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Now That You Are a Certified Referee What Else Do You Need to Learn?

John Corbett 1/25/2006

Now you are grade 8 referees. You have learned the Laws of the Game (LOTG) sufficiently to be turned loose in the soccer community. What else do you need to learn?

(1)You need to learn technique: when to apply the LOTG, and when not to apply them.

(2) You also will need to learn to critique your performance.

The easy part is to memorize the LOTG and pass the written test. Now you will be the only one on the pitch. You cannot blame anyone else, or hope that someone else takes the spotlight off you. Not every push is penalized, nor is every foul word penalized. You need to learn when to ignore something, when to have a word with the player, and when to whistle. The emphasis is no longer on what you know, the emphasis is on how you use your knowledge. This is "technique"- an interplay between what you are willing to tolerate from the players, and what the players are willing to tolerate from each other and from you. You need to be consistent in your standards, yet flexible as play adjusts.

Your preparation for your next game is your prior game. You should critically review your performance to determine if what you did, and how you did it, successfully managed the players at those times. You are not reviewing how you "controlled" the game, you are reviewing how you "managed" players and situations. You also review how you managed yourself. Use these results to target goals for your next game. If there is a more experienced person present to offer feedback, make use of it. If there is someone you can relate events to, and receive feedback- do it. However, you are the only person there for each game. That is why you must be able to review your performance and decide what worked, and what should be done differently. There is every reason to enjoy reflecting upon a game that you believe you handled well. But no one is perfect. Review that "good" game for ways to improve. You will find as you become better at the post game analysis, that you are able to perform on-going analysis during the game.

When you become more adept at these tasks, there is greater likelihood that you will become a better referee, stay with refereeing, and be offered more challenging games. If you do not become more adept at these tasks, you will likely quit refereeing within your first two years.

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