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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33682

Mechanics 9/30/2019

RE: Under 19

Barry of Dallas, TX USA asks...

I tend to do a lot of talking as CR. A lot of 'no foul no foul', 'that's all ball' when a player goes down/flying if it's fair, 'fair slide, good slide', 'fair shoulder' and frequently calling out why I called something a foul

Would this amount of talking during a game be generally frowned upon? I do this so everyone knows what's going on to prevent any sort of arguing. Haven't gotten any issues from players about it, but something players are fine with may not be what assessors are fine with/professional to do.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
Use the whistle as a command tool, hard, sharp, long, short, it yells for us and conveys a great deal about tolerance, attitude and acceptance!

Every referee carries their personality & character onto the FOP. We often remark that the game is theirs, (the players) while we (as referees) just get a real good seat to watch it.
At the elite top levels my mentor Essie referred to the game as, 'poetry in motion', when its played well. We just love to let that artistry flow until someone turns off the tap with a foul and we need to unclog the system. lol

You will receive countless advice and tips freely offered by experienced & not so experienced individuals with an opinion on anything & everything. How you decide to sift through or find useful information is not going to be easy. There are well documented techniques on the structure of refereeing. Amazing bios and help books that point out the core of match essence is as much art as it is science in determining how a match flows under or over the control bridge by your knowledge & understanding of what is foul or fair, tolerable or intolerable, useful or unnecessary. .

Physical stamina plays a part in gaining respect, where your endurance and ability to to stay with play can be measured , seen, thus respected when a decision is made. . Quality positional play where your knowledge of angles of view and how to anticipate to be where these best observation points are at critical moments

Psychology in understanding not just the intent or spirit of the LOTG but the players' themselves. This is the field of communication, how through verbal clues , simple body language & stares , your very presence and stature can all be effective tools to ease the flow. release the congestion, allowing the match stream to slide effortlessly under the bridge at often as possible.

Pick your moments to speak!
Short interaction during play!
Perhaps a shared moment when the ball is out of play of calm reassurance .
Confidence not arrogance, firm commands not weak rants!
Humor and a smile go farther than sarcasm and a sneer!
When the need arises remember
Say enough to inform without saying too much to distract.
Respect, eye contact, body position, voice inflection, what STORY are we telling & is it necessary to remember it exactly?

I agree 100% with my colleague Ref McHugh that certain situations beg for some verbal input if just to show you SAW it .
For example
Handling when not a foul.
A collision where 50/50 contact and only 1 goes down.
NO! Nothing ! Continue Play,.
Ball looks like it went out or a flag raised and waved off

Advantage Play On! Use this effectively when a foul FAILS to do what it intended
BECAUSE, it signifies via clear body language signal with verbal instruction!
YES I SAW! BUT you are better off to continue then to stop.

Deciding when trifling & doubtful occurrences are tolerable to the players & fair enough to be acceptable to you the referee . You guys OK to play though that small stuff? ? We can apologize just do not make it a habit all of the time .

Players will parrot back to you and will hold you to account. If you say, 'Nothing there!', and they got a little something there you might have missed or at least in their minds perceived as missed , you could get a, (Are you serious?) look or a derisive laugh more than an OK nod of I will play through this !

I am more theatrical and instructive at youth, be it from a simple throw in to a comment on their willingness or unwillingness to engage in play... Offering to help coaches manage disillusioned youth with my personal assessment of the attitudes & temperament being reflected in the field, to stave off useless cards or expulsions.

Coach just a heads up, you might want to consider number 9 is not feeling well , looking rather yellowish, do you want too rest him voluntarily before I might be forced to do so ?
Coach just a heads up, you might want to consider, number 9 already on a caution is a red volcano ready to explode ?

We can not tell them what to do tactically or managerial but if we can keep kids from needlessly losing it, as an expulsion or their removal hurts not only them but their team, never mind endangering the opposition with a temper foul that is usually based in frustration. I think the inclusion of sin bins and sit outs are actually a good thing in youth.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
There is nothing wrong with bringing your personality to the referee role. Communication is a clear part of the role and how that communication takes place is critical to the management of the game. Building rapport with players can greatly enhance the playing experience. A player might comment about an unseen foul and it can help to say that it was not seen. The player may feel that the referee is listening. Also I tell players that when on my own that I cannot see everything and many times that is accepted.
However I know a number of referees who overdo the *talking* during the game to the point where players get annoyed with it or it bring its own problems as players feel that it open season for dissent, talking back. Some I have witnessed is almost a running commentary with instructions thrown in about not fouling!
Personally as I said it can be beneficial at times to help with calls during the game such as no foul , nothing there etc. Similarly when there is a disputed call it helps to explain the call such as *It was a clear push*, *he had a grip of his jersey*, * he fouled the player before playing the ball*. I sometimes ask players about how it is not a foul if they are disputing it.
The trick is to understand when talking is necessary and when it is better to say nothing. For instance hanging around at a certain minor foul location can attract dissent from players whereas if the referee has given it and he has moved away the opportunity for dissent may have diminished. Sone player just do not want to listen and nothing that will be said will change their opinions.
So if it is working for a referee then by all means use it. Observers will have little issue with it until it causes a problem. I know a few instances where the words were spoken out of turn or misconstrued which then caused a problem in the game. That can then end up as a formal complaint against a referee after the game due to players alleging that what was said caused offence. The same can be said about coaches and talking with them. Without being dismissive the trick is to say enough without getting into a debate which by the way will rarely if ever change the coach’s opinion.

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