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Thread: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

      
  1. #11

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    Hi Psychic

    Thanks for sharing your experience - particularly as it is so raw. Please, please believe me when I say there will be few members on here who don't remember (in some cases many years on) the feelings of abject misery arising from an early game. Everything you describe is perfectly normal: too much going on; needing time to think means more stuff has been missed while thinking; rabbit in the headlights; sympathy with the teams because you are ruining their game. Failing to crack down on dissent because you know it's "justified" by your poor performance.

    In your thread on the pre-match talk, I wrote:

    You are right - don't tell 'em its Game 1 - at least until the end. You will make loads of mistakes, and doubts will arise that you've never even considered in the theory-based training. DON'T PANIC - this is entirely normal. Make a decision and stick with it to the end of the game. If you end up with both defences 15m behind the scrums, it's the same for both sides. It takes at least 6 games (and more likely an entire season) for patterns to start imprinting themselves on your brain so the arm goes out instinctively. In your initial games, you'll have to think about each situation, and while thinking you'll find three more thngs have just happened, and you are constantly playing catch-up while feeling hopelessly out of control. This is exhausting! But it's a necessary hurdle to getting better.
    Does that sound like where you were in the game? If so, remember it was a prediction; nothing you've described is uncommon for an early game. Horrible, scary, humiliating, emotionally and physically exhausting. It's all of that, and more. And if you've got the balls to get out there and do it again, and again, and again - then you've got what it takes to be a good referee. Trust me, just as I was able to predict how it would go, so I am able to predict how steep will be the improvement curve, spurred by your refusal to accept that standard from yourself ever again.

    Stick with it, Psychic. Focus on a very few things each game, to improve that aspect. And get onto a Spinning class at your local gym; easy on the joints, it's a great way to get the calves and respiratory system fit without killing a body that may have lost a bit of spring over the years.

    Good luck.
    Don't feed the pedant!

  2. #12

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    its not you mate! Each and everyone of us has been there, and many of us will sometimes go there again...and again. What you will find out is that its not you, its a series of events of which you are just a part. A duff unsupportive pair of captains, a whingy team, an early miss by you, an injury, a lack of players' skill, a few very close decisions. Yesterday I made a monster booboo, the touch judge was leaping around, I gave touch, but in fact he was just excited. There was a crowd of about 200 jeering in outrage at my incompetence etc. The trick I have learned is to put it behind you straight away, and this is a serious and professional skill to develop, and allows you to come straight back "on line", it is worth working on.
    Dont for a minute think
    1) its you
    2) of giving up!

  3. #13

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    Hi,

    I will join the chorus of "we've all been there, done that". Trust me, we have. My first game was a "friendly" which turned out to be a local derby. Exactly like you, I haven't got any great playing experience, with the added complication of being young (as in, less than half the age of the youngest player I would think). I blew the whistle and then spent the next 70 minutes (nobody seemed fussed about playing 80) having not a clue where to stand, what to say and what to do.

    It gets better. I am still refereeing several years on. Kudos for going into the bar afterwards, this is crucial: not only do you get very handy feedback at times, but it is the friendliness of players and officials after the game that makes it all (for me) worthwhile. At the end of the day, 30 (plus subs) players enjoyed a game of rugby thanks to you, and most will be grateful at least for that.

    The advice I will give you is to concentrate on a few aspects. Don't think you can solve everything in a hurry (I am still figuring out some positional aspects and scrums). I would say concentrate on:
    1) Speed: more than positioning, from what you've written I get the impression a lot of the problems at rucks were because you arrived late, and possibly missed the first offence, after which it becomes a free for all. You must try to be the "3rd man" at a tackle. That way you can make sure that you can deal with (in order) the tackler, the tackled player, and then the arriving players. If the tackler doesn't move, tell him. If he still doesn't penalise him.
    2) Dissent: I know full well the feeling of guilt. It took me about a season until I built up the confidence to assert myself and stamp it out. Once you do that, the game gets easier. I advise you not to leave it for a season. Tell the captain beforehand, and as soon as the advice/criticism starts call over the captain(s) and tell them "we spoke about this before the game, sort it out or I will", if they don't then penalise. You'll find after a few penalties they start learning (and if you're lucky some of the "old-heads" in the team will take matters into their hands and tell their team-mates to shut it).
    3) Go out there again next week!

