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Question Number: 32667

Character, Attitude and Control 8/24/2018

RE: High School

david of salem, or usa asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32666

I fully agree with your interpretations about how the referee should not make the game about himself, that it is for the enjoyment of the players/coaches/spectators. Believe me, I would love it to be able to do games where I hardly if ever blow the whistle and let the game completely go on its own.

it has just been my experience that in higher age group, higher intensity games, referees tend to have the tendency to want to 'let players play'... not necessarily ignoring fouls that occur, but letting players play through contact because the age, size, and skill level of the players prefer that method of play; but this attempt to let players play in this manner is what frequently causes these games to get out of hand. Even when the referee is on his game and is handing out cards to diffuse situations and talking to players, it still always seems to happen, whereas when the referee decides from the start to call the game tightly (still lets advantages go through and all that), even while still handing out cards and talking to players as the more lenient referee would, it almost always ends up in a better result from a game management standpoint than the lenient referee wherein the players, coaches, spectators, etc are overall just less angry about the refereeing than they usually are with the lenient ones.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi David
we appreciate the kind words and respect the premise that each referee has to follow their own way into carving up a reputation. I suppose it come down to the judgement of what you think a lenient referee is versus one who is not so much?

No one referees effectively without a thick skin nor should you do so with a thin one. To maintain focus and not permit distractions. As a job it requires effort, the knowledge & experience you seek in maintaining an orderly match seems to be your safe zone. For me I prefer to stay in the background unless needed.

I agree it is better to FIRST call it tight at the beginning then to try to clamp it down after it is on the runaway train but frankly I could not care a less if the coaches, spectators or players are unhappy with a result because THAT is NOT MY/OUR concern. If we can not garner respect for our knowledge of the LOTG, staying with play, maintaining communication, catching the MOTs as they occur and exhibit some professionalism in the midst of a group of emotional result orientated competitive people that is their problem not ours! Our job is not to get caught up in THEIR expectations but provide a safe & fair match.

We are not there to be liked or patted on the back although a thumbs up from anyone that is sincere is always appreciated. If our sense of obligation is affected by what they think then who is calling the match? If anything I set the tone in my pregame with the introduction.

Hi I am fair not perfect, easy to talk to WHEN it is appropriate and respectful. My ARS are 100% off limits to ANY form of dissent or troubles. Offside is a whistle stoppage, not a raised flag, that is my signal. At ALL times you play the whistle, if I signal advantage I have not missed it. You have an issue you bring it to me via the captain at an appropriate time. If I say why or claim the issue is over no matter we might disagree it is done deal and we move on so be warned. I am rather fussy on restarts to begin quickly without intervention so be warned now I expect 10 yards ASAP. Subs are to follow procedure be at midline before the stoppage, enter only on my signal. I welcome any feed back in the post game and more than willing to discuss anything that bothers you if asked in a respectful tone! Now are there any questions?
Thank you Have a good game!
I might add tournament stuff ,numbers of subs, injury issues, time changes but the essential of how I approach things is there.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
Not every game is the same and not every referee officiates in the same way,
The grading structure also puts in place levels of referees that match the grade of game that is being officiated. The fact is that many times it is not about strictness yet rather ability to manage games of a certain standard
I believe that good refereeing is about an exercise in communication with players and others. It is also about good observation, feeling what is happening in the game and dealing appropriately with each situation as they arise.
Now I have seen referees at the higher level make decision like a drill sergeant with players in fear of the referee and the strict action that he might take on every single incident. At the other end of the scale I have seen referees officiate in a quiet, calm manner with no fuss.
So there is no right or wrong way and both can and does work
At the moment our season is just about to start and there are many friendly games. Some referees have managed to create hassle for thrmselves by not controlling the games as they should by calling them loosely. Having said that with nothing at stake it is unacceptable that players cause difficulties for the game and the referee. One game that was mentioned to me descended unfavourably because of an uncalled offside. Yep an offside that was missed. That was a moment of truth in the game that one team felt hard done by.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi David,
For me, as I said in my previous response, it's about finding the right balance. It's also about being flexible and adjusting your refereeing style based on the actual game situation.

I do agree with you that a referee that is overly lenient can cause problems to arise that might otherwise not have occurred. Just as a good referee will adjust to take account of the players' actions, players will adjust to the referee's actions (or lack thereof). So if the referee is allowing them to get away with over-aggressive challenges or behaviour, they will tend to escalate that behaviour.

But again, just because being too lenient is not ideal, it doesn't mean that being overly strict is necessarily the answer either. I would say it's better not to go into games with a preconceived notion of how things will play out and whatever type of game it turns out to be, cut your cloth accordingly.

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