Referee Nuts and Bolts – August 2010

Volume 18, “Referee Nuts and Bolts”, August 2010.

By: Bob Sumpter, NISOA, Florida

This monthly column is written primarily for the college and high school soccer Referee. However, any soccer Referee who wishes to improve personal performance may also find that this series is helpful.

All articles address those BASIC techniques, procedures, practice alternatives, and skills that are sometimes forgotten or overlooked while going through the experiences of soccer refereeing.  The short discussions and accompanying practical tips stress important advice for competent performance.

This August 2010 column includes three discussions entitled:

18-1: “When Do Ejections Begin?”,

18-2: “Referee Relationships Help”, and

18.3: “Is Your Appearance Important?)”

Your comments, questions, and thoughts about these BASIC topics are always welcome. You can contact me directly via email .

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18-1 “Where do some ejections begin?” (August 2010)

Data suggests that one of every 8 players cautioned for “unsporting conduct” are ejected later in that same game for “serious foul play.”

The same data indicates that “persistent misconduct after receiving a prior caution” averages 37% of all ejections.

Both of these items point to the fact that a cautioned player may well prove to be further trouble in a game. Also, these items suggest that once cautioned, a player should be observed carefully for the rest of the game to observe for any sign of continued misconduct, or for any sign that the player’s temper might not have “cooled down” enough to avoid becoming a further behavior problem in the game.

Learning how to anticipate and avoid possible problems in a game is one of the skills the Referee has to develop for officiating success on the field.

Tip:  Once you Caution a player, observe that player more frequently than you might observe other players who seem to perform more within the bounds of acceptable conduct during the game.  Perhaps either a brief word of counsel when necessary, or merely running close by the cautioned player a bit more often than normally (even if it means deviating from the suggested path up and down the field) might influence that cautioned player to modify behavior in a more positive manner.

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18-2 “Referee relationships help.” (August 2010)

Have you ever thought about how important it is to share what you have experienced and learned about refereeing with other Referees?  Have you ever thought that by doing so, you could improve your own performance and skills significantly?

Think about it. None of us become successful Referees all by ourselves. Others have always helped us “get where we are.” For most of us it comes through honest and open sharing of knowledge, experience, and skills with colleagues. This openness and honesty encourages your colleagues to rely on your integrity as a friend, and to be open and honest with you in sharing information.

The more you develop open and honest sharing with Referee colleagues; you not only help them, but the better your chances are of acquiring the type of input from them that will help you learn to become better at what you do. Whatever information and advice you give to another Referee helps that Referee improve; whatever information and advice another Referee gives to you helps you improve. It works both ways. Your aim should be to encourage an open exchange between yourself and other Referee colleagues.

Think of it this way: by sharing you can get to be as good as the sum total of all with whom you share and all who share with you.  They will reciprocate to your openness and honesty, and the results will benefit all.

Tip:  Develop friendships with your colleagues that are based on open and honest sharing of Referee experience, knowledge and skills.  It is a key way to help you and your colleagues become better Referees.

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18-3 “Is your appearance important?” (August 2010)

One of my favorite referee instructors used to emphasize that it is not only important to be professional, but it’s equally important to appear to all of the game participants that you are professional in every respect.

Through experience most successful Referees learn not only to concentrate on being professional, knowledgeable, and confident as a Referee, but also learn how to appear to be professional, knowledgeable, and confident in every game they manage.

Your appearance on the field is an important aspect of this characteristic.  How you are personally groomed when you enter the field, and how your uniform appears are keys to the appearance you want to display.

Many long-time referees and many of my professional colleagues (e.g., John DiSalvatore and John Davies) would make sure to carry a complete extra uniform with them to every game, and during the half-time interval they would quickly clean up their accumulated perspiration and change into a fresh uniform for the second half.  If not a complete uniform change, many other colleagues did change into a fresh, clean referee jersey. Their refereeing showed their commitment to being, and appearing to be, professional. Their long-time success was helped by this simple practice.

Tip: Think about how you want to appear to the teams involved in your game.  Would your professional appearance be helped if you carried an extra referee jersey to wear in the second half? Could that professional appearance help you to control the game and its participants?

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