Basic Referee Online Course
About Lesson

Command & Control

The competition platform is a shared spaced between Referees, Assistants and athletes. This area should be controlled by the Referees to ensure proper safety requirements are followed as well as to mitigate against undue influence of the athlete’s performance.

Common issues to avoid:

  • Crowding​: Standing too close as an athlete completes a task. 
  • Herding​: Unless it is for immediate safety concerns a Referees or Assistants should never intentionally physically touch or move an athlete.
  • Pacing​: Officials should minimize their physical movement. This includes unnecessary movement while counting or reviewing athlete performance.
  • Slow Calls​: Make timely decisions and avoid a delayed count or “no-rep” in order to avoid confusion.
  • Clutter​: Weight belts, bottles, equipment, chalk, and any non-essential items should not be allowed to congest the platform.
  • Pre-Staging: ​The warm up area is for warm ups. Athletes should typically not be allowed to touch or move equipment on the field of play.

Best Intentions

A Referee’s best intentions can lead to confusion and delays. It is critical to the integrity of the sport, that our behavior is professional — cordial but purely objective and unaffected by the result.

Athlete communication

  • Introductions are accepted but not expected​: If an athlete introduces themselves, it is expected that a Technical Official respond in kind, but not offer additional conversation.
  • Don’t recommunicate the standards​: Athletes should be referred to the Head Technical Official or team coaches for any questions. The start of the competition is not the time to ask these questions.
  • Don’t be a cheerleader​: An athlete has teammates and crowd support. A Referee’s responsibilities require full attention and should not be reduced in order to offer support.
  • Don’t be a super fan​: Impartiality is critical to a Referees performance. Regardless of previous or current performance, all athletes should receive the same objective treatment from all Referees.
  • Don’t be a coach​: An athlete’s performance is based on their ability to execute according to their plan. Technical Officials should offer no insight, strategy, or tips in order to support an athlete.

Non-Competitors / Team Staff Communication 

  • Redirect coaches to Head Referees

Spectator Communication

  • Kept to an absolute minimum and permitted only when necessity requires

Under no circumstances, should a Referee publicly question or disparage a decision or the performance of another Referee. If a situation arises that warrants intervention, refer all issues to a Head Referee for the event as soon as it is possible and appropriate.

Visual & Verbal

Technical Officials’ duties include the proper communication to their respective athlete as well as to others interested in an athlete’s performance. It is critical that key gestures and verbal queues are properly executed.


A Referee can be negatively impacted when he / she allows different emotions, rather than the prescribed standards, to dictate how performance is assessed.

  • Apathy: ​Not caring about your responsibilities
  • Sympathy: ​Giving undue credit based on lack of objectivity
  • Ignorance: ​Not knowing what should be occurring
  • Fear: ​Being afraid to assert oneself
  • Fatigue: ​Losing mental and physical acuity due to exertion and stress

Special Circumstances

Referees are obliged to inform Head Referees of factors that may actually influence the outcome of a competition or create the impression of anything other than complete impartiality.

  • Officiating Errors​: Immediately notify Head Referee in a discrete manner providing as much insight into the issue as possible.
  • Conflicts of Interest​: Referees must disclose existing personal relationships with any athletes or teams prior to the beginning of events. Violations may result in revocation of Referee’s certification(s).
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