General Referee Information

What the heck is a referee?

A referee is the sports official that supervises over the game from a neutral standpoint and makes decisions that implements the rules and guidelines of the particular sport. These individuals that you’ll notice wearing the trademark black and white stripped referee uniform are, depending on the sport, known by a different name.

A referee can also be called an umpire especially in Australian football, baseball, softball, cricket, field hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rowing, sailing, sumo wrestling and tennis. You’re probably familiar with the referee or the umpire’s responsibility with the other, more familiar sports but you are wondering what in the world are lawn bowls and netball right?

Lawn bowls is actually not a new game as it is already quite popular in the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and some parts of the United States.  It is a sport wherein the main objective is to roll the ball so they are within close proximity of a smaller ball.

Netball, on the other hand, is somewhat similar to basketball with a slight difference in the number of players and format.  The game, netball requires seven instead of five players per team and unlike basketball, there is no backboard for the ball to bounce on.  The caption nothing but net should help you visual this sport.

In most instances wherein the referee is known as the umpire, there is usually more than one referee involved.  A good example is the sport of baseball where there are usually at least two to six refs present during a particular game. The concepts of a referee have some minor deviation with the sport wherein the refs or umpires often wear a solid blue or black shirt instead of the characteristic referee uniform. The task of the referee is also sub-divided among the refs or umpires who forms part of the umpire crew.

The umpire crew is made up of several refs or umpires who are stationed across the field. In a game where only two refs or umpires are used, the umpire-in-chief and base umpires are the indispensable posts wherein one is in charge of the entire game while the other one is positioned near the bases. However; in the event of championship games wherein they might make use of six refs or umpires, there will also be a first-base umpire, second-base umpire, third-base umpire, outfield umpires on top of the umpire-in-chief and base umpire or plate umpire.

A referee may also be called a commissaire like in the sport of cycling. Commissaire do not blow their whistle during cheap shots but they ensure that participants and their gears are scrutinized to ensure a safe and fair race. On the other hand, a timekeeper is also another name for the sports official that is employed in the sport of handball, korfball, netball, and underwater hockey.  Unlike a basketball or soccer referee, timekeepers do not hand out penalties but they measure the passage of time, record time and note the time remaining.

A referee may also be referred to as touch judge especially in the sports of rugby.  This sports official will raise a flag if the player or the ball goes outside the touchlines. These refs or touch judges also take their position behind the posts to verify that a goal has been successful.

Another sport wherein the referee is known by a different name is American football. These individuals do wear the trademark referee uniform but are known by different names depending on their position or task.

The head referee is the equivalent of the crew chief or umpire-in-chief in baseball.  These individuals are in charge of supervising the entire game and have the final ruling in any disputes.  You can distinguish the head referee from the other refs by the hat he is wearing.  The head referee usually wears a white hat while all others wear black ones.

You can also find umpires within the same football game. Although umpires are also considered refs especially in baseball and softball, they perform a specific and different task in football.  Umpires in football are refs who stand behind the defensive line and linebackers and check for illegal blocks among others. His task is probably the most dangerous since he is there on the field moving around with the players.  While the referee uniform help them standout, it doesn’t guarantee that they won’t be tackled by mistake.

Another referee in football is the head linesman who stands at the end of the scrimmage looking for possible violation and abuse.  He is also responsible for plays within his geographical jurisdiction like whether or not a player went out of bounds.

A line judge is the referee who assists the head linesman who stands at the opposite end of the scrimmage from the head linesman also looking for possible violation and abuse.  He is also, likewise, responsible for plays that go on his geographical jurisdiction like a player illegally throwing the ball beyond the scrimmage line.

The field judge is another referee that works alongside the line judge behind the defensive secondary.  He often rules on incomplete passes, interferences on passes and illegal blocks downfield. The field judge is also sometimes the game’s official timekeeper and rules on whether a particular field goal was successful or not with the back judge.

The side judge is a referee that works behind the defensive secondary alongside the head linesman at the opposite end of the field judge. Moreover, he serves as a secondary umpire with regards to field goals and acts as timekeeper in college football matches.

Finally, the back judge is the referee is positioned in the middle of the field behind the defensive secondary.  His geographical jurisdiction is of the football field between himself, in the middle, and the umpire.  In a high school football setting, the back judge is the official timekeeper of the game.

The NFL recently tested out a new referee position called the deep judge who is responsible in looking out for any illegal action on the part of the receivers. The decision whether to keep the position permanent is still up for discussion and would need to be approved by the ownership.

A referee by any other name is still responsible to ensure that games remain friendly, fair and safe.  They have proven that they are a crucial part of any sporting game and without them, it probably won’t be as much fun to watch.

Sports have games that evokes interest in a lot of people. An official in a sporting event is known as a referee or simply a ref. Referee are meant to check whether the game is played in the right spirit and monitors the game when it happens. Generally, a sporting event has more than one ref, however, in most of the cases there is a single referee and the others are known as umpires. The numbers of umpires are generally two but it can be varied as per the game demands.

The job of a referee is to enforce the rules and regulations that have been designed for the game and to check whether the ongoing game complies with the standard that has been laid down. The referee hence has a demanding job at hand as players tend to get fiercely competitive and ensuring that the spirit of the game persists when the players are all fiery and worked up is not the easiest of all jobs. Yet, to be a successful referee, you need to do that. Some people need a lot of training before being qualified as a ref as the referee needs to be trained in the laws of the game.

It is absolutely mandatory that a referee is clear about the basics of the game. For a ref to regulate the proceedings of the game, a sound knowledge of the same is essential. Not only does a ref need to be thoroughly aware of the game play methods, but he also needs to be aware of the rules that define the game. If a referee needs to know whether or not the rules for the game have been maintained, he too must be aware of what the rules are and what they define.

Only after an individual is clear about the knowledge regarding the game in thorough detail, he can apply for the post of a referee.  There are a lot of signs, signals and symbols that a referee uses during the game. Hence, a lot of training precedes the making of a ref. Thus, if you intend to become a referee, go ahead with your training and enhance your knowledge base. The more knowledge you garner about this field, the better are your chances for being a good referee. Thus, to make your dream come true and realize the true calling, then go ahead and search for all the related information and the required training that you need. The first beginning is a small step; obviously you cannot expect to plunge in an international match right away. The count first begins from low state matches, if the performance of the ref is worth praising, then he might soon be promoted to higher level matches and he could soon be refereeing for an international match as well. There are a lot of symbols, cards and signs that are universally used by all the referees who coordinate the game; hence, you must be prepared to deliver quality performance.

To learn more about refs Click Here