Respecting the Referee

Obviously, the best way to deal with a referee during competition is with respect. But as a coach, I pay close attention to the details of a game, so it can be incredibly frustrating when there’s a bad call or non call during competition.

How do you deal with the referees if this happens and maintain a respectful attitude? The following strategies will benefit your team so that you can get the best out of the game despite the calls.

Be Nice

It may sound obvious, but this is often not an initial strategy for most coaches. One of my biggest struggles during any game is to remain patient despite the calls. I have never been thrown out of a competition before, but I have gotten close to it a number of times.

I realized that simply being nice to the referee works wonders–instead of yelling and complaining about the calls, talk to the referee in a respectable tone and ask for clarification when appropriate.

This method has been beneficial in ensuring the game gets called with fairness.

Remove Emotion

I am an emotionally-driven coach, so it is quite challenging to not respond to calls that are unfair.

Fussing on the sidelines usually makes matters worse because your players will begin to feed into your emotion and become distracted during the game.

Stay cool, calm and collected, even in the face of adversity so that you can focus on doing your job as a coach.

Acknowledge the Good

Most of the time coaches only complain about the referee’s calls. I have found that coaches who acknowledge the good calls as well as the bad wants are likely to get a fair match called. You do not want to be labeled as the nagging, complaining, fussing coach who is never pleased with any calls made by the referee. This type of behavior insinuates that the referee is being unfair, which can be seen as a dangerous attack on their character. Make sure to acknowledge the calls that are correct, even when your players are at fault. This makes you seem more objective in your criticism of a call.

Stick to Coaching

At the end of the day, you are the coach and not the referee. Allow the referee to do his/her job to the best of their ability. Adding negative energy to an already complicated job can be frustrating for them–think about how you feel when people criticize how you’re doing your job.

Be conscious of how you are perceived when you verbally attack a referee. You have to set a positive example for your athletes who are paying close attention to how you respond when things don’t go your way.

Stick. To . Coaching.

Being a referee is just as challenging as any other job. The speed of every game gets faster every day and rules are subject to change all the time. Introduce yourself before the game and establish a positive rapport with the referees. You can voice your opinion on calls, but make sure you do so respectfully. Know your role as a coach and allow the referee to officiate the game.

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