As a match official you must quickly become self-sufficient for your learning. You are responsible for accumulating, absorbing and analysing feedback on an ongoing and long-term basis, but, it is the infrastructure that surrounds you; your refereeing colleagues, the referee society, the Union or a Referee Coach - that has the capacity to support your development.
After each game, it is good practice for you to seek feedback by trying to speak with the coaches, captains and players of both sides and eventually a Referee Coach who may be appointed by your local Union.
Where coaches or players seek you out for explanations on your decisions, try to keep your responses open and brief. Gaining feedback is important, but the drawback of these informal clubhouse discussions is they are often lacking in structure and context. Even if you disagree with the feedback, thank the person for the feedback and say you will think about it. Notwithstanding this, don’t be afraid of criticism. It is part of the job.
Going home after a match and dwelling on problems you had with your refereeing in a match can often be counterproductive. Instead of being stuck with a problem or negative feelings about your performance, try to answer the following questions to yourself:
- what are some criteria you as a referee want to be observed on?
- how can you best record information?
- how can you best learn from the feedback given and what would you do next?
Many Unions have a number of qualified Coaches of Match Officials (CMO). If available to you, the CMO can play an important role in your development as a match official by:
- identifying skills and knowledge that you can develop
- assisting you with your application of the law and advantage in context
- creating an environment to motivate, encourage continued participation and increase your enjoyment.
When working with a CMO is important to remember that the coach is there to assist you and not do the work for you. The good coach will make you work out your own solutions and not necessarily what you should do. Self-discovery is proven to be a better way to learn for most and commits you to the desired outcome.