What effects do game changing mistakes have on your confidence? For most young officials, coming to terms with errors is difficult, but making a costly mistake late in a fixture can hurt their confidence.
For example, a gymnast may become frustrated by a mistake in their routine. However, missing a landing to finish a routine and receiving a low score can crush a gymnast’s confidence.
In basketball, a player who made a couple of unnecessary fouls early in a game can become a little agitated. But if that player commits a needless foul late in a game contributing to a loss, that player may be less aggressive when defending in future games.
Small mistakes early in a match can still affect your confidence. However, costly mistakes late in a fixture can be emotionally overwhelming. The negative emotional consequences of costly mistakes can have longstanding effects on confidence.
What Can You do to Minimise The Effects of Costly Mistakes?
Firstly, you should realise that your reaction to mistakes affects your confidence and future performances.
Letting go or learning from mistakes requires a mindset that does not view mistakes as career-defining moments. Mistakes are merely a blip on the screen in your refereeing career.
When you view mistakes in this manner, you gain a sense of control and empowerment, allowing you to re-focus your efforts and move forward.
The American Football Case
Wide receiver Jalen Reagor was selected 21st in the 2020 National Football League draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Over the course of two seasons, Reagor did not made a significant impact on the team’s performance.
In a midseason game against the New York Giants, Reagor dropped two passes in the fourth quarter. One of Reagor’s drops was in the last play of the game, ending Philadelphia’s chance of a late comeback victory. The Eagles lost 13-7 to the Giants and fell to a 5-7 record.
After the game, Reagor put the game in perspective instead of beating himself up after the loss.
“Just two drops that I would say (are) very uncharacteristic, but just got to go through the highs and lows and go on to next week and make the plays. That’s what you do with anything. That’s what you do in life. You have bad days. You have good days; you’ve just got to move forward. Because tomorrow’s still gotta be here, I still have to go practice. I still have to play next week. You can’t too much dwell on it. Just me taking ownership and moving forward.” – Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver
Your response to mistakes will significantly impact your confidence and future performance when you make a mistake.
So, always keep in mind, mistakes don’t define you. Mistakes can refine you.
Learning From Mistakes
The key is to grow and learn from mistakes rather than be self-critical about your performance.
Ask yourself, “Does this mistake define me as a referee?” “What can I learn from this mistake?” “What can I do to prevent the same mistake from happening again?” “What can I work on in training to improve my officiating?”
Working with a Mental Game Coach to overcome your personal triggers and develop composure strategies can improve your Mental Toughness.
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.
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.