are several different types of first aid kits and due to the fact that many injuries involve pulls, strains and sprain muscles, you want to be sure that the one you chose has several types of cold compresses.


9. OFFICIAL RULE BOOK – Each sport has its own unique official rulebook and you will be expected to have a copy of it on your person at all times during any game you are officiating. This is just in case a clarification of a rule is needed.

It is also important to have the rulebook handy in case you are in doubt about a specific call. By consulting the rulebook you will be able to make the correct call with certainty..


10. WATER – Dehydration is one of the leading causes of sports related illness. It is very important that you prepare well in advance before you plan to be out in the sun. A little prevention will go a long ways when it comes to being outside in the direct sunlight.

Along with getting plenty of hydration before you go out in the sun, it is equally important that you bring lots of cold water with you to be sure that you have plenty water to drink during the game.


The above list of tools that every official needs to have is pretty comprehensive, but there is another quality that is equally important for all sports officials and that is you need to be in good physical condition. The season for most sports are fairly long and you need to have the stamina to be able to keep up with all of the action. Have fun and we will see you on the field.


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