Building Proactive Confidence to Improve Your Refereeing

Building Proactive Confidence to Improve Your Refereeing

How would you rate your confidence level over the course of the 2023/24 season? Would you give yourself an A? B? C+?

How much more could you get out of your refereeing career if you bumped up your confidence mark?

Unfortunately, a lack of confidence holds many officials back and creates feelings of frustration and disappointment.

One of the most common questions I receive from prospective clients is “How can I improve my confidence?”

One such referee noted how frustrated she has become due to her plateauing over the course of the past year.

From the beginning of preseason, you might have felt, “This is the year. A brand new start. I’m going to demonstrate my ability this year.” You worked hard. You felt good in your first few appointments but didn’t see the drastic improvements you expected.

Your confidence waned and the thoughts of “I knew I couldn’t do this” flooded in your mind. Your level of effort in training dropped off and your onfield performances leveled off. Your coaches and colleagues kept telling you that you are talented but just need a little bit of confidence… But how?

Next Level Performance Demands Superior Confidence

You already know that confidence is important, but it doesn’t happen by chance, nor is it developed overnight.

To improve your confidence, you need to actively build your confidence.

For example, American Major League Baseball side, the Detroit Tigers’ left-hander Tarik Skubal was brimming with confidence as he fought for a spot in the 2021 starting team.

In his debut season, the previous year, Skubal pitched in 8 games with a 5.63 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in 32 innings.

“[The players in the team] are extremely talented and very gifted players. I need to push myself even harder and especially not get complacent. As far as the mentality, I’m going to attack spring training the same way I always have, and that’s just to go out there and build innings up and making sure you’re healthy from the ground up… I try not to focus on winning a rotation spot. I’m just trying to go out and control what I can control and let everything take care of itself.”Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers

You can hear the confident tone from Skubal’s statement. Skubal provides some “how-to build confidence” tips.

“Attack spring training” – Confidence is built through preparation.

“Making sure you are healthy from the ground up” – Confidence is improved by working on all aspects of performance: physical, technical and mental.

“Focus on winning a rotation spot” – Confidence grows by keeping the focus on you, your strengths, your abilities and your successes.

“Control what I can control” – Confidence remains stable when you focus on aspects you can control: effort, focus and mindset.

As mentioned earlier, to have more confidence, you need to take responsibility for feeling confident.

Plenty of resources are available to you to learn effective confidence-building strategies. However, you need to take the first step and commit to taking control of your self-confidence.

How to Have Proactive Confidence:

First, understand the confidence busters, such as doubt, making comparisons and high expectations. Work to manage the confidence busters as these will hold you back.

Next, focus on your plan for “Being healthy from the ground up.” What will you do to improve your physical levels and technical decision making?

Ensure that you focus on your talents and strengths every day. Don’t disqualify what you bring to an officiating team and past experience or successes.

At The Third Team I work individually and in collaboration with different professionals where I have developed workshops and 1-2-1 sessions associated with Resilience and Mental Toughness Development to help referees. The workshops and 1-2-1 sessions are interactive, where referees are encouraged to open up and share their experiences to help themselves and each other.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about my workshops or 1-2-1 sessions and how I could help you or your officials.

Best Wishes,

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Nathan Sherratt

Referee Educator & Managing Director of The Third Team

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Nathan Sherratt

Nathan Sherratt, Referee Educator, Resilience Trainer and Managing Director of The Third Team.  A Mental Toughness Practitioner based in Tyne & Wear, North East England.