View Full Version : Suiting the standard of game

19-04-04, 11:04
Another thing to hopefully get some discussion going - how do you adjust your style of refereeing to suit the quality, age, experience and skill of your players? I'm particularly thinking of kids' games and also small-club women's games, both of which tend to have inexperienced players who may not understand why something they've done is against the Laws of the Game.

Do you let minor technical infringements with minimal effect on the game slide? Or do you blow for them anyway as a sort of "educational service"? Take as an example one of the in-goal incidents I mentioned in one of the in-goal threads in the "Was it right?" forum, linked here (http://www.rugbyrefs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102). Should I have let this sort of thing go? Or was I right to blow for it so that the kid in question (and indeed his coach) know in future games that it's against the Law?

Where do you draw the line of sympathy to players' ignorance/inexperience/incompetence? How do you adjust the balance between the flow of the game and Law enforcement? And one more thing - if you get a game where there is a big range of player experience, how do you spot the experienced players who are cheating and trying to make it look like inexperience/incompetence?

Thoughts, as ever, greatly appreciated...


19-04-04, 15:04
I think that minor technical infringements which have very little effect on the game should be ignored at ALL levels, however senior.

Though, please note, the higher the level the more liklely it is that even a minor technical infringement has some effect.

Materiality is the buzz-word, and what is material may well depend on the nature and level of the game.

However, within a game, then consistency is all important. If you let one player get away with stuff because you sympathise with his inexperience then you can safely bet your mortgage that other more experienced players will immediatley commit the same offence, and moan like billy-oh if you ping them.."But, Sir! HE does that all the time!"

The words "Rod" and "Own Back" spring to mind.

19-04-04, 23:04
Materiality, Dave did you have advanced viewing of tonight's Society presentation!

As for the question, I try to let the game flow, and use the principle of materiality (though without calling it that). If a player infringing a "technical" offence has an effect on the game, I'll blow and penalise, if it doesn't I won't, I will let it go, but usually try and talk to the player and tell them that what they're doing isn't legal, so that in a way I'm both educating and letting the game flow.

At the end of the day though, whatever you do, if you are consistent and fair, neither side can overly complain.

Robert Burns
20-04-04, 02:04
remember though that you cannot coach either, so only tell them once.

I had this in a ladies game once, I pinged them twice in a row for kicking without the ball leaving their hands, second time they ask me what i meant, all i could say is that the ball had to leave their hands, physical space between them brfore the ball was kicked.

Did the job, but made me a little weary as itwas a cup & League game (double header)

20-04-04, 09:04
remember though that you cannot coach either..

There is a fine line between coaching, management, preventative refereeing and having empathy with what the players are trying to achieve within their capabilities. Having had several words in the ears of scrum halves there comes a point where penalising to the point of issuing a yellow card can successfully be replaced by 30 seconds worth of 'Watch and learn sunshine...' as you demonstrate what both scrum halves should be doing. Then when he/they get it right, lots of praise from you and everyone gets to enjoy themselves.

Death by RFU buzz phrase. Whenever I see the RFU logo in the bottom right hand corner of a slide at training meetings and words like 'Materiality' come up then my ears start to glaze over!

20-04-04, 17:04
Deeps, the big question is, can you remember the meaning of that RFU buzzword a day later?

My betting is probably not, and if you ever quoted it (like I did today), people immediately give you funny looks.

20-04-04, 17:04
Death by RFU buzz phrase. Whenever I see the RFU logo in the bottom right hand corner of a slide at training meetings and words like 'Materiality' come up then my ears start to glaze over!

OK - as a word, "materiality" is horrid. As a concept, though, it's great. I've spent a lot of time watching other referees, both to advise and also just because I like watching rugby....

And one observation I would make is: if EVERY referee understood materiality and its importance, then the standard of refereeing would improve immensely. Too many guys will whistle at anything that constitutes an offence and absolutely kill a game.

Hate the word, love the sentiment.

20-04-04, 17:04
Have to agree Simon, thought a lot of what was said made total sense, and is what I think many referees try to achieve, and when achieved makes for a better game. But as you said, the word itself isn't great.

Red Munster
31-05-04, 11:05
As a novice referee, I can understand how a ref could blow for technicalities that don't materially affect the outcome of a phase of play. It is the urge to show that you are on top of the game and that you are not going to allow players to get away with infringemnets. Obviously, this kind of refereeing can spoil the game and infuriate the players and supporters alike.

The more balanced approach is the management/coaching/talking style of refereeing where offences are noted and players admonished at down time if they are minor or immaterial to that phase of play.

The temptation is to blow when you see something blatantly wrong but learning to look at the game from another perspective takes time.