Blog,  mental fitness

4 components of concentration as referee

2016 could be your year as a referee. But you won’t improve your skills without putting much effort in it. Refereeing is hard work – especcially when you want to get better.

That’s my goal as well. I want to help you getting better by publishing useful information on my blog. I’ll do that by picking a theme each month and give you new insights or learn you new excercises. The theme of January will be mental fitness. During the first week I’ll blog about keeping your concentration during a game.

4 components of concentration as a referee

4 components of concentration as referee

Before you get tips on improving your concentrating during a game, it’s good to have an understanding of what it is about. The four components of concentration are: width, direction, intensity and duration.

1. Width

You can’t see everything as a referee – although you wish you could. When your focus is broad you’ll get an overview of what’s happening on the pitch and the benches. There is a large amount of sources you’ll get information from. You’ll hear both coaches yell something to you or one of the players. The assistant referee is signalling something or speaking in his microphone. The defender on the other end is arguing with an attacker and at the same time the a player with the ball is storming forward. A good moment to get an overview of what’s happening on the pitch.

But when the player who’s storming forward will be challenged or when the argument between the two players is getting nasty, you need to narrow down your focus. Limit the amount of information you were getting. Forget about the coaches then en focus on the action.

If you have the correct focus based on the demands of activity, you can leave out irrelevant thoughts. That will help you improve your decision-making and you’ll be able to react appropriately.

2. Direction

The direction of your focus can be external (the things that happen on the pitch) or internal (thoughts and emotions). I’d advice you to try to focus on the game itself. Analyzing your game and thinking about the calls you made is good, but only after the game and not while refereeing.

3. Intensity

The intensity of your concentration really depends on the game. In some games nothing happens and in others there are a few fouls every minute. Watch out in the first situation: don’t get too relaxed. Just one late tackle in a easygoing game and you need to make sure you’ll make the right call and act in the right way. Later this month we’ll talk about some techniques to keep concentration for 90 minutes, even during boring games.

4. Duration

If you have to stay focused for a long time and the game is boring and nothing happens, that’s difficult. The same for staying intensely focused for a longer time. As mentioned at the start of this blog: you can’t see everything. And when your head’s getting an information overload, you might stress-out.

Your tips on concentration

What do you think on these 4 components of concentration as referee? Has it helped you getting a better understanding of this topic?

Here are 7 tips to stay focused for 90 minutes.

One of the things that help is feeling relaxed. I’d love to hear from you how you make sure to be relaxed while going to your games. Please comment below or reply to


  • The Man in Yellow

    I like it! Personally to stay relaxed, I like to try and keep my breath, even when running like a cheetah I try to breath in through nose, hold for half a second, breath out though mouth. This really helps me

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      If you pay attention to that on purpose in the beginning, it will become an automatism in the end. Good technique!

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