Kate Jacewicz is an ambitious Australian referee. In 2019 she officiates at the 2019 Women’s World Cup and becomes part of the Hyundai A-League’s (men’s highest level) referee panel. I’m very happy she took the time to share her story and some very relevant tips for us as referees. Have a good read. Her debut in the A-League is on January 18 2020 with the game between Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets.
The blog theme this month is becoming a better referee. I’ve already shared a story about visioning yourself 20 years ahead and tips for effective goal-setting. I hope this article inspires you to think about how you want to develop as a referee – and she’ll tell how she tries to improve each and every time. It’s not something you do by the start of the new year or season. After e-ve-ry game. “Making an error is not a reflection of your refereeing ability – what is more meaningful is how you respond and learn from them. ”
Effective goal-setting for referees is very important, whatever you have achieved last year. Earlier I posted the selfscan for referees, a useful tool to analyse your current refereeing status and work on development. That’s the basis for working on short-team goals. Today we’ll get a bit deeper into goal-setting and do that on many aspects of refereeing. Also think about training, career and lifestyle here.
But what is a good way to do that? In this story you’ll get the principles of effective goal-setting for referees.
A great example that shows how important goal-setting is. Mark Clattenburg officiated the Euro 2016 and Champions League final, but he has set his goals for 2017 as well. In an interview then he says: “Last year I set my goals and I over-achieved my goals for sure”, he says. “But this year I’ve set my goals again. And if you succeed you’re goals, you’ll have a succesfull season.”
Mark has now quit refereeing, but the story indicates quite well that it’s important to set new goals every year. So you’ll have to do it as well for 2020!
Goals for your own level
Of course your goals will be different for the new year than Clattenburg’s or other top officials, because you’re at a lower level. But goal-setting applies to all sports and levels. “You’ll set yourself targets to achieve as much as you can at whatever level you officiate”, Clattenburg says in a YouTube video. “You got the different levels and different standards, but one thing every referee will have, no mattter what level they’re officiating, they’ll have goals.”
If you look at yourself as a referee, what do you want to get better at? As Mark Clattenburg says we all have different standards. Your fitness level might be good, but you loose focus all the time. Some subjects you need to think off in the following categories:
Physical. Like keeping up with the pace of play, being able to do sprints and stay close to the match situations
Technical. For example getting the optimal observation angle (positioning)
Interpersonal. For example interaction with players
Lifestyle. Like eating healthy having good training spirit
Emotional/mental: portraying self-confidence or being focused
Career. Do you want to get promoted or get appointed for more top games
Get a paper sheet and write down your strenghts and skills that you can improve in these categories (and others). In the latter you’ll see things you can improve (and set goals for).
Have no clue? Check your recent assessments for positives and negatives.
The ABC of goal-setting for referees
Goal-setting is very important, as you have read in the blog post about creating your bigger picture. If you haven’t read that post, start with thinking about your bigger picture. What is it you’re willing to achieve as referee and why?
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else”, said Yogi Berra. In the first blog post of this series you’ve created your bigger picture, your ultimate goal as referee. In the interview with Gerry Duffy you got inspired to get uncomfortable, think bigger when creating your bigger picture. His idea: you can only reach a higher level when you get out of your comfort zone.
Now it’s time to plan your route to your “referee destination”. Research has shown that goal-setting works best if you have long term goals (bigger picture) in conjunction with short-term goals. And now you know where you are heading, you can piece your bigger picture in smaller chunks. That’s important according to Frank Smol, professor of Pshychology at the University of Washington. He maps out an ABC for goal-setting that shows the basic requirements for you.
Goals need to be achievable. A big picture is not easy to achieve at once, the smaller chunks are. If your goal is to become a FIFA referee in 2022, you probably won’t make it this year already. “Some goals aren’t achievable”, says Mark Clattenburg. “A guy who’s at national level can’t referee mid-international level. But what he will do is set goals for the season to officiate whatever top match he can. And I do exactly the same.” So make sure your goals are realistic. Not too difficult, but also not too easy to achieve. It’s key to keep them challenging.
Goals need to be believable. Each goal will help you getting to that bigger picture. “I work hard off the pitch to make sure I am ready for my games in the weekend”, mr. Clattenburg explains. And that he’s able to deliver his best possible performance. A referee must believe that he reaches his goals due to his effort in practice.
