Soccer Referee Mentors
Mission 2018
Entry Level
Rotary Engine
of Entry Level
101, 102,
103 (Ninja Mentoring)
104 (Scrimmage Game)
A Mentor's Notes/Form
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The Compliment
A Powerful Teaching Tool
To Learn It,
Teach It

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Where You Officiate Matters, Where You
Take Entry Level Training, Matters Even More!
2 Booklets Speed Up Training Resource Links

  Mentoring 101 Classic, Traditional, or, “At The Game” style

*Mentor usually meets with officiating team before game, @½ time, end of game; might follow up w/email/phone call, might arrange to meet again at future game(s)...
*Mentor's observations are usually made from boundary lines, but could be an official in the match as an AR or Referee or doing double duty as a 4th Official
*Some make written notes/sketches
*Mentor can focus on 1-2-3 officials, and, if adjacent to another field, could split time between them especially if KO times are slightly staggered
*Some are paid, most volunteer
*This classic mentoring format works well in virtually any sport

Mentoring 102 ‘Contemporary,’or, ‘In the Game’ style


*Mentor is an official in the game; explains his/her role @ pre-game meeting
*While the ball is in play, Mentor fulfills the role of AR or CR as his/her primary function, taking occasional visual/mental notes / ‘snap-shots’ of other official(s) in moments like:
            -when play is transitioning into other ½ of field...
            -when ball is being booted way out of play...
            -prior to & during some substitutions, etc.
Then, as with Mentoring 101, feedback is shared at the ½, end of game, etc. (we know from experience that in lower level games, there are abundant opportunities for an official to observe 1-2 other officials in action without interfering with one’s duties as CR or’s just a matter of making the most out of those moments ...that’s what a Mentor does in Mentoring 102 & 103 )
*Overall, mentoring outreach is expanded when In the Game mentors self-assign to lower level games & carry on mentoring activities when deemed appropriate. Because new referees are found in abundance in lower level games, training can continue any time Mentors take these games, assigned or unassigned.

Mentoring 103 “Ninja” or “Unbriddled / Animated ” Mentoring


*This Mentor is an official in the game, using the same observational skills found in 101 & 102....but is undoubtedly having more fun because @ some stoppages AR flag in Wrong Handhe/she is actively but silently passing on the Art of Officiating using a set of Instructive Silent Signals ( ISS’s ).
* Instructive Silent Signals ( ISS’s ) are simple, uncomplicated messages sent with the hand...sent at a STOPPAGE...explained & demonstrated prior to opening kick off. Each ISS targets a specific mechanic which the new official can improve almost immediately in the next few moments in most cases.


This type of mentoring works best on smaller fields, with younger/beginner level players, where there is usually no shortage of stoppages and the likely home for newly licensed referees in their first 10-11 week season....



Sending Silent Signals is something we already know how to do: we've been sending and receiving them for years, such as: " call me!" or "stop!" or "come this way" or "we're # 1" or " time out"......there are plenty of SILENT SIGNALS sent in every day use . No words are spoken. The receiver needs to be looking when you send one and there's usually a head nod or smile sent back & forth that confirms ' message sent, message received.' In fact, TEXTING is a form of SILENT SIGNALS too, wouldn't you say?Poor Directional Signal


-you've noticed a particular performance issue that you'd like to see changed
-wait for the right moment, and, if that person knows what the signal means,
-you send an ISS at a STOPPAGE - when you would normally make eye contact anyway. When sending an ISS, eye contact between Sender/Receiver is as critical as knowing what the signal represents.

Training The Trainer with ISS's: I recall training a new mentor (who was a seasoned CR ) in this technique. I was one of the ARs. He explained & demonstrated 3 ISS's prior to the game. In the first ½ he hadn't NOTICED that the other AR's flag was almost always in the wrong hand( the other AR and I agreed to deliberately 'mess up'). At a longer than usual stoppage-as the CR and I made eye contact- I pointed to my flag & then pointed to the other AR. He turned, took notice, but while looking toward the restart on my side of the field, fired off one of his 3 ISS's basically into 'outer space' because the other AR was moving about staying even with 2nd to last defender, not looking at the CR. The AR continued to keep flag in the 'wrong hand' which continued to annoy the CR/Mentor. Talking it over @ the ½ time break, he acknowledged his shortcoming when sending the ISS. In the 2nd ½, made a " 180" turnaround on his approach, locked in on the AR, sent the ISS, received acknowledgement from the AR that it was received...and on they went with the game, the AR now holding the flag in the proper hand while facing the field. 'Message sent, message received, performance improved, mission accomplished.'

