MMA2
Shane Mansfield – a You Are The Ref-supported football referee – after winning his most recent MMA fight

Shane Mansfield’s burgeoning referee career has been boosted after Wiltshire FA handed the official a double promotion, from Level 7 to Level 5.

Mansfield – also a Mixed Martial Arts fighter – enjoyed a fine breakthrough season in 2014/15 which culminated in refereeing two local finals. He has continued to develop his game this campaign, something clearly recognised by his County FA.

We recently brought you Shane’s thoughts on climbing the refereeing ladder and the support received by You Are The Ref’s Guy Beale, which you can read here – and now we’ve caught up with Shane to reflect on the 2015/16 campaign.

“I think I have had another decent season. But as Guy would tell me, he wouldn’t expect any less with the level of football I’m refereeing. What I have to be careful of is coasting and getting into bad habits.

“What’s good is that I have been supported very well by the Trowbridge League Secretary Andy Meaden, who has given me the tougher games to do this season. So it’s kept me on my toes every Saturday. The result no doubt being my club marks aren’t as good!

“I think after a good first season and having some finals I took a profile into this season, which has helped me a lot; the teams know who I am and what to expect from me. But again that brings dangers. Familiarity and a sense of being friends with the players – which can make big decisions more difficult. That I am aware of this helps me, but I do think it is a development area for me.

Read more: Shane Mansfield receives double promotion after You Are The Ref support

“I have always been big on dealing with dissent and not really suffering much of it as a result. But it’s started to creep in because of the familiarity aspect with the players and I need to set my tolerance bar now before next season starts. If I’m very critical of myself, I think I’ve softened. So we will see a change there.

“One thing that does come with experience, and I think I’ve now done 150 games in just under two seasons, is positioning and reading of the game. My fitness should always be good enough for what I do outside of football, but I find myself naturally getting in better positions to give the big decisions and helping my credibility.

“Students always ask me when I coach MMA: “How do you know what punches are coming?” or “how are you able to counter that kick?” and a lot of it is just thousands of rounds of sparring so your mind and body are in tune, and you just know how to move. I think to some extent the same logic can be applied to refereeing.

“Only through experience – a lot of the times making an error or missing something – do you know just where to move on a football field as play develops.”