Detecting Tension between Players: The Second Look

Catered to referees looking to move from lower age groups of youth (U11-U14) to the higher youth and adult competitive scene, you have to be equipped with this knowledge.

There are a lot of other discussion points in the video with regards to man management and cautions/dismissal but it’s targeted for referees trying to get into the competitive/adult game scene where funny business like this happens behind the referee’s back and to highlight why/what they should be aware of.

There are various techniques on how to be aware of it.

Swivel your head to watch players after collisions, fouls or when the ball is kicked. This is also known as “the second look”. It reminds players that you are watching them and it will help you detect any late challenges on players that could be missed if the eyes are trained on the ball all game.

You might be afraid of missing something in play but this is in fact what you would most likely miss! Despite the ball moving fast, there is almost always enough time to linger a look or have a second look to see if there is any aftermath activities.

The game could easily fall out of control if not managed and the referee will fail to understand why there was an escalation. Possible repercussions include mass confrontation, violent conduct and serious foul play all of which could include major injuries and loss of match control. Referees must be vigilant to avoid this type of escalation.

Notice how most of the incidents in the video could have been optimally viewed if the referee had adjusted his positioning. Incident 1, the referee was prepared for a counter-attack and didn’t approach the incident of the foul by reading the game and expecting a quick, long-ball restart. This is well anticipated however he should have maintained a clear view of the scene as well as stepped in clearly when #25 kicks #10 on the ground.

Incident 2, a second look at the two players would have caught the tension between them and the referee would be extremely vigilant of their activities on the field. Instead it continued and started to bubble.

Incident 3 could have been the real catalyst where a mass confrontation if not violent conduct could have occurred but the referee was extremely lucky that #25’s violent conduct did not spark #10.

Take a look at this example of Howard Webb in World Cup Final 2010,

Mr. Webb appears to have his head in the direction when the foul occurs however makes no immediate visible reaction (oddly). It appears more likely that he was advised by his fourth official/assistant referee of the misconduct. Experienced referees tend to linger their look after the ball is kicked to watch for late tackles or incidents like these as sometimes the ball’s air time can spare a second or two before having to re-focus on play.

Note that interaction after an incident isn’t necessarily negative; some players will make up after an incident and some won’t. Don’t always¬† assume the latter as it can ignite something out of nothing (I have personally made this mistake once).

Do you use a second or lingering look?

3 comments on “Detecting Tension between Players: The Second Look

  1. Youth Soccer Referee says:

    Good points. I remember being told to watch the drop zone for fouls to gain position. As you rightfully point out ref also needs to make that second look toward the kicker for any nastiness going on there. Although I do use lingering looks, in my pregame I remind trail AR to keep an eye out for any late contact in case the timing is such that I am eyeing the drop zone.

    BTW, commentators in 2nd video are clueless: “He can’t go back & show a card” !! Sheesh.

  2. […] Detecting Tension between Players: The Second¬†Look […]

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