Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


When is the best time to talk to the referee by David Clarke
March 12, 2009, 1:20 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Refereeing | Tags: ,

The coach and referee

Rugby union is not immune from player-referee “discussion”. Nor are coaches completely innocent of aggressive language and behaviour towards the referee.

The picture above, which comes from US basketball, is quite scary I suppose. It is obviously mid-game and the poses of the participants show a telling story of who thinks who is right.

Few sports allow a decision to be overturned. I cannot see the sense in arguing with the official in that case.

I know that other coaches will vent their frustration towards the officials, or might try to influence a future decision. But there are times when a proper, civilised conversation can work for both parties.

So I think the best times to speak to the referee are:
1. Before he comes into the changing room at the start of the game. Breaks the ice and gives both a chance to understand the philosophy of what is about to happen.
2. A quick word at half time, but only to query a possible future decision, not a decision in the past (they can’t be changed!)
3. After the game. Here the feedback is important, style especially. Referees can be defensive about their decisions, not it is not the time to be laying into them. Use this time to help you understand what you and your team can do better next time.

Better Rugby Coaching

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