Pierluigi Collina fitness tips

The Pierluigi Collina fitness tips are part of my second blog post on Fitness Friday. After watching the Pierluigi Collina Master Class I started reading his book again. It’s from 2003 and at that time he already stresses the importance of fitness for referees, because the games are going faster.

Run, referee, run

Run, referee, run. That’s how the chapter starts when Collina writes about match preparation. It perfectly describes how Collina looks at a modern referee. And as you’d have noticed, referees at the men’s World Cup in Russia or the women’s World Cup in France are super fit. All under the surveillance of Collina, who is the current chairman of FIFA’s Referees’ Committee. Collina wants referees to be fit.

Read the 5 Pierluigi Collina fitness tips.

1. Train when you’re not tired

The first of the Pierluigi Collina fitness tips is to train when you’re not tired. After a full day of work or school you’ll be physically and mentally tired, he says. “It’s not easy to deliver a physical effort that fatigues you even more.” You’ll stop more easily. So try to find a time that works for you. Or make sure you have some time to relax at home before going off to the training pitch at night.

2. Start training from a young age

Refereeing at a lower level doesn’t cost you that much energy as refereeing at higher levels. But that doesn’t mean you should take it easy. Training can make you grow as a referee. “It’s your investment for the future, from which you’ll reap the benefits later on in your career”, says Collina. And he adds that creating routines to train frequently will help your body get used to it.

3. Fit referees make fewer mistakes

“If a referee is fully fit, he or she will make fewer mistakes”, is what Pierluigi says to refs in Malta in national newspaper Independent. “On the contrary, if a referee is tired near the end of the match because he/she is not well trained, then the official may commit a mistake which may be crucial.”

A lesson that you should keep in mind. Are you fit enough to referee for 90+ minutes? And are you mentally fit as well? See tips to stay focused for 90 mins.

4. Preparation is key to success

If you want to be the best referee, it’s not only your performance during the game that matters. “What makes the difference is the preparation”, stresses Collina. “If you are prepared for something, you are succesful.”

5. Be ready to change

Because football changes and becomes faster, referees need to change and become faster. “It is not only important that you are good”, Collina says. “You also need to look good. Football needs athletes as referees.”

I am very happy with a referee organisation in The Hague that offers me training twice a week, but not everyone has that option. It’s awesome if you can find the opportunity and the drive to train and you’ll find more fitness tips and weekly training schedules on this referee blog.

Week 3 Laws of the Game Quiz 2019-2020

It’s time for Week 3 Laws of the Game Quiz 2019-2020. 

A quick correction from last week’s quiz. The question last week should have mentioned whether it was a careless or reckless challenge. I’ve been in touch with IFAB about the question where the sanction is administered at the next stoppage, because you let the team take it quickly. Also a Canadian instructor mentioned it to me. When it’s a yellow card offence for stopping a promising attack (SPA) and you give them the advantage back, then you won’t show the offender a yellow card any more. That’s in line with the DOGSO and SPA penalty kicks when there’s a challenge for the ball. 



Fitness Friday: find an opportunity to train

Fitness Friday is the new section on my referee blog. Lots of referees ask me for fitness plans, tips for their running or ways to train your physical ability. Fitness Friday is for you, because you are the referee who wants to get physically fitter, better positioned. You want to become a better referee. 

Football becomes faster, but how can we keep up with play as referees? 

Physical training is very important. You won’t get fitter by just doing games. “If someone has no midweek game, then I’ll advise him to do two intensive running sessions per week”, says Dutch pro referees’ fitness coach Hilco de Boer in an interview. But there’s not much time left when you have to work, go to school, see your family and friends. 

Who is in control?

So how will you find time or the opportunity to train? That’s a subject I’d like to address in this first section of Fitness Friday. 

We all are busy. And if not busy, it might rain. Or there is a nice Champions League game on television. Lots of reasons to find not to train. There’s an excuse for it every time. 

On the other hand, who is in control? Make sure you are. There are a lot of outside factors why you might not go to the training, but you are the one who makes the decision (not) to look for an opportunity.

Below you’ll find some ideas and examples of how you can find time or get yourself in control.

Set clear goals

What helped me a lot is that I’ve set clear goals for myself as referee. I train twice a week. Ideally I do that at my referee association on Tuesday and Thursday. The fitness instructor prepares an hour session every time (example will follow on a future Fitness Friday). 

Manage your time well

So convenient for me, but sometimes I give a course or have dinner with friends. Then it’s easy to skip the training sessions, but I’ve learned to look for other options. When working from home on Tuesday it’s very easy to reschedule my day and find time for a training session of an hour.

