Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Success for the Young Referees

This will be a short post and serve as a quick reminder of the obligation we have to help young referees.
This weekend, I worked 2 games (U-11 and U-12) with a couple of high school age referees.  I've worked with them both before.  One is 18 and relatively new.  The other is 15, but has been around longer and seems a more savvy referee.
When we arrived at the field, I expressed my preference for them to do the games today.  The 18 year old had never done a large side game, so it was a great opportunity for her.  I worked with her enough to know she was ready.  The 15 year could easily handle the U-12 game.  I'm happy to say they both did really well.  The older referee seemed a little uncomfortable at first, but she did a fine job.  I offered a few words of advice on positioning at the half.  She adjusted and it seemed to help with her seeing a little more contact on the field.  Her biggest problem seems to be self confidence.  It improved over the course of the game. 
The younger referee did a great job on the U-12 game.  In fact, he made a terrific non-call.  From a corner kick, the defending team clearly handled a ball close to the goal line, and he saw it.  However, the ball headed toward goal so the referee "swallowed the whistle" just long enough for the ball to cross the goal line!  I was happy for him and he seemed proud of his decision.
I believe they both left that field as better referees.  As more experienced referees, I think it is important to try to help younger referees.  I often wonder why there isn't an official role for older referees to work with younger referees.


Brian said...

Nice post.

Curious how often your Assignors will pair 3 young referees together, or do they endeavor to have at least one older ref with 2 younger refs (like your example). We end up - too often - with 3 young refs - or long young CRs for U10 and under games who don't end up receiving feedback.


The Referee said...

Hi Brian,
I basically use one assignor for league games. My observation is he generally tries to pair younger and more experienced referees together. I suspect much of that is just a numbers game. Ultimately, the games have to be covered so I'm sure he uses young referees on their own occasionally.
I think one of the things that is lacking in the USSF Referee Program is the availability of assessments for referees. As I've mentioned, the first time I was assessed was the first time through the grade 7 upgrade process. It would be nice if there were an accessible,"assessment light" program.

Kip McDowell said...

Our referee board started a "Mentor" program last year which was pretty successful. It requires extra work from designated officials that act as mentors, but they get paid a little extra for their time. The goal is to increase retention numbers, to keep kids refereeing after their first year.

The Referee said...

Kip, that's a terrific idea. I'd like to see something like that here in my state. I'm not sure it would work or how it might be structured. I don't know this for fact, but I suspect our retention numbers are not great.

CorkRef16 said...

Hello, I'm a 16 year old referee from Ireland I I've just found your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and I just wanted to say that I'm at the end of my first season and in Ireland we are assessed 1-2 times per season. I find the assessments very helpful and I find that they are definitely helping me to progress as a ref.