April – Mini-RA-FA evening – Teamwork and Communication
This was one of a number of mini-RA-FA training evenings that have been held a various RA branches throughout Berks and Bucks. All have been different and all referees in the allied counties have been informed and could have attended. This one again open to all Berks & Bucks referees was written and performed by members of our training team, Stephen green, Ken Clark, Dick Sawdon Smith and Brian Wratten all of whom are FA licensed tutors.
The session was introduced by Stephen giving the objectives for the evening which was teamwork and communication. Ken then took over with the question, ‘How many teams? Who do I need to work with? The list compiled by the participants consisted of 1. teams and players. 2 assistant referees, 4th official where applicable, 3 home and away secretary, 4 managers/club officials 5. Police/stewards (When in senior football), 6 captains, 7. groundsman, 8 spectators, 9. substitutes, 10. assessor, 11. mentor/coach where applicable.
The session was then handed over to Dick who looked at what makes a good leader. He reminded participants of Ian Blanchard’s parting quote when visiting Reading, ‘Remember we are leaders’, as referees we are leaders. He then asked the meeting to suggest qualities that they felt a good leader should have. The list included, knowledge, authority, confidence, ability to listen, appearance, influence, courage, responsibility, calmness, judgement. The problem with qualities, apart for being hard to teach, Dick said, was that not everyone agreed what they meant, so he wanted to look at leadership in action. The meeting was split onto pairs who had to tell one another experiences they had had, firstly one which had created satisfaction or motivation for them and then something that had made them dissatisfied. Experiences for both fell into the same headings, which were, appreciation, recognition, achievement, growth, the job itself, responsibility. In other words to receive appreciation or given responsibility created satisfaction but the lack of it made people felt dissatisfied. Dick concluded by saying it would be useful to bear these actions in mind for the subject of the continuing sessions.
The next session was in fact ‘Working with club assistants,’ and taken by Brian. He split the meeting into groups and asked them to list not only the content of the instructions they would give but also how they would delivery them. The general consensus was that the assistants would be asked flag for ball out of play, throw-ins, corners, goal kicks with clear signals. Also for offside, which meant staying with the second last defender and then only if the offside player, played or challenged for the ball.
They would not be required to flag for fouls or misconduct but to call the referee over if experiencing any problems. Today with use of substitutes taking the line, they should be asked to let the referee know if they were changing and only do it at a break in play. As for delivery, it was recommended that it should be concise and done with a smile and thanks for helping and saying that decisions will be acknowledged. There was also a feeling that captains should be present when the briefing is done so they know what is expected of the assistants. In his summing up Brian also thought that consideration should be given demonstrating what was required.
From club assistant to neutral assistants, which was another session taken by Dick. Again the meeting was split into groups, but some were asked to look what difference they would make to the instructions and the others to say where, when and how they would give their briefings. The briefing would be extended to include, pre-match duties, boots, jewellery, tape etc, nets, toss plus half time. Who was senior for replacement if need be, match record keeping, technical areas, time-keeping, substitutions (who to check them), positioning, offsides, fouls, positioning for penalties, 10 yard management, mass confrontation – positioning, eye contact, hand signals, end of game meet. Where it should be done was either on the pitch (perhaps with pitch inspection) or changing room depending on the weather, important thing was that there were no interruptions or other distractions. For ‘when’ opinions differed slightly from one to three-quarters of an hour before kick-off with a recap 10 minutes before , to half an hour with minimum of 10 to 15 minutes. Suggested methods of how to carry out the briefing were to engage not dictate but with plenty of eye contact, not rushed, not while changing and to focus on the game in hand.
The final session of the evening by Stephen and Ken was the one that created the most merriment for it looked at communication with players including some of the problem personalities that we encounter in our games as indicated by the members present. The list compiled was, the ‘challenging captain’, the ‘insistent assistant’, the ‘second’ ref, the one with a ‘chip on shoulder attitude’, the ‘parrot’, the ‘know-all’, the ‘bent assistant’, the ‘Oscar’ and the ‘loose canon’. Groups were then asked to select one of these and say how they would deal them.
An evening of practical solutions to a variety of important refereeing subjects.