How I became a better referee instructor (and how you can be too)

Becoming a better referee instructor is the goal for this season. KNVB organises a whole year of courses, because that’s how they want to help me and the other students. A good experience, because it gives me a lot of tools. In this blog I’ll share my experience and tips.

January 31st is a special day for me. “My group” graduates all with a sufficient mark for their Laws of the Game test. But that was just theory. The way they officiate during games improves too and the way they approach games now. And I think that is also very important.

Better referee instructor during course at Rijnsburgse Boys

Dutch football has a different structure as most countries. Because the low number of referees clubs have to arrange their own match officials for the lower levels. KNVB helps these so-called club referees as well and provides them with a course too. During period of becoming an instructor I started with a “club referee course”. I was doing it with a more experienced referee instructor, so I can learn from him.

A better referee instructor is lazy

The biggest eye-opener is that good referee instructors are lazy during course days. Yes, preparation is important and I spend lots of time on it. Course days are different. That is because the students learn the most when they are active during courses.

An example. It means I can tell them what the criteria are for indirect and direct free kicks. I do know it, but they have a lot of knowledge themselves. Give the students a big sheet of paper and some markers. That really works. They’ll come up with good tips for the other participants. Plus, things they come up with themselves stick much better.

The students also make four reflections reports during the course. I use them to pick the topics for the new course evenings. So yes, that’s work for sure. But to become a better referee instructor I need to be a bit lazy during the course days.

Me and the knowledge shared by the participants

The role of the teacher changes. I ask them questions then to get more out of it. That’s one of the things that has improved during the first course, but I want to get really good at it.

My next course starts in the next few weeks. Then I’ll be the main teacher and a more experienced ref will help in the background. These courses are not just a way for the referees to improve. Asking for feedback every time will make me a better instructor as well. And I am really looking forward to that.

How were your referee courses? Classroom sessions or active sessions? Please share your experiences!


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