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Thread: Referee influence - update please.

      
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    Player or Coach Red Horseman's Avatar

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    Default Referee influence - update please.

    Hello again everybody.
    A couple of years ago members of this forum were very helpful in assisting me to prepare a presentation for local (Yorkshire) clubs regarding match day interaction with referees. One club in particular said it was "the best thing we've ever done", and evidence is supportive of the fact that their club culture has changed for the better.
    Your feedback then was very honest and I thank and applaud you for it.
    I have been asked to repeat the process for other clubs, so would welcome an update to your feedback last time round.
    So, without identifying specific clubs/individuals, can I ask for your views as to whether you find yourself being influenced in any way by how players, supporters and coaches interact with you during a game.
    I am interested in finding out if there has been any change in the intervening period.
    All comment received will, as before, be anonymous in the presentation.
    Thank you in advance.
    RH

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    I get lots of people, players, coaches, supporters etc attempt​ to influence. Every time someone speaks to you about the opposition, how you referee, how they play the game etc. They are trying to influence you. I hope they haven't had any affect but I'm probably not the best judge of that.

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    I think there is more appealing, asking for decisions or pointing out errors by the opposition. This is a nuisance as it can distract me. I remember nearly missing a try because the hooker was complaining that the ball might not have gone 5m at a lineout. I try to have only urgent serious injury as the key to should "ref ref"

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Horseman View Post
    So, without identifying specific clubs/individuals, can I ask for your views as to whether you find yourself being influenced in any way by how players, supporters and coaches interact with you during a game.
    I am interested in finding out if there has been any change in the intervening period.
    All comment received will, as before, be anonymous in the presentation.
    Thank you in advance.
    RH
    Hi Red,

    Welcome back!

    As Paule23 said everyone is trying to influence a referee, whether overtly or covertly. It is the nature of the game at all levels, but as the game is becoming more 'professional' at the lower levels with paid coaches then referee/coach interaction is something that we should welcome and entertain.

    Perhaps where clubs miss out and, we are all human, is that if our welcome is not as warm as we believe it should be or our greeting in the club house pre (or even post) match then human nature suggests that 50/50 decisions may not go the way of the home team. Not saying that this has happened to me in recent times, but I am sure that when I first started out it had an influence.

    A coach will speak to the referee pre-match and will explain his side's method play - e.g. we like to play very flat blitz defence - in an effort to partly mitigate being penalised. In the example that I have given this would be possible off-side calls at the breakdown. Nothing wrong with this per se, but we need to recognise it for what it is and still look for the genuine material offence when it occurs. He/she may well go on to explain what happened between the two clubs at a previous meet. This background may be entirely innocent, but if you have read the match reports and what you are being told is very different...

    On field appealing can be distracting if not nipped in the bud early, In my experience it is more prevalent at the lower levels (L8 and below) probably because the understanding of Law is not as developed.

    During the match a Captain may bring something to the attention of the referee, as is his right, but again this needs to be balanced with what we, as referees, have witnessed. It may confirm a suspicion and force us to be more alert at certain phases of play, but ay be a ploy.

    I recall once being harangued by a coach of a L6 team - he used to play Premiership rugby - telling me how he expected me to referee the match in a speech that lasted about 15 minutes! Much of what he said went in one ear (ST of this Parish may well recall as he was assessing me that day!). Would I have had the same reaction as a junior/younger referee?

    Much of what happens on the touchline/supporters is missed by me as I am too busy concentrating on the game in front of me and, at the end of the day, I am one of the very few people looking at the game through both eyes

    Good luck with the new presentation. .
    --------------------

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    My reactions are likelier driven more by the captains/players than anything else.
    The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
    Marcus Aurelius

    Man may do as he will; he may not will what he wills
    Arthur Schopenhauer

    Tullamore Dew, the Afghan Wigs, and many, many strippers - how to get over your ex. How true.

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    Hi Red and welcome back,

    A very interesting topic. One which I really like.
    Too often neglected by young referees I'm afraid.

    As mentioned by Becket50, the way you're received before match, your previous experience with such and such teams, the fact you know you missed a player's big foul in the previous game you ref'ed him, etc...
    All this will have a certain level of impact on your refereeing that day. But it's the same for the players when they see you arriving on game day: "Oh no, not him again!" or "At least it's not that other guy!" or "..."
    We all arrive on game day with everything we're carrying into it.

    To me, there are 3 ways players (on the pitch) can influence you and about 1 "the crowd" can.

    I'll start with "the crowd"
    I put that word under brackets because the bigger it is the more meaningful their reactions are.
    That's pure science:if you want the right answer to a problem, ask as many people as possible: the majority will (99.99% of the time) get it right where the single one expert may not.
    So, in a 50-50 situation, the reaction of the crowd is to be taken in perspective - with a pinch of salt of course.

    To me, that's a conscious influence, and that's the only way a crowd has an effect on me during a game (because the roar of a stadium as you're waiting in the tunnel for the first time make you want to pee your pants). The rest of the time, the outside of the playing enclosure doesn't really exist to me.


