Long-term vs short-term goals for referees

Long-term vs short-term goals for referees: what is the difference? In this blog post you’ll get advice from Kathryn Nessbitt, who I recently published a big interview with. She was named MLS assistant referee of the year in 2020 and has some great tips for you

Nesbitt always had a major top level goal. “I call it a dream”, she says. “That was going to a Women’s World Cup for a long time. I’ve put it on my list of goals very early on, so I could see that’s ultimately what I wanted to do.” To give another example: She also had officiating a professional men’s game on that same list. 

RELATED STORY: Want to create your refereeing dream as well? Make sure you watch (with an homework exercise) the video “Dream big as referee”.

Smaller personal goals to work on

But with a dream you’re not there yet. “You need steps in between all the time going up there. So I created steps that were reasonable for me that year. Like showing good performances to get appointed for another league she hadn’t been on. “But I also set personal goals that I want to work on during the game, for example working on her movement on the line so she can be faster in her transitions. Or improving how quickly you can see the referee in the center, so the team was able to make decisions better due to eye contact.

Pick one goal each game

“Each game I’d pick one to work on, even though I had many to work on for the season.” That gives focus and it’s not too overwhelming for you as a referee. She says that this technique – focus on 1 development point, besides making the right calls – helped her become better and better and made her where she is now. 

Self-analysis for referees

“I do a ton of self-analysis. Before my games were all on tv I bought a really crappy video camera. And I used to set it up behind me on the amateur fields, so I could learn from myself. I’ve been doing that for a long time and still watch all my games back”.  She always finds something she wants to review. “There’s always something you want to rewatch and – whether positive or negative.”

Nesbitt always takes notes during her games. “I write down how I dealt with a positive situation and how I dealt with a negative situation. And how I want to improve from that. Because that helps you keep track of how you’re progressing”. 

Interview with Wieke Hoogzaad

Dutch professional referee fitness coach Wieke Hoogzaad has some great advice on this as well, especially when you don’t have games like Nesbitt. In periods when you can only train, her advice is to divide them in smaller chunks of 3 weeks.“For each block I created a subgoal for myself.” SO you can can focus on agility the next 3 weeks, the 3 weeks after that you improve your sprint. Working with these smaller blocks will help remain or get fit for when the season starts and keeps you motivated. Read the full advice by Wieke Hoogzaad.

Long-term vs short-term goals for referees

Have you thought of your own long-term vs short-term goals for referees? Make sure to create goals and work on them. And if you find it difficult to find inspiration, make sure to get some from assessment reports or your own notebooks.

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