World-Class Referee Keith Hackett On Controlling the Pitch with your Presence
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 PROJECTED THROUGH BODY LANGUAGE
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
- A Sense of Ease — Emotional Control
It is important to keep in mind:
- Presence is not a fixed definable quality but rather a process of continuous growth and change that takes place before the eyes of players.
- The challenge is to continually project the right image by being vitally aware of the signals you are sending to others.
- The quality of presence is enhanced by the signals the referee sends. However, it diminishes if any of the elements are not successfully transmitted.
A REFEREE’s PRESENCE IS A CLEAR INDICATION OF HIS CONFIDENCE
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
A Referees Presence on the Pitch Can Be Enhanced if you are Decisive
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.
PRESENCE – ENTHUSIASM
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.
Keith Hackett is the author of the new You Are the Ref 300 Footballing Conundrums, the You Are the Ref, the Ultimate Illustrated Guide to the Laws of Football and the You Are the Umpire. The amazing illustrations are by Paul Trevillion.
You Are The Ref is a cult classic comic strip in England. SoccerToday is thrilled to bring this to our American soccer audience and share these stunning portraits of soccer stars from all eras. For anyone who has ever questioned a ref’s eyesight or grappled with a clearly ‘wrong’ call, now it is your turn!
According to David James, “Anyone who loves the game knows You Are The Ref. Paul Trevillion’s brilliant art has been around for generations!”