How does one become a ref?

Hey I am a graduating senior and I am completely in love with FIRST and I do not plan on returning to my current team so i would like to become a ref. Does ne1 kno how? :ahh:


i would recommend you to start lower, i know volunteering as a ref sounds cool but it has alot of stress along with it. I would reccommend to start as a field attendent or a smaller task first. Every move you do on the field is seen by everyone. I am happy i started lower because the first time you volunteer, you may go nuts. It can be very stressful and also has alot of people running around that you need to get a feel for the field. Dont get me wrong that volunteering ist awesome but it has alot of effects that you wont know occur until after you volunteer. But yes go to the link in the past post and just sign up next year and over the summer work at an off season comp or 2 and get the feel of what it is to be a volunteer…

Going through the FIRST website is definitely a good starting place.
If you happen to know any regional coordinators, or volunteer coordinators that could help as well. :wink:

Reffing is a great experience. I hope you get your shot, and I hope you enjoy it. (I know I did). Wear comfortable shoes.


You get lucky like a sophmore on our team. A group of kids went up to Portland as volunteers and he got to be a ref for some reason that I don’t know.

Good advice. It is also good to volunteer at off-season events. You can ask to be a “back-up ref” if some of the other refs want to take a break.

Also… when you are a ref, be ready for loooong days. Sometimes, you can get really tired. Really… tired. So tired that you might even sleep in the next morning and miss a few matches. ducks

Andy B.

I still argue that wasn’t completely my fault.

Yes, Andy is right of course… offseason events are a GREAT opportunity to start. (Right Jeff?) There are plenty of offseason events in the northeast you could volunteer at. This would give you some experience, and help you get your foot in the door for the actual season.

At least as a ref, your voice won’t get hoarse. Unless you’re one of those crazy head-refs that takes every opportunity to get on a mic and pander to the crowd. I imagine that is tough on the vocal cords.


“Hmmm… nothing went wrong in this match, nothing at all to call, I’m going to explain it to the crowd.”

Yeah Andy … that sleeping-in trick wouldn’t have anything to do with going out “socializing” late at night after that first day on the field. Don’t worry buddy … I’ve got your back :wink: . Remember when you retire from your IRI position I want to try to fill your shoes …

Oops … back to topic :o
Reffing is fantastic! One of the most significant things I noticed is that you have the best seats in the house, and you get to see every robot perform - unlike being stuck in your pit area working on your robot between matches. Good luck with your volunteer duties.

Off season events and small/new regianals are the best. The larger/older regionals tend to have a core group of people that do ti every year.

Get to know people like the regionals directors and other head refs.

From personal experience, I’ll say it’s definitely worth it to start volunteering on a position like field reset, where you are close to the action, and can see everything that happens on the field. It takes great patience and attention to be a ref, and it’s true that they have the most difficult job in the game. Each ref has something to look out for, and many times it’s very difficult to tell when a rule is being violated- especially determining whether an action is intentional or not. It’s also difficult confronting teams with penalties, particularly on tough calls.

Take an off-season competition or a few regionals and just observe the refs. Watch them closely, how they each pay special attention to the different things happening on the field, and how they deal with certain situations. Once you have an understanding of how they operate, sign up to volunteer as one. DCA Fan posted the link above. The process is fairly painless- essentially an online form where you enter the areas you would be interested in volunteering. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences volunteering, as field reset at UTC, and a ref on Curie in Houston, although JVN’s advice rings all too true- wear comfortable shoes. :cool:

Good idea Baker, gee if only there was an offseason competition in i dont know, the Midwest, that could use a slightly large Joisey fella to ref :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

but the offseason is a great chance to ref, thats how i got my chance even if you cant ref a FIRST event the offseasons are a great substitute

Eh, I think he looks better in the helmet]( than with a sign!! :yikes: