The role of a referee is highly pressured, many people would argue. Refereeing decisions are scrutinised in detail in elite professional football by players, coaches, fans and pundits. At grass roots level, pundit’s views thankfully don’t come into the equation however players, coaches and fans, get passionately involved in matches and their frustrations often spill over which can provide a challenge’s for referees.
In my opinion, a referee’s role can be very difficult, below I share my top 5 challenges.
Top 5 Challenges
– Match control
– Delivering expected the outcomes of the players and coaches
– Verbal abuse from spectators
– Safety demands of all involved
– Pre-match preparation
Currently, The FA provide a heavy emphasis on educating referees with a lot of support for technical areas such as positioning and decision making on the pitch, as well as maintaining control of matches.
However, only a small percentage of time is spent looking at the psychological side of refereeing which is hugely important. An example is where you are having a good game as a referee, everything is going smoothly, technically you are doing well, then there are a few heated moments between players. A player suffers an injury as a result of a bad tackle, tempers get frayed. All of a sudden, as a referee you then become centre of attention because you have to make an important decision which leaves one team unhappy with you. This can then escalate during a game where you are threatened by a coach, players or spectators. As a referee you need to be able to put that to the back of your mind, as it can throw you off your game and you can then lose control of the match. It can easily become a disaster for you, if you are not focused and it can go on to affect you for a few days afterwards.
Therefore, I feel there is a huge need to help referees of all levels to develop psychological and leadership skills by looking at:
• How they prepare for matches
• How they react to different difficult situations encountered in matches
• How they assert themselves
• How their they maintain their confidence levels
• How they respond to criticism
• How they reflect on their performances
• How they switch off after matches
For this reason, at The Third Team I work individually and in collaboration with different professionals where I have developed workshops associated with Resilience and Mental Toughness Development to help referees. The workshops are interactive, where referees are encouraged to open up and share their experiences to help each other.
Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about my workshops and how I could help you or your organisation.
Referee Educator & Managing Director of The Third Team
Nathan Sherratt, Referee Educator, Resilience Trainer and Managing Director of The Third Team. A Mental Toughness Practitioner based in County Durham, North East England.