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Question Number: 31592

Other 6/8/2017

RE: boys club Under 16

tommy dalziel of motherwell, State United Kingdom asks...

i have recently been made aware by now 3 referees that one of the coaches (assistant)has been warning refs about my sons previous tackles behaviour in previos games and to watch him on the park,,have you experienced this and what course of action can i take??to me this is putting him in spotlight before game starts,,he has just turned 15 and is still a child

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tommy
Thanks for the question. I assume it is opposing coaches not the teams own coaches!!
It is not unusual for some opposing coaches to try to influence referees before the game with all sorts of advices such as watch this, this should not happen, this happened last time etc etc
Most if not all referees ignore this *advice* and many take a dim view of it. I have told coaches in the past that I do not like such *intervention* and that it is in many ways questioning my ability as a referee. I do not need anyone to tell me what is *bad* tackle or that I must take action against players that are likely to be reckless. I make a judgement based on what I see. If I chose to caution I expect the player to change his behaviour so that he does not attract a 2nd caution.
I have also sent players off in the past for tackles and I do not hold that against the player in future games. I sent a player off recently for a straight red tackle and I had the same team a month later. The player was playing and he did not come to my attention throughout the whole game other than the usual fouls. I also recall a particular player who was overly agreesive and reckless in challenges. I had plenty of occasions to deal with his unsafe play. I said to myself that he is an injury waiting to happen. I heard some time later that he broken his ankle in a challenge. It did not surprise me.
As to what action I would take if it was my son I would speak to him about his tackling style. The ball can be won in a way that does not risk his safety or others. Over a life time I have seen too many young player play in a manner that is a risk to themselves and others. I saw one player recently get hurt while making a challenge and I was on the line as AR. I said to the ref at half time that the player, who I knew from previous games, was always running the risk of serious injury to himself which came to pass. I had another player in a recent game make a reckless tackle in the first 10 minutes and I spoke sternly to him about it. He lasted until the 89 minute before making a another *bad* challenge. It will not surprise me if the player ends up either injured or injuring others or both which is not a good place to be. His manager spoke to me after the game and my advice to him was that he needs to coach the player differently as he does not need to make such rash challenges.
Here is a video that always come to mind with reckless challenges.
Paul Gascoigne damaged his cruciate knee ligament in that challenge which caused him many years of injury problems. Gaza was in the spotlight and I am sure Referee Roger Milford could have walked him earlier for the kick on Paul Parker yet chose not to caution for that either. I expect that the referee was well coached about what might happen or who is likely to do what. Its certainly fair to say that the injury changed the players career. He would never regain his previous levels of fitness, and was plagued by recurring problems all the way through to his career. I would say that your sons well being is much more important than being in the spotlight during games.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Years ago I showed up at a game, about U12 rec, and the coach started talking to me. Before 'How ya doing, ref?' or 'I hope we get this in before it rains' he says, 'You gotta watch the other team - they push.' Guess who did the most pushing?

Another time a fellow ref asked me to substitute for him at a game involving a team he used to coach or that his daughter had been on. They had a girl on the team that he said I'd have to watch. It took me half the game to even figure out what girl he was talking about.

Expectations don't always come true. And refs learn to take coach comments with a grain of salt.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tom,
As a coach I do understand that aggressive play can affect their teams. Smaller talents can get bullied off the ball especially at the youth level. Yet the legitimate concern of safety is well founded! No one likes to see their or OTHER team players get injured needlessly. If they do, best they be removed from the sport! I also grasp trying to get a strong player off their game is part of it as well. Biases & perceptions are part of competition. Truth is flexible devil in the details.
I have remarked that the game is perceived differently by various groups
Parents see what they THINK they see
Player see what they FEEL they see
Coaches see what they WANT to see
Referee sees what he sees

If referees are discussing your son's antics amongst themselves over the season chances are he might want to reconsider his habits. Good or bad once habits are ingrained they are difficult to breakout of. Is he prone to just bowling people over , ramming with shoulder jumping in studs first? There is a difference into no backing down from a challenge and going into a challenge unsafely!

In trying to teach our kids the difference of a highly competitive spirit (usually self propelled as intuition and courage versus aggressive unsafe action (usually self propelled by win at any cost attitude and bully like tendencies.

Coaching kids is like any job, there are good & bad individuals out there with plenty of good intentions teaching things incorrectly . To say, do not back away but NOT give the necessary tools to go in effectively, proper technique and discretion of what skills to use & when. Knowing the logistics of say a keeper getting hands on the ball and that ball is immediately not playable on a rash charge that has no way of stopping or avoiding contact. This is likely to create misconduct with cards, fouls and free kicks more than goals & accolades of being courageous going in under a full head of steam.

Talk to your son's coach, talk to the referees respectfully ask for feedback. Most of us are not out to destroy a kids fun or not see him do well. A little respect , courtesy and thoughtfulness goes a long way in getting good sound feedback.

I recall refereeing a Sunday league beer league match upon arrival in a new town where I handed cards out like candy much the same as the Portugal Holland fiasco in the lead up to the WC way back when send offs were needed early
Players I sent off were claiming I should not be refereeing like that. I simply looked them in the eye replying NO you guys should not play this way! We all have to go back to work the next day. I handed out a lot of yellows trying to set a standard got into double yellows= reds fairly quickly so I cannot even recall how many cards in total. But consider this the very next match it was a highly competitive match premier men division. I awarded a yellow card at 3 minutes in for a reckless tackle and then showed a straight red card in the first 5 minutes for a excessive tackle from behind possibly in retribution for the cautionable tackle. Never touched a card for the rest of the game. Not a whimper from anyone except a bit of why the first was not red! One being reckless the 2nd was in NO doubt excessive.
Was there a lesson here? In the beer league once they became aware I was used to showing plastic my card count was back to normal occasional yellow, rare red. Players will often heed a referee if he is consistent but then they are as likely to do what they want despite him. No neutral fair referee targets a player to find fault but any good referee points it out!

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