If you want to reach your goals, you need to commit yourself to them. Act on a daily basis and do things consistantly. Training when your coach isn’t watching is easy, but you need to make sure you’ll also do that when he’s not. The tip of 2016’s CL final referee’s tip to achieve the goals is: dedication. “If you’re dedicated and you want to work hard you will achieve your goals.”
Types of goals: process vs outcome goals
There are three types of goals.
The outcome goals are your long-term ambitions. They are the results of your actions and are usually the outcome of a competitive event. Good examples are becoming a FIFA or national referee, or getting more high-level games at your current level or earning a promotion by the end of the year. These are outcomes that contribute to your bigger picture. If you want to become a top FIFA referee as ultimate goal, you first need to get to the international level and officiate low-level Europa League Qualifiers. Before that you first need to reach the national level and get apointments for more important games there as well. This applies to all levels. A smaller outcome goal is earning a promotion at the end of the season, at whatever level you are currentlyu. Without promotions you won’t make a step up that ladder to get closer to your ultimate goal.
However, the outcome goals are usually controlled by others. That’s the competitive element in earning a promotion. More referees want that place at a higher level. You need to take into account how an assessor judges your performance. It’s important to start with your outcome goals, so you know where you’re heading. Also discuss your real ambitions with a coach, so you fully understand what you want to reach.
Action steps you need to take
“By setting these [outcome] goals you can then take a deeper look at how you are going to reach them”, says Marc Birkett, a FIFA Futsal referee in Refereeing Magazine. How you’re going to reach the outcome goals is the next step. And you’ll have more influence on these type of goals. The action steps you need to take are the performance and process goals.
The performance goals are the standards you want to achieve yourself and are independant of others. If it’s your performance goal to be able to sprint 6 40m sprints under six seconds, it’s up to you to reach that goal. You can train for that and reach the goal. A refereeing friend might be able to run it faster, but that doesn’t matter for YOUR goal. You are still able to reach that goal.
Sometimes your goal isn’t about setting a certain time, but you want to learn something new. You want to improve habits, a skill or a part of your technique. These are process goals: actions that you’d like to complete during a performance. During a sprint you might want to use a certain technique at every start and during a longer run you want to run at the same pace constantly.
“They are the hard work that leads to the exciting stuff”. That’s the perfect description on Sport Psychology Today. When accomplishing your performance and process goals you’ll get closer to reaching your outcome goals, such as a promotion. “That’s why you need to stay primary focussed on your performance and process goals”, says Gerry Duffy.
Effective-goalsetting for referees needs SMART goals
The term SMART is often used when setting goal. It stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Framed.
Your goals need to be easy to understand. Identify some action steps and use action verbs in your goal.
Don’t pick a general goal like improving your fitness level. Yes, it’s easy to understand, but not specific enough. Pick: Join a gym [add date as deadline] and workout twice a week.
How can you verify if you accomplished your goal? In the above example you can simply count how often you workout. You can even add to your goal that you need to workout 3 times a week if you don’t have a game in the weekend. Easy to measure.
Another example: you want to earn a promotion at the end of the season (outcome goal). A requirement is to pass the fitness test, where you have to do 6 40m sprints under 6 seconds. That needs to be your goal: I want to be able to run 6 40m sprints under 6 seconds and I will train twice a month on my sprints. Referee or football associations offer tools for you to measure your sprint performance. If you have fitness goals on longer distances it’s easy to use a GPS watch to measure your time.
You need to ask yourself if you have the capabilities to achieve a goal. If you’re overweight than it’s better to focus on loosing weight than setting goals for sprint performances already. Or if you want to improve both your sprints and endurance level and you want to train your stability and improve your self-confidence, keep more focused, and so on. You need to make sure all commitments you make with yourself are realistic and fit into your schedule.
The goal needs to relate to your broader objectives. It’s important to improve your fitness level, but setting a goal to run 6 40m sprints under 5 seconds is irrelevant. Nobody expects you to do that and it’s not a requirement on your refereeing path. There are probably other things you want to improve at, so pick things that are relevant to your bigger picture.
