Setting Aside Time To Reflect On Your 2021

Setting Aside Time To Reflect On Your 2021

It’s nearly the end of the year. Have you sat back and reflected on what you have accomplished out in the middle over the past 12 months? 

This is a great time to do it, as well as planning and plotting what you want next year to look like with flag or whistle in hand.

What did you achieve and what WILL you do differently moving forward? Do you chart your progress with statistics to help you?

I’m going to help you in this Blog with 15 step by step exercises for you to follow. While working through these exercises please take a pen and paper. It is a comprehensive guide, so if you’re serious about evolving your on-field performance levels in the new year, I’d advise you to nullify any distractions and give yourself a couple of hours to work your way through this guide. It will be well worth it and allow you to get VERY clear on where you are going.

Reviewing Your Year


Make a note of your small wins throughout the year. Distinguish them from your really big wins – what were they?  Which of your achievements are you most proud? At what points in the year were you officiating to your optimum level? 

Fantastic Feelings

What did it feel like when you dealt well with a challenging appointment? What would observers and colleagues have noticed about you when you were on top form? How did you celebrate your successful navigations of big games?


What have you enjoyed the most from your refereeing over the last year? Was it the variety of training and upskilling? The banter with colleagues or learning new management techniques? The relationships that you’ve formed and built? How about overcoming some challenges that you had? Enjoying your refereeing career is crucial for you to officiate at a high level for a long period of time.


Many referees will overlook this part because it isn’t pleasant to think about your failures. However, believe me, this is an essential exercise if you want to kick on next year. If you want to achieve your potential, you MUST be honest with yourself. When did you fail? When did you not give 100%? When did you give up? When did you say that you would do something but didn’t? 


Do you have any regrets about the way things have gone over the last year? Did you wish you had adopted different strategies? Did you wish that you had stuck with something that may have come off if you’d have given it more time? If you’d spent more time doing “…………” would your chance of a promotion have been higher? Did you pass up any opportunities? Did you address some mental blocks? Again, this isn’t likely to be a pleasant experience answering these questions however it can help you learn from your mistakes.


Working on the basis that you’ve got this far, I’d imagine that you now have learned some lessons.  The most successful people, referees and coaches with Mental Toughness are skilled at learning lessons and not repeating failures, you can be one of them. So what has the past 12 months taught you on and off the field of play?  Answer this question, tell someone you trust about your answers and ensure that they hold you to account so that you don’t go on to repeat these mistakes in 2022.


Controlling The Controllables is a concept which is often used throughout the spectrum of sport. This is what I’m trying to convey to you here. Not to play the blame game – attributing issues or problems to other people or circumstances. What are you going to take control of and do differently next year? Will this be your attitude? Your focus? How you communicate with yourself and others going forward?

As You Were

There is always some good to be found in a period of 12 months, even if you have had a torrid year. You’ll simply need to search a little bit harder. What worked well for you? What are you going to continue doing?

What Can You Add

Are there some further things that you need to be doing with your time? Are you doing enough additional things to make sure that you succeed? Or do you need to be doing more with your downtime to recharge your batteries and get away from having a whistle or flag in your hand?

Consign To The History Books

What things WILL you stop doing in 2022? What are the bad habits that you have gotten yourself into? 

Fresh Beginnings

When you consider the bad habits that you’ve gotten yourself into, which you will have, we all do, how are you going to step in?

What are you going to start doing to replace unhelpful habits with more positive processes and routines?

Where Do You Stand?

When you reviewed your ”big” goals for the last 12 months, how have you done? What is the position of these goals NOW? Are you still aiming for promotion or to be appointed to a cup final? Did you reach those goals, are you, perhaps, exceeding your own expectations? Do you need to do a compete reset of the goals you set for 2021? 

New Ideas

So now that you’ve committed an hour or so to working through these exercises, I’d like you to place yourself one year ahead and think seriously about what you’d like to tell people that you achieved in 2022? These goals could be completely new or a modification of old ones. What would be wins for you when you step out into the middle? What about when you train or practice your law knowledge? Would you like to achieve more in the gym? Do you want your lifestyle to change? Do you need to change things with your coach(es)?

Emotional Feelings

To help you visualise the new year being a success, I’d like you to make a note of what emotions that you WILL feel when you achieve some of the different goals that you’re going to set yourself. How will you feel? How will you celebrate? What type of conversations will you be having with coaches, colleagues, friends, family? What will those around you have to say about you when you succeed? Who will you thank for helping you achieve your goals for the year?

Seeing Your Future

To go one step further, you could even get yourself a large sheet of paper or card and make a visualisation board. Drawing pictures, sticking photos of trophies or medals recognising your officiating career. Writing key words, inspiring quotes or phrases. Cutting out newspapers or magazine titles to add to the experience. 

If you’re reading this bit after setting the time aside to do this exercise, I applaud you for taking the time to reflect on 2021 and to plan for a successful new year. Not many referees will take this amount of time and work through things so strategically. The majority will set new year resolutions and forget about them by the end of January, don’t be one of them, give yourself the best possible chance of making 2022 your best year!

By working alongside myself or one of your coaches, this exercise will be much more powerful so feel free to get in touch if you’d like some support. 

Best of luck for the new year too! I really look forward to hearing about some of the changes that you’ve now made and to hear about some of your successes in your future refereeing career.

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,

Nathan Sherratt Signature

Nathan Sherratt

Referee Educator & Managing Director of The Third Team

Nathan Sherratt

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