The three sessions covered across the afternoon were:
• Positioning during open play
• Counter attacks
• Communication and signalling
Positioning during open play
Lined up along the 18-yard box, the group were asked, from their current angle, whether they could see an offence. Those with the optimum viewing angle could clearly see the infringement, whereas those without struggled!
The referee then had to use agility, speed and awareness to stay within the desired ten to fifteen yard proximity of a tennis ball as it was thrown around the area.
In a more realistic game setting, a team of attackers broke forward, with the referee aiming to keep close to play whilst also trying to keep a good viewing angle without turning their backs to the active assistant.
The take-home message was that viewing angles and proximity to play can help referees pick up on infringements more easily!
Practising positioning during the build-up of an attack and the resulting fast counter-attack, everyone was able to participate as the referee on numerous occasions whilst also contributing in the discussion of the factors which could affect their position.
The five key messages which came out of the session were: the anticipation of where play will develop, being agile in their movement, maintaining a credible distance from play, sweeping to left at the correct moment and also knowledge of the tactics of a team.
Communication and signalling
Concentrating on different decisions that would occur in a match situation, referees developed each of the key communication aids - whistle, voice and signals.
Starting with simple static decisions, referees progressed onto making more complex decisions on the move, including ‘contentious throw-ins’ using the whistle, voice and signals to communicate the decision.
With one referee from the group receiving dissent from the other referees acting as players, the group recognised which dissent can be disregarded, which you need to speak to the player about, and which is worthy of a caution or red card.
The session concluded with a discussion of ways to present good body language, with the key message that effective communication enhances confidence and control.
Post-event feedback from attendees was very positive:
“The positioning session was key for young referees to not get in the way from the play but also to see the different angles and perspectives and getting in the best possible view to see different fouls being committed. I thought the most helpful one was the communication session as I feel that I have learnt how to communicate during the game and how crucial the different hand signals and body language were”
“The positioning session really got me thinking about the distance and angle away from play I should have when refereeing different open play situations. Dave’s communication session also got me thinking about how to respond to players that challenge my decisions”
“I thought that is was very well organised and helped everyone, even if some people have been refereeing for many years or (like myself) not yet refereed a game. Thank you to the Sussex RA-FA Youth Council so much for spending your own time to help other referees.”
Nick Blogg, Sussex RA-FA Youth Council Vice-Chairman, added: “It was great to see so many referees really engaging in the sessions and hopefully everyone will have taken something away that they can use to really grow their performances and confidence in the new season.
“Thanks a lot to the tutors Alex Bradley, Dave Jackson and Ash Slaughter, plus the members of the Sussex RA-FA Youth Council who freely gave their time to make this a really successful event!”
For further details about refereeing in Sussex please contact refereeing:
T: 01903 768573