Best make time

cricket umpire standing behind the stumps
Author:  Angie Calder, Applied Sports Knowledge
Issue: Volume 7 Number 2

Officials are like athletes in that they have to perform at their best in every event. Staying focused, making correct decisions, and managing equipment and personnel are essential. To perform these tasks consistently and reliably, officials must be refresh and well organised. This is especially so for officials who have demanding physical roles, such as football referees and hockey umpires, and for officials who need to make precise decisions about high-speed movements over a long period of time, such as judges in artistic or combat sports.

Monitoring fatigue and stress levels, and learning how to minimise their effects are things that both athletes and officials have in common. This helps officials to be reliable and consistent, which hopefully leads to more enjoyment of their role.

Below are some simple suggestions to achieve this.



Listen to your body to find out how tired or stressed you are.

  • Keep a simple checklist or diary to register your:
    • quality of sleep — a good sleep is invaluable
    • energy levels — start the day with plenty of energy
    • personal stress — for example, lifestyle issues (plan how to manage these)
    • enjoyment of your officiating role — enjoyment and satisfaction are important monitors of your stress levels
    • any illness or injury concerns — manage these and note any patterns.
  • Eat a balanced diet and plan appropriate meals and post-event snacks. Stay hydrated and make sure that you have fluid and fuel for the whole day.
  • Shower before bed and stretch after the shower — start to relax physically.
  • Practise a relaxation technique before bed, for example, visualise a happy place, listen to relaxing music or do some light reading. Switch off from the day’s events.



Spend five to ten minutes planning ahead for the week.

  • Use a weekly planning template or electronic diary to identify and prioritise any weekly commitments for work, study and officiating.
  • Make sure you include family time and relaxation time for yourself.
  • Try to spend at least one day away from your sport to maintain a balanced life.



Review, revisit and re-focus.

  • Review your last year’s performances and adaptation to stress.
  • Identify any changes, and how and when to make them.
  • Have an annual medical check-up that includes vision testing and muscular-skeletal screening — prevention is better than cure.
  • Reset your goals for the year.

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