Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Friday, February 26, 2010


One of the most frustrating things to deal with as a coach is poor officiating. Things can unravel pretty fast when the officials are having a bad game. A big gain can be nullified; a score can be called back, non-infractions called infractions, non-calls turning into points for the other team, player and coach ejections.

At some point, we've all seen it!

I have come to the conclusion that referee's are like our players. There are days when they look great and days when they are going to miss calls and look terrible. There are poor officials and officials who are outstanding. Same as coaches.

But what do you do when you get poor officiating?

My experience has taught me to roll with the punches. To be patient, and to try and make your point as quietly as you can without embarrassing the official or yourself. Remember, your players will look to you to be rock solid when things go bad. Yelling at the official doesn't help. I must admit I was at one time one to let the officials know what I thought! I learned the hard way that they will soon let you know who's in control! You'll never win that battle!

A few tips that have helped me over the years:

Try to make your point with the official by using your captains to question, politely, of course, their call or non call. Or, perhaps after a score when the official lines up in between the benches for the kick-off you can quietly ask him whether or not he saw an infraction that you felt led to the score against. If not, ask him to please watch next time. Don't publicly embarrass them!

I was told by an official that screaming and yelling is a sign of the coach not understanding the game or as last resort when things are not going well, blame the officials. Use the linesman to your advantage; he's always in front of your bench. Ask him to watch a certain player or play or to relay your message to the Head Official for them to discuss at half-time.

Attend an officials Rules meeting and get into some discussions on interpretation. Most leagues have these meetings. Attend and build respect. You'll find that you'll get this respect back especially on the playing field during game day. Question the calls based on good knowledge of the rules. Don't grasp at straws and vaguely only know. Know the rule inside and out! I always am flipping through the rule book.

Once you get the reputation within the officials circle as being knowledgeable and under control I find they communicate, approach the bench more, and are more willing to engage you in discussion through-out the game.


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