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Keeping Youth refs in the game

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Losing great Youth refs.

There is a well defined path of becoming a ref via the ELRA programme and some excellent work from individual societies, however I believe we are creating a challange and potentially losing good refs.

There is a small army of Parents / Coaches who once played and now are happily working with thier kids on a Sunday in Youth Rugby. Some of them, like me, are brave enough to have a go at reffing because otherwise the kids wil not get a game.

The day comes when there kids are suddenly off to University / College and so these refs hopefully join societies. Here's the thing - all of that experience from reffing Colts / U17 / U16 games - fast and furious rugby, is potentially thrown away as they can no longer do these matches as they are ungraded - worse still they are effectively banned from Sundays until they have worked thier way up again through the grades - no recognition of thier previous experience or references from the club.

So - from Sunday Mornings being thier 'rugby day' they have to go to the bottom of the ladder on Saturdays and, with great respect to Vets and others, plod through the lower levels of rugby, which in my opinion takes them backwards - your reffing skills rapidly conform to the level of rugby you are reffing!

So - where is the grand plan - to accept that not everbody is an ex player but has come via another route - we need to keep hold of these people, there are some good ones that are simply walking away.


  1. B52 REF's Avatar
    Work with your soceity to fasttrack you - we have just done so for a long time senoir coach and also a longtime youth coach. also whats to stop you continuing as a youth "club" ref on sundays. Moreover sunday youthy games tend to be less popular with soc.refs so a new soc. ref should get a good pick of them (and can point to previous as evidence of competence or one quick advisement should take care of that )- youth games tend to be only "equivalently graded" (if at all) so even a low level soc. ref can technically be appointed.
  2. colesy's Avatar
    If you're reffing junior matches, there's no need to give up or move on to a society if your kids go off to university. Why not stay with your club and carrying on reffing the juniors? The coaches will welcome with open arms anyone who wants to whistle for them - they much prefer coaching to reffing in my experience.
  3. crammond1964's Avatar
    the problem is that there are only so many "higher" games and as societies very rarely relegate referees ;one has to wait until they retire or become assesors .
    Also in senior rugby one has to learn how to cope with an explosive situation ; and its not just handing out red cards .