Making that decision to cross over to the [percieved] dark side by becoming a referee is often a tough one to make, for the misconception is that refereeing lacks the social elements and skills required, when compared to the likes of playing. This couldn't be further from the truth, but we will get to that in another blog.
In the Sutherland Shire, our region is fortunate to have one of the larger amateur football associations in Australia and our role at the SSFRA is to provide and develop referee's to support football in the Shire.
Nick Peak, Troy Ritchie and Paul Carson following their Champion of Champions Grand Final in 2018.
Lets explore why you should consider becoming a referee:
With refereeing, you get to decide how much running you will actually do! Now, this comment is likely to infuriate many players, but truth be told, you can get away with a light jog and the occasional "run" over 90 minutes. To be very clear, we don't endorse a lack of running, and actually encourage all of our referees to keep up with play, however refereeing does allow for various levels of fitness and is a great way to keep the body and mind active.
The type of fitness required to referee a game of football is very different to that of a player. There is no physicallity with refereeing, its pure stamina, which is often ideal for those who have endured reoccuring injuries or are trying to maintain a level of fitness. Did you know: On average, a referee will get through 7KM's of movement over a typical 90 minute game, that increases for the higher graded games, were a fitter referee will reaching upwards of 10KM's per game!
Earn some pocket money!
Refereeing is a great way to earn some extra pocket money! As a cadet (under 18 years of ages), its a great way to earn an income for those still attending school in a way that won't interfere with your Monday - Friday education. In addition, you earn an income by being involved in the game you love, and develop skills that are transferable later in your working career (think adaptability, interpersonal and communication skills, situational management). We also get paid monthly, which is a great way to fund that next shopping expedition!
For our adult referees, its not so much about the money however because we do recieve a payment, the pocket money recieved from our refereeing often funds that summer holiday, which is always a nice way to thank our partners for letting us out of the house on a Sunday afternoon!
Whilst the Laws of the Game are fairly static (that is, they dont change that often) there is so much to learn from the practical applications to these laws. There are plenty of caveats within the Laws of the Game, that ensure we always have something new to learn. Then there is positioning, our body language, the way we approach each and every situation, which is scrutinized through self reflection and assessment!
Football is a passionate game; passion evokes emotion. (Emotions aren't exactly rational), which means we as referees we are required to learn how to interpret each situation and apply the correct 'game manager' technique to ensure all 22 players remain on the pitch and still safely enjoy the game! This learning is ultimately the development and fine tuning of our 'Man-Management' skills which are skills transferrable into all walks of life and future employment.
Manage your own Schedule
Unlike playing, refereeing provides flexibility and doesnt require a weekly commitment. You can decide to referee all weekend or you can choose to be available for 2 hours on a Sunday morning. It is completely up to you. We provide an easy to use online portal for referee's to log in and select the times when they are not available and appoint you to games based on your availability.
It goes without saying, the more you are available, the more you will get out of your refereeing experience and the better your appointments will be!
Socialise with friends
Just like playing, we work as a team and prioritise our social calendar to ensure we are always having a good time. The banter is strong and we enjoy sharing our experiences (aka war stories) over suitable cold beverage, especially on a Sunday afternoon. As a close knit community, every referee keeps an eye out for one another and by doing so, allows us to meet some pretty interesting people.
Given refereeing is a volunteering role, on top of these many considerations, your contribution on the pitch helps support grassroots football. So what do you say, are you going to make the right decision?
Find out how to become a referee in 2020