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Question Number: 33097

High School 2/26/2019

RE: Varsity High School

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

Any tips for someone about to do their first Center at HS Varsity? I've been reffing for 15 years now, but I'm about to make the leap starting 2 weeks from now. I've done ARs at this level and in adult leagues, but never been Center for a game above U16.

Using 3-man DSC mechanics, FYI.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Derek,
(1) Enjoy yourself!
(2) Let YOUR character flow ! Be who you are do not pretend or strive to be an overbearing super official nor a seemingly uninterested uncaring official. I have faith that players like to see a referee who show heart & effort as much as get EVERY decision right! A solid effort where you studied the laws & know the rules, how to apply restarts and recognize foul play! Do the hard work to stay with play, bracket play between the ARs and yourself! Employee good anticipation by recognizing the skill levels and talents of those playing.. I find it vitaly important given high school uses a variation of rules you must be diligent in understanding the differences between FIFA & Highschool. So in the pregame which is a MUST to be prepare properly, go over those differences &.work WITH the two assigned ARs! Layout your match plan in a easy to understand, courteous but professional manner requesting feedback, acknowledgement and understanding. It should not be a one way spout off, do this or else but you are ultimately responsible, how you personally handle the responsibility is an indication of your character. So whether you are a good referee is how well you accept it, deal with it and get on with it. It would be wise to have a mentor there for feedback as well as a video of the match . Much is learned by looking backwards but we gain experience only when moving forward . That is LIFE ! We are all cheering you on! Now go out there and put that puppy to bed!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
Ultimately it is about getting the decisions correct. It is a system I have never used yet I could imagine that a referee could get consumed by the mechanics and lose sight of the fundamentals of calling the game.
My experience of doing something different is that when I am not familiar with that the focus of my attention will distract from other aspects of the task. Case in point is the learner driver who is so focussed on the car controls that focus is lost on other parts of the driving task such as observation, signals, etc.
I also believe that like any system team work is vital and that if the three officials work as a team all will be well. There is still a need for a head referee to make the final decision yet if there is good team work that should not arise very often.
I came across this publication which might be helpful
From looking at that one of the challenges I suspect is offside calls and being well positioned to make such calls particularly tight ones.
Regardless of the system of mechanics used, every game should be well thought through and discussed by the Referee crew before the game begins. Allow more time for that if you can by asking the crew to turn up a bit earlier than normal.
One idea most referees emphasise today is to *do your homework*. Referee Collina is a great exponent of that.
It means getting information about the team tactics usually used by the two teams involved in the game. In most regular season games referees are familiar with the teams involved because they have refereed them in other games either during that season or in previous seasons. Anticipating play is a huge tool in any referees toolkit.
If a referee crew is not familiar with the teams involved, one way to find out about team tactics is to ask around among other referee colleagues about the tactics to be expected.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Hi Derek,

Referees McHugh and Dawson have given you very good advice. I would only like to add that you need to know and understand high school rules and the differences in the rules, terminologies, procedures and mechanics from non-high school games that you worked. Early on in my career, because of the differences in rules at the various levels, I reviewed and studied the rules book of the game that I was working prior to each game.

I hope that your first game and the remainder of the season is very successful.

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