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Question Number: 21737

Law 5 - The Referee 8/3/2009

RE: Under 16

Cate of Gig Harbor, WA U.S.A asks...

Im a very new Ref and Im wondering, how do you get over the first game fears. Im so scared to sign up for games because Im scared I wont get the calls right. How do I get over this?

Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

Um. Hate to tell you, but you just go and do it. At some point, you just have to step out, take a big breath and jump. This is what life is -- there are never guarantees. Do not let fear keep you from doing something that you want to do. If you want to referee, then do it. If you don't want to referee, then it's not fear keeping you from it, you just don't really want to do it.

The only way to really be confident, and not worry about making a mistake is to know the LOTG. When you know what you can do, what is allowable and what you have authority to do, you will be much more confident and what you fear may not have to be what ends up happening.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

First game nerves.....I remember when I started, my first match was U/8, and I was terrified.

Here's the thing you need to be aware of: you will make mistakes. Heck, I still make mistakes - there is no referee who doesn't.

Making mistakes does not make you a poor referee. What you do with those mistakes is important though - do you continue to make the same mistakes, or do you go home, think about what happened on the field and review your decisions with a law book or via discussion with colleagues and websites such as this to make sure that any mistakes you have made don't occur again?

The biggest confidence booster you can possibly have is knowing the laws of the game inside out - particularly Laws 11 and 12.

Watch other referees and make note of the little things they do that you may not think of - where do they stand at a goal kick or corner kick? How do they signal for a substitution? Where do they stand at a kick off? How do they blow the whistle to end a half?

Knowledge is power.

Experience is important to all referees - but we all have to start somewhere. Graham Poll was once a young man, absolutely terrified before he starts his first junior match, wondering if he knew what he was doing.

You may find it difficult to assess decisions at first - as you gain experience you'll find it easier and learn how to become better with your decision making. Experience comes from getting out there and refereeing - you need to give yourself the opportunity to have that experience.

Make sure you give very clear and strong signals, both with your arms and with your whistle. Looking like you know what you're doing is half the battle - seriously!

You want to do thise, otherwise you wouldn't have done the course. Give yourself the opportunity, get out there and just do it! You might surprise yourself - but how do you know how good you'll be unless you give it a shot?

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is feeling the fear, recognizing it for what it is, and moving forward anyway. Be courageous. As for making mistakes, pretty much my standard response in cases where somebody has made an honest mistake has been 'that's how we learn'. We don't learn when everything goes right. We learn when something goes wrong and we find a way to fix it. And I'm going to guess that you have a lot to learn - just starting out and all - so the corrollary is that you're probably going to make a lot of mistakes, as have we all. GOOD LUCK!! Now, go get your backside out there and do a game or two!!! All the best,

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