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Top 3 Tips for young Whistlers

Sat 04th Apr

Sarah Stanley


Starting out as a new referee for the first time can be a very daunting feeling. Unlike being a member of a squad, you are one person and if you are lucky you may have a team of officials to assist and support you in your role.

Generally speaking, young referees will start out refereeing Go Games so it is often just you in the middle of the field. Here are the top 3 tips that will assist you with your initial games that you officiate:

  1. Know the Rules
  • Knowledge is Power!

The most important component is that you have a thorough knowledge of the playing rules of the game. It is essential then that your application of the rules are implemented decisively and confidently. Being able to identify a foul and knowing what sanction is related to that foul is vital.

  • Refer to the Rule Book.

If you are unsure of a rule go to the rule book before or after a game to check. The playing rules can be downloaded HERE

  • Ask a referee mentor or experienced referee

If your club or county have a referee’s committee or a referee mentor it would be useful to talk with them and get advice and tips from a referee with years of experience.

  1. Look the part – Tools of the Trade!

It is true what they say: a picture paints a thousand words. Looking the part is important so it is essential to wear the appropriate attire:

  • Referee jersey
  • Referee skort/shorts
  • Socks

The important tools of the trade are:

  • Whistle
  • Watch
  • Notebook (with cards)
  • Pencils
  • A coin
  1. Communication
  • Whistle – Signal – Tell

Keep it simple. Whistle for the foul, make the appropriate signal and tell the young players what the foul was for. They themselves are only learning.

  • Use the Language of the Rules

When telling players what the foul was for – be brief and use the language of the rules. The players don’t need a lecture or an essay. They will just need to know what the foul was e.g. “that was a push in the back”

  • Use of the Whistle

Be confident in blowing the whistle. Ensure the whistle is loud and can be heard by players and those on or near the sideline.

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