We started the Spring season this weekend. I worked both Saturday and Sunday, having 1 12 year old game on Saturday and 3 games on Sunday. It was great to get back on the field!
A couple of weeks ago, I attended my state's intermediate clinic. I've always wanted to go. We haven't had one for a couple of years, so I was pretty excited to get invited this time around.
This year's clinic instructors were Craig Lowry and Rob Fereday. They are both MLS Assistant Referees (1 active and 1 newly retired).
The day was divided into two parts. The first part of the day concentrated on verbal and non-verbal communication while the 2nd half of the day review foul recognition and selection. The entire day was very useful. Here are just a few of the "take-aways" that I used this weekend.
Be conscious of your body language the entire time you are at the field. Be aware of the messages you are sending by the way you carry yourself. There are the obvious things we need to think about, like showing up to the field looking professional and put together. There are also the unconscious things we do. For example, where do you put your hands and arms when you are on the field? Are you giving the impression that you are closed to communication? I know I was doing that occasionally. When you speak to players and coaches, do you look them in the eye? One interesting thing I picked up was how to manage one's hand motions when speaking with a player. The instructions suggested keeping your hands within the box created by your torso, rather waving them around outside that area. The former suggests a normal tone, while going outside that area suggests anger and yelling.
During the foul recognition and selection portion of the day, we talked about man aspects of evaluating fouls to decide if they are trifling, careless, reckless or worse. A simple tip that has helped me is to always make eye contact with the offender when you call a foul. I tried it this weekend and it does seem to have a positive effect on match control. The offending player seemed somewhat self conscious when I looked directly at him after whistling for the foul. Perhaps they were wondering if I had decided the foul was also misconduct. I'm going to continue with this technique to see how it effects match control over time.
Anyway, the season is off to a good start. More soon. Thanks.