Monday, August 13, 2007

Preparing for the Coming Season

Getting Assigned
Well, let me start with the obvious. You need to get games. As I write this, the Fall season will be starting in about 3 or 4 weeks. Of course, there are always tournaments before the season starts, so plan now what kind of games you want and get your name in with the appropriate assignor. Don't be afraid to send a quick email to a tournament organizer and get your name on their list. As I've said in other articles, you have to get your name on the assignors lists before you can expect to get games.
Mental Preparation
Being pretty new, I'm still not completely comfortable with making decisions on the field quickly, without hesitation. My concern is that some obscure, bizarre play will happen and I won't know exactly that to do. So, coming off of the summer break, I've been reviewing the various materials I keep on my laptop. First thing I do is re-read the Laws of the Game. The 2007 version is posted on the FIFA site. I've downloaded and reviewed it. It's really worthwhile to review the "Additional Instructions" portion of the Laws of the Game as well. It gets you thinking about the game.
Physical Preparation
If you read my posts often, you are aware I take the referee thing pretty seriously. I want to do the best job I can. Hey, we're getting paid for this! Also, the players prepared all week for the game so I should be prepared as well. In my mind, one of the most important things one can do to become a better referee is have good conditioning in order to keep up with play. I may not make perfect calls, but I don't want anyone to be able to say I'm a "center circle official" or I'm making calls while 40 yards from the play.
So how do I prepare? I run...often. That's all I can say. I was asked a few times last season how I stay in shape and keep my weight down. I even had one referee compliment my conditioning. In my mind, there isn't a substitute for going out and running on a regular basis. During a given week, I'll probably run about 4 or 5 times. Each run is between 2 and 3 miles. Every other week, I try to get in a long run of about 5 miles. My pace varies too. For the 3 mile runs, I usually go at about 8 1/2 minute miles. The longer runs are done at about 9 1/2 minute miles. Every so often, I throw in some speed work. I head to the local high school track. The workout starts with a 1 mile warm-up (4 laps on a standard track). After the warm up, I'll do some sprints. I usually do 200 meters off/200 meters on. That's 1/2 a lap at about a 7 minute mile pace and 1/2 a lap at about a 9 minute mile pace. Typically, I'll do 4 laps this way. After the sprints, I'll do another 2-4 laps at a slow pace to cool down.
I've seen plenty of referees that keep up with play and don't do the running that I do. I've also seen plenty of referees that really are not keeping up with play. It seems to me they consistently have more problems with selling their calls as the players and coaches notice.

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