Getting back into it

#1
HI folks.

I completed my referees course in 2015 and did a handful of games during the 16/17 season. Whilst I have had good complements on my game management back then, I did have a double header last year just before Xmas. A Sat and Sunday game. Saturdays, was a nightmare, really feisty and resulted in me giving my first yellow ever, should have been more and sooner in previous games. I think I wrote about the game here somewhere. Anyways, after the game I was thinking of quitting refereeing and focusing on my U8s team that I manage and my level 2 coaching badge. I did referee the game on the Sunday without incident, but that was the last one I did, I think.

Anyways long story short, I reapplied for my license tonight and despite calling a majority of decisions right at matches I watch either on tv or at Doncaster Rovers matches in stands etc. I cant help the nagging fear of self doubting myself and knowledge of the game. This is whats probably caused me from not reffing in the last 12 months. Even when I have been short of a ref for my lads games, I have passed the buck to a parent. I did find mini football to be the worst at times, due to parents on top of the pitch practically. I loved putting kit on, despite the immense nerves prior to games, when the first whistle went, I was fine, but was the 12 months out the wrong choice?

Has anyone been in similar situation and can offer advice?
 
#2
I constantly doubt myself and my knowledge of the game. And I don't think it's a bad thing. I am also challenged by the emotional side of refereeing - how to react to players, react to the disappointment of bad behaviour, react to comments etc.

The only way through this stuff is to do more games.

If you don't want to do more games, or can't do more games, I don't think it's going to get any easier. Maybe it's not for you, maybe it is. Do you want to do it, or do you feel like you should do it out of some sense of duty?

(I now have the opposite problem, I always want to do more games!)
 

one

Well-Known Member
#3
There are many unpleasant experiences out of refereeing. Some caused by players, team officials and spectators, even FAs and your refereeing organisation, and some by your own self-expectations. The sort of stuff that makes you think “Should I really feel this sh!t as a referee?”.

In my experience, you can never stop unpleasant things and feeling but you can learn to manage them, minimise them and deal with them better by doing more games, being coached, getting support and advice from your branch and forums like this, and going to educational seminars etc. etc. But unpleasant things would still happen and you would still feel sh!t when they do no matter how much experience you have.

If you think you can accept and manage all those issues then keep going otherwise refereeing is probably not for you. Refereeing is not something that suites all personalities. For example a referee who doesn’t like/want to go near confrontational situations either has to change his/her personality and learn to deal with them or stops refereeing.

I don’t think taking a break was the wrong choice. Or the right choice for that matter. It’s a choice you made given your circumstances. I suggest giving it another decent go with at least 30 or so games under your belt. Get as much support and coaching as you can, then decide what to do next.

If you have an RDO or similar person in your organisation make sure you have a one on one chat with him/her.
 
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#4
Glad you are giving it another go. STICK WITH IT! I'll lend my thoughts/support here. I've been playing (still do - center mid, def mid) for 40 yrs, coached for 10 and have been refereeing for 4 yrs now (about 350-400 games). Refereeing is NOT playing or coaching. There is an art/skill to it and like anything we get better at things by DOING, learning from others, and working to improve. Early on in my refereeing, I (like many) had doubts due to all of the griping, etc. Don't fixate on it. Reflect on whether there is something to be learned or improved upon and if not, dismiss it.

It is easy to get caught up in self doubt especially when you are new when the players, coaches, spectators etc are griping. Here is the thing. YOU are the only unbiased person out there. YOU are also likely the only person out there (other than other referees who may be spectators) who actually studies the LOTG, their interpretations and application. Games will always vary in their difficulty for a referee based upon the importance of the game, physicality of the teams, etc. Some games are challenging to center, some are fairly simple. If you are not confident, players and coaches will pick up on that. I would suggest keeping some things in mind
1. Have fun and don't be afraid to let the players, coaches, spectators see that you are enjoying being a part of the game. As you progress in your career, you will find that working a challenging game between two good teams and keeping it fair and under control is very rewarding. Some matches you walk away from knowing you were just part of a very intense, well played game and wish it weren't over.
2. Seek out referee mentors/senior referees, etc to watch you and give you feed back. Work with other referees, get pointers, ask for insights, pick up tips and tricks. Some will work for you, others will not.
3. Much of refereeing hinges on knowing the LOTG, interpretations, application, ANGLES, work rate, focus point and OPINION (of the referee).
4. Remember that those complaining are typically biased one way or another, don't have the knowledge that you do, had a different angle on the play, were likely much farther away than you were, and may have a different opinion as a result. Don't get too hung up on it if they disagree.
5. Some teams, spectators and coaches are just plain difficult. Don't take it personally. Football is an emotional game. People want their team to win. Calls going against them, goals getting scored, etc bring out all kind of emotions in the players, coaches and spectators. Always easier to blame the ref. Just part of it.
6. Work rate - if you work (run) to be in a good position, players, spectators and coaches all see this. It shows that you are a professional, take it seriously, are working to give them a good game, and have a better position than they do. It helps especially for the close "opinion" calls if you are right there. Not to mention that presence can head off many issues. If you are a long way away, and they don't see you working, it will not help sell the call.
7. Be confident! Your whistle demonstrates confidence also. If you are calling a foul.. give 'em a long hard whistle as you run to the point of the foul. It looks like you were even closer than you were when it occurred and sends the message that you HAVE NO DOUBT about what you saw.
8. Refereeing young games - I don't do the young kids except on rare occasions any more but the young kid games seem to have the more boisterous parents. Their little angel is out there. Football is a contact sport and they can lose their minds when contact occurs. Parents at that age can be a bit over protective and their angel is going to be the next Messi. You likely won't have to run as much but just call the game. Over here in the states, the parents at that age have a severe lack of knowledge of the game. I find if I verbalize a little bit basically to the players, it helps the players learn as well as the parents when they overhear it due to the small field size (i.e. - "the handball was before the foul. We will play the 1st foul" "nope... gotta get the elbow out of the back". "You got there late. I know you didn't mean it but it's still a foul" "I saw it but you kept the ball, so I let you play"). Our young kids play small sided 7v7, 5v5, games over here so the spectators will here me talking to the parents. I don't do it constantly, just now and then.
9. Did I mention have fun?
10. I cant stress enough how helpful it is to talk and work with other officials at your level or higher. Ask them to come watch and give you pointers.

