Last season is over but I need to be able to hit the ground running when the 2011/2012 season kicks off. I’ll be acting as Assistant Referee on the local supply league from August but ‘my’ leagues for refereeing will not start until September.
I’ve been accepted onto the Accelerated Promotion scheme which means my remaining assessments for the first phase must be completed by October. It is highly likely I will be assessed on my first game back so it is not the time to be rusty!
On Sunday morning I had a veterans league cup game. It featured a Div 3 team vs a Div 4 team so perhaps no surprises that the Div 3 team won pretty convincingly. That said, the skill level was not the highest I have seen and at one point I was starting to think that if it was not for the penalties no goals were going to be scored.
Tempers rose at one point with a big case of ‘handbags’ between two players, starting with the usual “I’ve got to f**king work in the morning!” Normally I would just have a strong word the first time but on this occasion the players stepped over the edge. Not only was there significant pushing and shoving, it was accompanied by the usual ‘see you in the car park’ threats and swearing. I cautioned both.
Cautioning in Sunday morning football is a trial by fire. “It’s just Sunday football, ref” was the annoyed response. As I said to the Captains before the game, my refereeing style is that I referee to the game. If it is all clean passes and kittens then great. If it becomes narky then I’m taking action.
There were several penalties in this game. Two of them (against the losing side) provoked further problems.
The first was a cross into the box which hit the arm of a defender. The arm was stretched out to the side so no question of the penalty and this was not really disputed. However, as it was a blatant break-up of the attacking play I cautioned. Again, “It’s just Sunday football, ref” and “Get a grip!”. I cautioned for exactly the same thing in a Saturday game recently and the player accepted it and moved on. It’s an attitude thing.
The second was the goalkeeper shoving an attacker square in the back as the ball was sailing in from above. The problem here was that it was as a corner was flying in. Everyone was watching the ball whereas I was watching the players. The only people on the pitch that knew about the push were the goalkeeper and the attacker he pushed over! Oh, and me of course hence I awarded the penalty. Predictably, the goalkeeper protested his innocence and it was a REALLY tough penalty to sell.
By this point I was no friend of the losing team in the slightest and I was generally accused by them of ruining the game.
Looking back, I’m not sure what I could have changed but am welcome to any input. It might be telling that a referee I worked with recently (Level 4 and on the county Development Programme) said he basically gave up refereeing Sunday football because of how enforcing the Laws just gets you into trouble! After all, I’ve recently had Sunday teams turn up in black kits and not know what it means when you win the coin toss. Sigh.
Despite the above, there are some Sunday players and even entire teams with great spirit who both know the Laws and play with great sportsmanship. I just hope I’ll meet them more often!
I was refereeing at the South Coast Junior Open at the weekend. I remember my very first judo grading was at this very venue (Worthing Leisure Centre). It was also good to see Winston Gordon in attendance coaching!
One interesting point came out of the briefing. At EJU level, referees are being urged to downgrade any ‘rolling’ Ippons down to Wazari. On a personal level, this is one I very much agree with. There have been so many weak Ippons scored and this was evident in the Olympic footage as well. In my eyes, an Ippon throw should always have that “OOOH!” factor, including the old “If that was on concrete, Uke would not be getting up again” aspect.
This is always going to be down to interpretation as that is the nature of the rules on this matter. For a throw:
When a contestant with control throws the other contestant largely on his back with considerable force and speed.
Let’s have strong emphasis on ‘considerable’ from now on! Shame we ever moved away from it.
Now, I was privileged to be part of a strong team at the weekend. We did not have a single contest go to a decision, and only a handful entered Golden Score. How is this achieved?
Firstly, a certain amount of luck in us having competitors who went out there to do judo and SCORE. They do the work, we referee it. It’s important to never lose sight of that.
But what CAN the referee do?
Apply penalties accurately and QUICKLY. For some age groups the contests are only two minutes in duration. If the referee is waiting 90 seconds before deciding a judoka is being passive then they have taken too long. If the penalty is there GIVE IT. Especially since the first shido is now ‘free’… it’s a warning, that’s the point!
Clamp down on false attacks. Again, if it is a false attack (I’ve covered what constitutes a false attack before) then GIVE THE PENALTY. Let the player know it is not acceptable. This is also giving their opponent every chance to do their own judo as well rather than someone just falling to the ground every few moments. I’ve started seeing drop seoi-nage attemtps when Tori sometimes rotates less than 45 degrees.
FORMALISE THE IMBALANCE. This sums up the two previous points. It is clear when there is an imbalance between players. This may manifest itself in one of those players scoring (great!) but the referee must also reflect it in the use of penalties WHERE APPROPRIATE. If you get to the end of the contest, and it went to decision, and you are thinking, “That was rubbish, just a load of drops and nothing much happening” and you only ever gave one penalty…. shouldn’t you have done something to wake it all up?
“Don’t be too harsh, especially with children”. This is missing the point. Penalties are given when deserved. Not giving a penalty just because of age is NOT acceptable, in my opinion. Of course, the referee must make allowance for grade level and experience (common sense). In addition, proper explanation of a penalty may be appropriate too! Giving a penalty does not make the referee an ogre. Using hand signals which make him or her look like they are shooting the child in the process probably does…
I was happy with my performance on the day and have various feedback to work with. In particular, I was happy with my corner judge work, especially when things have gone a bit wrong on the scoreboard and I had kept a mental note of which scores should have gone where! You should never be in the position when asked a question about the current contest and you have to respond “I don’t know” …