To play, or to ref...

doofy96


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Im going into U16's this season and have been playing since U6's

I took my ERLA 1/2 course last season and have always been really interested in refereeing the game

I've reffed a few games for the younger age groups and some for mine and ive really enjoyed the experience and was thinking about joining a society

i have no idea whether to continue playing rugby for my club or start refereeing every Sunday instead...

Need help on what i should do :confused:,, THANKS :biggrin:
 

Adam


Referees in England
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Are you a good player?

It's always worth joining a Society as they can give you support and training. See which you prefer.

I was awful at playing and had a bad temperament for a player (partly because I knew I could do better) so I switched quite young.
 

doofy96


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Yeah im not a bad player , (A team winger), Thanks, is it possible to try out at a society then ?
 

Lee Lifeson-Peart


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Welcome.

It's a hard choice I imagine. My lad did ELRA at 14 and continued playing until U17 then went and played Hockey (not much help I know) however he still refs school matches.

If you are really fit or prepared to work to get so and then work hard on the law/management stuff then the pathway for advancement is there. There are a few younger lads on here Bryan, Jacko, sgoat etc who have turned themselves over to refereeing and are well up the pyramid. Time is on your side and to get to the top you can't afford to wait until your thirties/forties (like lots of us did) and hope you'll still make it.

It really depends on your aspirations - if you want to just ref but aren't that ambitious about advancement then keep playing. If you fancy "having a go" for Elite status then start refereeing now or certainly before you get to 20.

That's my advice for what it's worth. Whatever you do it's supposed to be fun remember!

Good Luck:bday:
 

dave_clark


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Yeah im not a bad player , (A team winger), Thanks, is it possible to try out at a society then ?

ok, how about this for an option (once you turn 17 of course). play for an adult team on Saturdays, and ref junior rugby on Sundays. if you find you're enjoying the reffing far more than playing and want to progress you'll need to start covering games on Saturdays too (and stop playing regularly), but either way you'll know.
 

doofy96


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Thanks Lee, it would be amazing to get to elite level!....

And thats some good advice dave thanks :D, just need to work on fitness now so i can work hard 2 days in a row :S
 

Dixie


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I think Dave-Clark has the answer. Most of us take up reffing when the body can't take the pain any more (or, in the case of we wingers, we start developing an unfamiliarly close relationship with opposition flankers), so we have no realistic prospects of advancement in reffing. Those prospects properly belong to the younger refs, adn good luck to them all.

IMO, there's nothing quite like playing. The sense of unity with the team, the ability to bask in the glory of your own achievements, or the reflected glory of the team's. At 51, I still smile at the occasional recollection of a particular swerve or score. I've never smiled at the recollection of a particulary tricky decision correctly made, and if we are all honest, at the post-game festivities you are something of a spare willy at a wedding, even if you've had a good game and the hosts are friendly. (Don't even ask about what happens if your game was a bit off and the crowd was on your back!). A player's career in his prime will very rarely last into the mid-30's. That probably looks like forever from where you are sitting, but I'm still pretty active and have been a non-player for longer than you've been alive.

So if you have aspirations to get to the very top of reffing but doubt you could play at the same level, then I'd say take up reffing and pursue it for all you're worth. If you have no particular desire to invest heavily for success in reffing but fancy the challenge, I'd go with Dave-Clark's approach. If you are not much fussed either way, I'd say play until you can no longer get out of bed on a Sunday morning, and at that point take up reffing.
 

Dickie E


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My experience is a bit different to Dixie. I was a poor to average player & enjoyed the comaraderie, etc. Started reffing when I was getting on a bit.

But for refereeing I would never have:
1. been #4 at Melbourne C'wealth Games 7s,
2. never been timekeeper for 2 Tests
3. never gone to Delhi for C'wealth Games
4. never been timekeeper for Melbourne Rebels
5. never been timekeeper for IRB 7s in Adelaide, Wellington and Hong Kong

To be an elite player you need to be f***ing good. To be an 'elite" official, often just need to put yourself in right place at right time
 

Mike Whittaker


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But for playing social rugby for some 25 years I would never have enjoyed the team camaraderie on away trips and tours. And would certainly never have... (sorry but you are too young doofy96 and much too impressionable to have the details, and who knows if things like that still go on??)

However 20 years of reffing, mostly grass roots social stuff, kept me in touch with the game and the players, and now on the touchline I can use some of that experience in trying to help other refs. And I don't regret any of it.