Angela Kyriakou from Cyprus says it’s sometimes hard, but not impossible. She is assistant referee in the men’s league, so has to pass the men’s FIFA fitness test. “I am training 4 times a week”, she says. “It is not easy, because I work every day and after that I go to training.” So dedication is very important.

Make sure you have a clear view in mind of what you want to achieve. 

That’s why Donatas Rumšas from Lithuania made a very far-reaching decision. He wants to get to the top, but doesn’t have enough time to reach it in combination with his current job. That is why he actuallly changes jobs to get more time for refereeing. Read the interview with Donatas Rumšas

Planning ahead

As I know traffic is sometimes horrible, you might get home late and don’t feel the need any more to train. I know that feeling. It has been my excuse quite often a few years ago, to be honest. 

That has changed. For example, there was a meeting with referee instructors until 4pm yesterday. I love to be there, but then it would take almost two hours to get home. What I did: I packed my training clothes in a bag, took a meal salad (plan ahead!) with me and drove to the training pitch after the traffic jam. 

Extra bonus: in the time I won because there was no traffic any more I wrote this blog post to give some examples on how to find time to train.

Look for opportunities

When on holidays it’s easy to say you don’t train. After the season it’s good to rest, but close to the season or during the season it’s a different story. I loved the example of Jeroen Manschot, who tries to find a training pitch nearby his summer holiday location.

What are the opportunities of the hotel you book for a weekend off? A quick fitness session in the gym before you go into the city. 

Solve problems, don’t find excuses

Be creative. If rain is a no go for you, try to find ways to train inside. I’ve published 7 tips from Willem Schuitemaker, but never mentioned this idea. He told me about training in the parking garage at work – or try the apartment building you live in. 

Find a training-mate

Pierluigi Collina says in his book he doesn’t like to train alone. He needs someone to train with. During the season it is easy, as many refs want to stay fit. His advice is to find a training-mate you train a lot with. Work together, also to stay fit in the off-season. You’ll go more often if you have an agreement to train together. 

I hope to I’ve inspired you in the first Fitness Friday that there is always an opportunity to train and get fit. In the upcoming weeks you’ll get examples of training sesions, tips to do a proper warm-up, and so on. 

Suggest your topics

What kind of tips would you like to get? Submit them via the form. 

Referees on fitness training

Week 2 Laws of the Game Quiz 2019-2020

The first test of the new season was well-received. Thanks all for participating. I’ll try something new this year. The tests will now go live on Tuesdays, the day my newsletter goes out. 

On Friday’s you’ll get something back: fitness tips. 

So remember: Test Tuesday, Fitness Friday. 

Good luck with Week 2 Laws of the Game Quiz 2019-2020. 

LOTG Book and week number 2

Week 1 Laws of the Game Quiz 2019-2020

The new quiz season starts. Are you prepared? Good luck with Week 1 Laws of the Game Quiz 2019-2020.

I was triggered by a quote from Riem Hussein, Women’s World Cup referee in 2019. She says On Deutche Welle (in English): 

“In theory, there were a huge number of changes. My fist thought was that I would perhaps forget about one or two of them in the heat of a game — but that was definitely not the case. We referees are supposed to, and ultimately did consistently implement the new rules.”

Are you ready? Make sure you practice with the weekly quizzes on my blog.

Björn Kuipers: from whining player to top class referee

Björn Kuipers was a football player every referee would hate. The 16-year-old captain of his team couldn’t stop whining at the man in black about wrong decisions. Not once, e-ve-ry match. As a player he was the complete opposite of the referee who got appointed for the 2014 Champions League final due to his cool and calm style of refereeing. After Leo Horn (1957 and 1962), Charles Corver (1978) and Dick Jol (2001) the 41-year-old Kuipers is only the fourth Dutch referee who’ll referee the final of the biggest club competition in Europe.

2nd Europa League final and golden whistle

After officiating the UCL final, Björn Kuipers officiates at the 2016 Euro’s (read how he prepares for a big tournament with his Team Kuipers), his second Europa League final and the 2018 World Cup. In the latter he’s a fourth official in the final. The Dutch referee won the Golden Whistle in 2018-2019 as best referee, which is based on Telegraaf jounalists’ reports.

But how did hye become a referee? More on that below the image.

