World-Class Referee Keith Hackett On Controlling the Pitch with your Presence

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In his latest column, longtime referee Keith Hackett speaks out on the importance of presence on the pitch

I started officiating  in the 1960s in England and after years of experience refereeing FA Cup Finals at Wembley, European Championships and countless EPL games for Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, QPR, West Ham United as well as at the Olympics, I want to share some tips with you to help you be more successful on the field.

Over many years I have watched closely the performances of the World’s top Football Referees and players.

True legends of our great game, Referees Jack Taylor. Howard Webb, Abraham Klein, Pierluigi Collina and Players of the likes of George Best, Bobby Charlton, Gordon Banks, Michel Platini, Maradona, Messi, Carlos Alberto, and Pele to name a few.

In my opinion what set these people apart was their undoubted talents and that they displayed  PRESENCE ON THE FIELD OF PLAY.

So how can Presence improve your authority and match control as referees?

The dictionary definition of ‘Presence’ states the impressive manner or appearance of a person.

synonyms: bearing · carriage · stance · deportment · comportment · attitude · posture · manner · air · guise demeanor · mien · behavior · conduct · dignified air

PRESENCE is the projection of a referee’s positive personality using non-verbal communication

REFEREES BODY LANGUAGE is an important aspect of gaining ‘presence’ — control of the field and players.

I want you to be aware of what you need to project the following:

  • Confidence & Self Assurance

  • Decisiveness

  • A Sense of Ease — Emotional Control

  • Enthusiasm

It is important to keep in mind:

  1. Presence is not a fixed definable quality but rather a process of continuous growth and change that takes place before the eyes of players.

  2. The challenge is to continually project the right image by being vitally aware of the signals you are sending to others.

  3. The quality of presence is enhanced by the signals the referee sends. However, it diminishes if any of the elements are not successfully transmitted.

Here are some simple guidelines for achieving a strong and powerful presence. Remember, void nervous mannerisms- this can be projected by been over fussy and talking too much

  • Referees need to consider a confident body posture

  • Good eye contact

  • Control of voice is important

  • Facial expressions can project a look of fear

Players, coaches, and people on the sideline are less likely to challenge a referee who is confident on the pitch. Here is some additional advice on being decisive:

It is a referee’s speed of decision making and the sharpness of signals that indicate the correctness of his or her actions.

Remember to have positive facial expressions and take advantage of early decision and strong call and signal.

A referee’s enthusiasm is also very important. It is important to understand the need to sparkle and show your passion for the beautiful game.

When I was younger, I spent several hours in front of a full-size mirror to practice my signals both with a flag, arm/hand signals, and facial expressions. I use to review carefully my video of games that I officiated to look carefully at how I managed players.

I would ask myself what did my body language projected and make sure my signals were clear.

It is so important to be confident, not arrogant, and to demonstrate that you are enjoying your role.

So take time out in your personal development and look to take on board how you can enhance your PRESENCE on the field of play.

Part 2 of The Ref Show

 

Source: You are the Ref