As they say, "Reach for the stars and you will get to the moon, if that is really where you want to be." Others just like to keep their feet on the ground, and nothing wrong with that. Whatever, do what you enjoy and have fun doing it :)
 

Simon Thomas


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To be an elite player you need to be f***ing good. To be an 'elite" official, often just need to put yourself in right place at right time

Not in England - to make it to National Panel you need to be an exceptional referee, to make it to the Elite you have to be very very very good as well. At each stage there is a competitive assessment (which is measured and objective) to get to the next step of the ladder. Yes being in the roight place at the right time helps, but ability, commitment and on-pitch performance are the key criteria.

8 elite and 45 or so national Panel Referees out of our 5,500 Society members in UK is a very small % !
 

Simon Thomas


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doofy - stay playing for as long as you can, unless injury forces you to stop. The more you understand rugby, the players, the coaches etc the more empathetic you will be as a referee - which is crucial to get beyond being a competent average Society Referee at level 9 or so.

Even after 30 + years of my playing career (which included county schools, a top university and Harlequins) when I started reffing I was still learning (and still am).

Certainly through school / college / university and at your club keep playing , as it will add to your "social education" as well as give you better understanding of the game of rugby itself at each of these levels. But also qualify as a referee, do matches as a club referee and for uni days, where refereees are like gold dust it will help you. If you join a Society even better still as you will be coached, mentored, and developed at the right pace.

Also you never know when your academic, work or family commitments may stop you playing, or even refereeing.

My Society initiated a Young Officials scheme a decade ago, which the RFU has since adopted nationally. Where in the country are you ?
 

doofy96


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Thanks everyone for the advice, seems like i should keep playing and help out refereeing whenever i can :) im in hertfodshire at the moment ..
 

dave_clark


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doofy - stay playing for as long as you can, unless injury forces you to stop. The more you understand rugby, the players, the coaches etc the more empathetic you will be as a referee - which is crucial to get beyond being a competent average Society Referee at level 9 or so.

and yet playing until the age of 40+ before taking up the whistle will (as near as makes no odds) entirely scupper the chances of making it to the top.

tough balancing act, and i think Dixie got it spot on (especially the bit where he agreed with me).
 

Ciaran Trainor


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Carry on playing for a bit longer doofy, and as others have suggested ref on sundays if you can, there are some pretty good U19 and U17 games out there that need quality refs
If you are ever in Cumbria on a Sunday we are desperate for anyone who can do a game
 

Ciaran Trainor


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Set us up for that one didn't I!!
But I do mean it, there are simply not enough refs most weekends to cover games Especially when the leagues in their wisdom put all 7 level seven teams at home every other week and we have about 7 refs at that level
 

tpd1990


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Hi,

If I were you, I would play for a little longer and maybe get a few odd games in refereeing when you can. I'm 20 and I'm starting this season due to a broken leg last year.

I really miss playing and would say at least stick at so you get the opportunity to play at seniors. That way you wil have the refereeing to fall back on when your ready.
 

sgoat


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As LLP said I started when I was young and have done alright so far.

I did the National Foundation Course (old ELRA) in the summer before sixth form, then refereed a few school U12 B/C games on a Saturday morning as a warm up to my game in the afternoon. After Christmas (when I had turned 17) I did a couple of society appointments on a Saturday, vets and 3rd XV games. I did that for the two years of sixth form, while still playing. I felt that was a good way to do both the refereeing and the playing as I didn't want to stop playing, but was enjoying the refereeing too.

I then took a gap year and coached and referee in Australia for a season (no playing) while working in a school. When I got back to the UK for uni I carried on playing and refereeing for my first two years. I could do that as the uni games were mid-week and society appointments on Saturday. I kept progressing up the levels and at the start of my 3rd year was at Lv 6 and ready to push for group level. It was at that stage that I decided to stop playing as I was already refereeing at a level above which I was playing and thought I should see how far I could go.

My advice would be to give it a taste and see how you like it. I originally did the referees course to become a better player. I figured better knowledge of the law and knowing what the referee was looking for would help me as a player, and it did. Then the more I refereed, the more I enjoyed the challenge that each game brings. I do miss the camaraderie of playing (which is why I coached a college side at uni), but I also love the fact that I can say I referee at National League level.
 

ckuxmann


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Like Adam, I started at a young age. I took the iRB level 1 course at 16 and did my first game at 17 due to winter. I've been playing since I was 14, and really enjoyed it and my senior year (18) I got a neck injury while playing. I was able to ref full time due to the US system. For me the choice was playing at University or reffing. I wasn't to good of a player, but enjoyed reffing so I ended up reffing full time. I still get that urge to play every once and a while, but I won't due it again because for me the risk of injury isn't worth not reffing anymore.
If you have any questions about being a younger ref feel free to contact me, the US and UK systems seem so different, but I'll provide any help that I can.

Cody
 

Phil E


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A lot of players I know like to Ref as well...................at the same time :nono:

Most of them have #9 on their backs :knuppel2:
 
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