Ref4Me

Bench Side

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Thinking of @Ben448844 and I
The two of us (and many other Level 5's) will face the steep learning curve of Bench Side this season
To all those Level 5's (and more particularly Level 4's and above), what general advice would you give for managing Bench Side?
I've had a couple of minor lessons learned in recent weeks, but I'd rather avoid some of these if members can share some of their novice and intermediate mistakes made (especially in your early days as Senior AR)
Gracious
 
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JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Thinking of @Ben448844 and I
The two of us (and many other Level 5's) will face the steep learning curve of Bench Side this season
To all those Level 5's (and more particularly Level 4's and above), what general advice would you give for managing Bench Side?
I've had a couple of minor lessons learned in recent weeks, but I'd rather avoid some of these if members can share some of their novice and intermediate mistakes made (especially in your early days as Senior AR)
Gracious
Dont defend the indefensible. But don't throw referee under bus.

Ask. Tell. Involve referee.

Introduce yourself before kick off.
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Don't get distracted by managing the benches. It's nice to be able to help the referee out by chatting to them when you can, but your primary jobs are still those relating to your flag rather than your mouth, so don't get caught behind play because you're distracted talking to them.

And similarly, don't be afraid to use that as an excuse to run away from difficult questions!
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Oh, and also, as the Senior AR you're more likely to be asked to take a "full match record" - make sure you're clear before the game exactly what the referee means by that!

My old league that I did senior lines on only required me to be able to report at the end which player came on for which other player - my new league also requires the time of that change. Led to a slightly awkward moment post-match when I had to just guess at times as I didn't know I needed to note that.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Oh, and also, as the Senior AR you're more likely to be asked to take a "full match record" - make sure you're clear before the game exactly what the referee means by that!

My old league that I did senior lines on only required me to be able to report at the end which player came on for which other player - my new league also requires the time of that change. Led to a slightly awkward moment post-match when I had to just guess at times as I didn't know I needed to note that.
Many a time had to use twitter to check what times subs were made 😂
 

Ben448844

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Oh, and also, as the Senior AR you're more likely to be asked to take a "full match record" - make sure you're clear before the game exactly what the referee means by that!

My old league that I did senior lines on only required me to be able to report at the end which player came on for which other player - my new league also requires the time of that change. Led to a slightly awkward moment post-match when I had to just guess at times as I didn't know I needed to note that.

Ha that happened to me first game of the season. Just guessed them as there was none in the first half and the others all happened mid way through the second.

@Big Cat I get the senior role more often than not this season. I've had 2 games with people who are solely ARs. Many tend to do that role as they don't like the aggro of refereeing and they're experts at asking to do the other line!! 🤣

My tactic has just been to ask both benches to ensure that only 2 are stood in the technical area as per comp rules and to keep tidy in here. The rest has been having a laugh with them, ignoring them or telling them that I'll get the ref over if they carry on. The rest is just ensuring I dont throw the ref under the bus, or if its indefensible just say that he's got a different angle and is closer than us but if he's made a mistake he'll be gutted but let's crack on with the rest of the game. No problems yet....
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Dont defend the indefensible. But don't throw referee under bus.

Ask. Tell. Involve referee.

Introduce yourself before kick off.
You have to walk a fine line with the benches and it’s really hard especially when you’ve had to not get involved with an incident that you believe the referee has got wrong.

Turning round and saying “from where I was that looked like a penalty” to one of the benches potentially kills the referees match control. Turning round and saying “Ref has asked for my input on penalties if they are inviting me in for it, otherwise I can’t overrule them, especially when I’m 35 yards from it and they are 10 yards” is probably not the answer they want, but doesn’t drop you in it.

The other thing is because you are in closer proximity to one of the teams it can be easy to be perceived to being too over friendly with them, especially if the bench further from you is losing or thinks they are not getting the rub of the green.

You have to balance that based on what’s going on in the game.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
A phrase I have found helpful is "He was thirty yards closer and had a better angle than we did." (I will never lie to a coach if I think a ref was wrong; but I will also never say that I think the ref was wrong.)

Be careful about "that was a good call" or "that was a clear foul." Once you say that, a more ambiguous answer can be seen as actual disagreement with the referee. (That doesn't mean you can't on a clear foul, but just be aware of what can happen next when you actively say the ref was right one time and don't plan to lie in the future. I have sometimes said "Oh c'mon, if you're going to complain, complain about something that's close [or something tha matters]" or something to that effect.)
 

lincs22

Supply League Observer
Staff member
Observer/Tutor
@socal lurker - one other reply is "well you yelled at me 10 minutes before that I could see an offside properly, so how the hell was I expected to see something 50 years away!".
:)
 

Ben448844

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
A phrase I have found helpful is "He was thirty yards closer and had a better angle than we did." (I will never lie to a coach if I think a ref was wrong; but I will also never say that I think the ref was wrong.)