    Another possibility: try to get a society friend down to watch and support. Could be an injured referee or an assessor (but not for formal assessment necessarily). Give your soc sec a ring and ask if it's possible.

    Don't let it get to you. We really have all been through this.

  4. #14

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    David

    A very honest and brave posting.

    Funnily enough, while you were going through your baptism of fire, I was watching another referee on his first game. I am just looking at my notes on his game and guess what......they are almost exactly like your posting.

    What is even funnier is that while I was watching him on the 3rd team pitch, the referee who watched my first game, was on the first team pitch. Later on we discussed the fact that all the mistakes the new referee made, were exactly the same ones that I made 4 or 5 years ago, when he watched me.

    There's nothing new under the sun and your first game is fairly typical. Unfortunately you didn't have anyone watching you to point out all the good things you did correctly. There will have been several things that you did well, but you will only remember the bad things at the moment. When you sit down to write your self evaluation for your ELRA 3 find some good points and make a note of them as well, this is as important as noting the bad points.

    The main point I told my new referee about was positioning. His late/poor positioning led to him missing several offenses that he would otherwise have seen, this leads to mumbling from the players and so the vicious circle begins.

    Gaps in law knowledge will come with time. Confidence in communication and posture will come in time.

    Stick with it, we have all been there and we all survived. The fact that people spoke to you after a game is a huge plus, it means you weren't as bad as you thought.

    Remember this as well; 30 blokes had a game of rugby they couldn't have had without you. They enjoyed themselves and no one was seriously hurt. That is a good result in my book.

    Follow my Award Winning blog The Rugby Ref


  5. #15

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    Psychic - well done for getting out there and giving it a go.

    You can learn from mistakes, but don't dwell on them. Years ago I played golf with a friend who went round in 183. The only thing he remembers is the one time he hit a really good drive. Give yourself a treat and remember something good.

    Positioning and judgement will only come with experience. Dissent you can (and should) deal with from the start. Captains can ask for an explanation of a decision at a suitable break in play, but no discussion until after the game. It is much easeir to stop dissent if you start right at the beginning before they get into their stride.

    I have no doubt at all that you know the laws better than most of the players. During the match, your decision is correct - and then look it up when you get home.

    Remember how difficult it seemed when you learned to drive? Keep on truckin'. As others have said, you will get there, and be able to look back with amusement.
    He trudgíd along unknowing what he sought,
    And whistled as he went, for want of thought.
    The Referee by John Dryden

  6. #16

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    I have just completed 100 odd games in my reffing career and my first game finished 31-29 with a questionable try! My only piece of advice that works for me, is to be confident about a decision, blow and give the call. 99/100, if you seem confident, all players will believe you and get on with the game. If you seem indecisive, then that is where issues can stem from. My shocker was game 3 or 4 - again, like you I had a calf injury and the game descended into a bit of a shambles and EVERYONE on here has had them. But, please stick with it, it ain't easy, but you will get better and you will enjoy it. I look forward to my Saturdays and Sundays (despite a c*ck of a coach today in a Junior game!) so 36 guys can have a decent game of rugby - as mentioned before, they would not have done so without you. Please let us know how much better game 2 goes.

  7. #17

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    <B>In hindsight, the teams could have cut me a little slack, and given me more chance to actually referee instead of complaining all the time, but I am also aware that they did have something ‘real’ to complain about.</B>

    mate - they won't. Sportsmen/women are type "A" personalities on the whole. its not personal against YOU specifically - but is a natural thing for them to look for weak spots in "weaker" people etc. You just happened to be that person.

    So - whether its right or wrong - they are NEVER going to cut you any slack.

    On the plus side hopefully rugby's ingrained ethos and ethics probably didn't mean that you were constantly surrounded by half a dozen players 6 inches from your face, in your personal space, screaming at you a la football.

    If you were - you HAD to get the cards out - and report it.

    Purely as a thought whilst the society undoubtedly are short of refs I feel you have been let down by your appointments guy - 2 years from doing ELRA and NO experience of reffing in between does not an obvious choice for a 2nd XV league match make to me. I feel you should have been advised to try and spend half a season reffing U13 thru to U16 matches to at least get your thought processes tuned into the tackle area etc.

    that all said ... thank you for being a ref and giving up your time. Onwards and upwards!

