Pre-game Instructions by Referee to Assistant Referees

Discussion in 'Referee' started by dlgeier, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. dlgeier

    dlgeier New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Next week, I will be traveling to San Diego, California to work the San Diego Surf College Cup tournament. As I excited as I am to be going, I can’t help but be a little nervous about the upcoming event, also. Experience has taught me that when it comes to prestigious events like Dallas Cup, Disney, Surf Cup, or even the youth regional tournaments there will very often be obstacles that a referee will need to overcome to give his or her best performance. In my opinion, one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome is working with different or referees who have skills and tendencies that are unfamiliar.

    When it comes to working with different or unfamiliar referees, I have had some good experiences and I have had some bad experiences. What I believe sets the good experiences apart from the bad is the level of detail that a referee devotes to the pre-game instructions he gives his assistant referees. With that being said, I am trying to develop pre-game instructions that are not only detailed but concise. For a moment, let us pretend that I am your assistant referee for a game. What instructions would you give me?


  2. OldAndNew

    OldAndNew New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    I've heard the gamut in pre-games, from:

    "You have a very tough, but simple job! Make me look good!" to a virtual recitation of various Laws - especially 11 and 12.

    I'd first briefly ask for your grade / experience to ascertain the detail that I may need to go into. I'd suspect your prescence at the event your referred to has a good measure of experience as a pre-requisite.

    I would NOT waste time telling you how to signal for this or for that - I'd presume you know the required mechancs - and Laws. I'd simply ask that your signals be held long enough for me to see them - or dispensed with if no longer needed.

    I'd emphasize eye-contact with me - at every stoppage.

    I'd ask that you look to see what my reaction / indications are before you give an overt signal against defenders in their own PA.

    I'd let you know that I'm comfortable with a (reasonably) slow, but correct, offside flag (waiting to see which player becomes involved), but NOT comfortable with a lightning-quick flag that is wrong! Take your time to assess the action.

    If you see misconduct that needs my intervention - make sure you've got the offending player's number(s)!

    You are an AR - deal with (talk to players near you) if it will help with game / man management; assist me!

    Be prepared to 'mirror' the other AR's signal if I have missed it and it is critical.

    I'd tell you whether, and if so, in what sequence (relative to me and the other AR) you write information into your book after goals, cautions, send-offs. At least one of us needs to be watching the players at these emotional times!

    If I have any covert signals that I may want to send to you, I'll address those.

    Cover my back! Watch the stuff off the ball behind my sightline. If all hell breaks loose, get to my (physical) assistance and be prepared to observe who does what to whom!

    Enjoy yourself, relax, be confident - see you at half-time! Go check the nets, then take up your position.
  3. campbed

    campbed Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    We use "TLC" here: Trail, then Lead, then Center. Two sets of eyes on the players at all times.
  4. GKbenji

    GKbenji Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Collins CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Country:
    United States
    I like to scan down the Laws occasionally to remind myself of all the important elements of a pregame--not to read an AR the Laws themselves (I trust they know them) but on how we will handle certain situations.

    Law 1: Are there any unusual elements about the field we need to worry about? Faint lines, I may need help with fouls in/out of the PA, or ball out of play even in my quadrant. How are any odd pre-existing conditions to be handled?

    Law 2: Usually nothing.

    Law 3: Any details on how to handle subs? I let the AR know how strict I am on subs entering (in unlimited sub leagues, I generally allow players to clear the last opponent, then beckon the subs in).

    Law 4: Usually nothing.

    Law 5 & 6: How will we work together? If the AR decides to raise their flag, when should they drop it? For me, three times: 1) I see it and blow the whistle, 2) I see it and wave you down; 3) it's a free kick deep for the defense and they get the ball all the way to the other end of the field--then it no longer makes sense to bring the ball back. Otherwise, the flag stays up until the cows come home. If I miss your flag, I look bad, not you. Mirror your other AR to help out. Lots of eye contact.

    Law 7: Back me up on time, please. I'll signal you how many minutes of stoppage we'll have a minute or two before full time, so be watching.

    Law 8 & 9: Usually nothing.

