• 2023-10-09

AYSO’s Fall Season took off like a rocket!  The kids are playing and having fun; the coaches are herding cats (players); the spectators (mainly, parents and grandparents) are still trying to figure out the nuances (and Laws) of the game; and the Referees are working very hard to provide full-crew coverage of all games, even though the math of total-referees to total-games-needing-coverage sometimes doesn’t work.  Fun times!

As we continue to progress through the season, you will undoubtedly notice that coach and spectator behavior sometimes gets a little more “ragged”.  Everyone has settled in their respective teams, so the focus changes from making sure the players know what they’re doing, to ensuring that the referees are making absolutely no mistakes (real or perceived).  As this occurs, there are strategies on how you, as a Referee, can help lower the temperature of a match even before the game has begun.  Today’s articles deal with talking to coaches before, during and after a game; and how to generally manage the touchlines during a game.

By the way, one of the things I learned during the “off season” is that I have been using a hand gesture which can produce an unintended psychological response from the recipient of my action…. and no, I am not talking about the middle-finger gesture.  When I am giving a verbal warning to a coach particularly about their dissent, e.g., “That’s enough!”, I point to them at the same time.  I learned from a noted behavioral psychologist that this finger pointing is oftentimes perceived as an “aggressive and threatening” action.  So, while it is true that it may be effective in getting the coaches’ attention, my message to him/her may be taken as more than just a warning – but as a threat, which is not my intention.  As a result of this education, my new hand gesture is a palm-down motion along with the “That’s enough!” warning.

So, as you work your games this season, think about your non-verbal behavior and see if you, too, need to alter your actions.

Have a great season!!!

Scott Jarus

AYSO Area 1D Assistant Referee Administrator


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