Selling a Call

There really are no “Good or Bad Referees”.

Simply put referees are either effective or they are not and when looked at in this way, we realize that the effectiveness of an official can be improved.

Learning to sell a call well is one of the best ways for a referee to increase his/her effectiveness on the field.  Anybody can take the course to become a referee, buy the uniform, study the Laws of The Game and go out weekends and whistle a match.  However, to be an effective referee that individual must not only make the calls but get every person at that game, players, substitutes, coaches, and fans to buy into the decisions.

They don’t have to agree with the calls or like them (we all know that many probably will not), they only need to buy into them and accept them.

Here are five things that can help improve effectiveness and help sell the calls:

1.  Make the Right Call—- If you do not know the Laws well enough it will be difficult to do that.

2.  Be at the Right Place— You may make the right call but if you are too far away from the play it will make it much more difficult to sell it.

3.  Make the Call at the Right Time—– Late calls or calls that appear to be made in response to loud remarks from players, coaches or fans show un-sureness, un-decisiveness and will make your job harder.

4.  Be Decisive—- Let your body language and your signals tell everyone that you saw the play and depending on your decision, blow the whistle for a foul or allow play to continue.

5.  Be a Communicator— Make sure your call is heard and understood by all and use the proper signal to show the restart.

Learning to sell a call well will go a long way to help improve an individual’s effectiveness on the field while he/she is refereeing.

Pat Ferre

USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus

USSF Referee Instructor

USSF Referee Assessor

USSF Referee Assignor

District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)