Ref4Me

Getting the small things right

TomH98

New Member
Level 7 Referee
Last posted here after my first couple of games so thought I would drop back with an update plus a little query.

The gist is I'm enjoying it all so far! Done my first 5 games and some now and been focussing on getting lots of different experience so done everything from U11s up to Open Age and had some great opportunities to see other Refs and their style with some NAR appointments. Got my first penalties out of the way, my first disallowing of a crucial goal for offside and my first cards for dissent and otherwise, still waiting on my first red card but I'm sure it will come.

I'm finding myself relatively confident in the major decisions; fouls, penalties, cards, and not had too many issues managing players or dissent. One thing I am finding more difficult which I didn't expect is the small decisions; corners vs GKs and throw ins. I find all too often I give a throw one way (both sides having appealed for it of course) and the other team respond infuriated. In retrospect I can see I'm often getting these wrong, too often I just don't know who it's come off last or I'm not in the best position to tell. I'm also finding with some of these small decisions it's almost like I'm getting a mind blank moment and then having to pick a side and pray. I do find being honest saying "I didn't see so I'll go defensive throw" or "I'm not sure so benefit of the doubt means goal kick" helps me however I also think getting 2 or 3 of these wrong in a match is meaning I'm losing match control and respect where I don't need to.

Any tips for this? Is it just part and parcel and to be expected? Do you naturally get better with experience or is it something you can work on somehow?
 
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wazztie16

Level 5 Referee
Level 5 Referee
Throws, corners etc where you're not sure, wait a few seconds (thinking time) to see who goes to the ball, which team retreats, how the teams set up etc. Then signal, all depends on how the game has been or is going. If nice and easy, you can do that, otherwise keep on top of it by banging the signals out quickly (but still with a little thinking time).

Don't tell players you're not sure which way, just say "from my angle felt it came off red last".

Anything along those lines will generally keep them happy, if it's a close decision.

It'll come with time, I still get things wrong and I've been doing it a while.

Signalled for a goal kick when everyone was setting for a corner yesterday when I had a brain fart, even worse though it was an U11 tournament!

Keep at it!
 

PinnerPaul

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Waiting is great advice, also a bit of honesty, never hurts.

Try, "Sorry if that was wrong, but that's how it looked from my angle" - I feel that will only wash on the 'minor' decisions you're talking about - throws, GKs v corners, for things like penalties, red cards, once decision is made you have firmly to sell it with confidence.
 

wazztie16

Level 5 Referee
Level 5 Referee
for things like penalties, red cards, once decision is made you have firmly to sell it with confidence.

And that's where knowing your laws and experience in your role as referee plays a big part, have that confidence to know you made the correct decision, and know what to say and when to say it.
 

Max2

Well-Known Member
Level 3 Referee
You've always got more time than you think.

Not a fan of the wishy-washy "well from where i was it looked like blah di blah". Not for me, go "came off blue last, red throw". Sell the decision not your indecision.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
You've always got more time than you think.

Not a fan of the wishy-washy "well from where i was it looked like blah di blah". Not for me, go "came off blue last, red throw". Sell the decision not your indecision.
(Believe it or not!) I have a policy of never telling anyone (whilst Refereeing) that they're WRONG
Although I might question if they're on drugs, or words to that effect
Last posted here after my first couple of games so thought I would drop back with an update plus a little query.

The gist is I'm enjoying it all so far! Done my first 5 games and some now and been focussing on getting lots of different experience so done everything from U11s up to Open Age and had some great opportunities to see other Refs and their style with some NAR appointments. Got my first penalties out of the way, my first disallowing of a crucial goal for offside and my first cards for dissent and otherwise, still waiting on my first red card but I'm sure it will come.

