The football season is over so it meant I needed to re-strategise. With football and futsal running keeping me active all year round, I could use my officiating in both to work on areas of improvement common to both sports.
I usually keep a list of improvement items in my game bag so that I can glance at it before the game to pick the one(s) I want to work on. I drew up the new list from memory and comments from fellow referees. I, then, added more by looking at the year’s worth of assessments and picking the stuff I agreed with after prolonged reflection.
I decided at the end of the week to go forward with upgrading. There is plenty of time left to move into instructing later on. Assessing too but my focus for now is the next stage and improving my officiating. Without that, there isn’t much leverage in the instructing/assessing value for the recipients.
A large Refsworld shipment arrived at the end of the week.
Saturday morning I met with my mentor for an early morning run. I had slept at 2am and was up again at 7am. It was tiring and I half-hoped he slept in and forgot to come by to pick me up. I texted him half-asleep and he responded positively that he would come over soon. I mentally groaned. I got dressed and put on my running gear. He was there soon enough and it was still dark outside. I had no clue what motivation I had in me to be doing this…
We started by guessing how many people would be at the running track when we arrived. My guess of a little less than ten turned out to be correct. We walked around the track briskly for one lap as a short warm-up before stretching and then starting the High Intensity test at 35-45 intervals. The cooldown walk was three laps of the 250m track. It was a good early morning run but I was burnt out for the rest of the day and didn’t do anything productive after.
We realised after that the only reason that both of us had woken up was because of the other. Benefits of training with a partner.
Was nice to be re-stocked with some new stuff. To my absolute surprise, I was quite busy the rest of the week selling equipment. A lot more than I ever have. Got some Refsworld Trinity flags and b&d flags in the last shipment that disappeared a few days later from an out-of-town customer.
My used Blazza whistle too. I had only tried it for one game. It didn’t suit my taste though especially the mouth-guard feeling like glass.
My b&d flags. Since the season was over, I wanted a change. I’ll be looking to get the chequered ones (Quadro) now before the next season.
Some fair play patches too for a few referees who want to sew them on to their uniform sleeves.
I even sold my DIGI Ref watch from World Cup 2006. It was built for football but I was looking for more functionality hence my Garmin and G-Shock in my current watch arsenal. A senior referee was interested and got it for a good price used.
I’ve realised there comes a time, if you are around for long enough, that you move from becoming an influencee to an influencer. Teaching what you were taught or have learnt. The delicate question is when this transition happens and if it happens early and with a bad role model, it can have negative effects on the recipients of this influencer. What happens if you see this happening? Can you do anything? Should you? What happens if this influencer doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong?
It’s something every referee should ponder how their actions affect other referees. This is much more so the case with higher level referees perhaps not realising that a lot of their actions and attitude is being observed probably a lot more closer than they imagine.
Have I mentioned it gets really dark really fast? This is a late afternoon sky.
I don’t often feel motivated to train on my own but after my relatively short Futsal play-off referee meeting, I changed into gear and walked to the local pitch nearby. There was a few games being played but I only needed the perimeter for my exercises. It was a cool night. The rain was falling so lightly that you probably wouldn’t notice until you realised you were wet. Almost like a thin mist falling in slow motion. I decided to try something new that I wanted to get used to (on the prior note of influencers); wearing flats and compression socks. It seemed like something interesting to try out.
My adidas 2010 gear has essentially been changed into training gear since it’s rarely used. My usual compression shorts. Compression socks and the adidas socks on top. My socks had been developing holes anyway but the compression socks take care of that. It felt oddly better but I just feel like I’m wearing more and more as part of my regular kit. The results of running with flats were surprising. 😉
At the half-time and full-time break where the field was not being used, I practiced my diagonal. It starts off with a slow jog from the penalty area and as I approach the bend (centre circle), I pick up the pace because I typically wouldn’t have time on a reactive play to simply jog around play and catch-up. I was recording my runs with my Garmin watch so most onlookers knew that I was doing some training rather than an odd repetition of jogs across the field. As I started to become comfortable with the pattern, I decided to push my breathing to see how I would fare in repetitions with minimal break would go. 20 seconds recovery.
The field was wet but not water-logged. I tried sharper bends and leaning on turns expecting a fall but the flats had a surprising amount of traction and grip on the surface. Not even a slip. On artificial turf it worked but I don’t have the same confidence with wet/muddy grass.
I changed it up from the usual which was racing across the diagonal or build-up runs. I simulated a patrol path I would take during the game and switched running styles between forward jog, back-pedalling and side-stepping while looking where an imaginary play would be. This definitely looked odd but the field was empty most of the time and everyone warming up for their games. I chatted with the referees for the current and previous games during my recovery phases.
The compression socks oddly stuck to the adidas socks so much so that I fumbled to separate them to take them off one by one.
Nothing like watching UCL at 3am in the morning on your wall.
My local RA was hosting its AGM on Sunday morning. I was planning on taking all my new stock to see what would be interesting to members. I travelled with a younger referee (in experience) since I hadn’t seen him for a while and we arrived a little later than expected. I suspected he slept in a bit but we weren’t late for the meeting at all since there was an hour for breakfast. There were a lot of referees there including some new people. It was nice to see so many colleagues in one place.
There was a interest in the referee equipment I brought so much so that it attracted a crowd. A lot of them came by to take a peek, enquire about products. I had to usher them away to ensure the meeting started on time when the executives signalled to me. They came back though at every opportunity and I collected requests for future equipment sales that I could make special request orders for.
I presented the RA website and Twitter that had been worked on over the past year and think it was my best response to a presentation yet as I included members of the audience in the talk and showed the stats that had been racked up. I was surprised to receive so much credit during the meeting; recognition for the work I had done throughout the year.
It dawned on me later that day. I was the youngest member of the RA…
I had my only shift for the local Futsal league of the season. I only wanted one to help initiate a new referee into the league. He was new to Futsal but by no means new to refereeing. The first game was a Men’s First division game and I was looking to stamp my authority and decisions in the game early despite area of credibility (more of a demonstration to my co-ref). This was much more so the case for fouls. It was not well-met by the players for the first few quick decisions but they had to adjust to it.
On one play, an attacker had his back to goal just outside the penalty area with the ball. He tried to turn to his right with a defender right behind but he was tripped. The ball rolled over to the left side into space and I had a great view as the tail referee. A teammate ran around and smashed the ball into the bottom right corner of the net through the goalkeeper’s legs. I yelled advantage as I saw this open space develop. The atmosphere moved from silence to anger about the foul to celebration followed by a few “Good call ref” including loud acknowledgement from my co-ref across the pitch. This all unfolded in just under two seconds. Reaction time is much shorter in Futsal and applying advantage is much harder to get away with successfully.
There were a few plays where niggly fouls occurred and I waited to see the outcome and they resulted in saves. I wondered after whether I should have whistled and called it back. It led to a bit of tension building but nothing untoward.
It was also much comfier wearing flats over turf shoes but it was coated in a fresh layer of what I like to call turf-dust. It was green and clung to the exterior of my shoes.
Having been officiating the same players over the past two years, there was some familiarity that was developing making it easier to referee. Time does help.