Taking Care of Details

by John Puglisi, NISOA Vice President, NISOA National clinician and NISOA local assessor.

For most officials, the intercollegiate soccer season is just about over. However, for clinicians and assessors, continuing education is a year round requirement. Our web site collects quite a bit of information from news sources, message board and blogs. One recent entry from a personal favorite included a link to an article by Canadian and World Cup veteran assistant referee Hector Vergara. The article included personal observations as well as refereeing tips and techniques taught at the 2010 World Cup that merit further discussion. I’d like to expand on a couple of the points Mr. Vergara made in his brief but exceptional article.

One of the things I have always been interested in and pay attention to is how officials do the basics of refereeing, paying attention to the small details. It is the small details that separate great officials from good officials.

When I assess or observe an officiating crew, attention to the basics and small details truly differentiates an official’s performance from ‘good job’ to ‘outstanding job’. Vergara’s article talks about simple things like body language, referee signals and mechanics. In the postgame debrief, when we talk about making sure your signals are crisp and consistent (palm out to signal a goal kick, arm at 45 degrees to signal direction, etc.), officials commonly glaze over these ‘details’. After all, isn’t it more important to ‘get it right’? Yes, it’s very important to get it right but most good officials get it right. The great ones get it right and get the details right EVERY TIME.

Assistant Referees should carry the flag in the right hand while moving laterally within the penalty area.

This makes a lot of sense despite our historical direction to carry the flag in the left hand (field side). While positioned closer than 18 yards to the goal line, the assistant referee’s next signal will most likely be offside, goal kick, corner kick or throw in to the attacking team. All of these signals are made with the flag in the right hand so why not carry it there before the ball goes out of play? In addition, if the defending team clears the ball up field, the assistant will turn and sprint toward the halfway line with the flag properly set in the right hand. I like this mechanic a lot. My personal challenge will be to undo almost 20 years of what I’ve been doing (and what I’ve been taught) to adapt to this better mechanic when I am assigned as an assistant referee.

I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes and read the entire articles referenced above.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 at 11:11 am and is filed under Instruction with keyword(s) . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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