[Mini/Midi] Use of Cards in Mini Rugby

Phil E

Referees in England
Staff member
Jan 22, 2008
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Current Referee grade:
Level 8
Yup, really hoping it's not as prevalent as that response suggested, certainly not in my experience (so far)

Caveat: this is just my experience and doesn't apply to all coaches, there are always exceptions.

My experience is that in mini and midi rugby it tends to be the coaches themselves or a dad who referees. They may or may not have done a course, and if they have it might have been quite a long while ago. They also may or may not have been a player of any standard, so sometimes you get the coach living his dream through coaching instead of playing.

The coaches get used to being able to shout what they want, as well as being able to come onto the pitch whenever they want and wander up and down the touch line.

When they get to U14, 15 they continue this behaviour because no one has ever (or rarely) stopped them. They know its wrong but continue to do it because they can. We also have a % of coaches who have the win at all costs mentality, only choose the best players and the not so gifted players can't get a game and leave rugby or move to another club.

When they get to U15 (sometimes) or U16, 17, 18 they suddenly start getting Society referees for some games. They also find themselves being called out on their behaviour and it comes as a big shock to them. Some try to argue their point and end up getting reported. Some realise from their own playing days (if they did play) that they are in the wrong and mend their ways.

As I say this is 'some' coaches and certainly not all. I tend to find that the coaches who do behave like this have ill disciplined players as well because the players take the lead from the coach.

This season I have started refereeing my stepsons U12 team because
1. I enjoy it and
2. the standard of some referees at that age left me frustrated (some are very good and I always make a point of complimenting the ones that are).

On a couple of occasions I have stopped the game to ask a coach to please stop shouting at me, I have asked him to observe the core values of the game and set a good example for his players. Spectators seem shocked that a referee would do this, but usually I get a "about time someone did that" kind of remark.

At U15 and 16 I nearly always have to remind coaches of the core values and also what touchline behaviour I expect from them. Don't charge up and down the touchline shouting at me or the players; don't come onto the pitch at every single opportunity to coach the players.

To their credit coaches usually thank me after the game and accept that their behaviour crossed a line.

So I suppose the point of this post is that coaches get into bad habits (as we all do in life) and don't realise until someone points it out to them. If more referees challenged coaches behaviour (in a polite and positive way), this behaviour would soon go. It does tend to go as they get higher up the age groups, but only because they tend to get more experienced (slower) referees who wont put up with it.

PS: Didds is not included in this :wink: