As we reach this crucial time of the season, more and more games will be officiated by a team of match officials.
The importance of County FA and League competition semi-finals and Finals can not be underestimated and there is a need for all match officials, whether Referees or Assistant Referees, to be totally prepared for these big games. There is so much resting on good teamwork.
So, as a reminder, please find some guidelines and tips designed to prepare you for your big games.
Before The Match
- Acknowledge appointment with the league
- Acknowledge any correspondence from the home club – this is your chance to create a positive first impression
- Make contact before the game – referee to take a lead
- Travel arrangements and directions to ground
- Appropriate dress to arrive at/leave the venue in
- Be positive in everything you do
- First impressions count – your appearance matters
- Clean kit and boots
- Create a working and enjoyable environment before the game
- Warm-up together, look like a team
- Dealing with Officials/teamsheets – Referee is the leader of the team
- Pre-match Instructions – clear and precise
Instructions vary from one referee to another but no referee should ask his/her team to do anything contrary to the laws of the game. The below list is not exhaustive but offers some of the key areas that will need to be covered.
- Which touchline of patrol
- Start of match
- Standardised pre-match instructions
- Positioning at various set pieces e.g. corner kicks, penalty kicks etc
- Record keeping
- Time signal
- Eye Contact
- Procedures to determine the winner of the match – who does what?
At the pre-match ceremony the referee clearly briefs the team captains about their role in managing their team mates and working together to manage the game.
- Signals – clear crisp and seen
- Eye contact – whenever possible
- Wavelength’ – what does the referee want and more importantly what are they doing to control the game
- Consultation procedures – clear, concise information when needed
- Accurate Information e.g. Who? What? Where? e.g. "Blue no.5, struck an opponent – red card, he’s standing in the centre circle."
Develop Mental Skills
- Concentrate and focus on the game and don’t be distracted
- Awareness of incidents and situations
- Reading the game – identify changes in tempo, reactions of players and how the referee is managing the game
- Understanding of play/players – being tactically aware especially the movement of the defensive line
- Be confident at all times
- Analyse offside situations giving yourself time to observe players interference with play or with opponents
- Low-key but alert
- Never aggressive or confrontational
- Referee to offer advice or accept advice from the team
- Modifications of Instructions to cope with weather conditions or difficulties from the touchlines
- Accurate information regarding misconduct
- Reinforce team ethos
After the match
- Review misconduct
- Submit misconduct reports to relevant authority within two days of the game
- Assistants to submit misconduct reports where they’ve seen or been involved in a sending off
- Review performance and use the experience to develop your skills.