A new season dawns; referees on the FA System at level 4 and above have been officiating in friendly games since July and many of us at county level football doing likewise during August. Runs of pre-season friendlies featured far less in AFA football even 10 years ago, with clubs mostly waiting until competitions began in mid-to-late September, but times have moved on. Today clubs like friendlies but not competition matches before September when the holidays finish and they can field full-strength teams. The friendlies are not confined to first teams, with Saturday and midweek games being played down to 5th team level in some clubs. All this provides referees with added opportunities to gain practice before the bigger games get under way this month.
We should use this time well.
Welcome to your Society magazine – AFA Argus – published every month until May, full of interesting articles on football and refereeing, news of meetings, members and refereeing events throughout the season, all to aid your enjoyment and development in refereeing. If you would like to write an article on your findings in refereeing or your opinions about refereeing-related issues please send them to the editor for inclusion in Argus – he is always willing to put good material into print.
During the season let’s remember 3 key factors in our refereeing development:
- Preparation for games
- Receiving Feedback from others observing our performances and
- Self-analysis on our performances, including considering all feedback received.
With these factors in place any match official will only improve his performance and enjoyment in refereeing. Where not present, the best that can be hoped for is satisfaction and stagnation. We need also to avoid sheer arrogance – assuming that only we know what is right and best and not seeking or even tolerating alternative advice. This blocks all real progression. Modesty is needed to acknowledge that however much experience we already have, we need to prepare for the next game, to seek advice from legitimate sources which might be telling us exactly what we need most to hear and understand to take the next step in the refereeing ladder, and we need to analyse what went well in games and what needs to change.
But most important of all, whatever our level of performance we should fully enjoy the experience of refereeing – at the time we carry out our duties, as well as afterwards in retrospect. If happy within ourselves we are far better able to face the challenges which officiating undoubtedly brings and to come through reassured that our efforts are worthwhile for the benefit of ourselves and all other 6 participants in the game. This experience is to be enjoyed and treasured from moment to moment throughout our refereeing activities.
From our Archives – first published in the Argus Magazine in September 2014