Winter break fitness tips for referees

Winter break fitness tips for referees. Who thinks about doing sports with Christmas and New Years Eve. But don’t forget to think about your fitness in this period.

Hilco de Boer, the fitness coach of Dutch pro referees, shares his advice with you in the KNVB newsletter. One of them is don’t do specific training sessions, because you need to rest. That’s why I go to the beach for a light walk.

Beach walk by me

Take a rest based on lenght of your break

“If your winter break lasts for four weeks, my advice is to take two weeks of rest”, he writes. “But if you stop for five to six weeks, makes sure to take a rest for two to three weeks.”

Also rest mentally

It’s not just a physical break for referees, that period between Christmas and New Year and for some even January. But it is also a mental break. Calm down, do less. You don’t have to live from one game to the next for a few weeks. Plus without games you don’t have concentration referees normally need.

Want to work on mental toughness after the break? Check out these 3 characteristics for mental toughness.

No specific training

But can’t you do anything active? You can can still be active, but make sure it’s a “light” sports activity. Don’t do a specific training, because your muscles need to recover from four full months of refereeing.

And in case you had some (light) physical issues: “take a complete rest for a few weeks”.

Build up intensity gradually

And don’t go crazy after the break. Your body is in a relaxing modus and needs to start working again. “After the rest period it is important to pick up your training sessions again. You need to be well-prepared for the second half of the season”, De Boer says. “It’s very important that your build up the intensity gradually.” Check out the fitness exercises to build up intensity.

Your winter break fitness tips for referees?

Have any suggestions yourself for winter break fitness tips for referees? Write them down below.

PS: and if you want gradually come back, these fitness exercises work for you

Dedication from referees during the fitness test at the UEFA Women's EURO Referee Course. Zeist, Holland. (Source of editorial photo: UEFA)
Dedication from referees during the fitness test at the UEFA Women’s EURO Referee Course. Zeist, Holland. (Source of editorial photo: UEFA)


  • Andrew Charron

    This is a great recommendation. I’m taking two full weeks off, then when I do start back, I’m just increasing my runs by 1km every other run. No need to jump right back into interval training or strenuous activity.

  • Burak Özer

    Great resting tips Jan. Surely resting is the most important part of the training. But for me it is almost impossible to take a rest in the winter break, because at the end of the break we’ll have a FIFA athletic test. So we have to keep training. Our break begun 2 weeks before and matches will begin on 20th of January. And athletic test will take place on 16th. So unfortunately there will be no winter break for us.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Makes sense to train for your fitness test. But if you still have four weeks between the last game and the fitness test, there’s a moment to relax after the last game. You won’t loose your fitness in that short period.

      Good luck with your test!

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