Half the week is no refereeing but doesn’t mean training has stopped.
Actually I have to be fair. This is my first training session all season because I haven’t had a break like this at all. Was good for the off-time to be controlled on my own terms but since it isn’t in-game, I notice fatigue more during training since there are no fouls to focus on.
A great opportunity for recovery. In the meantime, I wrote up my first assessment report for an assistant referee as practice. Definitely felt time-consuming just doing it for one member of the crew. Now I know what it feels like doing a quality report for three officials! Definitely takes time.
I’ve decided to wait till the end of the season to decide what becomes of my refereeing but with a throttle on games. It can be a source of some extreme stress and I’m not talking about the players on the pitch! On the other hand, just because I may want to step off the pitch doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the instruction element of it.
My next education topic (or at least research) will likely be Advantage because some great content off the Third Team has got me brainstorming some ideas including a lot of practice this season in various scenarios. I have some notes taken down on focal areas. I feel thinking on it for a long period of time is the best way to find structure to a potential presentation.
I kicked-off my own training on Monday by hitting the gym. Nothing better than working on disappointment by punching a brick wall (metaphorically).
A lot of my work-out is focused on upper body to focus on upper body. It was definitely sore the next day given that I hadn’t been in the gym for over a year.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this but I am a new driver. I mean relatively new. Or fairly new at least. So last week’s driving was a big deal because that was probably my first 1K.
Actually I re-read the last post. Nevermind. I must have said this a bunch of times now.
I needed mid-week to rest because I think my technique was poor on something I did during training/weight-lifting that gave me lower back issues. It healed by end of week. Good thing too because I had two middles at the end of the week that needed important preparation.
Senior Youth Girls game on Thursday which was a good warm-up for the game the next day. This was an interesting game because I was working with a young crew and one of the coaches attempted to take advantage of this fact. I was in-tune with this and dealt with it quickly. The game was even but after half-time there was a short time where we saw five goals scored in quick succession by one player. The ball ricocheted off the post several times. The main incident lingering in my mind in this game was an OGSO where an attacker and defender both fell in the penalty area from what appeared to be pressure. I was running on the side (on my S-diagonal) which gave me a terrible angle since the defender was on the other side of the attacker. I couldn’t be sure about contact so there was no reaction from me.
My AR raised his flag. I blew the whistle and then he dropped it to across his chest (an old signal). I didn’t expect it but knew what he meant. I ran around the incident as he took up his position having moved around the corner flag. I leaned/turned back to make eye contact and he confirmed the foul. I turned around and it was too late. I had lost the defender that committed the foul. It felt like a soft send-off but it was one that was necessary. I let it go as a result but thought about it for a while after and since.
I made sure everything was ready after my game for the next day.
Most of the focus was on this day. Friday. I had officiated one of the teams before.
This game was very much like Game #16 last year which I didn’t elaborate on too much.
In short, nothing but a nightmare. Something was wrong.
I got to the field with plenty of time to spare and with minimal traffic. I had left early and was at the field 50 minutes before. Players were only slowly streaming in. The assessor arrived soon after I conducted a field inspection on my own. One side of the field look less maintained than the other and the nets weren’t in great shape (especially on one side).
I did a brief warm-up on my own before the game and gave my pre-game instructions with the assessor present.
The referee-player relationship was somewhat similar to Brazil-Colombia with CVC’s officiating. I had lost the respect of the players at one point and there was nothing I could do to pull things back in control. I had felt helpless like this only once before. Game #16.
Reasons for this? Perhaps missing fouls and not dealing with dissent.
My positioning caught me wrong all the time. I did my best to work the S-diagonal but I was always obstructed by a player in between me and play. I was so frustrated that it prevented me from making an appropriate call confidently but there was almost nothing I could do. The game had left with some heat at halftime and I did my best to draw out the time after issuing cards to let things settle down but something had gone wrong.
Three dismissals in the last 5 minutes of the game and one was a second caution for dissent.
During the game, the ball was played long towards the corner that seemed out of reach but it was kept in by the corner flag. Not too long after, a goal was scored and a player came complaining that the corner flag is out of bounds and that the ball touching it meant it was out of bounds. I chuckled and told him I would show him the rule after the game.
Sometime earlier in the game, an indirect free kick for an offside offence was being taken deep in the corner of the defending half. The ball was kicked and swung all the way to the touchline and halfway line and gone through so many people without a touch. It finally arrived near me and an attacker and had almost slowed to a halt and he looked up at me quizzically and asked “Why do you have your hand up?” I responded “Indirect!”
The major incident of the game was an OGSO where an attacker charged forward on goal. A defender barely caught up and slid to tackle the ball. It looked like he was going to miss completely. Attacker falls and yells for a PK. I pause for a second. PK or not? I decide not. Another second as I am prepared to let play continue before I realise what I had replayed and analysed. I was about to take a step back towards centre but blew the whistle, signaled a defending foul and ran across. I can’t really remember how the defender reacted much but there wasn’t much if so. He was on his way back to midfield when I was holding up the yellow card. He had started falling before any contact (anticipating contact – simulation). I was 99.9% sure it was his second and saw it was so. Pulled out the red. A teammate started yelling and I let the first player leave and walked across the half before showing him his second yellow and subsequent send-off.
It was a good 2-3 hours of report writing back at home.
I will never forget this game.
Fresh from the night before’s going-ons, early morning wake-up for what was probably the busiest weekend of the season so far with referees in high demand. I grabbed breakfast going through the drive-thru and was on the highway to not too far away. I got to keep the car for the previous night so it was parked close by.
I worked with two young officials during the morning and it was a fairly quiet morning with a lower competition level. I was able to find a few pointers to give them in what was the busiest weekend. Referees in demand everywhere. After my games, I hung back to talk and watch a bit more.
Then, onto some household shopping and then dropping something off for a friend. I grabbed lunch and travelled a little north to another tournament to watch. One of the senior referees had requested that I stop by if I had time in case they needed help or just if I wanted to hang out. I had the car until 7pm and knew I would be able to stay within 200km total of driving so I went. I didn’t have any other plans anyways. The referee tent was erected by the referees and looked the most comfortable in the blinding sunlight as I walked around the fields.
I ended up covering one game, chatting with the referees around, getting home and relaxed for the rest of the evening. It was a tiring 24 hours.
Slept in well into Sunday to have a late breakfast and meet with the referee I was carpooling with. Plenty of assessments on the line this season so I was looking forward to feedback. I felt I am not as comfortable on the line as I am with being a referee. I don’t feel my fitness level helps me stick to the SLD like a gnat and it’s been something so hard to develop. Not that I am very far away but perfection is always the goal. The game had a few excellent goals as well and was well played by both teams with very little misconduct.
Taking up my position for a touchline restart was some feedback I received instead of worrying about location of the restart and leaving that to the referee so that I don’t get caught out with the SLD.
At the dying moments of the game, the winning team was taking a corner kick and the kicker was taking his time as he had in the time leading up to the end of the game. He then requested the 10 yards for the corner kick be enforced but the defender was further than that already. I told him things were good and soon enough, the referee had to come over and caution him. I realised I should have been more vocal to make things clearer to everyone at the time.
Busy week based on its wrap-up.