1. goal setting
2. coping with distractions
3. relaxation
4. attentional focus
5. imagery and mental rehearsal
6. diary/log book
7. check lists
8. appropriate communication



Distractions are those influences, happenings, thoughts, people or objects which cause a referee to lose focus on what is happening on the field of play. What can be distractions?

PEOPLE crowd, family, players, team management, the assessor, the big screen, the media, fans and mascots

THINGS banners, noise, the boss, work

NATURE weather; rain, wind, sun, heat, humidity, The field

RELATIONSHIPS family, fans, friends, media, players, linesmen, assessor, IRB, national rugby union, self, trainers

RESPONSIBILITIES chores, meet mortgage payments, wash the car, paint the house

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE spent time with the family, chores at home before leaving for the game, tasks at work, telephone calls, letters to be written, reports to write, people to visit

THINGS WITHIN ME hunger and thirst, not being fit enough, tiredness, fatigue, uncomfortable clothing and boots, earphones and microphone, not being prepared

When you run onto the paddock it is important, imperative, that you have parked all the distractions. You do not enter the arena with any of the 'baggage' of everyday life. It is all left behind. It is possible to develop simple but effective strategies to leave all of that behind you. In almost all cases distractions will serve only to distract you from your primary mission or doing a great job with the whistle.

We can describe and teach you techniques that go by the titles of The Black Box, The Lake, The Sea Chest. Techniques whereby you clear your mind and allow rugby refereeing material to enter. You can learn to use imagery to enhance your ability to make decisions, to see what is going on during play, to deal with the obnoxious player, to refocus, and to reinforce that you are a great referee!

It is true that we are what we think we are. We are the result of the most effective type of self-fulfilling prophecy; our fundamental beliefs about ourselves and what we expect that we can achieve. Positive images and thoughts in; positive results will follow.

An interesting exercise is to list all the things over which you have control. Then in a second list all of those which you cannot control.

As you will have probably predicted the second list will be many times longer than the first. However, there is no reason to despair! We have an indirect way of controlling this long list. We can do it by remote control by controlling how we react to all of them. There is the remote control. We control ourselves and so they do not control us.

Here is one technique which you can use so as not to be bothered by your everyday responsibilities. As you drive from your home stop just around the corner. Or if you are flying, find yourself a seat alone or do this exercise just as the airplane leaves the ground. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath.

As you breathe out imagine that you are standing beside a beautiful blue lake surrounded by mountains. See the lake in vivid colour. Now take each item which will be a distraction and drop it in the lake. Watch it hit the surface and sink out of sight. See the ripples radiate to the edge of the lake.

If you have done everything at home and work that is physically possible within the time available then placing everything else in the lake will serve to eliminate a long list of potential distractions.

Remember that if something keeps you awake then it is a distraction because you will be tired and tiredness is a distraction.

As a successful referee you possess the skills and knowledge to apply sport psychology strategies and techniques. Goal setting is a traditional technique and process used by athletes. It is not an add-on process. You are setting goals all of the time.