We have seen a lot of improvement in professionalism with regard to mechanics and work rate. However we can still make improvements on our Body Language and look on the field.
A referee's and assistant referee's body language can convey all sorts of messages to players, coaches, managers and spectators about the referee's own emotions, confidence and ability. Non-verbal body language messages occur more frequently and are more powerful than verbal messages. It is crucial that you, as a referee, consider what messages you are sending to onlookers. Improving your message-sending ability will greatly assist your refereeing.
Body language includes your physical appearance, fitness, the clothes that you are wearing, posture, eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, arm and hand movements - and even no movement at all by standing still in the right place! Your body language often speaks louder than your words. Even making a correct call can cast doubts in the minds of participants if your corresponding body language does not appear decisive.
Ask yourself these questions
1. What feeling do I convey to the players? Am I coming across to them as confident, interested, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, cold, and scared out of my wits?
2. How do I look? Tidy? Professional? Clean? Slovenly? Dirty? Is my shirt tucked in?
3.How do I sound? Scared? Quiet? Loud? Confident? Know what I am talking about? Don't have a clue? Authoritative? Polite? Rude? Mumbling?
Take great care to make sure your appearance is professional: neat, clean, smart and appropriate. You should be dressed at least as well as the players, or better. Do you look professional? Are you wearing a hat? Sun glasses? Do you let the players where sun glasses? Are you wearing earrings? Do you allow the players to wear jewelry? Do you have socks on? Are they USSF appropriate socks?
We should all look like this 13 year old! Proper uniform, shirt tucked in, and a smile to boot!
We can all work on POSITIONING as referees.
DIAGONAL CONTROL + WWG
Diagonal Control – Referee’s General Movement Pattern
The movement pattern of the referee is basically a diagonal path from one corner of a penalty area to the other. This allows assistant referees to exercise control over that area of the field closest to them. The referee‟s positioning acknowledges the AR's area of responsibility and recognizes that there is a further 2/3rds of that half that needs the presence of an official.
The movement pattern suggests there is little value in the referee being in the centre circle. Surveys have shown that this is the area that referees most often get hit with the ball or get in the way of play and the players.
Here is a GPS track of a referee that is clearly staying out of the centre circle
Can you find the centre circle in this GPS track? Is the referee spending too much time there?
Modern concepts in gaining the appropriate angle are ACB, X-Factor, and WWG (Targeting).
The ACB concept summarized
A = ANGLE - by getting a side on view, level or slightly behind play enables the Referee to be in the best position to see any fouls or incidents.
C = CLOSE - by getting sensibly close to play enables the Referee to be able to see incidents, get quickly into potential explosive situations and sell the decision successfully.
B = BALL - by having a view when possible across the ball to your AR enables the Referee to be able to quickly acknowledge the AR’s flag for offside, fouls and the ball being out of play.
X-Factor concept summarized
The ability of the referee to see through play or point of contact by gaining an external (left of play) or internal (right of play) view.
Where the referee is outside or to the left of play.
From this position the referee can see through the point of contact, will have the majority of players in view, and have play between the referee and assistant referee.
\ / |AR
\ / |
Ref eyes > o
Where the referee is inside of play, that is, on the right side of play.
In this case many players are not in the view of the referee and play is not between referee and assistant.
\ / |AR
\ / |
o <--- Ref Eyes
If time is the most important factor, take the shortest route (Internal), BUT if you have enough time to get a good angle, take the route that keeps you out of the way of play (External).
“WWG‟ is a short-hand method of explaining the anticipation required of referees to achieve more effective positioning. The referee asks two questions and makes a decision:
Where is play going?
Where do I need to go to get the best view?
Good anticipation provides referees with more time to select the best viewing option. Not anticipating play means that referees have to chase the play, often at a fast pace, draining both physical energy and mental capacity, as well as limiting their positional options. The sooner the referee begins the positional sequence the easier it will be to cover the required ground whilst selecting the best viewing option.
This process often starts in the middle of the field when an attacking move breaks down and the play starts moving in the opposite direction. Many referees watch play go past them and then at some point begin to chase the play. They are already behind play and getting further behind all the time. This leaves them limited time and positional options to get the best view.
More details on these concepts can be found at www.montanaref.org under documents: POSITIONING CONCEPTS : POSITIONING
Self assessment [or reflection; or evaluation] is a crucial mental technique for developing your
skills and assessing your own development. You should do this for most, if not all, matches you officiate. Use any technique that suits you - it‟s up to you - but in order for it to be of any benefit to your officiating it needs to be linked to action.
Do not be too tough on yourself; only pick one or two skills to work on at a time. Too many and it will become confusing and negative. It is crucial that you always identify the positives before tackling any areas for development. Here are the four steps:
1. Review - you think about the match you have just officiated.
2. Identify – skills or techniques you believe you carried out really well. That‟s the good bit. Now identify skills and techniques you think you could and should improve.
3. Plan - ways to improve no more than two of the items you have identified above in your next match.
4. Action - carry out your plans when you next officiate. You could also tell a mentor or an observer, if one is present, what you intend to do. These people can then focus on those elements and give you some specific feedback.
Then it all starts again, as you Review your match, Identify the skill[s] you want to develop, Plan ways to do this, and put them into Action.