Tackling abuse of officials: Attitudes and communication skills of experienced football referees.

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Many Australian and overseas sports bodies are experiencing difficulties retaining referees at the grass roots level, especially young referees. Abuse and aggression from players and spectators are the most commonly given reasons for referees leaving. This paper uses in depth interviews to explore the way a small sample of experienced, successful football (soccer) referees think about and deal with abuse and aggression.Experienced referees ultimately judge their own performance by the correctness of their decisions and application of the rules. Central to experienced referees' communication is a deliberate projection of calm and confidence in themselves and their decisions.Player abuse is perceived to be driven by frustration, disappointment and partiality. Referees adapt their response according to situation. They articulated an extensive repertoire of verbal and non-verbal techniques for enhancing player acceptance of decisions, and dealing directly with player abuse and aggression.Spectators are generally considered to be partial, poorly positioned to judge,and lacking in understanding of the rules. By focusing on the game and reminding themselves of their own expertise, referees are able to 'block out'most spectator abuse.Some of the attitudes and skills of successful referees may be passed on to inexperienced referees through explicit teaching, practising communication skills, and performance evaluation systems. Their strategies for projecting confidence and enhancing acceptance of decisions may be transferable to other professions and situations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationANZCA2006
Subtitle of host publicationEmpowerment, creativity and innovation: Challenging media and communication in the 21st Century
EditorsChika Anyanwu
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherANZCA/ University of Adelaide
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)0863968376
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2006 Annual Conference - Adelaide, Australia, Australia
Duration: 04 Jul 200607 Jul 2006


ConferenceAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2006 Annual Conference


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