Pre-Game Instructions

Since this is such a focal topic, I decided to make this a page instead of a post so it has a permanent/static spot in the blog.

I have always struggled with delivering pre-game instructions because so much of it feels like common sense to me now. After attending an education session where we spent a bit of time looking at content in a good pre-game, I thought I would share it for those looking for major points to cover.

It seems most advice on pre-game instructions refer to this post. I’ll add my own input as well from what I have heard.

Be sure to tailor your pre-game according to the level of game play and experience of your assistant referees. There should be some discussion and fact-finding before this stage in order to garner this information.

In essence, your pre-game should discuss or answer the following questions your AR might have:

  1. General Responsibilities with regards to:
    • Ball In and Out of Play & Start and Restart of Play
      • Direction
      • Restart
    • Offsides
    • Fouls & Misconduct
      • Power (Are you going to let them call fouls?)
      • Jurisdiction (Where are you going to allow them to call fouls?)
  2. What do you want me to do if I spot an off-the-ball incident?
  3. What would you like me to do to indicate whether an offence occurred inside or outside the attacking penalty area?
  4. What would you like me to do if the ball crosses the goal line in the goal quickly and comes back out?
  5. Leniency on penalty kick procedures, if any, like goalkeeper encroachment.
  6. What would you like me to do in the case of a mass confrontation?
  7. What procedure should I follow for substitutions? Do I manage them all (in the case of three officials)?
  8. Managing the time, keeping back-up, allowance for lost time and record-keeping
  9. Maximising field coverage
  10. Eye Contact
  11. Tolerating and managing dissent from players, the bench and spectators
  12. Teamwork and Synchronisation of Mechanics
  13. Subtle/Discreet Hand Signals
    • Referee-Specific
    • Caution/Dismissal

This list is not exhaustive and some of the points may not be relevant to the games while others will be hope it helps you improve your pre-game. Having taken a leadership course, I know that you must always end a pre-game discussion with “What questions do you have?“. This encourages questions and plays better to the target’s psychology as opposed to “Do you have any questions?”.

Some of these questions might also be obvious because the LOTG specifies the answers but this information is what I have gathered from various assessors/instructors.

Test it out. See how it works out! I will update this page over time.

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