An exploration of the developmental sport and training histories of Canadian sport officials

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Sport officials occupy essential roles in sport and are necessary for sport to function properly. However, compared to athletes and coaches there has been scant research conducted on the development of sport officials. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to explore the developmental pathways and milestones that might relate to success as an official. A sample of 223 Canadian sport officials completed The Developmental History of Officials Questionnaire, which collected information on sport and officiating participation histories, as well as training histories related to officiating. Results suggest that respondents’ highest level of athletic performance was predictive of a similarly high level as an official (H(3, n = 217) = 13.37, p < .01, η2 = 0.06), thus past athletic participation might be beneficial for future officials’ development. Additionally, starting at a younger age as an official was also predictive of reaching a higher level as an official (F(3, 212) = 9.09, p < .001, η2 = 0.90). Competitive officiating was the most relevant activity for skill development, with national/international level referees consistently officiating more hours throughout their career, while practice activities were not as prevalent. Future studies should attempt to increase the sample size, widen the variety of sports represented, and gather more respondents from lower- and middle-tier officiating backgrounds.
Referee, Competitive officiating, Canadian, Expertise development, Sport participation