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

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