• Improve your Game - Preparing for your game.

    Improve your Game, Article 1.1 Preparing for your game.

    by Robert Burns

    This series of short articles aims to help you improve various aspects of your game by explaining the various aspects of the game into simple to understand information. In this the first of many, we look at preparing for your first games as a new referee.

    You have been appointed to your game, and you have been trained in what to do. So what do you need to do in order to be ready for anything?

    Depending on which union you are a part of, you may have received a phone call mid week to confirm the game is going ahead, the location of the game, the kick off time, the colours of the teams, phone number of the club/contact and any extra information that is required, if you have not received the phone call, and it is a requirement in your society or association, then contact your appointments secretary on the evening before the game.

    If you are not lucky enough to have a phone call system, then you should do a little homework to familiarise yourself with the team colours, where the game is to be played, and the phone number of the club.

    If you have never been to the club before then look at a map and figure out how you are going to get there, and what time you need to leave in order to arrive there on time. Always give yourself a little extra time than you believe it will take, just in case the unexpected happens (traffic jam, bus breaks down, train strike, etc..).

    You should then look up the competition rules to familiarise yourself with them, as different unions can have different legislations. i.e. Does the competition enforce the man off rule when a team goes uncontested? Does the competition allow rolling subs, and if so, how many? Etc...

    So now you know this information, you should pack your bag. Do this at least a day before the game, being organised means you will not rush, which means there is less chance that you will forget something.

    A Referee's kit bag is personal to them, every referee will take things that they feel they need, however, there are a few things we all need.

    Your kit bag should consist of, as a minimum:

    • Clothing
      • Referee Shirt (At least 3 colours unless your society/association has specific colours).
      • Shorts (If no specified colour is needed, dark blue or black is better).
      • Socks (Should match your shirt, or be dark)
      • Sock Ties (Unless your socks are Hold-up types)
      • Towel

    • Referee Tools
      • 2 x Acme Thunderer Whistle (Always have a spare!)
      • 2 x Whistle Lanyard/wrist strap
      • 2 x Watches (One for game time, one for running time)
      • 1 x Yellow Card
      • 1 x Red Card (Pref in a Card Wallet).
      • Pair of Flags (to give to people running the touchline for you)
      • 3 x pencils (1 in pocket, 1 in each sock)
      • Scorecards (or at least paper to write the score down).

    • Hygiene/Health
      • Shower Gel
      • Sun Cream
      • Hair Brush (If Required)

    • Optional, but handy items to have in your bag:
      • Box with spare whistle, cards, watch, lanyard, scorecards & pencils in. (Back up just in case something gets forgotten).
      • Spare studs/cleats.
      • Send off form (handy for recording important info straight after the game)
      • Chocolate bar (for after game re-fueling)
      • Water (2 x 600ml bottles is enough for one game).
      • Different pair of boots (1 with studs/cleats, other moulded in case of different ground hardness).


    You should have a thought about what area of your game you are going to work on, think about your last report and the improvements it suggested. Visualise how your are going to improve these.

    If you have never been coached or assessed then think about how you are going to referee the tackle area, it is the most frequent part of the game and keeping it clean is important to keeping a game flowing.

    So there you are, ready for your game. And before you leave, remember the enjoyment of a game of rugby is just as important to a referee, as it is to a player, coach & spectator.
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