Let’s examine a key destroyer of confidence and its solution: Referees who make comparisons and therefore feel intimidated. If you compare yourself to your colleagues, you open yourself up to feeling intimidated. Most of the time, you’ll compare yourself to officials who you think are better than you. This puts your colleagues on a pedestal and makes you feel inferior. And this leads to a confidence-slayer we call “self-intimidation.”
Some referees do try to intimidate their colleagues intentionally because they think it gives them a mental edge or feel they need to this to gain a promotion or an appointment to a key fixture. However, most intimidation comes from officials who psych themselves out – without the need for anyone to do it for them. Worrying too much about the quality of your colleagues is the main culprit here.
For example, one referee I work with, would feel intimidated by the ranking of his colleague in the banding table. If a fellow official has a high ranking, he may doubt his ability to referee the match. As a result of this, he may officiate within himself and fear making decisions throughout the match.
So here’s a summary of how it works:
When you make comparisons to other referees, you’re focusing on what makes your colleagues better and what you are missing. You’re thinking of what’s wrong with you, which is not good for your confidence.
What Are The Solutions to This Confidence Destroyer?
The first step is to notice when you focus too much on the abilities of your fellow officials. Should you even focus on their talents or track record? No.
Be aware when you or your referees:
- Give too much energy to your colleagues during preseason.
- Have doubts about officiating well compared to a certain referee or refereeing team.
- Are in awe of your colleagues.
- Feel inferior to fellow officials and make comparisons to others.
The second step is to focus on your own talents and strengths, not others. Sounds simple, right? We know it’s not that simple. Start by making a list of your strengths or assets as a referee. Focus on your talents on a matchday.
Don’t put other officials on a pedestal. When you put them on a pedestal, you look up to them and assume they are the best. You are in awe of them. Also, think about refereeing to the best of your ability instead of comparing yourself to colleagues who look good, or who have big games, or who intimidate you. Comparing yourself to others hurts your confidence and success. It intimidates you. Instead, focus on your own strengths and talents and on your performance.
Always remember, your fellow officials are human too and they are not perfect.
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.