Proper warm-up for referees

A proper warm-up for referees is needed for both training sessions in games. It will improve your performance and reduces your risk of injury. 

The blog post is based on lessons I followed as a referee and notes I took. 

Warm-up for referees.

Physical effects of a warm-up

The physical effects of a proper warm-up for referees are:

  • Less stiffness in muscles and joints
  • More activity in nerve system, which means a better coordination
  • Better circulation of blood, so more oxygen to your muscles and you’ll easier get rid of (too many) lactic acids 

Mental effects of a warm-up

When you do a good warm-up:

  • You’ll be better focused mentally (more tips to stay focused)
  • You can adapt to the field conditions and know what you need to deal with. Plus you can pick the right clothing and shoes).
  • You get used to the match circumstances, like the fans and the pitch

What the real warm-up looks like

Because the effects are important, I’ve written them out below. You need to know what the benefits are for you, but I get that you want concrete tips to do your warm-up properly. 

  • 5 minutes of jogging
  • 5 minutes of mobilisation exercises. Examples are: tripling, skipping, moving sideways, moving backwards, cariocas, zigzag shuffling.
  • 5 minutes of accelerations (10 to 50m)
  • 5 minutes of dynamic stretching or core exercises. At my referee association in The Hague we do two different exercises of the dynamic stretches:
    • standing in an angle of 90 degrees on the fence. Hold it with one hand and move your leg forward and backwards (leg pendulum or forward leg swing)
    • standing in front of a fence and move the leg from left to right. You’ll find more online for standing leg swing sideways.
  • Examples of core exercises: stepping out and moving your knee out/in, jump forward or backward and land on one leg, lean on one leg and bend the knee. Check out core and stability exercises you can do at home.
  • 5 minutes of sprints
    • You can do a few sprints of 10, 20 or 30 metres. When you walk back, you get some rest as well.

Below you’ll see me check out the warm-up of the refereeing team at the TD Place in Ottawa.

Credits plus KNVB newsletter worth checking

The blog post is based on lessons I followed as a referee and notes I took. One part of these lessons were videos by pro referees fitness coach Hilco de Boer. KNVB has also a monthly newsletter with tips and fitness exercises. Subscribe via the KNVB website and pick KNVB Assist Scheidsrechters (the Dutch word for referees).

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