After registering with MHSAA, you will receive the Competitive Cheer Manual and an MHSAA official’s patch to wear while officiating. The manual is the most important tool for officiating. Every official must attend a rules meeting either online or in person to officiate MHSAA post season tournaments. Additionally, there are two live Rules Meetings in conjunction with the MCJA Fall Conference and CCCAM Summit.
It is important to be trained before judging your first competition. Every official wants to feel comfortable and confident to enjoy the experience and score teams fairly and consistently. Being a well trained official will help as more officiating opportunities become available. MCJA offers in depth training opportunities in the fall and summer.
MCJA Membership cost is $20 per year. The membership benefits include: training at no cost; newsletters and email updates throughout the year; emails about officiating opportunities during the season; listing on the MCJA membership roster that is shared with tournament directors; mentoring program with experienced officials; and professional support. The MCJA membership application can be found on this website.
Additional trainings are offered throughout the season. MCJA provides various training sessions that will continue to support and educate officials throughout the season. The training sessions break down officiating categories on the score sheets and offer further knowledge and strategies for fairly scoring each category.
It is recommended and encouraged to Mentor. MCJA has a mentoring program that will help connect you with veteran officials in your area. This consists of attending a cheer competition, officiating alongside a mentor to see the preparation prior competition and the officiating process during the competition. It helps to have a feeling for the process of officiating before experiencing it on your own. After you join MCJA, additional information about finding a mentor in your area will be offered.
Competitive Cheer officiating is a great way to continue the love of cheer throughout life. Officiating offers the opportunity to choose a schedule based on your own availability. Officiating is a collegial avocation.
You have registered with MHSAA and passed the test. You went to an MCJA training. You have been to several meets with your mentor and even bought a black suit.
There are several approaches to getting that first job. The first way is to turn to the mentor you’ve been working with and make sure that they know you want to find a job. The mentor may hear about an opening at one of the meets at which he/she is officiating. The mentor might also be a source of information about which schools will be hosting meets in your area this season. Network with other judges when you are mentoring or attending training; they, too, may be looking for a replacement or know of an open judging slot.
Another place to turn is your association. MCJA, the statewide Competitive Cheer organization, often sends emails to its members with information about schools needing officials. In addition, local/regional organizations may help find assignments for judges in specific areas of the state.
One method that has proven to be effective for many new officials is to take the time to call the athletic directors in your area and introduce yourself. Click here for a calendar of meets.
It might be helpful to mail or fax a brief cheer resume to people you speak to so they will have a record of who you are and how you can be reached.
Once you have been offered a contract, it is very important that you follow through. One pitfall to avoid, conflicts of interest – judging teams with whom you have a personal relationship. Once you sign a contract, it should be honored by arriving prepared and on time. If an emergency does arise, it is your responsibility to notify the school and help find a replacement. (The school may choose to find its own replacement, but offering to help is a best practice.)
When you are professional, prepared and consistent, it’s likely that you will be asked to return the next year!
Like most things, this process becomes easier over time. Since there is a definite shortage of trained competitive cheer officials, it won’t be long before your calendar is full and you will be offering advice to the next new person who wants to know how they actually get a job.