Protection of younger referees..

Discussion in 'Referee' started by BentwoodBlue, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. BentwoodBlue

    BentwoodBlue New Member

    Sep 20, 2003
    Ipswich Town FC
    Nat'l Team:
    This is a new territory for me, so I certainly would appreciate your opinions.
    This season I am serving as mentor to a couple young referees. I have a couple that show great potential.
    Each day, they run lines for my 2 higher age matches and then each one centers a lower age match. I really enjoy showing some of the finer points of refereeing to them.
    During the course of the season I really started to be really stern when it comes to yelling at the refs. When I run a line for them I remind the coaches that while thier players are learning the game, the referees are learing how to referee. I find saying that alone is extremely helpful. Ocassionally I have had to ask the coaches to inform the parents of the same thing. They too are very receptive to this.

    When I am the center and a coach yells at one of my ARs I will tell the coach he is absolutely not permitted to talk\yell at them unless he is asking for a sub or something similar. If he needs to say anything he can say it to me. Other than that leave them\us alone.

    I guess the question is, am I being too protective?
  2. Ref Flunkie

    Ref Flunkie Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    New Hudson, MI
    No. :) I wish I had a mentor like you back in my younger days.
  3. kevbrunton

    kevbrunton New Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Edwardsburg, MI
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You are TOTALLY doing this right. I have mentored a number of times -- most of the time I am watching 2 teams of referees on adjacent fields and I do not hesitate to step up to a parent or coach that is getting on a referee and let them know that they need to back down. I've never had anyone argue with me.
  4. HeadHunter

    HeadHunter Member

    May 28, 2003
    How exactly do you do this? I am only 24 but am working in an area where the depth of our referees is so poor that I am doubling as the league assignor and one of only three adult referees. The previous assignor was not a ref so there has been little to no mentoring of our youth refs. Im under pressure for the league to improve referee quality but Im finding it nearly immpossible to sell my older youth refs 15-18 on the need for the mentoring. I guess my questions are this:

    1) How do you get younger refs to buy into the need for improvement?
    2) What methods to you use to protect your refs from fans?
    3) What can I do to try to get become personally a better ref other than working out of area tournaments-something I already do and while I find them challenging Im not getting that direct improvement
  5. ProfZodiac

    ProfZodiac Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 17, 2003
    Boston, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Does your league have a Zero Tolerance Policy?


    This might just be top-of-the-head material, but what happens when you're not there to protect them anymore? If there's no ZTP in the league, what are the kids going to do when an idiot coach decides he doesn't agree with the PK call? That would be my only concern.
  6. Ref Flunkie

    Ref Flunkie Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    New Hudson, MI
    Well the hope is they would follow their mentors actions and warn them about their behavior, and of course take any further action that is necessary. They can make their OWN zero tolerance policy. :)

    Of course as they do more games together, hopfeully the youngin's will learn where they should draw the line when dealing with players/coaches/parents. Again this is why I wish I had a mentor because that is still the worst part of my "game".
  7. Bleacherbutt

    Bleacherbutt New Member

    May 1, 2001
    Rochester, NY
    As a CR, you are not doing too much to prevent abuse to you young ARs.

    Unfortunately, when young referees take the field they do very little to help themselves. They look like and act like timid kids (which many of them are). This makes them all the more vulnerable to improper criticism and abuse.

    I think that local referee units need to incorporate some assertiveness training for younger referees. That should include tips on body language, use of the whistle, developing a commanding and ennunciated speaking style on the field, how to handle adults and what to do if a situation escalates and when to decide when its gone too far and the match needs to be abandoned. Even an hour sharing, demonstrating and practicing these behaviors will help. Many times these little lambs are victims the moment they step onto the pitch. If we teach them to move like lions instead, the temptation to heap abuse on these young match managers will be greatly lessened.
  8. Ref Flunkie

    Ref Flunkie Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    New Hudson, MI
    You really think teenagers will sit/go through this? :) Most younger referees are out there to make a little extra cash (I know I was). I think on the job training is probably the best way to go with the younger folks.
  9. Bleacherbutt

    Bleacherbutt New Member

    May 1, 2001
    Rochester, NY
    Yeah, I forgot how well the OJT route worked in the past. What's the dropout rate for young officials? It's high because the younger referees are ill-equipped the handle the non-LOTG issues that crop up when you officiate. What we are doing now is not working exceedingly well--unless the motive is to get more kids to pay $50 to sit through the intro class.

    A more proactive and progressive referee district unit would be wise to consider this training or adding it to the basic course. Yes, teenagers would do if meant that they could not earn the money or if they would not get assignments.
  10. Ref Flunkie

    Ref Flunkie Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    New Hudson, MI
    Well with the lack of officials now, they will not lose any assignments. I'm sorry, but I think recertification classes are worthless, so I can't see any more classes helping much, especially for younger referees. I do agree that they should work it into the intro course, and discuss it during recertification, but a manditory course on how to blow their whistle hard just won't fly. OJT has been the best source of information for me, provided I am working with more experienced officials. If the kid wants to learn, he will when he refs with older more experienced officials. If he is there to simply get some extra cash, he won't, and he also wouldn't pay attention during extra training anyways.
  11. jc508

    jc508 New Member

    Jan 3, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio area
    I am trying to prepare and protect the young referees through 3 avenues of attack:

    1 - During the entry level clinic, we do a session modeled on the "Pro Kids" program. Here we talk about body language, attitude, and demeanor. We also address how to handle some common hot situations to give them some idea what to do.

    2 - We are starting a Mentor program to help the new ref through his/her first couple of games. It is hoped that this will help us get a positive experience out of the on-the-job training.