Time-framed (or time-limited)
Don’t think only in season goals. Short-term goals will give you a better view of where you’re heading. And if you see after three months or half a year that it’s impossible to reach the final goal, you can adjust it. It’s very important to be flexible.
I’ve mentioned the example of the sprints on the FIFA fitness test above. You’ll have the end goal for the end of the season in mind. But if you have a whole season ahead, you can write down mid-season goals.
Mid-season I want to be able to run 6 40m sprints in 6.2 seconds and I will train twice a month on my sprints. And at the moment you’ll have to do the test, you need to be able to run 6 40m sprints in under 6 seconds. You can even add goals for 3 or 9 months. The mid-season goals are an extra step that will give you direction in where you’re heading.
So it’s very important to add a time frame with a beginning and end date to your goal.
Be positive and flexible
Working with smart goals is very important. It will also help you to write positive goals and that you are flexible.
So don’t write down: I will no longer sprint 40m in more than 6 seconds. Leave the negative like ‘no’ out of your goal. Choose for: I will run all 6 sprints of 40m under 6 seconds.
It’s good to create a bigger picture and have your lifetime goals mapped out, but what if there’s a hick-up in your career? You might miss a promotion oppurtunity. Or what if you have set goals about your physical ability but the requirements ordered by the authoraties change? Or sometimes you’ll get injured. In those cases you must be flexible. Review your goals and adapt if necessary.
This does not mean your end goal has to change. But your steps to that end goal might differ.
Examples of goals
In the examples above I’ve mentioned a lot of fitness goals, but you can set them also in the other categories I mentioned. These are some examples of goals you can set for yourself. Behind brackets you’ll see the goal that’s behind the process/performance goal.
Train physically twice a week (Lifestyle goal: Creating the good habit of sporting regularly)
Practice concentration training at home twice a month (Mental goal: getting more focused as referee)
Eat and drink no more than 1,600 calories a day (Lifestyle goal: eating healthier and losing 10 pounds before May 1st 2020)
Run six consecutive sprints of 40m under 6 seconds on June 1 (Physical goal: Pass the fitness test to meet all requirements for a promotion)
Talk with at least 5 players who made a foul during the first half. (Interpersonal goal: work on your interpersonal skills so you’re able to pro-actively prevent them from making bigger fouls) Don’t obsessively try to have long talks with players, but writing this goal down reminds you that you need to talk (for example because one of your skilss you want to improve was interpersonal contact).
Run 5km under 25 minutes by March 1st 2020 (Goal: Improving endurance fitness level to keep up with play for 90 minutes)
Of course distances and time frames may vary. And you can pick your own goals based on the strengths and skills you want to improve that you wrote down. These are just examples of what goals look like.
Worksheet for goal-setting for referees
Now it’s time to set your own goals. To make this step easier for you I have created a worksheet for you.
You’ll go to a Google form which you can download and adapt. If you have further questions or remarks, feel free to contact me on email@example.com. I’d love to hear your goals and what your action steps are. Feel free to share yours and we can discuss them together privately.
Uefa launches a Refereeing Assistance Programme twice a year. It contains clips of recent match situations. You can install this on your pc or mac and train your refereeing knowledge. In case you missed it, it’s quite interesting material to develop yourself.
NB: Some referees experience problems with installing MAC versions. This document might help you. What worked for someone as well: download the MAC version on a Windows pc and then copy it via usb to your MAC.
You can watch video’s in different categories, but will not see the correct call immediately. Make sure you think for yourself what decision you will make. Then you can click at the right bottom text, which gives you an explanation.
What is the big picture of your refereeing career? Are you just enjoying your games every weekend or do you want to get more out of it? If you want to achieve your goals as a referee, you need to answer this this question for yourself. The last week of 2017 is a good moment to start looking forward. In a blog series on goal-setting I’ll give you some effective tips to get you started and keep you motivated to work on your goals all the time.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else” – Yogi Berra.
A great quote from a former American Major League Baseball catcher and coach. It applies to everybody – whether it is at work or in sports. That’s why it’s so important to define your ambition as referee.
What do you really want to achieve?
In a following blog post you’ll read what the principles are for effective goal-setting. But the key thing for that is: think about what you really want to achieve. You need to set some time aside for yourself. Allocate some time for yourself when you will have plenty of time to think freely without distraction, whether that is now, before you go to work or college during your breakfast or maybe after you had dinner.
