Referee Nuts and Bolts – August 2011

by:  John Van de Vaarst

Volume 27 – August 2011

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 often forgotten or overlooked while going through the experiences of soccer refereeing.  The short discussions and accompanying tips stress important advice for competent performance.

This month’s article focuses on the fact that the fall season is almost here – so what.

The fall season for intercollegiate and interscholastic soccer is approximately one month away.  What does that mean for an official?  Often times officials do not think it has any meaning and continue to enjoy their summer.  This is defiantly the wrong approach if you want to have a successful season.  This is the time of year when physical fitness training should be a priority.  It has been stated at many clinics, articles and programs that an official cannot referee their way into shape.  Training should become a integral part of an officials’ routine during this time of year.  Preparing the muscles for the arduous season will help prevent injuries and ensure that the official is physically fit for that first game of the year.  Care must be taken though with training in the warm weather.   Hydration and proper nutrition is critical during training workouts.  Officials should plan a training routine that is varied and will help build stamina, endurance, and speed.   There are many articles available about this type of training and they should be reviewed to determine what is the best approach.

This is also the time of year that many chapters and high school associations have clinics and rules interpretation meetings.   Attendance at these meetings is the first step.   Paying attention and getting the most out of the clinics is critical.  Just signing in to satisfy a requirement does not help the official and could lead to game problems.  Each year the high school rules are modified and every other year the NCAA rules.   The official must be up to date on all the changes and any high school state association modifications.   Each year there are problems with the management of substitutions and overtime.   These topics are always reviewed at clinics.   Being prepared and knowing the latest interpretations will go a long way to preventing a problem and possible protest.

Many officials take family vacations during the month of August.  Down time during this period can be used to reread the NCAA Rule Book and the NFHS Rule Book.   A refresher on the rules will always be beneficial.   Many chapters and state associations also require testing and courses that must be completed before the season begins.   Officials should not wait to the last minute to satisfy these requirements.   Taking the course or test well in advance at a pace that will result in increased learning is a far better approach.

There is an old saying that there are five “P’s” to success.   Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.   The month of August can be used for the planning of a highly successful soccer officiating season.   By starting early the soccer official will be mentally and physically prepared to officiate through November and enjoy the experiece.