Keep your chin up and it does get easier as you will get better and better. Tune out the chatter, always work to improve, work as many games as you can and have fun. It gets easier and we all get better the more we do something. It is a skill and must be developed.

Didn't mean to get preachy :)
 
#6
Appreciate the feed back and tips guys. I actually got the excitement of being a ref again, that I had when I qualified.

Will spend some time reaffirming myself with Laws, and get a game in asap. My under 9s have a friendly and league game this week and were struggling for a ref. Whilst not ideal I may try that, but I woukd rather a parent than me take it for oblivious reasons.

Did you guys start small sided and work up?
My oldest game was U14s before I took a yr out.
 
#7
I'm not sure how it works "across the pond" but yes. Over here in Indiana, USA, I have assigners who assign me games to work. Assigners have specific leagues, locations, and tournaments that they assign. When I started (even though he has seen me play in high quality games), my primary assigner is all about developing referees. My first 3-4 months was largely U8-U12 stuff (U8-U10 are small side/single referee here. U12 is still small sided but 3 ref system on a medium sized field). I worked with some veteran referees running a line for them. I progressed to working older and older groups as well as higher level competitions. My assigner has been great for development of all of the referees for whom he is the primary assigner. He has brought assessors and mentors in to tournaments to watch and give referees feedback. It was a helpful way to start. The last two years, I have worked mostly U15-U19 with a little bit of U13-U14. I would recommend doing it as a progression building your confidence as you go. Keep in mind that the U-littles can be a bit of a different and the parents can be a bit extreme. Be sure to challenge yourself and keep pushing forward into new and more challenging levels. My goal was to upgrade to the next level which I was able to accomplish this past summer going from grade 8 to grade 7 (based upon what I read, I think our grade 7 is like your class 6). When I started, even though I am a long time player, I would have hesitant (and likely made a mess of) to center a U18 championship match. I would jump in with confidence now without hesitation. I will probably throw my name in to try some of the amateur leagues or get certified for the college level next.
 

GraemeS

Well-Known Member
#8
Appreciate the feed back and tips guys. I actually got the excitement of being a ref again, that I had when I qualified.

Will spend some time reaffirming myself with Laws, and get a game in asap. My under 9s have a friendly and league game this week and were struggling for a ref. Whilst not ideal I may try that, but I woukd rather a parent than me take it for oblivious reasons.

Did you guys start small sided and work up?
My oldest game was U14s before I took a yr out.
It's up to the individual ref. I first qualified as an 18 year old and mostly did U12 to U15 matches. When I then requalified as a 25 year old, I went straight into open age football, which you're theoretically free to do if you choose.
 

GraemeS

Well-Known Member
#10
That's a very good point actually - if the parents on the sidelines were a big part of why you gave it a break, consider going back straight in at U18 or open age. I've been doing those matches for 5 years and it's only now that I'm at a level where the number of people watching the game regularly comes close to outnumbering the number of people on the pitch. Players are louder of course, but as a referee, you're more equipped to deal with that.
 
#11
That's a very good point actually - if the parents on the sidelines were a big part of why you gave it a break, consider going back straight in at U18 or open age. I've been doing those matches for 5 years and it's only now that I'm at a level where the number of people watching the game regularly comes close to outnumbering the number of people on the pitch. Players are louder of course, but as a referee, you're more equipped to deal with that.
Thanks Graeme

To be honest I didn't get any **** from the parents, it was an overly aggressive manager I told to keep calm before I sent him away and the linesman for that team.

I think alot of it was down to my reluctance to produce my first ever card, but I did by end of the game.

I know from short experience, you notice babies parents over the older groups for sure.
 
#12
Refereeing young kids will teach you about dealing with self-opinionated parents on the touchline ..... but not much else (IMO).

Refereeing adults/open age football will earn you your real spurs as a referee.

Again, just my own take on it ...
I definitely agree that you learn more with the full sided games. Personally, I think my assignor starts people there to see if they are 1. Going to stick with it and 2. See if they are any good before moving them on. It was only a couple of months and I was DYING to get to the full sided games.
 

Sheffields Finest

Happily minding that Gap
#13
Refereeing young kids will teach you about dealing with self-opinionated parents on the touchline ..... but not much else (IMO).

Refereeing adults/open age football will earn you your real spurs as a referee.

Again, just my own take on it ...
I can ref kids from my car with the engine running, reffing OA I would have at least have to get my boots out of the back and walk to the centre circle!!! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

one

Well-Known Member
#14
Refereeing kids or any game with lower speed and intensity (most veterans and some women) allow you time to work on aspects of your game you don’t normally get a chance to consciously work on in higher level games.

For example in a U12 game you get more time to think about where the best position is and getting there. In most OA games it has to come instinctively since before you know it you are on to the next phase of play.

I use the O45 games to work on my man management since there is not as much running and they tend to find it easier to play the game with their mouths than their feet.
 
#17
Ithink senior youth anytrhing over 15sis a good learning area for a new ref, the kids are alomost adults and the game is physically closer to OA. They are normally fast paced and as they get older they become gobby as there a lot of refs who wont use cards for youth football. I do a lot of U18s in my area and the stepfrom U18s to OA is not massive but big enough.