    The payers in the playing area
    Situation one
    Red THP: "Sir, can you have a look at pushing early in the scrum?"
    Ref: "You mean you pushing early? "

    It's a conscious influence in my opinion.
    It's polite, it's probably justified (as you've been looking at something else or, if you've seen it, you deemed it immaterial and it probably isn't, etc..
    Furthermore, it's a good management tool (particularly at the scrum) because it's generally said when everyone can ear. As such, you 90% sure it will not happen this time if the opposition LHP is doing it on purpose. If the LHP is struggling, that's a different matter of course.

    Situation two
    Red SH shouting: "He must roll away! He must roll away!"

    That's again a conscious influence. Most of the time though, in my personal case, I will tend to whistle a lot less when that happens. Because it would give everyone the impression that I am not ref'ing (the SH is).
    When I do whistle, I will make a point to tell the player to shut it, telling him (if it's true) that I'm in a better position than him.
    If it becomes too common, I'll call the captains up and tell them exactly the above:
    "Skippers, the more you team tell me what to do, the less I will. So let me ref and I'll let you play. Are we clear? Take a minute to tell them to stop that shouting please. Thanks."

    It generally stops. If it does mot, it's PK time. And if that's not enough, I will resort to the cards. No problem for me there. As St Nige once said: "This is not soccer"

    Situation three
    What I would call the NLP remark
    (NLP = Neuro Linguist Programmation. It's the art of creating a pre-programmed reaction with words. Used a lot in the army and sects... I use it a little bit at work too )

    M favourite examples, which I pulled as a player long time ago:
    1. Opposition winger goes and dives in in-goal to score, I dive too to try to prevent the try. He clearly grounds the ball that pops out of his hands after he scored. As the ref arrived a bit late and as I slowly and head down walk towards my own posts for conversion, I sadly look at the ref and say something along the line of "I think he dropped it sir, but it's ok, he deserves a score".
    "Peep. Scrum 5 defending team"
    2. Opposition 22m drop out (in a 10-a-side tourney), straight in touch. Ref looking a bit hesitant, I just got a bit closer to him and mentioned something like "isn't like 7's sir? FK, right?"
    I 100% new it was a scrum option, but as everyone looked a bit lost, I thought a quick FK could give us 5 its (which it did).

    This situation 3 happens every game, sometime you all notice it and ensure you don't fall in the trap. I guarantee you sometimes you just don't even notice you're being influenced. To me, that's where the work (as a ref) needs to be put.
    The more you realise players tactics in this area, the more in control of your own decisions you will be.


    Hope it helps bringing some more views on this. Good luck!

    Cheers,
    Pierre.
    Rule #1: If the law doesn't forbid it, it's allowed.
    Rule #2: If it ain't in the Law Book, don't make it up.

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    Player or Coach Red Horseman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    Thanks for the prompt feedback folks. Some new angles since last time, but generally just reinforces that human nature never changes !

    Interested that Pierre mentions conscious influence a lot. I would argue that the majority of influencing factors are actually subconscious, especially in a fast moving game such as ours where very little conscious decision making actually takes place ( read "Thinking: fast and slow" by Kahneman). And don't worry, I have also presented to our refs society on how NOT to be influenced !

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Horseman View Post
    Interested that Pierre mentions conscious influence a lot. I would argue that the majority of influencing factors are actually subconscious, especially in a fast moving game such as ours where very little conscious decision making actually takes place ( read "Thinking: fast and slow" by Kahneman). And don't worry, I have also presented to our refs society on how NOT to be influenced !
    I'll give you two answer on this:
    First one: the more conscious decision you make, the more consistent you are as a referee.
    That's the reason some of us have pages of "what if" and "checklists" and other tricks from (and off) the books...
    So in a sense, we're training our brain to have quick (correct?) decisions based on little information - read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

    Second one, you're totally right there
    The main reason I don't mention subconscious/unconscious influence (but for some back-in-the-days-I-was-playing stories) is mainly because f it's well done, I will not notice it and I will get influenced.
    And if I notice it... Well, it won't be of any influence

    Cheers,
    Pierre.
    Rule #1: If the law doesn't forbid it, it's allowed.
    Rule #2: If it ain't in the Law Book, don't make it up.

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    Player or Coach Red Horseman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    I have indeed read Blink - gut responses get more reliable the greater your experience in the subject at hand. That's why you have your checklists (and why players train using drills) to help you make those immediate decisions. You are welcome to call them conscious, but the reality is (and MRI scanners support this) they most likely aren't.

    Great topic to debate. Could drone on for ever and a day, but am "conscious" of the need not to be too boring!

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    Default Re: Referee influence - update please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Horseman View Post
    Thanks for the prompt feedback folks. Some new angles since last time, but generally just reinforces that human nature never changes !

    Interested that Pierre mentions conscious influence a lot. I would argue that the majority of influencing factors are actually subconscious, especially in a fast moving game such as ours where very little conscious decision making actually takes place ( read "Thinking: fast and slow" by Kahneman). And don't worry, I have also presented to our refs society on how NOT to be influenced !
    I'd disagree and say the majority of attempts to influence are conscious. There are countless time spent in a game where players ask you to look out for this, that of the other, or at a break in play tell you about something you're supposed to have missed or why they should not have been penalised. These are all clearly conscious attempts to influence you. Frankly it's one of the most annoying parts of the game.

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