Monday, November 5, 2007

Give the Young Guys a Chance

Often times, I find myself working games with a crew that has at least 1 member under the age of 18. My son is now a grade 8 referee, and he works games with me on a regular basis. Also, there are quite a few young guys working for my league assignor. Our assignor does not specify which team members are to be the referee for games. He leaves that up to the crew to decide on game day, with the exception of critical games, like state cup. We get a list of games and a list of referees that will be there.
So when we arrive at our first game, I often suggest we flip coins, or pick coins from a pile to determine who will do what games. I have heard senior referees suggest it is unwise to have a younger referee do a game where the players are less than 2 years younger. So, for example, we might have a 14 year old referee do a U-11 game, but U-12 or above is probably a bad idea. I tend to agree with this idea as it might be hard for the younger referee to garner the respect from the players required for effective match control. Other than the age difference, however, I cannot think of other reasons why I, as an adult referee, would try to restrict a younger referee from getting a particular game.
Lately, I've noticed some referees take advantage of younger referees on their crew. They show up, see they are with 2 young officials, and immediately take charge. I suppose this could be a good thing sometimes, but it seems to me that adult referees have an obligation to bring along younger referees and help them get the experience they need to become confident as game officials. It is unfair for an adult to take the center position for all of the days games just by virtue of being the only adult referee present. I'd venture to say most of us would not try to do that with another adult referee, so why would we do that when we are assigned with younger referees?
The next time you are assigned with a minor, consider their need for experience as well as your own. You can learn as much about the game assisting a young referee as you can being in the center. It's only fair, and as referees, we should be all about being fair!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember I showed up to do a line at a tournament one weekend. Turns out that we were all assigned to do the line. I was a young guy with two adults. I assumed one of them would take it, but both kinda looked at me like "What do we do" kinda thing. I ended up taking center. One team was very outmatched. This team had one player get a caution, the coach being sent off and as I'm booking him the assistant was standing over me (trying to intimidate) yelling "Are you happy now??" to which earned him a caution on the spot. The field marshall had a golf cart waiting for me and my ARs after the game that we happily used...