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good habits for new soccer referee blog

7 Good Habits For A New Soccer Referee To Become Successful

Good Habit 1: Dress professional

Being dressed and ready professionally before you arrive at the pitch is important for every soccer referee. Dressing professionally gives a soccer referee an air of authority, which helps the referees to better officiate with the respect of players, coaches, and spectators. This can be especially important in high-pressure situations, where tensions can run high.

6 Tips to dress professionally as a soccer referee

  1. Dress in official referee attire

This typically includes a referee shirt (usually black, yellow, or bright colors), shorts or pants (black or navy blue), black socks, and black shoes with non-marking soles.

  1. Wear a watch

A watch is an essential tool for a soccer referee to keep track of game time and stoppages.

  1. Wear the referee headsets

The pitch is big, if the chief referee wants to communicate with the assistant referee, he needs to use the referee headsets in order to make every call accurate and timely .

  1. Dress for the weather

Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. In cold weather, wear layers to keep warm, and in hot weather, wear light, breathable fabrics.

  1. Keep accessories to a minimum

Avoid wearing jewelry or anything that could pose a safety hazard on the field.

  1. Be clean and well-groomed

Make sure your attire is clean and pressed, and your hair is neat and tidy.

Good Habit 2: Arrive at the match site earlier

Arriving at the match site earlier can help the referees to start the Pre-game preparation, When a referee arrives early, they have time to prepare for the game by reviewing the rules, talking to the other officials, and assessing the field conditions, including checking the goal, the corner flags, and the grass condition of the pitch. This ensures that they are well-equipped to handle any situation that may happen during the game.

Steps to check the pitch before the game as a soccer referee

  1. Walk the field

Walk around the entire playing surface and check for any hazards, such as holes, uneven areas, or debris that could pose a safety risk to players.

  1. Check the lines

Make sure that the field markings, including the touchlines, goal lines, and penalty areas, are clearly visible and properly marked.

  1. Check the goals

Ensure that the goals are securely anchored and properly positioned. Check the nets for any tears or damage that could affect play.

  1. Check the corner flags

Make sure that the corner flags are in good condition and properly positioned.

  1. Check the condition of the field

Inspect the condition of the playing surface, including the grass, to ensure that it is suitable for play. If the field is wet, check for any areas of standing water that could affect the ball’s movement.

  1. Communicate with the groundskeeper

If you notice any issues with the field, communicate with the groundskeeper or field manager to see if any corrective action can be taken.

Good Habit 3: Meet the team and introduce yourself to the coaches and captains before the game

As a soccer referee, it’s important to introduce yourself to the coaches and captains of the teams before the game, because it helps establish a clear and professional relationship between the referee and the football teams. That may help you to officiate the game easier.

Introducing yourself allows the coaches and captains to put a face to the name and establish a level of trust and respect with the referee. It also provides an opportunity for the referee to communicate any pre-game instructions or expectations, such as reviewing pre-game safety procedures or clarifying any rules or regulations.

By establishing a clear and professional relationship with the teams, the referee can help ensure a fair and safe game for all players involved. It also helps to minimize any potential conflicts or misunderstandings during the game.

How to introduce yourself to the coaches and captains of the team?

Tips you can use when you try to introduce yourself

  1. Approach the coaches and captains before the game. Make sure to arrive early enough to allow for introductions and to review any important information with the coaches and captains.
  1. Introduce yourself and greet them with a smile. Say your name and let them know that you are the referee for the game.
  1. Provide any important information that they need to know. This could include things like game time, any rule changes, or any other pertinent details.
  1. Confirm that they understand any special instructions or rules that you will be enforcing during the game. This is important to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings.
  1. Answer any questions they may have. Coaches and captains may have questions about your experience as a referee, your approach to calling the game, or anything else that they need clarification on.
  1. Thank them for their time and wish them good luck. Showing appreciation and wishing the team luck can help set a positive tone for the game.

Good Habit 4: Focus on the game once the game starts

It’s a good habit to stay in focus once the game starting whistle is blown. Focusing on the game can help the referee to make accurate and timely decisions. Especially when the referee is officiating a big game that has a large number of spectators. Spectators always make noise during the game. Don’t let the noise affect your judgment.

Here are some tips for the referee to stay in focus during the game.

  1. Stay engaged

Stay engaged with the game by keeping your eyes on the ball and players at all times. Anticipate the flow of play and be ready to move quickly to stay in the best position to make a call.

  1. Tune out distractions

Tune out distractions such as noise from the crowd, player chatter, or other distractions. Focus on the task at hand, which is to officiate the game to the best of your abilities.

