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Referee News and Tips


10 Tips to Help Deal with Dissent

Courtesy of USSF, "Regardless of age or competitive level, players become excited as their personal or team fortunes rise or fall and it is not uncommon for language to be used in the heat of the moment. Such outbursts, while possibly vivid, are typically brief, undirected, and often quickly regretted. The referee must understand the complex emotions of players in relation to the match and discount appropriately language which does no lasting harm to those who might have heard or seen the outburst. Of course, the player might well be warned in various ways (a brief word, direct eye contact, etc.) regarding his behavior. When the words or gestures directly challenge the authority of the referee or assistant referees, actively dispute an official's decision, or are likely to be taken up by a widening circle of other players, the referee must determine if this dissent can be halted through the more formal action of cautioning the player and displaying the yellow card. The objective of the caution for dissent is to protect the referee's ability to continue to manage the match."

Below are 10 tips to help you manage dissent.
  1. Connect with players before the game starts - aim to make them smile.
  2. Thank the parents for supporting their kids and ask them to support positive behavior.
  3. Set a good game tone that makes the players feel that your officiating is fair.
  4. Be close to play when you signal fouls.
  5. Address player frustration and intervene early with a calming influence (using words, body language, gestures, etc.) before this behavior deteriorates into obvious dissent.
  6. Address player dissent when it first shows up because it requires less effort.
  7. At halftime, identify frustrated players to the coaches so they can talk to them.
  8. Team up with the team's leader, sometimes the captain, to help you manage frustrated players.
  9. Watch experienced referees and learn player management from them.
  10. Ask your mentor/assessor for techniques to deal with dissent and use them.
And as a bonus: show your interest in the game and the players, it will get you respect.

Dissent is not good for the game and it can easily show up in all matches. It is important that we, referees, lead the effort and team up with coaches and parents to eliminate it. Please contact Tom Bobadilla if you have questions or need more information.
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