    3 - Experience. We all learn from experience, but some are doomed to simply repeat the experience and not learn from it. We are pushing to get more assessors to do at least D&G's on as many refs as possible.

    Based on assessor feedback and feedback from the referees, we try to adapt our recert agenda to answer those needs.

    It is far from perfect, but we are trying. Any ideas are welcome and they will be considered. Send them to me at Thanks.
  12. Statesman

    Statesman New Member

    Sep 16, 2001
    The name says it all
    Just don't pay kids as much per game if they don't attend training regularly. If you pay $15 a line, tell them they'll only get $10 or something of that sort. You will lose the undedicated and unqualified kid refs, but will have better luck retaining those that go to the training. If you have 20 kid refs in a league and 10 drop out from the lack of pay, that's better than having 15 drop out from not being able to handle the game and getting in trouble with the sidelines.
  13. Gary V

    Gary V Member+

    Feb 4, 2003
    SE Mich.
    I see two separate issues here:

    1) How to eliminate [youth/newby] referee abuse, or at least greatly reduce it, to lessen the dropout rate.

    2) How to get newer referees to improve.

    #2 takes at least two interested parties, the mentor and the mentee. "You can lead a horse to water ..." No matter what programs or training you set up, someone will learn only if they want to learn.

    #1 can only be accomplished by the cooperation of the leagues. IMO, it shouldn't be a strict ZTP - "No talking to the ref!" Refs need feedback. If they hear similar comments week to week, maybe they will be motivated to find out if they are doing it right.

    Gil Weber (National Emeritus, contributor to AtR) made the point on SocRef-L this week that there are differences between:
    - disagreement ("That wasn't a foul!")
    - dissent ("What kind of call was that!")

    I'd add a third category
    - abuse ("Only a *#%&* idiot would make that call!")
  14. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    You can also combine them, as in:

    "What kind of *#%&* idiot would make that call!"
  15. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 19, 2002
    Washington, NC
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think the closest I've ever come to freaking out on the field was the day I had a parent yell at my 13 year old linesman that he was "a little (blank)sucker".

    I stopped the game and, since I didn't trust myself to address the parent directly, I went to the coach and told him that the game was absolutely not going to continue unless and until that parent was in the parking lot. He told me I couldn't do that, I told him to watch me.

    Turns out it was the coaches' father.

    This stuff is getting worse, not better, and it's not going to go away because we talk about it or wish it. Leagues and tournaments are going to have to crack down.

    Nobody wants to go to the hassle of enforcing "zero tolerance" but I really think it's the only way. Allowing "a little disagreement" would be OK, but it is a slippery slope. I'd prefer that young referees be "critiqued" by other referees, not parrents and coaches.

    Yes, they may hear the same comments repeatedly, but it doesn't mean they're valid unless they come from someone with a license.
  16. nsa

    nsa Member+

    New England Revolution; Boston Breakers
    United States
    Feb 22, 1999
    Notboston, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not at all. I am more than happy to remind coaches, players, and spectators that the whistle is mine. That I, as CR, make the decision as to fair or foul. However, distracting or abusing the AR is considered harassment of the referee team and I will deal with it swiftly and strongly.

    I work harder when I have a newbie on the line because I have to be in a position to make calls that s/he miss and to override the occasional errant flag. Yet I have to do it in a manner that does not destroy the kid's confidence and desire. (One recent game, B12, with a newly minted AR, my sole focus of training was to get him to stay goal-side of the ball - the hell with trying to keep him even with the 2LD.)

    As an AR for an inexperienced referee I must remember that it is his game and avoid taking over the game from the touchline, however much it may hurt to watch. At halftime and postgame, be careful not to overwhelm the new referee with too many teaching points. Maybe three, maximum. And remember to indicate one positive item for every "instructional" item.

    We've been doing that for years here in the Nashoba Valley Youth Soccer League. Originally it was $2 per game for attending the league preseason meeting and an additional $2 per game for attending a MSRC clinic. When the MSRC clinics became mandatory for recertification, we upped the league meeting kicker to $3. Over the course of 8 or 10 games, that adds up to one new video game. :)

    In our local intramural league (U6/U8/U10) we have a fee differential ($2) for certified referees to encourage kids to take the referee course.
  17. ralph shelley

    ralph shelley New Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    ref development

    I'm an adult ref who through self education and
    going out on the pitch learned very quickly how
    to do the job. Out of pride I hit the websites and
    watched pro games on tv, mainly WUSA. Although
    I played Div. I in college and semi pro leagues I do
    not remember the referees much. I do remember
    that I admired them and when the offer was made
    to ref I felt honored and still do.
    My opinion about youth ref development is to
    nurture and financially reward promptly the young
    referees that bust their butt in all areas. They are
    ready to ref after there games. They will take the
    CR over AR in higher games. They seek to improve
    their skills. For many it is tough because they have busy lives and good grades are a must. But the
    winners find a way to get it done.
    The leagues need to provide mentors. Put instructional videos in the libraries. Pay them to attend clinics, and not the other way around.
    I think for a young man or women to put on their resume that they are a soccer official is proof
    positive of character. Communicate that they are
    special and that its their responsibility to stay
    abreast of the requirements that are multi-faceted.
    I find if you know your business, people are truly
    appreciative. And the ones who are not are the dregs anyway. Never get down and strive to get better!
    My personel opinion is that many great potential
    referees have never been asked. Some refs have
    quick quickly because they were fed to the lions.
    Stay close to home and build your house and then move on. I chomp at the bit to ref, its a rush to
    withness young players develop a love of the game.
    The game of Pele and Georgie Best!

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