Monday, 6 May 2013

Sustainable Whistling

In my last post I promised not to do any 'refereeing is like testing' analogies - but I didn't say that I wouldn't do any 'lessons learned from reffing' posts....

The first weekend of the youth soccer season in Grand Rapids was a gentle start with 2 games as Assistant Ref aka Lineo. This weekend I had 6 games lined up - one Friday evening, 3 Saturday and 2 on Sunday. Age ranges from U8 to U10, six players on a team - how hard could it be?

Hard. Damned Hard.

Physically tough with lots of changes of direction and taking care not to step on little munchkins - and by U10 they're starting to kick the ball far so play can go from end to end much more quickly than U8

Mentally it was very demanding as well. At U8 they all run round in a big bunch so peering at a tangle of legs trying to work out which one touched the ball last is hard. Making a split second decision when a ball hits a hand - was it deliberate or not? Making the decision to blow for a free-kick or let play carry on.

And making these decisions with a touchline full of parents watching and a coach on the other sideline muttering under his breath about every decision you make.

Oh, and you also have 2 linesmen to help you with the game but they are usually young teens in their first season of being an official so you have to keep an eye on them, try and mentor them and protect them from parents and coaches.

The last 10 minutes of the last game was a real struggle - my left calf was giving out and I feeling tired watching the players and making sure I made the right call.

So when the final game was over I limped off to my car and found myself sitting in the passenger seat. Thats when I know I'm really really tired as I've only had 1 year of driving in the US so when I'm exhausted my natural instinct is to get into the 'wrong' side of the car.

Which was a great reminder to me of the importance of working at a sustainable pace

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