Running a Ref Meeting

The topic comes up because I am hosting two referee meeting/education sessions in quick succession in Week 3.

Having thought about it for some time, I’ve come to the conclusion that a referee education session is successful if and only if it meets these three objectives:

  • The material/content is covered in a set time limit without spending too much time on particular areas. The key is communicating information across effectively (having the audience understand as much as possible in as little time as possible).
  • The session should be fun and enjoyable to all participants.
  • Finally and most importantly, the session should cause the referee to reflect on what they do on the field and how they will change their repertoire to improve their refereeing.

These three points for a very simple reason. Any meeting should stick to an agenda and stay on time. Even an educational and fun session can be dampered by overshooting time and not respecting the allocated time. The session being enjoyable is intuitive. Everyone wants to enjoy themselves and the best way to make knowledge better remembered is to make it memorable. The final point is the ultimate objective of any education session. If the material/session doesn’t change someone’s refereeing on a field, why teach it at all? For this reason, you must know your audience and send a good action statement at the end of the session.

I only started instructing earlier this year (I’m not an official instructor) but I’ve quickly learnt that preparing material for an education session takes a colossal amount of effort. I mean it’s awesome that it’s football. Like doing homework on football but when time is involved and I’m pressured, it’s a different story. This is magnified by the fact that I want my material to be of a different and higher calibre to everyone else’s. Hours of research, video-editing to find my own hand-picked incidents (which often involve watching tens of hours of footage) and discussions with my referee study group.

Also having presented a few sessions, I’ve noticed that little details matter:

  • Name cards for instructor and participants
  • Presentation clicker
  • Projector
  • Writing material

After what feels like forever and which is quickly likely at least 15-20 hours of work in producing a presentation, then comes the actual speaking to the audience. So far I’ve only been presenting in a voluntary context so none of my ventures have been really paid so it really feels like a lot of work for very little tangible reward. Not sure if I will keep going down this avenue at this rate…

I’m not sure if I want to go into official instructing because I don’t think I would have the patience for Entry Level and the younger age groups. Most of my sessions have been advanced topics that the Laws of the Game doesn’t cover in great detail because I feel it’s an excursion and learning experience. A great level of understanding, on my own end, in my topic in the end.

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