The importance of presence as a referee

The importance of presence as a referee

    When top professional referees Clattenburg, Dean, and Oliver go about their duties they have presence. That one thing sets them apart from others.

    Presence is often mentioned but never defined as an attribute of a referee’s performance.

    In defining presence, I would say that it is the projection of a referee’s positive personality using non-verbal communication.

    To enhance their presence referees need to be:

    - Confident/self-assured
    - Decisive in their decision-making
    - Able to demonstrate a sense of ease (emotional control)
    - Enthusiastic

    Presence is not a fixed definable quality but rather a process of continuous growth and change that takes place before the eyes of the 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 but diminishes if any of the elements are not successfully transmitted (i.e. - there are different levels of presence. The better the referee is at transmitting these signals, the more rewards he gets in easier match control)

    Presence - confidence

    - Body Posture
    - Eye contact
    - Nervous mannerisms; avoid these because they can transmit anxiety
    - Control of voice; vary the tone and avoid sounding over aggressive or timid

    Be very careful because confidence can border on arrogance.

    Presence - decisiveness

    - Speed of decision-making
    - Sharpness of signals
    - Correctness of action
    - Ability/willingness to admit mistake
    - Early advantage and strong call
    - Control of emotions; slow to anger
    - Appropriate visual response to incidents
    - When to smile
    - When to turn on the mongrel face
    - Willingness to talk when appropriate
    - Controlled urgency
    - Empathy

    Presence - empathy

    - Physical activity; that extra effort
    - Sparkle
    - “The show must go on”
    - Facial alertness

    So referees and assessors, when judging and advising referees please remember to make reference to this aspect of their performance in order to develop these skill sets into their performance.