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How to Study Your Rulebook


Start at the Beginning- 

                  When youre just getting started (or if its been awhile since you cracked the good book), breeze through the entire rulebook once to familiarize yourself with the structure and organization.


Now the real studying begins-

                  For each category of the rules (Definitions, Live Balls/Dead Ball, Fouls and penalties, etc), here is a guide for maximizing retention:


1.      Visualize- For every rule and subsection of every rule, immediately after reading it, imagine a specific play related to that rule and visualize yourself applying the rule.

2.      Quiz yourself- After visualizing a play, write down a short quiz question related to the rule and the play you visualized.  That will not only re-enforce the rule in your head by writing it down, but youll also have a handy quiz for later review after every rules study session.

3.      Cross-reference- Have your casebook handy when studying.  After youve jotted down you quiz question, look up that same rule application in your casebook and read through it, making adjustments as needed in your quiz questions.



            Thanks to Tim Sloan of Referee Mag. Apr. 2004



Rules of Rules Study by Rogers Redding


Rogers Redding is the author of The Referees Study Guide to the NCAA Football Rules.  The Colorado Springs, Colo. Resident is the vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.  An official with more than 30 years of experience, he has been a referee in the Southeastern Conference for 10 years.


  1. Get a sense of the big picture before seating the details-  When reading the major rules (such as rule 2) I find it helpful to read the rule first like a novel; then go back and dig in with serious study.
  2. Plan for a set studying sessions- Get into the rulebook at least twice a week year roundmore during the seasonfor no less than half an hour each time.
  3. The importance of definitions- Constantly refer back to rule 2 for definitions.  Also, be aware that rule 2 has much more than just dry definitions; for example, much of penalty enforcement is in rule 2, as well as rule 10.
  4. Reiterate the rule in different ways- For each penalty, make up your own examples as illustrations.  Or paraphrase a rule by re-stating it in your own words.
  5. Dont get locked into strict rulebook organizations- Organize your thinking and studying around phases of the game (kicking, passing or scoring for example) rather than around rule 4 or rule 5.