Visioning: look 20 years ahead
To make sure what you really want, vision yourself ten or twenty years ahead. What is it you’re doing then. Ask your self:
Do I want refereeing to only be my weekend hobby that helps you get rid off stress from work?
Is officiating a local cup final my dream and is that good enough for me?
Do I want to officiate the national cup final?
Or do I want to officiate games in a FIFA stadium?
Don’t forget the why
It’s very easy to think: I want to reach the World Cup final. In my dreams I see myself refereeing recent World Cup finals instead of Howard Webb or Nicola Rizzoli. You will do that too probably. But is it something you really want?
Write your ambition down
A second question you need to ask yourself: WHY do I have that ambition?
The people at Mind Tools have a great tip for that. Write down why this ambition is so important and valuable for you and ask yourself then: “If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?”
It sounds odd for many people: write down your ambition and why you have that ambition. You might think that now you’ve thought of it, it’s stuck in your head.
It is not.
You will forget.
The big picture of your refereeing career will fade away. And remember the quote I mentioned at the start of this blog post: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else”.
Better chance of success
The best thing you can do is write your thoughts down (or type them in a file on your computer). I spoke with Gerry Duffy on a refereeing conference and he told me this: “98% of the people don’t write their goals down. It doesn’t guarantee you success, but it makes it a 100% more likely.”
Now you’ve got some work to do. Take some time to of the big picture of your refereeing career.
Gerry Duffy wants to inspire you to think bigger, take a different approach. That will help you to better shape your big picture. When that’s done, you’ll need to set some real goals. Check out Gerry Duffy’s story. The third blog post will make sure you will do that the right way to make it most effective.
The 2019-2020 Referee Quiz by Dutch Referee Blog will be organised on the 5th of January of 2020 at 8.00 pm CET. You’ll have to answer questions about the Laws of the Game, but also facts about refereeing football games now and historical games.
If you haven’t registered, you can’t win any prizes as I don’t have your contact details. When you participate at the last minute, make sure to register the user name and e-mail address via the form at the bottom of this page.
Open Kahoot.it or their mobile app on your smartphone or on a seperate screen of your web browser. In the live stream you’ll see the pincode for the game. Enter the game room with the name you provided for the quiz (make sure you’re registered via form below).
Love to see you at 8pm on 5th of January.
PS: Did you know there are prizes by RefereeGlobal.com. The top 5 receives a coupon from them. Much appreciated and worth a look at their shop.
The winner will receive coupons from quiz sponsor RefereeGlobal. There are also gift cards for numbers #2 to #5.
RefereeGlobal specializes in refereeing items for both newly and experienced referees. Based in Canada, the store is active globally and offers a large variety of good-quality products.
It’s easy to register yourself via the form below. If you leave your e-mail address, you’ll get an e-mail notification with links to the quiz and where you can answer them. The screen/user name is needed so I’ll know after the game who has won. Please note that it will be visible for others during the game. The winner will be contacted after the quiz. Check out all rules about the quiz and claiming a prize.
Only need if you haven’t done that already. Make sure you use the name you provided via the form below.
Date: January 5th 2020
Time: 8.00pm CET
Rules and regulations
The idea is that I’ll make a live stream on for example Facebook or YouTube. You need to be able to have access to a screen with that live stream to see the questions. You will be able to submit your answers via your mobile phone (Kahoot/Google mobile website or app).
Every referee can take part in this online referee quiz. It will be a quiz with Laws of the Game questions plus also questions about (historical) referee facts.
After the quiz, the winner will be contacted via e-mail and only their contact details are provided to RefereeGlobal as they provide the prizes for the winners. The winner has to claim the prize within three weeks after sending the e-mail and provide his/her address.
Which e-mails to expect?
You submit your e-mailaddress and user/screen name in advance so I know who to contact after winning the quiz. Participants get an e-mail with the results plus the answers as well. You’ll also receive a confirmation e-mail plus an e-mail shortly before the contest with the links to the right channels to participate. Only information of the winner will be shared with RefereeGlobal, so you’ll be able to receive the prize.
The winner will receive coupons from quiz sponsor RefereeGlobal. There are also gift cards for numbers #2 to #5.