Exercise for assistant referees

An interesting exercise for assistant referees. I get questions about fitness tips a lot, but I am not a fitness instructor. Luckily I got the chance to speak with some international referees and they share their tips. Because of that, you can become better and train like some of the pro’s.

FIFA assistant referee Ian Bird has a tip for you. 

“My favourite exercises are ones that are specific to my role as an AR. Over time I have developed my training from Fartlek running (walk/sprint) to incorporate my movements during a high intensity match.”

Improving the performance

“One session I complete on a weekly basis is perform sideways running for 30 seconds then turn and sprint at maximum pace for 30 seconds – alternating these two movements for a total of 20 minutes without break. It does not take up much time but I find I will generally cover 4,400m during the session.”

“This has directly increased my Ariet fitness test results and improved my performance on the field. It trains my body to become so accustomed to the sideways running that it considers it a natural movement and maximises my opportunity to stay in line with the secondlast defender throughout the 90 minutes.”

Your own training

A good thing to ask yourself: How do you train yourself? What schedule do you make for yourself? Make sure your training has a clear purpose.

Want to read more about the importance of fitness? Check the interview with Dutch pro referee fitness coach Hilco de Boer.

Assistant referee Ian Bird


  • Massimo

    Hi Jan!
    Have you got some training schedules for assistant referees?
    This exercise is interesting, even if I think that a 30 second-sprint is not suitable because it is too prolonged.


  • Belachew Yetayew

    I would like to appreciate your effort for all over the world referees to improve there skills.
    So, I would be happy if you send me some integrated exercises for refs assistants .

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      I am not educated as a fitness expert and don’t create new fitness programmes. Better check this with someone who studied for this. Of course you can always find some nice and useful exercises on my website

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