18 June, 2016
TSSA State Cup has finally finished with another frustrating rain/lightning filled tournament that had to be rescheduled over two weekends. Now that the summer is in full hot mode, the months of June, July and part of August typically are non-soccer months and considered the “offseason” for soccer officials. Even though soccer is relatively dormant for these months, the down season is a very important time of the year for soccer officials. Why would a few months of not officiating games be important?
Two weeks ago I assessed one of our tenured State 6 referees and, prior to the match, asked her if there was anything that she needed help with or to watch during her game. Interesting enough, she told me that she was experiencing “burn out” and seemed to be officiating without enthusiasm. The match was an adult amateur playoff game with consequences for the teams. As the game started I observed that the center referee was jovial with players from both teams, demonstrated an enthusiastic whistle and hustled keeping up with play. The game was fairly competitive and score was tight till the last few minutes of the second half and ended without incident. Both teams were relatively happy that the contest was played competitively and officiated fairly.
But, during our debrief, the referee told me something that I now realize is an important issue that many of us experience, especially as the season starts to wind down. My opinion of the referee’s officiating was positive as I saw nothing but enthusiasm and excellent work ethic. Even though that is how it appeared to an observer, it was far from how she actually felt. She went on to tell me that she was mentally burned out and was happy that it was her last game of the season. Basically her performance as an official was a charade. The players and spectators just witnessed a very nice job of officiating but it was really an “act” performed by a very good “actor” with tons of experience who was able to pull off an excellent performance.
Mind you that I’m not criticizing the referee and that is NOT what my commentary is about. Actually, I was impressed with her honesty and professionalism as well as her willingness to share inner thoughts about officiating and ASKING for guidance from her assessor. Our debriefing would have been a waste of time in reference to her mechanics, speed, stamina, application of Laws, etc. … What we discussed was more about the psychology of officiating and how it is equally important as knowledge and physical conditioning.
If a referee is officiating 10-11 months of the year, the referee is working hundreds of games during that time. TAKE a mental break just as you would a physical break. During the regular season, mix up your game level of play by maybe working a combo of adult amateur one week and youth the next. Work with your assignor and make her aware that you need help with quantity, or not so much quantity, of assignments rather than working every single night or 4-5 games at a Saturday tournament. Develop a hobby outside of soccer and apply the same level of excellence to it as you do officiating.
On a final note, the SOTN advanced clinics are scheduled and are posted on this website. These clinics are mandatory for certain grade officials, assessors and instructors.
Best wishes and enjoy your down time this summer!
Special cases are officials who will not recertify by taking a run-of-the-mill recert clinic. Special cases typically include officials who satisfy any of the following:
Please go to the following URL for more information and/or to register for 2016(that is, to pay your registration fee(s), to complete your 'paperwork,' and to take the appropriate refresher exam).
Note: If you are a referee who will be upgrading (instead of recertifying) for 2016, do not follow the special-cases instructions for your referee registration. Instead, follow the instructions you have or will have received from Brady regarding how to register as a referee for 2016. On the other hand, if you are planning a mid-year upgrade sometime in 2016, follow the special-cases instructions given at the above URL.
Who Can take the State 6 FIFA Sprint and Interval test (Test will be offered at the advanced clinic's).
Grade 7 (including grade 8's in the upgrade program) & Emeritus referees' who wish to receive priority assignments in adult matches may take the grade 7, S&I test locally. Contact your DRA for more information. Space permitting, those in this catigory may take the grade 6 fitness at any of the advanced clinics.