Substitution that changed his career

At a certain moment during that short football career he got, to his surprise, substituted, he once told newspaper de Volkskrant. His dad Jan Kuipers, a referee and supermarket owner as well, who rarely whatched his son’s matches, summoned the coach to get his son of the pitch. His behaviour on the pitch was no longer tolerated by his dad and he told him to face the difficulties of being a referee. That was the start of a so far very succesfull refereeing career. In January 2014 Björn Kuipers from Dutch town Oldenzaal was told he would be one of the referees at the World Cup in Brazil and on the 7th of May he got a message from Uefa referee boss Pierluigi Collina that he’ll be the referee of the 2014 Champions League final between Atletico and Real Madrid on the 24th of May in Estádio da Luz in Lisbon. “Being on the pitch during the Champions League final is the highest achievement in football for players and also for referees”, he told after the appointment. Kuipers will be assisted by Sander van Roekel, Erwin Zeinstra, Pol van Boekel and Richard Liesveld.

Björn Kuipers and his team.
Björn Kuipers and his team.

After his father’s advice to try refereeing Björn became an amateur referee for theDutch football association KNVB in 1990. It wasn not always a pleasant journey towards professional football. Moments of dry heaving. Matches with 14 cards. Disrespect. It took him eleven years – with a one year break because he went abroad for his master degree in Business Administation – to reach the professional football level. His first professional match was Telstar versus Eindhoven in the Jupiler League, Dutch second level. He made his debut in the Eredivisie at the age of 32. A group of young referees entered the A-list and Kuipers as one of those talents. “Referees that are good, can move up quickly”, he told NRC after his fourth match on the highest Dutch level. “I know almost all the players, but they also know me apparently. They even called my by my first name, that actually surprised me.”
That was just nine years ago. Now Björn Kuipers is the talk of the town in The Netherlands. He even give a press conference before he moves to Brazil for the World Cup, because “otherwise he wouldn’t be able to respond to all interview requests he got”.

Success factors

But wat are the success factors of Kuipers career? As manager of three supermarkets with about 260 employees and owner of a barber shop he has got the leadership skills a referee needs. “But I’ll never be bossy”, Kuipers says. His work and refereeing motto is to let people do what they are good at. Kuipers gives his assistant referees Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra much freedom on the pitch to call for fouls and he supports their decisions. It is no coincidence that the KNVB announced that “team Kuipers” will go to Brazil and “team Kuipers” will referee the Champions League final.

The career of Björn Kuipers

Bjorn Kuipers is very popular. The day he heared about his appointment for the World Cup he was in Dutch most popular tv show DWDD.
Bjorn Kuipers is very popular. The day he heared about his appointment for the World Cup he was in Dutch most popular tv show DWDD.

Björn Kuipers officiated five years on the highest national level before he became a international referee in 2006. Only three years later he became an Uefa Elite Referee. 2013 was a great year for him with the Europa League final between Chelsea FC and Benfica in the Amsterdam Arena. Later that year he officiated the Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain. All these referee successes were not possible without the support of his wife, whom he married eleven years ago, and his two children. “I’m away from home a lot”, he told Helden Magazine. Kuipers even missed 6 of his daughter’s 8 birthdays because he was away from home for a football match. “But it never causes friction. I don’t know what should do without my wife.” Kuipers’ wife follows each and every match, but normally doesn’t go to the stadium. She went to the Super Cup in Monaco and the Europa League final in Amsterdam. “She and my coach Jaap Uilenberg are the first people I call after a match.”

Kuipers’ two children, his 8-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, are not old enough yet to be like their dad on the football pitch, constantly whinging at the referee. “My daughter doesn’t even care about football so much”, Kuipers once said. “But I think, although they do not show it publicly to others, that my children are very proud of their dad.”

Björn Kuipers in numbers

Eredivisie (Dutch top league) matches: 170
Jupiler League (second level) matches: 90
Cup matches: 25
Champions League matches: 26
Europa League matches: 19
International friendlies: 6
Qualifiers European Championships: 4
Qualifiers World Championships: 7
Matches at European Championsships: 2
Matches at World Cup of clubs: 1
European Supercups: 1
Matches at Confederations Cup: 2

Source: KNVB.

Pierluigi Collina Master Class

Pierluigi Collina Master Class. I case you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching. Below you find 5 important lessons from the masterclass and in the video Collina explains them.

Pierluigi Collina Masterclass

Tips from the masterclass

  • It is not only important that you are good. You also need to look good. Football needs athletes as referees.”
  • “What makes the difference is the preparation. If you are prepared for something, you are succesful.”
  • “Try to figure out why a mistake is made. It’s easy to say it’s a wrong call, but it’s difficult to explain why.”

And that’s just a few. I suggest you to watch the whole Pierluigi Collina Master Class yourself and make notes.

Video of Pierluigi Collina Master Class

Check out the full video of Pierluigi Collina Master Class.