I'm finding myself relatively confident in the major decisions; fouls, penalties, cards, and not had too many issues managing players or dissent. One thing I am finding more difficult which I didn't expect is the small decisions; corners vs GKs and throw ins. I find all too often I give a throw one way (both sides having appealed for it of course) and the other team respond infuriated. In retrospect I can see I'm often getting these wrong, too often I just don't know who it's come off last or I'm not in the best position to tell. I'm also finding with some of these small decisions it's almost like I'm getting a mind blank moment and then having to pick a side and pray. I do find being honest saying "I didn't see so I'll go defensive throw" or "I'm not sure so benefit of the doubt means goal kick" helps me however I also think getting 2 or 3 of these wrong in a match is meaning I'm losing match control and respect where I don't need to.

Any tips for this? Is it just part and parcel and to be expected? Do you naturally get better with experience or is it something you can work on somehow?
It's an interesting post for a 'newbie'

It took me quite a while to realise the importance of the 'small stuff'. Obviously Refereeing is pretty unforgiving and what happens if you're having a bad day with 'mole hills', is that invariably grow into mountains. Someone should coin a phrase from that insight
The players lose confidence in you, so when the KMD/KMI lands on your plate, you end up with loadsa flack cos everyone already has it in their heads that you're useless. Of course, I'm not speaking through personal experience, just what other Referees have told me down the years ;)

Otherwise, just openly blame your Assistants
 
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Gamespoiler

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
Just remember the majority of players and coaches are liars. They all claim it’s their ball. Whilst they want the right decision, they want a decisive match official who won’t be swayed under pressure. I have found it helps reminding players that they are all claiming for the same ball and a decision has to be made. Accept it. I also point out that there are far worse things going on in the world than a throw in decision
 

Viridis1886

I don't care if you got the ball...
Level 7 Referee
I can totally empathise. Some matches it seems easy and others are just a bit harder.

From my personal perspective it comes down to focus and sometimes I just need to kick myself into the right mindset.

I will literally just tell myself "Focus. Focus. Focus." I will then add in a period where I am just saying to myself every touch where a call is likely to be needed... "Red leg. Blue foot. Blue foot. Red head." so that when the call comes I have the last touch in my mind. I tend to do this more in the attacking zones, but obviously the defensive zone for one team is the attacking zone for the other!
 

Kes

I'll Decide ...
Level 5 Referee
. I find all too often I give a throw one way (both sides having appealed for it of course) and the other team respond infuriated. In retrospect I can see I'm often getting these wrong, too often I just don't know who it's come off last or I'm not in the best position to tell. I'm also finding with some of these small decisions it's almost like I'm getting a mind blank moment and then having to pick a side and pray. I do find being honest saying "I didn't see so I'll go defensive throw" or "I'm not sure so benefit of the doubt means goal kick" helps me however I also think getting 2 or 3 of these wrong in a match is meaning I'm losing match control and respect where I don't need to.

Any tips for this? Is it just part and parcel and to be expected? Do you naturally get better with experience or is it something you can work on somehow?
Having empathy with the players is a good thing but don't get bogged down with it. ;) Guard against assuming that you've got something wrong just because one set of players responds negatively. Like you've already said, both sets will appeal for decisions so it's your call not theirs. If players are going to get excited about the direction of a throw given on half way or the odd GK/CK decision then frankly, that's up to them. There'll be games where it's just like that with both teams when all you can do is referee fairly based on what you see at the time - and of course sin bin for dissent when it starts to become an issue.

Remember, by and large, the only two objective things in football are Ball In/Out Of Play and Offside. Everything else is subjective.

Sounds like you're doing okay to me. :):cool:
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
Not a fan of the wishy-washy "well from where i was it looked like blah di blah". Not for me, go "came off blue last, red throw". Sell the decision not your indecision.
I'd argue that it is contextual. Most of the time I agree with you--we need to sell the decision with confidence. But there are times (which really shouldn't be more than once a game at the most) when I think we can gain credibility by acknowledging we're making the best call we can in the circumstances, particularly on calls that aren't particularly important like a TI.
 

