In many activities, just having a good start does not always guarantee a successful experience. Officials who invest some time to prepare and start on the right foot provide themselves with a positive environment to face the demands of the upcoming task, thereby improving their chances of a successful experience.
First of all, officials are expected to know and understand the Laws of the Game and any variations related to player age, field size and markings, ball size, length of halves, and any other approved modifications.
Starting on the right foot begins the moment officials accept an assignment. Make ready and pack all the necessary/required equipment (uniform, clean shoes, whistles, flags, red/yellow cards, paper, pencil/pen, flip coin, etc.).
An initial assignment maybe for the AR1 position but may end up being for center official due to unforeseen circumstances. That is why ALL officials must be prepared for last-minute modifications to their assignments, especially at the lower levels of competition.
The location and start time of the match are basic facts. All officials must arrive at the site in plenty of time to complete ALL the pre-game rituals, including checking the field, players and having a pre-game meeting. Being pressed for time, running into traffic or weather issues, and being unsure of the site’s location will cause officials to arrive late. Officials should be proactive and plan accordingly.
People will notice you when you arrive at the site and enter the field. How you walk and hold yourself, who you are seen talking to, how you dress, and whether you give the impression that you are happy and confident to be there will carry over to the game you are assigned to work.
(Pictured – Hannah Beaumont– Past Referee of the Year)
The initial re quired meeting with each team and coaching staff should be friendly, respectful, and professional. The officials should work as a team to get this part of the pre-game duties done quickly. Those duties allow the officials to verify that the members of each team are appropriately dressed and equipped. And that the players and their coaching staff are properly registered.
Once everyone is ready, and the match begins, many factors may influence the decisions being made and how events will be seen and interpreted. How the officials set the contest’s stage will help determine the direction the match will take from the first whistle onward.