Be careful about "that was a good call" or "that was a clear foul." Once you say that, a more ambiguous answer can be seen as actual disagreement with the referee. (That doesn't mean you can't on a clear foul, but just be aware of what can happen next when you actively say the ref was right one time and don't plan to lie in the future. I have sometimes said "Oh c'mon, if you're going to complain, complain about something that's close [or something tha matters]" or something to that effect.)

If they really annoy you just say you dont care and that you're getting paid whatever happens. 😀
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
1) Scenario... Referee approached at halftime or fulltime, on or off the field by Team or Club Official who is unhappy about something or tother
As part of pre-match, does anyone instruct ARs as to when and whether the ARs should speak in such circumstances?
As Referee, I'm inclined to only want the AR to speak as and when I ask them for their input... This is not dismissive of the AR's in any way, I'm just conscious that the R and AR run the risk of contradiction, or the AR may say something the R doesn't want said. I'm inclined to think a single voice (the R's voice) is the way to go
2) Does anyone insist on a pre-match 'line in the sand', after which communication is sterile? I'm thinking, no further chit-chat once the pre-match instruction begins and thereafter. This is also something I'm inclined to insist upon in future. There's enough distractions as KO approaches
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
1) Scenario... Referee approached at halftime or fulltime, on or off the field by Team or Club Official who is unhappy about something or tother
As part of pre-match, does anyone instruct ARs as to when and whether the ARs should speak in such circumstances?
As Referee, I'm inclined to only want the AR to speak as and when I ask them for their input... This is not dismissive of the AR's in any way, I'm just conscious that the R and AR run the risk of contradiction, or the AR may say something the R doesn't want said. I'm inclined to think a single voice (the R's voice) is the way to go
2) Does anyone insist on a pre-match 'line in the sand', after which communication is sterile? I'm thinking, no further chit-chat once the pre-match instruction begins and thereafter. This is also something I'm inclined to insist upon in future. There's enough distractions as KO approaches

2) absolutely not... A big part of my prematch is we are there to enjoy ourselves. I don't want everyone coming over all serious. It's tunes and banter in my changing room.
Plus I do my prematch around 45 mins before kick off so would make for a. Dull 75% of the pre match time.

But as ever each to own... If that's what the ref wants, that's what he'll get!!
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
2) absolutely not... A big part of my prematch is we are there to enjoy ourselves. I don't want everyone coming over all serious. It's tunes and banter in my changing room.
Plus I do my prematch around 45 mins before kick off so would make for a. Dull 75% of the pre match time.

But as ever each to own... If that's what the ref wants, that's what he'll get!!
Game last night. I was AR1
The three of us got on really well, but I thought the pre-match was sloppy, 20 mins leading up to KO a bit disorganised
Thought we entered the FOP in the wrong frame of mind
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
Great points on here.

Higher level games: I let the ref know I will check that the head coach is present on the bench before kick off. No disciplinary surprises.

We also have the list of club officials so I count them and have them written down.

If there is anything the ref didn’t cover in pre-match, like the subs warm up area or missing technical area markings I mention it quickly before kick off.

I always try to answer sensible questions from benches but never at the cost of concentration. Do not turn your back on play.

Your ref will hate it if they look for you and you are turned to the bench. Or worse, if on comms you are muttering too much to the benches about trifling stuff.

Have a basket of phrases ready:

The ref’s well positioned for that.
Sometimes we see different things.
That has to be the referee’s decision.
Looked like a natural position to me.

Always support the ref. Always.
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
1) Scenario... Referee approached at halftime or fulltime, on or off the field by Team or Club Official who is unhappy about something or tother
As part of pre-match, does anyone instruct ARs as to when and whether the ARs should speak in such circumstances?
As Referee, I'm inclined to only want the AR to speak as and when I ask them for their input... This is not dismissive of the AR's in any way, I'm just conscious that the R and AR run the risk of contradiction, or the AR may say something the R doesn't want said. I'm inclined to think a single voice (the R's voice) is the way to go
2) Does anyone insist on a pre-match 'line in the sand', after which communication is sterile? I'm thinking, no further chit-chat once the pre-match instruction begins and thereafter. This is also something I'm inclined to insist upon in future. There's enough distractions as KO approaches
1) In 99% of games the referee is going to be more senior than you so it’s best to let them lead, I would be expecting my AR’s to do the same for me - even if they disagreed with my approach, they tell me in the sanctity of the changing room.
2) I want my AR’s paying attention to me at my pre match, my pet peeve is when an AR wants to break in with some form of anecdote about something that happened to them during this. For me, being switched on for pre match and team sheets is important, then relax between that time and about 10 minutes to kick off when it’s ‘game face’ time. As a L4 you get a real mix of AR’s, everything from those that have done the role for decades, right through to someone who is doing a supply league line for the first time and as the leader of the team you have to try to get the best out of them.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Game last night. I was AR1
The three of us got on really well, but I thought the pre-match was sloppy, 20 mins leading up to KO a bit disorganised
Thought we entered the FOP in the wrong frame of mind
What time were u in from warm up. 20 mins in advance of kick offs is likely to eradicate any warm up and have cooled down.

