Thursday, January 19, 2012

Got a question? Be careful of the answer!

Like with many things, you can find an amazing amount of information from the internet. I use it often to find a great amount of "stuff" about a great number of topics.

One should however be very careful in how they approach using this information. For example (and I have personal knowledge of this one), take a look at the Wikipedia article for chicken salad here. Looks good right? Authentic?

It's a spoof from guys that I work with. A complete fabrication.

I can almost hear the Wikipedia police knocking now ...

Same is true about refereeing information. There are lots of sources for information. For example:

AskTheref is an interesting potpourri of questions and answers. Mark Sprenger, Grade 8 referee from CA is the author of the site and does a nice job fielding a wide array of questions, from a wide audience.

The Big Soccer Referee Forum seems to dispense advice as well. Some of which is really good IMHO. Again a wide array of topics (and some inside info at times) to a wide array of folks. Careful here though because even many of the "insiders" get the LOTG or the rumor mill badly wrong.

Absolutely worth reading is You Are The Ref  from The Guardian. Excellent questions, and excellent answers generally from Keith Hackett, arguably one of the best football referees - ever.

We also have Ask A Soccer Referee which is authored by some serious refereeing firepower and is one of the very few official places to get answers to your refereeing questions.

We then get into other blogs of note such as HK Referee who has some truly excellent stuff by way of refereeing analysis and George Cumming blog ... a man who has written the LOTG, not just enforced them.

Then you get to guys like me at Kicking Back who try not to dispense advice, but more to think about why a referee is doing what they are doing. I personally like to challenge perspective with an opinion.

So where does this leave us in the soup of information?

First friends, study the LOTG, Policies and Procedures, and Administrative materials for referees. For those of us involved in US Soccer, look here.

Regarding all the rest, be careful what you chose to use as advice. Punditry is one thing, read that all day long. For me it is an endless source of entertainment to read what other people feel about referees.

For what to implement in your matches however, be very careful to use official information. Much of what you can find online today is not of that quality, or is outdated.

This unofficial information has its place, but is no substitute for the real deal.

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