What is an Advisor?
Or is it an Assessor?
It really doesn’t make much difference what he’s called, it’s what he’s there for that really matters. This information is produced to give new (or fairly new) referees an idea of what happens when you are told that you are going to be watched by an Advisor (or whatever else he calls himself).
First, and foremost, please remember that you should not change anything because he is present. Please don’t put on a show, do or say anything different to what you would normally do. He is there to see how you normally referee a match and would rather see your bad habits so that he can advise you how to correct them than have you hide them from him.
You will get notice that he is coming before the match. In most Societies it is usual for the Advisor to contact the referee before the game and many will telephone during the week prior to the match. Others will introduce themselves 30 minutes to an hour before the start of the match and some will either leave it until 5 minutes before kick-off or even not mention their presence until after the match. Although many feel this is unfair, it really shouldn’t matter – as stated above, you shouldn’t let his presence affect your game anyway.
An Advisor or Assessor who has been officially appointed to watch you is there for two major reasons and opinions may differ about which is the most important. These are numbered in order of importance as far as I see it!
1. To enable him to provide advice and guidance to assist the referee to develop.
2. To provide feedback to the Grading committee to enable a referees level to be adjusted accordingly.
The format is usually the same at every match although some may wish to get away early or allow you to discuss your game with the teams, but normally the Advisor will sit down with you for a short time after the game and discuss the major elements of his report with you. He will then leave you to enjoy the hospitality of the home club and send you a copy of his report (there are rules within most societies regarding how soon this should be done).
Once you receive your report you should take note of the guidance given and consider how you might apply this to your next game. Obviously not every ‘tip’ will work for every referee so you may wish to take advice from a fellow referee or your Referee Society officers if you need more help developing that area of your game but in general you should always try to accept that the comments are there to help you improve your game – not because he didn’t like the colour of your shirt!
Finally some referees have been known to complain that the Advisor has been over-critical or unfair in his assessment, doesn’t know the ‘new’ laws, didn’t give me a chance to explain why I made a certain decision etc. Telling another referee or player this is of little use to anybody. Whilst the Advisor is there to report on the referee, the referee also has the opportunity to report on the Advisor! Please use the Advisor feedback form (copy available on this website) to help the Grading committee to ensure that the standard of Advisors in their Society is maintained.
Footnote: Some societies ask referees without appointments or who are unable to officiate due to injury, to watch another referee of their choice. This is often the person taking charge of the game at their local club. Whilst these are not officially appointed, they are there for similar reasons. They will often have an informal chat after the game and point out two or three aspects of your game that you might like to think about. They may well offer some tips on how they have overcome the same issue and they may even complete an Advisor form to formalise what has been said. This is often copied to the Grading committee to allow them to ensure that any advise given is sound and does not conflict with good practice.
With thanks to Mel Hillman for the photographs of himself proving that Advisors can have a lonely life too!