#1 tip for smooth games/successful season
Refs- follow this tip at every match to ensure your games goes smoothly.
The 3 P’s
Prepare- Prepare in advance so you arrive at the field 30 minutes before kickoff, in proper uniform, ready to start your duties.
Before you get the field, have your uniform, whistle, watch, cards, flags, etc. ready to go. The #1 response I get when I ask why a ref is not in proper uniform is…”I couldn’t find my socks, etc.” Have them organized and ready. This also helps you get to the field early rather than late. First impression is huge. If you look like a ref and are on top of things, you get more respect right from the start. If you show up late, not in uniform, missing important tools to do your job, you make a lousy impression and have already made your job tougher before the match has even started.
Pregame- You MUST have a pregame conference, so the team of referees is all on the same page and working together.
Center Referees, it is your job to make sure the everyone is clear on how you want the AR’s to work with you on handling throw ins, subs, offside, etc. (I will put out some more detailed suggestions in a follow up message.) The key point here is that you must be the leader to make sure you have formed that 3rd team needed to conduct the match, the team of referees. Blow this off and trust me, the AR’s are happy to twirl the flag and let you shoulder all the work and responsibility for the game. Offside responsibility is the AR’s main job, not direction when the ball goes out. You need them to be on top of it, because you have too many other things to cover.
Positioning- This applies to all 3 Refs. Quite simple. If you are in the right position, you have the best view to make a call, or a non call. If you are in a good position, the decision is a lot easier. If you are out of position, expect your calls to be challenged.
For AR’s, proper position is simple. In line with the 2nd to last defensive player. We abbreviate this as 2LD. (typically the goalie is the last player closest to the goal, so the last defender is the 2LD.) You must stay in line with them as players move up and back and switch positions on the field.
For the CR, proper positioning means running the diagonal, not running in a straight line from penalty spot to penalty spot. Running straight means all the players are blocking your view of the ball. By being out wider on the diagonal, you can better see what is happening around the ball. You should always be on the opposite side of your AR in that half. We don’t need 2 refs on same side of field during the run of play. Never have your back to the AR, otherwise, you won’t be able to see their flag. You also need to run deep. If the ball is in the corner or close to the end line on your side of the field, you have to be there to see if it goes out for GK or CK. So, run the diagonal, make sure you are running wide on the diagonal and deep into the corner when needed.