USATF Officials Committee Newsletter - June 8, 2019

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June 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

Support Your Association and Regional Meets: We are moving into a busy season of Association and Regional Championships. I have never known these meets to have all of the officials that were needed and I can say from experience that it is frustrating to have USATF officials who work college, high school, and AAU meets but are unwilling to work their USATF Association meets. I encourage you to support USATF and make yourself available to serve the athletes of your association. Support your Association and Regional Championships!

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


Marty’s Training Tip

Hi Folks,

As I have traveled around the country working meets, I have taken the opportunity to learn something at every opportunity. Fellow officials in a variety of events and venues have shared tips and tricks that make events run more efficiently and with less confusion. I’m not going to try and attribute these to any one individual as they may have arisen independently in multiple locations. So, as a service to all, here are a few of the various things I have learned over the years.

Let’s call this the first edition of … TRACK HACKS! 


  • In most smaller meets, the starter acts as a line clerk at times. Often, athletes appear at the line without the proper hip number. One quick way to keep these organized (as opposed to simply having a stack in your pocket) is to use a CD case. The numbers can be slotted into the sleeves in the CD case making it much easier and quicker to find the correct number in a hurry.
  • In wet conditions the start sensor can become inoperable due to rain. One quick tip for this is to use a surgical type glove (found in the paint department of your local hardware store) to use as a cover. The sensor will still pick up the report from the starting pistol, and this keeps the rain off the sensor. A quick seal at the bottom with athletic or duct tape, and you are good to go.

Runway events: Continue Reading . . .

If you have suggestions for “Training Tips”, let Marty Johnson know via email at   


Para Classification by Carroll DeWeese

For officials judging para athletics competitions, they do not have to know the details of how an athlete gets classified. For purposes of competition, the official only needs to know the classification under which the athlete is competing. Depending upon the athlete’s classification (i.e., sports class) different rules apply.

The aim of classification is to put each athlete into a sports class so that that all the athletes in the class have impairments that cause approximately the same amount of activity limitation in the key athletic disciplines – running, wheelchair racing, jumps and throws. This allows athletes with similar functional limitations to compete fairly without their limitation putting them at a disadvantage compared to others without such a limitation.

In Masters Athletics, the notion of promoting fairness in competition is to classify people into different age and sex categories. People of the same sex compete against each other and people within typically a 5-year age range compete against each other. This levels the playing field. The same principle applies to para classification. Individuals with certain functional limitations age grouped together so that they compete with others with similar limitations.

Similar to master’s athletics, people in different functional classes may compete simultaneously in the same race or event, but normally they are not really competing against the field – only against those with their same classification. The official needs to be aware when different classifications are competing in the same event. There may be some slight differences in rules, implements may have different weights, etc. Continue Reading . . . 


NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

Check out the most recent NCAA interpretations at Last update was May 7, 2019. The hot topic is “arm sleeves”.

If you find this helpful, please let Mark Kostek know.


8 Surprising Signs You Are Dehydrated by Cindy Slayton

Although this topic is not considered a BEST PRACTICE or a way to officiate or work an event, it is still a very important topic to be aware of during these hot, long days on the track working the meets . . . DEHYDRATION. Whether you are the head official of an event or just on the crew, dehydration is something we should all be aware of as officials and coaches. One thing I have heard over and over again through the years as an athlete, coach, teacher, and official—“If you are thirsty, it’s too late.” Maybe these signs of dehydration will help you while officiating at future meets

8 Surprising Signs You Are Dehydrated 

1) You’re In A Bad Mood: The side effects go way beyond thirst.
Anger is no joke, and the same thing happens when you need water. When you're dehydrated, you're more prone to irritability, fatigue, and mood changes.

2) You Have Bad Breath
Don't be so quick to blame your bad breath on onion bagels and garlicky pastas—dehydration can minimize your saliva production, causing bacteria overgrowth and therefore, bad breath.

3) Your Muscles Are Cramping
Muscles can seize up from heat, so if you aren't getting enough water, you could experience cramping.

4) You Crave Sweets
PMS isn't the only thing that'll make you want to reach for the nearest pack of Skittles (or XL-sized chocolate bar)—if you're suddenly craving sweets like nobody's business, you could be dehydrated. Without enough water, your body can have difficulty with glycogen production, sparking those cravings.

5) Your Workout Sucked
Having trouble completing your standard workout? That doesn't necessarily mean you're out of shape. Dehydration reduces blood pressure, which causes the heart to work harder and can therefore decrease exercise capacity.

6) You Fail the 'Pinch Test'
Dry skin is an obvious sign, but a better way to know if you're dehydrated is to perform the pinch test. When you're dehydrated, your skin lacks elasticity, so pinch your skin, and if it appears thin and doesn't bounce back onto your body quickly, you're probably dehydrated.

7) You Have Blurred Vision
When you don't have enough fluid in your body, your eyes can become dry and your vision can blur. If you're experiencing blurred vision, definitely avoid driving or doing anything that could cause you serious harm, and amp up your water intake.

8) You Can't Cry
If you're crying and little to no tears come out, it could be a sign your body is seriously lacking water.

