Tournament Refereeing Tips
Tips From The National Tournament Commission
Refereeing at a tournament can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be very different from your time officiating regular Region games. The level of play at tournaments is usually higher, and emotions tend to run on overdrive as teams look to advance through the competition. Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for successfully refereeing a tournament:
Take care of yourself first. At a tournament, you will most likely be officiating more than one game. Make sure you are physically fit and that you have plenty of liquids to hydrate with. Warm up and cool down before and after each game, and use sun block. You'll be a more positive influence on the field, and your decisions will be made with a clearer head if you aren't fatigued.
Know the rules. Because of time constraints, tournament rules for situations like forfeits, tie-breakers and stoppage time will often differ from those used in weekly matches. Meet with the tournament Referee Administrator to make sure you are on the same page and review the tournament rules before your first match.
Be flexible. Prepare for the unexpected. You may have to work as an assistant referee for more games than you anticipated or your schedule might change at a moment's notice. Try to go with the flow and adjust your reactions to what is going on around you.
Keep a cool head. Coaches, players and parents are often amped up during tournaments because of the high level of competition, and this can lead to more physical play. Keep your composure and set the tone for games early. Officiate the opening rounds the same way you would the final.
Take advantage of mentorship opportunities. Whether this is your first tournament or your 14th as a referee, you can always learn from your experience. Tournaments are great places to network with other referees. If you are relatively new to officiating tournaments, talk with veteran referees to get their perspectives. If you are experienced, take the time to mentor those less experienced than you. Everyone has something to gain from each other.
Tournaments are fun experiences and are good for gaining experience at other levels. Remember to step back and enjoy yourself. Tournaments have something to offer everyone involved, including the referees!