How to get started in officiating

Officiating is a crucial element in the development of judo and in maintaining the integrity of competition judo at levels of events throughout the country.

Officiating is challenging, rewarding and above all, great fun. Officiating helps equip people with skills such as confidence and decisiveness that are applicable in everyday life.

Whether you want to officiate at your local club or local competitions, run local events, officiate at national events or run national events, there are refereeing roles at all levels where you can put your knowledge and passion for judo to use.

What does Officiating involve?

There are range of different roles of officiating in judo which determine what responsibilities an individual may have at a competition:

  • Timekeeper: Responsible for keeping track of the contest time, scores and penalties awarded to each player.
  • Contest Recorder: Responsible for recording contest results and calling the players to the mat. Contest recorders can also run very small events.
  • Senior Recorder: Responsible for placing players into and running pools or compound repechage and running medium size events.
  • Competition Controller: Responsible for the running of larger events. They complete the draw, prepare the timetable, and take overall responsibility for all the officials

Who does the role suit?

Officiating roles suit anyone who is willing to give up their free time to support events. People as young as 10 years of age can become officials. It also suits people who have children or partners who are regularly competing in judo competitions and would rather do something than just be a spectator. You do not have to have ever stepped on a judo mat to be a technical official, including Competition Controller.

What skills are required to be an Official?

Officials need to have good communications skills and work well as part of a team.

How can I get involved in Officiating?

  1. Offer to help at your local competitions – If you are already attending competitions in your local area, speak to the tournament director or the person in charge of officials and offer your services as an assistant Timekeeper. They will then sit you with a Timekeeper or Contest Recorder who will show bring you up to speed. Visit the British Judo Events Calendar to find local competitions where you can offer to help. You need to get your Technical Officials Attendance Log Sheet signed at three such events, at least one of the signatories being a minimum of senior recorder. You then send the form in to head office and, hey presto! You are now a qualified timekeeper. It couldn’t be easier.
  2. County/Club organised courses – Alternatively, some areas, counties of clubs will offer training courses for would-be timekeepers.
  3. Experienced Judoka – For people with plenty of judo experience, it may be possible to attend a course to go direct to contest recorder.