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Question Number: 33065

Character, Attitude and Control 2/13/2019

RE: Under 14

jake of las vegas, nv usa asks...

what is the best way to help a referee who just... isn't very good? there is a referee in a local league who does a lot of AR matches and doesn't really do CR, i guess due to nerves. the league wants to get her experience so the past few weekends they have put her on some centers and she just misses many blatant fouls that she is looking at. the players get upset during the games due to it.

i have tried to help with her positioning but if she just doesnt recognize fouls, what can really be said to help? i decided against telling the league assignor that she shouldnt be doing games of this level (it was just u13 competitive) to not seem unsupportive, and i know experience is best, but how do you assist this? just saying 'you missed a lot of fouls' wont really do anything i dont feel like.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jake
Not an easy situation.
The only way I see progress here is for the young referee to get more games and to get a mentor who will attend games to give tutoring and advice.
The mentor then needs to keep a record of the full game on all the missed incidents with a description and time of each foul to help recall. The referee then needs to spend 20/30 minutes after the game going through the key moments both good and bad.
For example the mentor would say **in the 20th minute Red 10 tackled Blue 5 in the top corner. What was your take on that incident. **
The answer then prompts a discussion on what she saw and her decision making process.
**In the 25th minute you made a great call on a foul by Blue 4 on Red 7. What was your opinion on that one**
There is a phrase called *sitting by Nellie *which means watching an experienced member of staff do a job, and eventually graduating through helping to doing it oneself and it is a time-honoured way of learning to perform a task. It takes five years or more to learn a trade by apprenticeship, but one only becomes a fully trained master after doing the apprenticeship and then working on the job for a further period where experience is gained. The young referee could be brought to look at senior referees in the company of either the mentor or another referee or both. Fouls recognition etc can be talked through with the young referee on the sideline.
The process will help the referee either to improve foul recognition or if there is some other impediment such as you say nerves, afraid to make calls, lack of concentration, looking at the wrong area etc that is effecting decision making.
I think one of the problems in the game is that not enough time is given over to training and coaching. Pass the test and then thrown in the deep end is the model most frequently used. Some swim and become decent refs. Some unfortunately do not and give up after being pulled out after a few bad experiences never to return.
Thank you for your concern for this young referee and hopefully a learning pathway can be developed for her. I hope so.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jake,
If a referee is really out of their depth and continually struggling over a long enough period (bearing in mind that most new referees will need a period of adjustment) then I don't think it's being unsupportive to try and get the referee some help. If your area uses a mentoring system for referees then as ref McHugh says, getting a mentor assigned would probably be indicated. I also wonder what kind of referee training is available where you are and whether there are any referee training courses they could attend.

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