News & Announcements
JUN 27


by Referee

When people say, “There’s no need to get emotional,” that’s probably more true for officials than for the average person. Put a regular guy or gal referee in front of hundreds, maybe thousands, of screaming fans, a couple of intense coaches and a bunch of psyched‑up, keyed‑up and fired‑up athletes, and emotional control is easier said than done.

Don’t ignore your emotions — control them

You, on the other hand, don’t have the luxury to feel what the average person feels — you’re an official and there’s a job to do. But emotions shouldn’t be ignored, either. Controlling your emotions means controlling your game and controlling your game is your job. To be effective, an official needs to be a rock, but not a robot. A listener, but not a passive abuse‑taker. A professional, but not an egomaniac.

Confidence is one of the “good” emotions that you probably don’t need to control too much (unless you become overconfident, which could lead you to become arrogant, which leads to egomania!).

Being able to handle pressure starts with confidence in your ability. You have to develop a level of confidence that you know the game and you know what you’re doing out there. You develop a feel for the game and what’s going on around you. It allows you to defuse problems before they happen. Knowledge is power and when you’ve mastered your game, a sense of control will follow.

Stay cool when the pressure gets hot. All the knowledge in the world will only take you so far when there’s a lot on the line. Let’s face it, the outcomes of some games have outrageous implications. Some officials are put in charge of events involving tens of millions of dollars, with maybe hundreds of millions of people watching — and careers often hang in the balance. There’s pressure there and you can’t deny it.

Don’t think that only happens at the pro, international or major college levels, though. The folks sitting in the stands at a local high school football or basketball game, or a Little League baseball or youth league soccer game, can be just as — and sometimes more — personally invested in the outcome of a game. The ire of a handful of parents can be more disquieting than the anonymous roar of 20,000 spectators.

Develop personal stress management skills

It is essential to develop stress‑management skills so you can keep focused during the actual contest, when the pressure gets turned up. A big mistake officials make is trying to pretend they have no emotions and nothing can get to them. Though it doesn’t pay to display your emotions for everyone to see, denying your feelings exist can lead to trouble.

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