It really does not feel like that long ago I was piling in the games at the end of the 2010/2011 season. The snow and other bad weather meant there was a backlog so quite a few midweek evening games were available. This was great for me as it means I have already hit my required quota of 20 games since March in order to hit one of the promotion criteria.
Now, here we are in pre-season mode! I’ve been keeping up my running and have been involved in a couple of games but now the ‘real stuff’ begins. I have a pre-season schedule coming together with a mixture of referee and assistant positions at various levels. Referees need a pre-season just like players do! It is a chance for us to get the fitness in line (both physical and mental stamina), perhaps try a few new things and ensure we are confident when the season truly begins.
I had my first game this week as Assistant Referee. This was a valuable learning experience as the other two officials are both active supply league referees. In addition, the game was frenetic due to lots of triallists wanting to prove their worth!
The teams themselves are at a higher level than I am currently permitted to referee. Some notes on that:
- FITNESS AND SKILL: A lot higher than ‘parks’ football! I was able to keep up just fine and it was a great test of my sprinting ability. The ball would be kept in play for a lot longer as well which made it a more interesting game overall.
- MORE PHYSICAL PLAY: The challenges and general play were a LOT more physical. However, there were no complaints as most of the time it was controlled and the players were just getting on with it. This took adjusting to. At ‘my’ level, I would be giving fouls for that sort of contact and the players would be expecting that to happen as well.
- ADJUST ASSUMPTIONS: A couple of times I flagged for offside way too early. I was in ‘parks’ mode where I would assume (correctly) that the offside applied because no other player could be involved. I needed to wait to absolutely sure in this game because another player could EASILY zip through, or the advantage could shift IMMEDIATELY and should be considered. A great learning experience.
A summary of the game is that my fitness was easily up to the task but that it took me longer to get my mental sharpness in line, especially with not flagging for offsides too soon. As the players are faster at this level your assumptions have to be a bit different. Things flowed a lot better during the second half. My concentration had also been a hit a little bit due to a ‘flag malfunction’ in the first half….
Lots more games to come. It is going to be a busy and productive season and I am really looking forward to it!
p.s. I’ve also been nominated by Surrey FA for consideration to FA Competitions for this season which is really exciting!
Now that I am a high enough grade to qualify for an Area Referee (3rd Kyu), I went along to Bexhill Judo Club where they were hosting an introductory refereeing course.
It was an excellent day (We’ll forget the nightmare of parts of the A27 being closed!). It was a perfect mix of theory, demonstration and practical (Everyone got to try their refereeing skills at the end, and indulge in “fake” contests to give the referees something to work with).
It was nice to have new concepts explained (the new Contest and Safety area system on the mat, for example). And I recognised most of the teaching referees present from previous gradings and competitions!
I’m happy in that I came out of it with a 95% pass in the Theory paper. I just need to do the Practical examination now, and if that goes well, I will qualify! That should be within the month.
The Practical exam is actual refereeing at a Senior event (although obviously under heavy supervision). And it is a full day as part of the team (You don’t know which matches you will be assessed on).
Training again last night. I’m still not into a proper routine as I’m not back at work yet, so I still don’t feel fit to any degree. The whole deal will kick off next Wednesday (I’m writing this to give myself precious little weasel room when that time comes).
Again, not enough movement… but at least I was trying things, even if they weren’t working out.
In Newaza, it is interesting that if I put on a left-handed hold my instincts aren’t in place, as they are for a right-handed hold. For example, assume Kesa Gatame is in place, and Uke decides to bridge. Right-handed, I have no problem posting on an arm to prevent this and slipping into a new position to compensate. Left-handed, it was if it was the first time I’ve done the hold, as I just held on for dear life until I ended up on my back…
So taking some time to drill holds left-handed would be beneficial.
I did employ the guard-pass I was shown recently, which works when Uke has not pulled you into their guard securely. It’s pretty simple: Encircle their legs with your arms (now you can see why this doesn’t work if their guard _is_ secure), bear down, then just move round at your leisure. It’s something I used to (still will?) get caught by all the time.
In Tachiwaza, there was some more crash-mat work (primarily a deep-entry Ippon Seoinage, although I worked on my left Uchi Mata as well).
Randori showed that I MUST ensure deep entry with my version of that throw. Having long legs is great for attacking from a distance, but if that distance isn’t closed quickly, I am exceptionally prone to leg-grab counters!
It’s that time of year when Judo winds down a bit. People stop training due to the temptation of mince pies, and clubs close until the New Year.
It was hard to leave the house now that the heating is back, but I went along last night to a club I rarely get the chance to visit.
It was a great session. Constant activity throughout, and a good combination of static and moving Uchikomi, fitness and Randori. I think it was the energising sort of session that I needed. There wasn’t any technique training, but you pick up a LOT by working with higher grades, and there were a fair number present.
It was very cool for there to be a genuine cage fighter present – Gary Turner. And he is probably one of the nicest, down to earth and helpful people I have met in the sport. I have recently switched to more Judo-oriented fitness training (such as Interval training and weight movements which mimic those of Judo), and he has a lot of experience and recommendations in this area.
In particular, I should be looking a little into Tabata.
My current aim is to focus on conditioning as opposed to strength (I am carrying too much useless weight right now). A loss of 10kg should fix it, nothing major. I rarely think to myself, “I did badly because I’m not strong enough”. It’s getting tired and technique that lets me down.
Working on these should also increase my speed, as I am too static sometimes.