Refereeing a soccer game is rarely an easy thing to do. So why do we do it? For many of you it is a way of earning money. For others it is another way to enjoy and participate in the world's most popular sport. Whatever your reason becoming a better referee is a worthwhile thing to do.
For the young referee especially officiating teaches self confidence, time management and organizational skills. You have to make decisions quickly and confidently, and have the ability to deal with people in a firm, fair and polite manner.
Many of these qualities are necessary when you go for that first interview and subsequently into the work force. You can set your schedule to fit in with other activities in which you participate, you get fresh air and exercise and earn pocket money at the same time! It can only be a win-win situation.
Some of you will decide that you want to improve yourselves further and reach the highest level that you can through upgrading clinics and on field evaluations of your performance designed to help you get better. Hard work, persistence and dedication will also prove to be very rewarding with the opportunity for higher level games, travel and the chance to meet new friends all over Canada and even other countries.
But no matter what route you decide to take how many of us regularly evaluate ourselves as a referee?
â€œSelf developmentâ€ can be done by reviewing your own performance but is preferable when done with another referee also intent on self improvement.
By asking yourselves a series of questions after every game you will get a sense of where you can improve.
Ask yourselves these simple questions for example:
â€¢ Did I look the part? Was my uniform clean and tidy? Shirt tucked in, socks pulled up?
â€¢ Was my whistle used effectively? Was it loud and confident for fouls such as pushing, tripping and unfair tackles? Was I firm in getting the â€œwallâ€ back 10 yards?
â€¢ Were my signals clear and smart and did I always raise my arm for an indirect free kick?
â€¢ Did I talk to the players clearly and effectively to prevent them from fouling and tell them the color of the team that was entitled to the throw in, goal kick or corner kick?
â€¢ How well did I keep up with play? Was I inside or close to the penalty area when the ball was there? Was I close by to deal with the foul on the goalkeeper? Or did I remain close to centre field?
â€¢ How often was I caught out of position? How many times did I have to make a decision from 20 yards or more?
â€¢ Was I fair to both teams? Did I allow myself to be influenced by the appeals of players or the yells of coaches or fans? Was I always polite and respectful?
â€¢ Did anyone get hurt? Did I protect players from foul play by dealing with it early in the game?
Spending a few minutes after every game asking yourself these simple questions is one way of focusing on key issues in refereeing. It is not possible to have a referee mentor at every game but it is important that as referees, like players, we always try to improve ourselves. The question is then, â€œAs a referee how am I doing?