Monday, July 9, 2012

In my last post, I had given several observations from a recent high level amateur tournament, and an overview of why the assessors felt the referees were not measuring up.  (See Kicking Back July 2, 2012)  Now for the last piece of the puzzle:  how does this get fixed?

According to Brian Hall, who just happens to be the Director of Referee Administration for CONCACAF, the solution lies in three parts:
  1. Be physically fit.  There is no excuse for not being in shape.  You have to get to where the action is in order to accurately see what is going on.  The modern game demands a much higher rate of fitness.  The old regimen of taking a 30 minute jog three times a week is not going to cut it.  We are talking about concentrated interval and strength training combined with proper nutrition.  Fitness is now measured with heart monitors and data is recorded for all top level referees.  Get an expert to design a training program for you.  
  2. Be prepared.  The old boy scout motto is a good one.  Come into the match prepared, and know what is likely to happen before it does.  What is the style of play of the two teams you have today?  Where will the run of play be, and what parts of the field are vulnerable to attack?  Who commits the fouls, and even more importantly who suffers the fouls?  What is the importance of this game to each team?  If possible, go and watch them play in the week before your game, or review the film of their recent game.  Talk to the referee they had last week.
  3. Watch more soccer!  As simple as that sounds, watch the game at every opportunity.  Patterns will start to emerge.  Patterns of play, patterns of behavior.  Certain things will trigger certain events.  The more you watch, the more you will become aware of them, to the point where you will see things happening before they happen.  Become an expert at recognizing patterns and situations.  Ultimately the ability to anticipate the next play will be instinctive.  
Brian has one other piece of advice, culled from the lessons he learned as a referee and which he freely admits will apply to any endeavor:  set goals and do not get sidetracked by temporary setbacks.  Success at any level is only possible if you are willing to make the sacrifice.  

Ah, there it is.....Soccer is Life.

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