    Law 10: For less experienced ARs, a reminder to get to the goal line every time. The one time they don't is when the keeper will bobble the ball, and if you're hustling we can at least sell it.

    Law 11: Who will take offside on a free kick close to goal? Will you ever take offside and let the AR go to the goal line? (I don't--AR always has offside.)

    Law 12: I say, "Feel free to help me out with fouls in your area. Give me a second to spot it first; if I don't, give me a flag and a direction. That even applies to the PA, but if you call a penalty for me it better be a "Oh crap, this game is going into the toilet if we don't call this one" moment." Trifling things like keeper punting close to the line or a slightly mis-spotted goal kick, don't play gotcha but give them a warning if needed. Back me up on numbers & times for misconduct. Watch my back, don't watch play in the other end--I need you to catch the cheap stuff they think no one sees.

    Law 13: Do you want the AR to help you enforce 10 yards ever? If they are closer, let's make eye contact and I'll beckon them on to help.

    Law 14: Make sure they know the new USSF mechanics for goalkeeper movement!

    Law 15: Don't play gotcha on throw-ins. Call it if needed, but let's get the ball back into play. If it goes out in my quadrant and I give you a blank look, give me a subtle signal for direction, then mirror me after I signal. I'll do the same for you. If you don't know either, give me a blank stare back and I'll make something up. :)

    Law 16 & 17: Usually nothing.


  5. GOOOOAL!!

    GOOOOAL!! New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    From what I've found, the more concise you can be the better. Usually there is just a little time between getting the crew together and game time so brevity is a good thing. Just like you are concerned with how well the ARs will do, they are concerned with how well you will do.

    I like to find out what their grade is like some others have said. I just go by the badge. There are enough variations throughout the country in what is expected from each level that it is only a guide to what to expect. You will see many 8's that do a better line than 7's, but States are usually better than both of them.

    Pregame is not the time to be a teacher, but rather to cover the couple of main things you are looking for like eye contact, hand signals, etc. Say the rest is standard USSF and then ask if they have any questions. How that question is answered will tell you what they are thinking and how much experience they have. If they ask very basic questions, they are either concerned that you don't know what you are doing or they are inexperienced.

    Usually in the first 5 minutes you are watching players to see who is going to the problem. In these tournaments, you have to watch the ARs also. It will give you confidence in them or signal that you'll have to do more work than you thought.

    Happy reffing.
  6. Footballer

    Footballer New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2000
    Location:
    CT
    Hey dlgeier, I'll be there at the Surf College Cup too. I'm flying in from CT (currently in the 30s!). Not sure where you are from.

    Regarding these tournaments, they are just not "normal" games. Halves are shortened and you may be working with referees that don't usually do high quality matches consistently. Therefore, you might not be on the same page as they are.

    In such an environment, I don't think of it as having to have a comprehensive pre game. Because frankly, we don't have time to chat at length in between matches. Instead, as someone told me once, go into a game with a plan at least. You might not have time to verbalize it with your ARs, but if you are the center, know exactly what you want to do.

    If you were my AR and I've never worked with you, I would keep it very simple. Within 5 minutes of a match, I will be able to tell if your fundamentals/mechanics are on par with the level of play and it is up to me to adjust. So before the game, I might say the following:

    a) Work as a team and communicate as a team. This translates to eye contacts during stoppages and verbal communication when deemed necessary. I'm not a big believer on constant silent signals. Everyone else gets to talk, why can't I and my crew?

    b) I'm looking for knowledge of the game, fundamentals/mechanics, and EFFORT. At a tournament like this, players are working their asses off and we have to too. Get down to the goal line and pay attention to quick restarts, etc.

    c) Foul assistance - always a tricky subject dependent on familiarity with ARs. I would simply say that watch how I'm calling the game in the first 10 minutes, be consistent if you are to flag for a foul. But if you call a foul, there is no questions asked. I'll backed you 100%.

    d) Fouls near penalty area. If I'm calling it and I'm not sure is in or outside of penalty area, I am looking hard at you, you have to give me something - either in or out. Use the USSF signal (flag across waist) or vigorously shake your head.

    e) Fouls inside penalty area and you call it - be sure and we'll take it from there.

    f) PKs - you are only the goal judge, I will get all encroachment.