N416405

Waterman
Level 5 Referee
If I can’t determine which way a throw should go, I’ll say so, and go with “defence ball”.

It’s the one place on the pitch where others (spectators & players) often have a better position than yourself (you’re infield, contesting players are between you and the ball, often there are a lot of other players in that small area too).

Once teams know your rationale and you apply it consistently, then I find they accept it.
 

BCMilan

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
You've always got more time than you think.

Not a fan of the wishy-washy "well from where i was it looked like blah di blah". Not for me, go "came off blue last, red throw". Sell the decision not your indecision.
What if you was unsighted, and the players knew you were ?
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
If I can’t determine which way a throw should go, I’ll say so, and go with “defence ball”.

It’s the one place on the pitch where others (spectators & players) often have a better position than yourself (you’re infield, contesting players are between you and the ball, often there are a lot of other players in that small area too).

Once teams know your rationale and you apply it consistently, then I find they accept it.
Dunno if I agree with this. Doing this in reality absolutely fine. Admitting it not so much.

The problem is, you can't apply it consistently. Sometimes you will give an attacking throw because you think it came off a defender - which will go against the publicly stated rules and look inconsistent.
 

N416405

Waterman
Level 5 Referee
"If I can't determine" - so perhaps 2 or 3 times in a match, depends on AR, NAR or No One, to help.

I'm saying better to openly state "couldn't see" and therefore "defence ball", rather than 'guess' and find that 20-fans and half-a-dozen players could actually see and 'know' you're blagging it.

I think it also gives fans/players a 'clue' that you're just one pair of eyes and can't be everywhere.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
"If I can't determine" - so perhaps 2 or 3 times in a match, depends on AR, NAR or No One, to help.

I'm saying better to openly state "couldn't see" and therefore "defence ball", rather than 'guess' and find that 20-fans and half-a-dozen players could actually see and 'know' you're blagging it.

I think it also gives fans/players a 'clue' that you're just one pair of eyes and can't be everywhere.

Nothing wrong with saying you guessed, especially without NARs, as long as you aren't doing it too often. I've said something like "sorry lads, couldn't see it properly, I've had to make an educated guess". Almost always they will laugh it off, and if they don't I'll just point out it is a throw-in on the half way line so really not that important.
 

PinnerPaul

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
You've always got more time than you think.

Not a fan of the wishy-washy "well from where i was it looked like blah di blah". Not for me, go "came off blue last, red throw". Sell the decision not your indecision.
Hmmm Chas has liked this AND my post that says the opposite! :p

Its all opinions and what works for you, but IMHO indecision would be either waiting an age or changing your mind. It IS the truth after all - we make decisions based on what we see - telling the players that isn't being 'wishy washy' I don't think.
 

ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
Hmmm Chas has liked this AND my post that says the opposite! :p

Its all opinions and what works for you, but IMHO indecision would be either waiting an age or changing your mind. It IS the truth after all - we make decisions based on what we see - telling the players that isn't being 'wishy washy' I don't think.
Selling the decision is the key, whether you wait to see who is going to fetch the ball and which team retreats, or the "Red throw" and strong arm signal.
I would avoid the "Awfully sorry, chaps, didn't see the last touch so I'm giving to the defence" if at all possible. It invites dissent and both teams appealing for every restart thereafter.
Give it, sell it, move into position for the restart.
 

BCMilan

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
Really don't like "wait to see who is going to fetch the ball or which team retreats". As a coach / manager I would always ask my teams to show body language that assumes its our ball.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
Really don't like "wait to see who is going to fetch the ball or which team retreats". As a coach / manager I would always ask my teams to show body language that assumes its our ball.
This one is all about context. Sometimes the players' reactions are a very good clue that they all know and agree what happened. This isn't a long wait--it's a pause or slow signal to read the immediate reactions of the players. Of course, you have the teams that act like every TI is theirs, and you quickly realize that you can't take any cues from that team
 
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