Today, people stop working, hearts accelerate to maximum capacity, passion burst in all homes and joy takes over the world because the World Cup starts! We could write pages and pages about the World Cup but, for this first note, let me focus on the referee for the first game, Mr. Yuichi Nishimura. He was the referee in four matches at the last World Cup in South Africa, including the quarter final where Netherlands defeated Brazil 2 to 1.
Mr. Nishimura earned FIFA’s respect from his first assignment in the 2010 World Cup, as he managed the games per FIFA’s game control expectations. He has continued to deliver consistent and effective refereeing since the last World Cup and thus, makes him a good choice to referee the first game in the 2014 World Cup. You can look for him to manage this match with the following approaches which can be applied at all levels of the game:
- Connect with the players.The players need to know that the referee is watching and experiencing the same game. Mr. Nishimura will talk to the players during key moments, such as after a hard foul, to assure them that he is connected to them and the game. Players like this because they feel safe with a referee that connects with them as he sets and maintains a good tone for the game.
- Use his good fitness to be close to play at all times, especially when his presence is needed by players to avoid frustration or to stay calm. He will use his presence to influence the players’ behavior so they focus on fair play. Look for him to use his body language, facial expressions, and gesticulations with his hands or arms to make the players think about and be aware of their expected behavior.
- Read the game well in terms of players’ emotional levels.The first game is very challenging, primarily because the emotional level of the players can easily fluctuate due to the pressure. Playing against Brazil is one of the toughest matches you can get and, being Brazil, you can’t afford to lose a game, especially at home during a World Cup. Therefore, Mr. Nishimura will read the game well and apply the appropriate foul recognition that matches the players’ emotional levels.
- Use his wits to manage the game.He has developed a good perception and thought process that allows him to effectively manage out of the ordinary incidents because he is always thinking. His wits and experience will come in handy to identify potential conflict and challenges before they become a critical factor in the game.
This approach will get him the acceptance from players and others to be considered a good referee in the World Cup. For those of us who referee AYSO games, we can also use the same concepts to earn the acceptance that will make us good referees. So while you enjoy Brazil’s o jogo bonito and Croatia’s fast counter attacks, allow your passion to flourish and root for your team, but also take a look at Mr. Nishimura’s refereeing and pick up a tip or two to help you with your games. Go USA!