Assessing – The Referee Team Approach

“Assessing – The Referee Team Approach”,

By: Ed Michaud, NISOA National Assessor, Oklahoma

As veteran Referees, Assessors, and experienced Referees, most of us can reflect on earlier days when the traditional assessment was a more formal and limited visit or discussion. During this discussion the great majority of conversation, at the Assessor’s direction, was between he Assessor and the Referee. On occasion, the critique toward the Assistant Referees (i.e., Linesmen in past years!) may have been summed up as: “you Assistant Referees had no bearing on the outcome of the match today, so you’re dismissed” or, “you guys did a good job today, so unless you have any questions, you can go, but I need to talk with Referee.”

Do you recall that empty feeling that you would’ve liked to sit in on the discussion also, to further learn from what you witnessed that day?

You may not have experienced this in your career, nor was it the intended norm for the assessment process, but the “style” of some Assessors was that the game notes mainly applied to the Referee’s performance, so the main task was to go one on one with the Referee.

Fortunately, today that is not the NISOA preferred process toward critiquing the entire Referee Team with what activities occurred during the match being assessed. NISOA believes that the actions of all members of the assigned Referee Team affect the game management and outcome. Therefore, active involvement by each member of the Referee Team during the post game critique helps everyone to improve.

A critically important element with the Referee Team approach is the pre-game briefing among the Referee Team, and how specific match situations are addressed. The faster pace, higher skill of players today demands clear instruction of what assistance the Referee may need and the total focus of the Assistant Referees and Alternate Official to provide that assistance.  During the post game discussion, when covering a significant game situation, including a bench problem, all members have to be able to respond to what was covered in the pre- game and consider if the matter was handled correctly. What has come out of the team approach or shared discussion after the match; or if perhaps there was a misunderstanding of what was said during the pre-game briefing. This is nothing new as Referee Teams have the opportunity to get their heads together during half time break to make sure they are together.

With the overall goal of assessments to improve each member of the Referee Team with their related duties, the process starts with the team’s pre-game briefing. The next step is the observation and evaluation by the assessor, in the role of a counselor to assist.   At the debriefing, each member of the team should be ready to participate and discuss what their involvement, or lack of, was for the game matter being discussed. There is the old saying, any member of the team can make the team look good or look bad

NISOA’s commitment to the schools we service is to provide the best qualified officials. This commitment does not stop when the Referee Team walks off the field or the critique is completed. Our final report card rests with what the Referee Team learned or gained from that “team” assessment session and the next one, and the next one.