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For me there is a clear analogy to real life as I am sure we have all met and dealt with people who howl, whine, and frankly bully others to get their way. I am in fact dealing with one such individual right now and it is really draining, even having already seen through the ruse to what the end game is about.
So too is true in refereeing. Now we may have dealt with players that are loud and unsavory, but my comments are not about them, they are about us as referees.
I shared the other day the referee who was overseeing Jr.'s match and after a foul, when he was asked about the decision, out came the reply "... because I said so." There dear friends is a howler monkey with small testicles.
"Words can wound" is an oft used expression that I personally think is overly dramatic in some situations, a refereeing context being one of them. What words can do however is paint a pretty accurate picture of the mental state of a referee.
Take the example from Jr.'s match. If the referee had simply said, "I saw a push" or "I thought it was a handball" even if dead wrong about the decision it will at least have the player left to feel like "... well he saw something." By slamming the door shut however with his "... because I said so." answer, the players at that point lost all respect, and even continued to ask knowing it would bother the referee further.
Keith Hackett, FIFA referee, and an all round talented guy, penned a great article from his series, "You Are The Ref," titled "The Importance of Presence as a Referee." In the article he talks about things like voice control, posture, empathy, and my personal favorite "sparkle." All of which are critical not just in the big parks around the world, but even more so in the little ones.
Don't be a monkey with small balls and scream because you can. Be the leader inside the field and when (not if) you get challenged, treat the players with the respect you would want to get. You may be surprised to find after such an exchange, they will be more willing to give that respect back.
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