Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Decision Fatigue ... Another reason to train

Take a look at "Decision Fatigue. For doctors, too?" from Paul Levy at Not Running a Hospital.

While the article does not directly address the point, it does continue to underscore the issue of how critical fitness is regarding mental match performance. It is one thing to be able to "keep up" with a match for the duration, i.e. to be near the play. It is quite another to be fit enough to both stay near play, and not have fatigue effecting your mental acuity.

Bottom line is we humans make poor decisions when we are fatigued physically. As referees we need to be as fit as possible to allow ourselves to make the best decisions possible in the throws of a match.

Don't believe me? Try this.

Get a friend to go with you to an empty soccer field. Bring a substitution paddle if you have it. Position your friend at midfield with the paddle closed, and you start at one corner of the field.

Have your friend say "go", and make a 75% effort run (fast jog following play) from where you are starting to the opposite corner of the field. When you reach the opposite corner, sprint to midfield. During that time have your friend put up a number on the sub board for 5 seconds, be looking because your friend is not going to announce when it will come. When the runner reaches midfield, go back to that 75% run, by this time the numbers should be away. Continue that 75% run to the opposite corner.

Rest 30 seconds at the endline.

Do this (3) times and at the end, without writing it down during the run, repeat back to your friend what the numbers were, in order. You may be amazed at the results.

Got that one? Great!

Augment the drill with (2) numbers at a time, a red, and a green. (6) numbers in total. In this case, you have to remember number, order, and color for (6) ... not just number and order for (3).

Practical application?

Ever been running behind play and say an incident with two players but did not want to stop? What if that play goes on for a bit and you have a second incident? How about that problem player? Marquee player? After 90 minutes there is quite a list you may have compiled.

Staying physically fit will help when it comes time after 120 minutes to remember these details and act when you need to.

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