What referees can learn from Sochi 2014

There were some hilarious situations during the Olympic Games in Russia. Unexpected winners, missing roads and unfinished hotel rooms. Here’s a blog post with what referees can learn from Sochi 2014.

Be fully prepared

The winter Olympics has proven that facilities might not always be perfect. Hotel rooms were not finished and streets were not safe tweeted journalists.

I heared a Dutch sports journalist on tv that he drove the highway, the took the exit, but the road ended after two hundred metres. It reminded me of a tweet by a refereeing colleague last week. He was leaving the house one hour early because he knew the bridge was closed and he needed to take a longer route. As referee you need to be fully prepared and also know such things, because it would be ashame if you appear too late at your match.

Photo of a tweet about a bridge that is closed.

Be fully prepared for your match.

Get back up again after a mistake

Julia Dujmovits was the unlikely winner of the giant slalom final after her first run. The Austrian was 0.72 seconds behind Anke Karstens. But she got back up again after some errors in her first run and won from the German in the second run. “I just never gave up. … To be Olympic champion today is amazing”, she told afterwards. And there were many Olympics who made a comeback this olympics after some errors during this or previous events.

That’s what referees should keep in mind when they make a crucial error. Get back up again, and be ready for a better second half or next match. But sometimes it can take long to be at your best again. “I’ve been feeling down for a long time”, said Blom after he made a crucial mistake in the match between Scotland and Czech Republic. “It eventually took more than a year. But I had to go on. When you referee a match you need to clear your head.”

Read the full interview with Kevin Blom “From heaven to hell in Scotland”

Work on the details of your appearance

Only 15 year-old, Julia Lipnitskaia, won the gold medal at figure skating. Ian Chadband from the Telegraph describes her in a way that she “appears to have that same rare gift of charisma, charm and athletic skill in a precocious package”. Dedication to the small things can make an appearance great. As referee you should pay attention to details as well. Just a few examples:

  • This weekend I saw a referee with his shirt not tucked in his shorts – it looks ridiculous.
  • Think about your gestures and how you signal. A fully stretched arm really makes a difference. Have you ever seen Pedro Proença from Portugal makes signals with his hand? He always puts his thumb in is hand and you’ll never see it when he points his hand in a certain direction for a throw-in. Bit too much for me, but at least he has payed attention to the details of his appearance.
  • Or what about a collar of the shirt that’s upturned – leave that to Eric Cantona.
  • Watch out for stains in your shirt. Be careful where you hold the ball when you walk off the (muddy) pitch during half-time.

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