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Question Number: 6395

RE: competitive rec Under 17

Justin of Huntsville, Tx US asks...

I am currently a grade 8 referee and currently persuing my upgrade to a grade 7. I am in college and do not get to officiate very many games even at tournaments. How can I improve my ability to control games and be in proper position given my limited game availability. My highest center currently is only U-14B competitive, I have a year from now to be able to be confident at the U-19 level in center my linesman skills are ok. Please Help!

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Right Justin. Spend some time at the track. Condition your body to rune three miles in 28 minutes or less. There was a day that I could do that in 18, but never again. Once you attain good fitness for the long runs it becomes time to learn to sprint, every other day use the track and work to 90 second 400M times then jog out a 400, do three or four of these and you'll be surprised what happens during a match. The training as a young Marine has stayed with me and even at my advanced age I am still capable of staying with play. ..Your being in proper position is a function of many things the first of which is, what I call, situational awareness. You must find a way to train yourself to look all around the field and to register what you see at, near, subconscious levels. You must, also, learn when to look, and when not to look away. You must see where a team has to move the ball to be successful in an attack, if you know that nothing on earth will stop you from going to that place, and you won't know you're doing it. The trick, then, is staying out of the way. ..You must identify, as soon as possible, the great players on the field. Those are the ones who'll get the ball and draw the fouls, protect them! If they draw more than a fair share of the foul play warn the opposing captain then caution each player fouling the stellar player. He needs to feel safe when he demonstrates his skill, he will beat the opponent and they won't like it. Protect him and the match will fall to hand. ..Respect all the players and they will respect you, but never let them set the tone of the match, that, sir, is your job. Establish what you want at your first meeting, respect them at your first meeting and make sure all understand fair play is foremost in your mind. When you address them, they are sir or ma'am. If they have done well let them know publicly and when they have transgressed get in their ears and chew until the point is driven home, but do it privately. ..If they need to be embarrassed embarrass them so all can see. Tuck your shirt in, mate. I shouldn't want to see your picture in the paper tomorrow looking scruffy. On a corner, Hey you guys, this isn't a dance, quit rubbing against each other. These little, jokes if you will, will go a long way in making a much larger point. The point is you notice things. If you see a player with a shoelace untied don't tell him about it until he is 50M away, boy can you see!..Use little tricks to prove your fitness, when the ball goes to touch most everyone stops or begins to walk, don't you. That's the time to jog to a new position. You'll get there faster and everyone will see you're the only one running; you must be super fit, right?..These are easy things to write, I know these things because they work for me. They work for most everyone else, too. But few referees are willing to learn from the experience of others. Learning is making a series of mistakes and not making them again. When others make the mistakes and pass them on, one can learn tons from them. Much easier than making mistakes on your own, then having to identify them and then correct them. If you ever have time to watch matches on the television, watch the referee, try to figure out how he gets from the place he is to the place he needs to be. Those referees are doing the matches on television for a reason and it ain?t because they know the sponsor...Good luck, have fun and be consistent. ..Regards,

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Sebalja

Unfortunately there is no substitute for experience. The best advice is to try and make some time outside of college and get some more games under your belt. Try and get some higher level games as well. BTW relax you will get there

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Answer provided by Referee Dawson

Hi Justin,.get involved in the local referee association and make some good mentoring contacts. Attend the training and work at getting matches during the free time not that there is any when going to school and studying. ;o) Experiance is doing matches, try and make time, watching others does help but actually having your actions reviewed helps more. Video the games you do do and study them up if possible. As my colleagues have indicated relax, enjoy and work hard as the situation evolves so will you. .Cheers

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