On this episode of Pro Mindset® Podcast, NFL Replay Official Randy Campbell shares his journey as a referee for the NFL, college football, and women’s basketball. Randy has officiated in a College Football Playoff National Championship game, Women’s Final Four game and many other pro and college games. Randy talks about his fellow referees’ motto: “Start perfect and get better from there” and the mindset of “NEXT play” to maximize his success on-the-field or court and minimize any carryover from mistakes in his calls. He explains what a week leading up to a game looks like for an official and how they prepare for the big day. Aaron shares his unique perspective and personal wisdom from many years of officiating experience.
Aaron explains that the week before a game, he spends hours studying film. He said that it’s not unusual to watch film for up to 14 hours throughout the week. By doing so, he reduces the chance of making mistakes during the game. Most errors happen when officials are caught off-guard. Studying film helps eliminate the surprise element and therefore, reduces the number of mistakes. On gameday, Aaron and the other officials are at the stadium three hours before kickoff. This allows them time to visit with the clock operator, chain crew, the ball boys, and the coaches. “I think people think that we just show up to the stadium and referee. However, it's actually a week of preparation before an official even steps on-the-field.”
Aaron explains that there are two different reasons to have officials in a game. The first reason is to make sure that one team does not gain an advantage over the other team within the rules of the game. The second reason is to ensure safety. “Safety supersedes everything. If the officials miss something and somebody ends up hurt from it, that's critical. You've got to start perfect and then you've got to get better from there.”
Aaron explains that he must have a short memory when he is officiating. “If you make a mistake on the field or on the court and you dwell on it mentally, you're going to make another mistake.” Mistakes will happen but you cannot let it affect how you move forward. Aaron always shares this idea with the officials that he supervises. “You got to learn to move on. For those people who are thinking about officiating, that's what you need to be able to do. That's true for Peewee football and all the way up to the NFL.” A short memory will strongly influence your performance throughout each play.
Aaron talks about how officiating is 90% mental and that you must have mental discipline to officiate. “I always tell folks that 90% of being an official truly comes from the neck up.” Just like an athlete must train to compete, an official must prepare for a game. Training the mind to look past mistakes is a crucial part of that preparation. Studying hours of film helps to eliminate the surprise element and ensures that they will make correct decisions. One of the seven building blocks to a Pro Mindset® is training or preparation -- something each of us can apply this to our everyday lives. This is a crucial component to delivering your best performance each gameday and to reaching your Pro Mindset. Listen to this podcast here and learn more on the 7 building blocks of the Pro Mindset here.