Typical game for me

I arrive 1hr 15 mins before. I ask ARs no later than 60 mins.
Change into training gear. Get team sheets. Etc.
Pre match. 45 mins before kick off.
10 mins music chatting sorting match cards etc.
Warm up 30-25 mins before kick off.
In 10 mins before kick off.
Out for kick off 5 mins before.

In that 5 mins before kick off I'll play a song and just kind of get myself in a zone focusing on the game.
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Game last night. I was AR1
The three of us got on really well, but I thought the pre-match was sloppy, 20 mins leading up to KO a bit disorganised
Thought we entered the FOP in the wrong frame of mind
I ended up on a Step 5 line last night. Had been planning to go and watch a good mate of mine in the middle. Get a call about 1 hour 20 before kick off from him saying one of his AR’s is not going to show up (long story) and as I’m coming down, can I bring my kit and would I mind doing the line for him? Couple of quick calls to appointment secretaries who were both very happy for me to step in. I managed to get to the ground 45 minutes before kick off, had missed team sheets, but ref, observer and the 2 teams were all cool with that. The ref might be a really good mate and we have a lot of banter, but I have his pre match the respect that it deserved and followed his instructions to the letter, even though it meant not flagging for a penalty appeal that he turned down late in the game.
Ideal preparation for any of us? No, but it worked for us.
 

Ben448844

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Great points on here.

Higher level games: I let the ref know I will check that the head coach is present on the bench before kick off. No disciplinary surprises.

We also have the list of club officials so I count them and have them written down.

If there is anything the ref didn’t cover in pre-match, like the subs warm up area or missing technical area markings I mention it quickly before kick off.

I always try to answer sensible questions from benches but never at the cost of concentration. Do not turn your back on play.

Your ref will hate it if they look for you and you are turned to the bench. Or worse, if on comms you are muttering too much to the benches about trifling stuff.

Have a basket of phrases ready:

The ref’s well positioned for that.
Sometimes we see different things.
That has to be the referee’s decision.
Looked like a natural position to me.

Always support the ref. Always.

On your last point. I always tell ARs not to defend the indefensible. Doest help any of us. But don't throw me under the bus either.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
What time were u in from warm up. 20 mins in advance of kick offs is likely to eradicate any warm up and have cooled down.

Typical game for me

I arrive 1hr 15 mins before. I ask ARs no later than 60 mins.
Change into training gear. Get team sheets. Etc.
Pre match. 45 mins before kick off.
10 mins music chatting sorting match cards etc.
Warm up 30-25 mins before kick off.
In 10 mins before kick off.
Out for kick off 5 mins before.

In that 5 mins before kick off I'll play a song and just kind of get myself in a zone focusing on the game.
Well I can't recall the exact timeline. Besides, warm-up largely ceremonial and leisurely to me. Prefer warm-up before pre-match, because the latter will be as concise as possible and fresh in the mind for KO
I won't be boring the tits off anyone with a LOTG refresher
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
Managing benches is difficult enough when you are a 4th official, when you are AR and it isn't your primary job then it sometimes can be impossible.

I would always introduce myself to them, tell them to let me know when they want a sub, and to try and keep it to no more than two people standing. Usually they were OK, needed the odd reminder to stay in the technical area or get one or more people to sit down, but of course it wasn't always that easy.

I have quite a calm character, and would try to appeal to their better side if they were getting out of hand. If that didn't work I'd resort to a "I don't want to do it, but ..." approach. For example, "I don't want to stop you being able to manage your team, but you can't keep behaving like that. If I get the referee over he will send you off, and remember that means you going back to the changing room, you can't sit in the stand" (a very useful rule we had at the time). Now this was a bit of a bluff on my part as the referee could choose to issue a warning, but most referees would know me well enough to realise that if I got them over a line had been crossed.

Sometimes the behaviour is such that you just can't manage it, a line has been crossed and you can't even try to manage them. I had one where a manager was screaming in my face, literally millimetres from me, and if I tried to move away he followed me. No choice there but to get the referee over and tell him he needs to go, ultimately the referee has the final say but he would be totally wrong in not backing your recommendation when behaviour is that bad.

I kind of agree with the don't defend the indefensible principle, but be careful. You can agree that a throw-in in a non-dangerous position looked wrong, or a free kick in a safe position looked wrong, adding that remember the referee has a different angle to us. But never do that for any decision that even has a chance of leading to a goal. A throw-in on the right wing level with the penalty area might look safe, but if they lob it into the box and a goal is scored, and you've agreed that the decision was wrong, you have well and truly thrown the referee under the bus. On those you have to either say nothing, or turn into Arsene Wenger in claiming that you hadn't seen it.
 
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