Ref4Me

Talking to irate managers U12

Zimmyman

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
Under 12 A division game so quite high standard !!! Tense game loads of griping from managers from first whistle !! Constant !!! Manager red call fir his player down head knock so I stop game with white in possession ! In restart red manager call to his player to kick the ball back to white goalkeeper I was about to restart with drop ball to white team which it should be !! I said to manager I am running the game not you and do you know the laws about the restart ? He then said to me if I spoke to you like that you would caution me !!! I said I’m only asking if you know the laws and you should not tell players to restart in an incorrect manner !! I then do the drop ball which causes more remonstration from red manager as white nearly score !! Time to caution which I did !!! I then send the managers son who got Lippy to the bin red manager says why is he in the bin he still doesn’t understand the laws that one can only be binned for dissent !! Thoughts on this would be good
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Once the manager has started, don't get into prolonged debates about the laws of the game with them.

Be clear that you are in charge and if he carries on you will take action against him.

You can add that you are happy to speak to him after the game if he wishes to do so.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Asking if someone knows the laws can come across as flippant and almost sure fire way to irk them. This of course does not excuse their following behaviour but we as referees can certainly look and say is there anything I could have done.
Simply saying dropped balls are now. Dropped for the team who last touched the ball would have given him the same message but at the same time wouldn't have hurt his ego.
If he continues then we can start looking at cards or even saying let's get the game restarted, if you want me to clarify anything come and see me 5 mins after full time.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
I said to manager I am running the game not you and do you know the laws about the restart ? He then said to me if I spoke to you like that you would caution me !!! I said I’m only asking if you know the laws and you should not tell players to restart in an incorrect manner !!
Yup, all sounds like a squabble held in the wrong tone by all sides. Consider ways in which to sidestep confrontation rather than inviting it
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
All of the above.

One of the best traits you can have as a referee is the ability to influence players, bench and spectators behaviour in a positive direction. This in fact is a trait in life. Some people are natural at it and TBH I have always envied them. Some people like me have had to work on it hard and I still have a way to go. The best place to start is to make sure you don't send them in a negative direction.

Same as play anticipation, anticipate the reaction of what you are about to say. And if it is going to have a negative impact, find a different way of conveying the same message.

having said that nothing excuses poor behaviour and you have to deal with accordingly which you did.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
Think back to what you could have done differently to diffuse the situation. The red coach may not know the new law or may have thought his team had the ball and was telling his team to be sporting--he was not being combative at the start, so why escalate. Why not just answer that with a simple "Thanks coach--the dropped ball law changed a couple of years ago, this will be DB just to white." With that comment you are recognizing he is being helpful (defusing the situation), while also establishing that you're in charge and that you are up to date on the laws. You probably would have avoided all the problems that flowed after when everyone got riled up.

(If you have a tendency to escalate confrontation (which is true for many new refs, as it takes a strong personality to do this), consider reading the book Verbal Judo--it's written by a former cop and is not all on point for referees, but very useful in thinking about how to handle confrontation in a way that de-escalates situations, in part by being thoughtful about what the real goals are in a confrontation.)
 

Zimmyman

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
Thank you good points !!!I I reacted the way I did because this coach was going at it right from the start after 5 mins ! How the hell can he tell if I’m the worlds best or the worlds worst ref after five minutes ?? So why keep on at every call and decision ? If he had not been so agitating I would have for sure explained the dropped ball to him ! The line it seems is very fine how much does one take or let go before one reacts to the coaches etc ? Is it after 5 mins 10 mins or how long before a coach calling on the refs every decision filters through to the boys and believe me at almost academy level they will pick up
In the coaches actions thinking it is ok as the ref is doing nothing about it ! Then surely a ref could easily lose game control ?? If someone can tell me how much is enough and when and at what time to step
In it may help !! Mind I've done a fair few games and it’s not like this every week although we have in my league and county FA noticed a big upturn in discipline since lockdown ! Might me true might not but it seems that way
 

ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
Thank you good points !!!I I reacted the way I did because this coach was going at it right from the start after 5 mins ! How the hell can he tell if I’m the worlds best or the worlds worst ref after five minutes ?? So why keep on at every call and decision ? If he had not been so agitating I would have for sure explained the dropped ball to him ! The line it seems is very fine how much does one take or let go before one reacts to the coaches etc ? Is it after 5 mins 10 mins or how long before a coach calling on the refs every decision filters through to the boys and believe me at almost academy level they will pick up
In the coaches actions thinking it is ok as the ref is doing nothing about it ! Then surely a ref could easily lose game control ?? If someone can tell me how much is enough and when and at what time to step
In it may help !! Mind I've done a fair few games and it’s not like this every week although we have in my league and county FA noticed a big upturn in discipline since lockdown ! Might me true might not but it seems that way
Next time it happens try the use of a semi-public word with the offending coach as soon as the ball next goes out of play. Tell them that you will referee, he will coach, and let's let the players enjoy their game. That sets out the situation for all to see/hear, and if he continues then it is easier to deal with him.
If you allow dissent from the sidelines from the start, it will get worse as the game progresses.
A great example from a game where I was the referee observer (a Southern League match), where the approach is similar but more pointed that to a youth coach:
After 10 minutes the home manager shouted at the referee from around 25 metres away, offering his view about her decision not to award a corner kick for his team. She asked the goalkeeper to delay the goal kick, and called to the manager "Last time you shout at me like that" (followed by his first name)
He replied ""That was my first time"
She answered "Yes, and your last"
Ten minutes later the manager shouted loudly again (despite the referee having been right in her decision) and was sent from the dugour to the dressing room for the rest of the game.
Comment from the number 9 to the referee, with a smile "Just made our job easier, ref!"
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
There is the old joke about a pedestrian asking a passer by how to get to Carnegie Hall, with the answer being "Practice, practice, practice." Dealing with coaches is the same--it takes experience and learning from our mistakes (and better, from the mistakes of others so we don't have to make them ourselves).

The most important thought is to stay calm and not escalate the situation. (I tell new refs the goal is always to be the most calm person on the field--and if you don't feel that way, look that way and sound that way.)

We all have different steps we develop to deal with the knuckleheads--different ones work for different refs depending on factors like personality, age, gender, and even size. Steps we can use, can include
  • A look (that says, yeah I heard that)
  • A gentle downward hand wave (yeah, I heard that and don't need to hear that)
  • A look with a gentle but firm "Enough." (yeah, I heard that, but that's not your role)
  • A louder, "Coach, knock it off." (this is more of a warning--your behavior needs to stop
  • "Coach, please let me ref, and I'll let you coach."
  • At a pause. "Coach, what did you see?" Listen. "OK, I'll watch. What I saw was . . . "
  • "Coach, please stop. That's not appropriate behavior."
  • "Coach, I know you want to support your kids, but you need to do it in a more appropriate way, not by yelling at me or my ARs."
  • "Coach, I've already asked you to control your behavior. Please don't make me come back again with a card."
And many other options. But we always want to be calm, in control, and never demeaning--that is how we demonstrate that we are actually the one in control.

Humor can also be useful--but you must be very careful with humor. Humor is often more effective for older refs, as it can come across as more snarky from a younger ref to an older coach.

And, of course, we have cards. Often, we can de-escalate things to avoid cards to coaches. But not every coach wants to be helped.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
She asked the goalkeeper to delay the goal kick, and called to the manager "Last time you shout at me like that" (followed by his first name)
He replied ""That was my first time"
She answered "Yes, and your last"
I would not recommend this as a strategy for new refs. IMO, this takes some seasoning and gravitas to pull off without looking overly aggressive.

I would also say that in our new world of cards for coaches, this kind of ultimatum should be accompanied by a caution.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
You need to be seen to deal with it at soon as it starts.
Using the stepped approach, that is, quiet word, public rebuke, caution, send off or the 3 Bs, b*locking, booking, bath.
Depending on severity, you can skip out any action and move to a more severe action.
Whatever you do, don't ignore it. Often a quick word on the way past can help de escalate matters. It will not stop or go. Away unless you address the behaviour so why wait?
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
My approach is I will happily explain anything in terms of laws, but if they then keep arguing the conversation ends there, perhaps with me having the final say. Similar happened last week, I played advantage from SPA and the attacking team were spitting feathers that the defender hadn't been cautioned afterwards. I explained that from this season I can't caution, all but one player accepted this so I just told him I wasn't having a debate on it, but if he wanted to check when he got home the laws are on FIFA's website and he would see it is underlined in yellow as an amendment to last season.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
My approach is I will happily explain anything in terms of laws, but if they then keep arguing the conversation ends there, perhaps with me having the final say. Similar happened last week, I played advantage from SPA and the attacking team were spitting feathers that the defender hadn't been cautioned afterwards. I explained that from this season I can't caution, all but one player accepted this so I just told him I wasn't having a debate on it, but if he wanted to check when he got home the laws are on FIFA's website and he would see it is underlined in yellow as an amendment to last season.
Thought you'd retired. My intended policy is to look, frown, grimace, wave hands about a bit, stick to one-liners & let the cards do the rest
 
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ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
I would not recommend this as a strategy for new refs. IMO, this takes some seasoning and gravitas to pull off without looking overly aggressive.