  1. Stay physically fit

Staying physically fit is crucial for referees, as it helps to maintain energy levels and focus throughout the game.

  1. Be confident

Be confident in your abilities as a referee, and trust your judgment. Make decisions quickly and decisively, and don’t second-guess yourself.

  1. Stay impartial

As a referee, it’s important to remain impartial and not get caught up in the emotions of the game. Make calls based on the rules and regulations of the game, rather than on personal biases.

  1. Stay mentally alert

Maintain mental alertness by taking deep breaths, stretching, or refocusing during breaks in play.

By staying focused and engaged throughout the game, soccer referees can make better decisions, minimize errors, and ensure that the game is played fairly and safely.

Good Habit 5: Clear and concise communication

The situation on the field is changing very fast, if there are some fouls by the players, the referee should make very quick decisions, therefore, the communication among referees, players, officials, and coaches should be very clear and concise. When you do need to speak to your assistant referees, be clear and concise in your communication. Use short, direct commands or statements that convey what you need them to do. 

Here are some examples of clear and concise communication:

  • Offside call: If an attacker is in an offside position, the main referee can signal with their flag and say “Offside, AR [AR’s name]!”
  • Foul call: If a player commits a foul, the main referee can blow the whistle and say “Foul, AR [AR’s name]! Which team?” The assistant referee can then signal which team committed the foul.
  • Throw-in call: If the ball goes out of bounds, the main referee can point in the direction of the throw-in and say “Throw-in, AR [AR’s name]!” The assistant referee can then signal which team should take the throw-in.
  • Corner kick call: If the ball goes out of bounds over the end line and is last touched by a defending player, the main referee can point to the corner and say “Corner kick, AR [AR’s name]!” The assistant referee can then signal which side of the field the corner kick should be taken from.
  • Substitution call: If a player is being substituted, the main referee can hold up their hand and say “Substitution, AR [AR’s name]!” The assistant referee can then signal which player is leaving the field and which player is entering.

Good Habit 6: Be fairness

Fairness is a critical aspect of being a soccer referee, as it ensures that the game is played in a safe and respectful manner. In fact, fairness is not only a habit for soccer referees, but also an essential part of the game.

Here are some tips for being fair as a soccer referee.

  1. Know the rules

Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the rules of the game, including the latest updates and changes. Be consistent in applying the rules to all players and teams, and make sure that your decisions are based on the rules rather than personal biases.

  1. Communicate effectively

Communicate clearly and effectively with players, coaches, and fellow officials throughout the game. Make sure that everyone understands the decisions that you make, and explain the rationale behind any calls that may be controversial.

  1. Remain impartial

Stay impartial throughout the game, and avoid showing favoritism towards any team or player. Make decisions based on the merits of each situation, rather than on any preconceived notions or biases.

  1. Use common sense

Sometimes the rules may not be clear or may not apply to a particular situation. In such cases, use your common sense to make the fairest decision possible. If necessary, consult with your fellow officials to arrive at a consensus.

  1. Be respectful

Treat all players, coaches, and officials with respect, and expect the same in return. Avoid confrontations, and maintain a calm and professional demeanor at all times.

By following these tips, soccer referees can ensure that the game is played fairly, safely, and in accordance with the rules of the sport.

Good Habit 7: Confidence and authority

Confidence and Authority is an essential quality for soccer referees, as it helps to establish and maintain order on the field. If the referee makes hesitation calls during the game, the players from both sides won’t be convinced by your officiation. That make cause chaos and conflicts in the game. Therefore, confidence and authority calls are very important for a soccer referee to finish his job.

How to be confident and authoritative as a soccer referee in the game?

  1. Set the tone

As soon as you step onto the field, establish your authority by projecting confidence and professionalism. Show that you are in control and that you expect players and coaches to respect your decisions.

  1. Be decisive

Make quick, decisive decisions and communicate them clearly to players and coaches. This helps to avoid confusion and ensures that the game moves smoothly.

  1. Enforce the rules

Make sure that all players and coaches are aware of the rules and enforce them consistently throughout the game. This helps to create a level playing field and minimizes the potential for conflicts.

  1. Use verbal cues

Use clear, concise verbal cues to communicate with players and coaches throughout the game. This helps to keep the game moving and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

  1. Use body language

Use your body language to reinforce your authority, such as standing tall and making direct eye contact with players and coaches. This helps to establish a strong presence on the field and sends a clear message that you are in charge.

  1. Stay calm

Even in high-pressure situations, it’s important to stay calm and composed. Avoid getting caught up in the emotions of the game and maintain a professional demeanor at all times.


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