    See ya next week.
  7. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Club:
    Manchester City FC
    Country:
    England

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    I'll see you both there. Flying in from TN on Tuesday.
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    I judge the AR (rightly or wrongly) on their grade (ask them), their experience (ask them) and how they look. What are they wearing and how are they wearing it.
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    Pre-game will thus be somewhere between what I'd give a club linesman and a Brian Hall-esque two hour affair.
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    Preliminary games are 65 minutes, giving a theoretical 15 mins before the kick in your game, so time is tight to get all the required stuff in.
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    Assuming you never worked together before and you've been blessed with a state or an experienced and locked-on grade 7, I'd again assume they knew what they were doing and I'd limit my pre-game to local conditions (faint lines, particular areas of the field, etc.), what the game means, what I know about the teams, and my personal idiosyncrasies:
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    My silent signals, re-affirm my need for eye contact, delayed (but correct) flags, substitution procedures, my tolerance for coaches behaviour, confirm knowledge of USSF PK signal, talking to the players, keeping eyes on defender/attacker interaction as play transitions up the other end, PK procedures, how long to hold offside flag when I've fallen asleep, recording, timing - I'll indicate how much I'm adding, but at this tournament, it'll likely be very little, PI if I've fallen asleep, making sure we aren't jousting on ball-out signals, if we have misconduct, don't tie my hands with a hand-over-the-badge, but motion me over and have something pithy (#4 red kicked # 5 blue in the back of the legs off the ball).
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    Smile, have fun, DFU and call me if you need me.
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    It is forecast to be below freezing when I blow in Memphis on Saturday. Nice! Then SD, where I hope it is somewhat warmer. Then Sr Boys GIT with thunderstorms and very cold as always. Then Disney. {sigh}.
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    See y'all next Friday.
  8. DWickham

    DWickham Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    San Diego
    San Diego has been experiencing unusually high temperatures (last weekend saw high 80s), but this is expected to break before Thanksgiving. Plan on 68 -72. We may even see a little rain. (1/2 inch would be the biggest storm of the season).

    AndyMoss's suggestions are excellent. All referees meet 45 minutes before the first match to discuss tournament expecations and rules. The pregame can focus on players and the referee's expectations.

    PS: Referees don't wear hats or sunglasses during Surf Cup matches.
  9. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Club:
    Manchester City FC
    Country:
    England
    Or gloves I'm sure!
  10. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2000
    Location:
    IOWA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Country:
    United States
    How can you see if your glasses are covered with rain?
  11. dlgeier

    dlgeier New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    I'm coming from the great state of absolutely nothing; Nebraska. Flying out of Omaha very early on Friday morning, arive in San Diego a couple of hours later, and then I'm headed straight out to the fields.

    The first day, at the very least, should be interesting. (Yes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't run into any travel problems... :-S )We'll see how Friday goes...

    But yeah, I'm doing both Surf College Cup and Disney, If you notice me at anytime over the weekend, come introduce yourself! I'm looking foward to the weekend. See you next weekend!
  12. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Club:
    Manchester City FC
    Country:
    England
    I'm the compact, handsome, English chap with no hair. Name is pretty apparent! Hope to see you out there.
  13. gosellit

    gosellit BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    He is not lying, Andy is one handsome man.

    See you at GIT, then Disney.

    Good Luck in SD.
  14. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    I think you are too harsh on Nebraska...it does host the college World Series in Omaha which 33 years ago was one of the best weeks I have ever spent anywhere in the world. The nicest people, the best sports atmosphere, the best stadium announcer...the coolest stadium.

    Rufe
  15. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Club:
    Manchester City FC
    Country:
    England
    Wow! I never knew you felt that way. Is there a section on the long form for that?

    Who's coming in this year for GIT, do you know? I heard that the AR who made the gutsiest call in MLS history might be there.
  16. Footballer

    Footballer New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2000
    Location:
    CT
    Make sure you guys bring some coins/pins for trading.

    Love to have a Nebraska or Tennessee souvenir.

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