Dealing With Difficult Coaches

Question: How should I handle coaches who are loud and disrespectful to my assistant referees and me during games?

Answer: This is one of the toughest things for referees to handle. The game can be going just fine until you lose focus for a split-second and make the wrong call on whose possession it is for a throw-in and all of a sudden the coach of the team who is affected by your call will start screaming and throwing a fit over something that isn’t really that big of a deal. Here is how you should deal with it if a coach is giving you a hard time:

*NOTE: these are suggestions and your judgment should always come first. Utilize law 18!

  1. Wait for a stoppage in play, then go over to the coach and ask him/her to quiet down and talk to you at halftime or after the game if they have a concern.
  2. If they continue, you should wait for a stoppage in play or stop play, depending on the severity of the incident and issue the coach a formal warning and tell him that he must stop or you will have to ask him to leave.
  3. If the coach continues to be out of control, you must ask him to leave the field of play and its immediate surroundings. You cannot show the coach a red card like you can to players or substitutes, but you should file a send off report or a disciplinary report with your league after the incident.

Some Youth Leagues Change Rules Around Heading the Ball

Some youth leagues around the United States have made it illegal for players to head the ball in concerns that more head injuries are occurring. The leagues are responding by making it, in some cases, an indirect free kick offense for a player to intentionally head the ball. Referees should be aware of their league rules, knowing what to enforce. There is mixed reactions to these new rules from the officiating community, but it is in the interest of the health of the kids. Concussions have been a hot topic in all sports recently, and referees should know the protocol for what to do in case of a concussion or other head injury during a match. You can find this protocol for youth sports here. When in doubt, you should advise the coach to have their player sit out and get checked by a medical professional.