    :-)

    didds

    didds

  8. #18

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    And another thing.... yesterday the away team coach called out in indignation "We'll discuss this after the match ref". Without any pause i replied "only if you buy the beer" and the crowd laughed. It wasn't that funny, but it shut him up. Also the away team complained before the match that their move where they throw to the front of the line was being disallowed by refs who stand in the wrong place. I asked them for the call, so when they called it I was able to position myself. It worked a treat.

  9. #19

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    Unhappy Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    Many thanks for your replies and words of encouragement.

    Peperami: Iím part of the Bristol society.
    Lee Lifeson-Peart: It didnít. My stubbornness to continue faded.
    4eyesbetter: Some would say he didnít get better!

    After giving it some time and reflection over the weekend, I think it is going to be some time before I return to refereeing adult rugby. Whilst I knew that there was going to be a lot I needed to learn and work on, I really did not expect how unpleasant the whole experience was going to be. And, for something that I really wanted to do Ė voluntarily Ė I just donít think I can justify the amount of emotional trauma that I sustained, both from the teams and the spectators.

    The Ďstep upí, in my experience, is not an easy one, and certainly not what Iíd expected from a rugby environment. To be honest, I donít think I was ever made to feel that bad during my tenure as a football referee!

    I have spoken to my society who have offered to get an assessor to go out with me next time I want to ref, but to be honest, that wouldnít be enough to get me through it anyway. Having a friend on the sideline doesnít really help when youíre stuck in the middle!

    I do intend to work on the fitness side of things however, especially sprint training, and I hope to stay involved by running touch for adult games where I can possible gain some experience without being burnt at the stake! Maybe later on down the line Iíll feel confident enough to risk taking up the whistle again.

    I think perhaps it would probably be better to try and start lower down, in the junior age groups, to be able to build confidence and gain game experience. However, Iím not sure how practical this is going to be for me, as most junior game referees are not society assigned around here, and also I am already involved with my sonís U14 team where the joint coach does all the home reffing, so most game times would clash with my attendance here. I could possibly force my way into doing a game or two for my sonís team, but, to be honest, I donít think Iíd want to referee a game at the moment where I actually know all the players and supporters. At least at the game last weekend I could drive away from the club knowing that I probably wouldnít have to see most of them again. We donít currently have an U13ís at the club, so I canít go down a year, and the U15ís upwards are getting a little feisty with hormones kicking in, and they may prove a little hard to handle for a new ref.

    Apart from that, Iím not really sure what I can do to build up experience/confidence. I plan to keep attending the society meetings and gain what I can from there, and reading what I can here to learn from otherís experience. Iíd like to find some kind of advanced refereeing training course, but Iím not sure if they exist. The ELRA certainly didnít prepare me for my first game. Mind you, without having a squad of players on hand, Iím not sure how better ref training could go. I know Iíd like to be able to Ďseeí more Ďrealí offences, without actually holding the whistle at the time, but see them from a referees perspective so I could recognise what I was looking at Ė especially in the pile ups of bodies. I think actually seeing offences, and having them pointed out in a training environment, would be greatly beneficial Ė certainly from my point of view.

  10. #20

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    Default Re: New Ref : First Game : My post match thoughts/report.

    Psychic - does your home club have a Club Referee Coordinator? If so he/she should be able to facilitate you reffing other age groups -- I am a CrefC, and this is exactly what I spend time doing. (We have the impetus of playing league rugby where the league rules are that no one associated with the age group may ref, so we have enforced swapping ariound for league games, which helps).

    Also talk to your coach -- by u14 the coach really shouldn't be reffing: a coach reffing means he's not reffing well, and not really coaching properly either. A ref and a coach will be (should be) looking at quite different things during a game. Perhaps he's secretly dying for you to step up and offer to take the reffing off his hands?

    Also - do ever watch any low-level adult grass-roots games? Of the level you'd be likely to ref? For me after after twenty years of only watching first class rugby (internationals on TV, season ticket at premiership club) and then age group rugby (u7-u16) when I finally went along and watched a grass-roots game I found it all very different!

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