I would also say that in our new world of cards for coaches, this kind of ultimatum should be accompanied by a caution.
Absolutely right - that's why I pointed out the approach is different for youth coaches/youth football. Horses for courses, and whatever works for the individual.
 

Gamespoiler

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
A thing I find helpful when a coach starts like this is to either stop the game if it's bad enough or delay the restart. Then rather than have a slanging match across the field for all to hear, walk over to the coach, take your time with this. By the time you reach him, he's more than likely calmed down and is expecting a card or a bollocking. People around him will even say, you're in trouble now, the ref is coming over. Most situations are defused as simple as this without you needing to say a word. Then when you get to him its a simple, look, I get the passion and frustration from football but your comments are unacceptable. If I need to stop the game one more time to talk to you about your behaviour, you will be sent off. Tends to nip it in the bud and you tend to gain some respect at the same time.

When is the right time to do it? As soon as it happens even if that is the first minute. In junior football, coaches want and expect a strong referee and will appreciate you being strong with them in this instance. I coached junior football for 12 years before becoming a referee so have seen this from both sides of the fence.

It takes confidence so best of luck
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
A thing I find helpful when a coach starts like this is to either stop the game if it's bad enough or delay the restart. Then rather than have a slanging match across the field for all to hear, walk over to the coach, take your time with this. By the time you reach him, he's more than likely calmed down and is expecting a card or a bollocking. People around him will even say, you're in trouble now, the ref is coming over. Most situations are defused as simple as this without you needing to say a word. Then when you get to him its a simple, look, I get the passion and frustration from football but your comments are unacceptable. If I need to stop the game one more time to talk to you about your behaviour, you will be sent off. Tends to nip it in the bud and you tend to gain some respect at the same time.

When is the right time to do it? As soon as it happens even if that is the first minute. In junior football, coaches want and expect a strong referee and will appreciate you being strong with them in this instance. I coached junior football for 12 years before becoming a referee so have seen this from both sides of the fence.

It takes confidence so best of luck
Exactly, show empathy. Understand & appreciate why they're vulnerable to outbursts and react to them as if you're in their shoes
Often works. Of course, often it doesn't. One thing that doesn't work, is losing your rag. That just makes us the same as them and once we go to their level, we lose the ability to think clearly and be assertive
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
And if it doesn't work, of course, next time it happens, you send him off like you said you would. But again do it in a calm way.

A good advice I got long ago was to never show a coach or a player has got under your skin.
 

PinnerPaul

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Yup, all sounds like a squabble held in the wrong tone by all sides. Consider ways in which to sidestep confrontation rather than inviting it
Good 'side step' would be to avoid U12s, 13s and 14s like the plague!;)

In all seriousness, as above, 'rational debate' about LOTG with players/managers very rarely end with either side happier than they were before the conversation started - avoid!
 

SurreyWolves

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
In all seriousness, he sounds like a bit of a pain.

However, I would calmly go to him and say:

"This is the decision, which is correct in law - this isn't a discussion or debate, if you disagree, I am happy to discuss after the match".

If he continues to remonstrate, I would make it clear that it is the end of it - if he continues, then I would be considering cautioning him.

(Teacher hat on). I always do a stepped approach - quiet word -> public word with clarity that I am not having any tom-foolery -> caution if continues.

Kill the debate/argument straight away - if you are incorrect in law you can discuss it after the game - but all he was doing there was being a muppet.

Hope this is useful.
 

Zimmyman

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
Good 'side step' would be to avoid U12s, 13s and 14s like the plague!;)

In all seriousness, as above, 'rational debate' about LOTG with players/managers very rarely end with either side happier than they were before the conversation started - avoid!
Don’t see why I should give up youth football because of a few morons !!! It’s not every week and from what I see around me OA is as bad if not worse !! I’m an older ref who enjoys the game and enjoy boys football if we all thought your way these kids would never have the privilege of a real ref would they I don’t complain about it OP was for advice which everyone has given to me in bucketfuls which I really appreciate
Thank you all
 
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