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Letter to Referees

On behalf of the communities you will be serving, I would like to thank you for visiting this website. I realize that as a Referee, you will make a difference in the enjoyment of the game for players, coaches, and spectators.

I have dedicated over forty years to compiling and providing the best information to be a successful Referee. I want to ensure that you have the opportunity to become the best Referee that you can be. 

Let’s start by realizing that you already know most of what’s necessary to be a successful Referee – that it is not that complicated.

 These are the things you already know:

  • The Game Needs Referees. 
  • No Referee – No Game.
  • Referees are there to make sure it is Fair, Fun, and Safe. 
  • You are doing a service to the community, players, coaches, and fans!  

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)

Aspire to Become a Good Referee!

A Good Referee acts to control the game before the players take control.  It is far easier to lose control of a game than to regain it. 

How do Good Referees get and keep control of a game?  

They are aware of three elements: Safety, Equality, and Enjoyment.

However, what is not always recognized is that the order of importance of those three elements varies between referees, coaches, and players.  The order will also change with the age and experience of the players.

For referees, the order of the priorities with young players is Safety, Equality, and Enjoyment.  Young players, however, view the priorities as Enjoyment, Equality, and Safety.  Young players have not developed any safety concept—if they did, they would not climb trees or run across the street.

For coaches and older players, the order becomes Equality, Safety, and Enjoyment.  To have successful game control without excessive interference, it is vital to recognize these priorities and Referee accordingly.  To emphasize the idea of this order, a few years ago, FIFA introduced the slogan “Fair Play, Please,” which can be seen displayed on uniforms and signs around the world.

In adult and older youth games, the Referee needs to look beyond calling fouls and misconduct.  To achieve a well-controlled game, where problems and acts of gamesmanship decrease, they need to look at what is fair or not.  

In other words, change the focus from the wrongdoers to the player who has been wronged.  If a player is fouled enough to affect their ball control, a referee needs to take action, or sooner or later, the wronged player or a teammate will.  When that happens, the players start to take control of the game.

Your “justice” does not always have to be a stoppage and a free kick or the showing of a card.  Often a word or some action directed at the wrongdoer that the wronged player can witness may be enough.  The action may even be applying the advantage; however, make sure not to overuse the advantage as many less experienced players prefer the free-kick.  Justice needs to be seen in order to be served.

The focus on unfair play requires the officiating team to be in the right place at the right time.  That requires the team to be well trained, in good physical condition, and have good game mechanics.

Suppose the Referee focuses on looking for fouls and misconduct, which will occur in most plays between opponents. In that case, the game will suffer from excessive stoppages or will be under marginal control.

Remember that Good Referees act to control the game before the players take control.  They realize that it is far easier to lose control of a game than to regain it. 

Read More Referee Articles

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