When our bodies are not at our best, accidents can happen. Safety has become an important issue for all of us. No matter how careful or experienced we are as officials at an event, accidents still can happen. One of our jobs as officials is to keep our venue and event as safe as possible. Being hydrated and alert are one of the many ways of helping avoid accidents. Have a great summer and let’s be careful out there.


IAAF News ~ May 2019 Newsletter

The international Association of Athletics Federations has emailed the IAAF News Edition 203 dated May 31, 2019 to their subscribers. As of this writing, this edition has not been posted their webpage. You can click here to download your copy today.


Regional News from Alabama by Dora Sims

Greetings from Alabama,

Alabama is proud to announce the following upcoming meets: Alabama Games, Saturday, June 8th – Huntsville; USATF Alabama Association JO Youth Championship, June 15-16 – Choccolocco Park; Alabama Heat Regional Tune Up, June 22nd at Choccolocco Park; Mobile Throwing Meet3 – June 23 (Mobile); and Over the Mountain Track Invitational, June 29th - Hoover. We’re excited and having lots of fun working with athletes as they compete in Track & Field events. Continue Reading . . .


USATF Officials Spotlight ~ Don Berry, Maine Association

This past winter the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference coaches voted to create a new award to recognize the outstanding track athlete of the year. This new award is the “Don Berry Outstanding Track Athlete Award”, honoring Don Berry for all is contributions to the conference. Don was a KVAC coach for 23 years and a track referee for 31 years and counting. This past month the award was presented for the first time during the conference championship meet.

For those who don’t know Don Berry, he is the certification chair for the Maine Association, Parliamentarian of the N.O.C. and the 2017 recipient of the N.O.C. James Grey Award.

Congratulations Don and thank you for your contributions to track and field.


USATF Rule of the Month from Laurie Boemker

1. Lap Scorers shall keep a record of the laps covered by each competitor in races longer than one mile. For races of 3 miles and over (3000 meters and over in indoor races), Lap Scorers shall also record on their lap scoring cards the times over each lap (as given them by an Official Timer) of the competitors for whom they are responsible. No Lap Scorer should be responsible for more than three competitors (six in the case of ultramarathons and road walking events).
NOTE: Whenever possible, an adequate number of trained lap scorers should be selected before the day of competition.

2. At the completion of each race, lap scoring cards shall be delivered to the Referee.

3. One lap scorer shall be responsible for maintaining at the finish line a display of the laps remaining. The display shall be changed each lap when the leader enters the straight that ends at the finish line. In addition, manual indications shall be given, when appropriate, to competitors who have been, or are about to be, lapped. The final lap shall be signaled to each competitor, usually by ringing a bell.

4. Transponder systems complying with Rule 165.16 may be used for lap scoring.

Personal Comments: Lap Scoring isn't easy. It's a combination of numerous aspects and incidents all coming together at once. You will see exciting, side by side racing with numerous position changes and battles until the finish line. Although, you don't really get to 'watch' the races since it often becomes a series of numbers which can make seeing the big picture challenging.

There really isn't any 'universal rule' in how you actually count the laps, but please do not talk to those counting laps, since that will add confusion. It will also result in laps being miscounted or recording incorrect place finishers. If there are weather issues, well that can change everything in some situations.


IAAF Rule of the Month from Betsy Reed, IAAF NTO

The IAAF’s Rules for Throwing Implements:
Rules 112, 123, 187.1 and 187.2

In order to ensure equity in all throwing competitions, the IAAF uses several individuals and mechanisms to provide each athlete with an equal chance to perform to the best of her/his ability. The two primary individuals and their responsibilities appear in:

Rule 112 – Technical Delegate:
The Technical Delegate(s), in conjunction with the Organizers, which shall afford them all necessary help, are responsible for ensuring that all technical arrangements are in complete conformity with the IAAF Technical Rules and the IAAF Track and Field Facilities Manual. Technical Delegates appointed for competitions other than one day meetings shall:

    (b) approve the list of implements to be used and whether athletes may use their own implements or those provided by a supplier...

Rule 123 – Technical Manager:
The Technical Manager shall be responsible for ensuring that:
    (a) the track, runways, circles, arcs, sectors, landing areas for Field Events and all equipment and implements are in accordance with the Rules.
    (b) the placement and removal of equipment and implements according to the technical organizational plan for the competition as approved by the Technical Delegate(s)….
   (d) the checking and marking of any personal implements permitted for the competition is according to Rule 187.2…

In an international competition, the Technical Manager works under the authority of the Technical Delegate, and the responsibility for all throwing implements rests with the Technical Manager. The Implement Inspectors work with, and under, the Technical Manager to ensure that any personal implements conform to the specifications of the technical rules.

Rule 187 – Official Implements
1. In all International Competitions, the implements used shall comply with current IAAF specifications. Only IAAF certified implements may be used.
2. Except as provided below, all such implements shall be provided by the Organizers. The Technical Delegate(s) may, based on the applicable regulations of each competition, allow athletes to use their own personal implements or those provided by a supplier, provided that such implements are IAAF certified, checked and marked as approved by the Organizers before the competition and made available to all athletes. Such implements will not be accepted if the same model is already on the list of those provided by the Organizers.


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