Why the name Ninja?
“Ninja” or “Unbriddled / Animated” Mentoring is the most active form of mentoring -the Mentor is fully 'animated' using hands / arms / legs / head to deliver 'mini - training - payloads' and it is a lot of fun too.
Here’s a ‘starter list’ of issues & ISS’s, but be selective / add to it or create your own

Some Common Issues for Entry Level Referees   Instructive Silent Signals...ISS's
1. Flag is in wrong hand...   1.  Mimic transferring flag below waist to other hand
2. Directional signal is less than 45 degrees   2.  Hold your arm at 45 degrees
3. Not following ball toward goal line, past last defender   3. Mimic your fingers 'running' toward the goal
Soccer Goal
4. CR is too far from play...   4. Mimic 'closing the gap' with two hands
5. Poor or inconsistent eye contact when signaling   5. Point 2 fingers toward your eyes/their eyes
6. Not behind flag on a corner kick   6.  Show 'push' toward...then 'around' corner flag
Proper Position
7. Your list......   7.  Your ISS's
8. Let's bracket or 'book end' play on ball...   8. Hold two hands(cupped)...moving toward ea other
9. Offside signaling: wait for my whistle before pointing...   9. Mimic blowing whistle, wait...then show signal...
10. CR is following way too close to play   10. show hands parting, opening up space between them
Too close to play
11. No signal given after goal is scored...   11. Mimic fingers running up touchline...
12. Staying even with 2nd to last defender...   12. Mimic swinging arm like a pendulum, below waist, parallel to goal line...
13. Side steps when the pace is slow...   13. Take a couple of side steps...

If something comes up in a game where no ISS was explained for a 'new' issue, the Mentor can discuss this at ½ time, creating / demonstrating a new one on the spot if needed... return to the game, sending it if needed in the second half.

Bonus Value of Mentoring 103

*Mentoring 103 definitely gives a Mentoring Program added depth/outreach in that these Mentors are out there passing on the Art of Officiating pretty much wherever they go, not waiting for specific assignments.
*With more frequent feedback, and increasingly improved performances, new referees bring growing confidence to next games. As performance improves, criticism declines.
*Succeeding quickly in the 'basics' of positioning / movement / communication / signaling frees up new referees to develop deeper skills in areas like:
-foul recognition
-game management
-better understanding & application of offside...doing so at a faster pace & at a higher level.

Ninja / Unbridled / 'Animated' Mentoring works best on smaller fields, especially in scrimmage games...BUT, if explained & demonstrated within the Licensing Class( it only takes about 10-15 minutes ), Mentors can pass on the Art of Officiating in regular season games...

Compatibility Factor: Each of the 3 Methods of Mentoring earn a '10' rating & can be utilized within any Mentoring Program, assigned and/or self-assigned, paid or voluntary. Mentoring programs can operate with 1-2 or all 3 approaches.

Train the Trainer: The pre-season Jamboree or any other scrimmage games are also a perfect opportunity to 'train the trainer,' a safe place for mentors to practice how to use this technique...The Trainer could train from 'AT' or 'IN' the game positions.

Soft Whistle

Licensing Class: Instructors usually set aside 20 minutes for Referee Coordinator or Mentoring Program Coordinator to explain upcoming scrimmage game Jamboree format, the assigning system, where to get uniforms, etc. This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate some of the ISS's that they'll work with in the Training Jamboree and upcoming regular season games.

Field Clinic(s): Another opportunity to teach students a 'core set' of ISS's likely to be used in the upcoming season's games.

Mentoring 104- Scrimmage Game ---OR--- IMMERSION TRAINING ( THIS IS PRETTY INTENSE )  

AR Mentors( AR M )continually move up/down touchline with AR's 1,2,3
      -give instructions / corrections / support-compliments
Mentor rotates new AR's from #2 to 1 position, 3 to 2 position, 1 to 3 position throughout entire half ; Mentor and all AR's have flags.
CR Mentor ( CR M ) works with CR from any position off the field
      - could rotate a 2nd CR into game too
      - could send ISS's(Instructive Silent Signals = at a stoppage)
from this position ( see Mentoring 103- Ninja / Unbridled Mentoring)
CR(s) /Mentor conduct Pre-Game Conference with all Referees
& Mentors attending. Proceed to positions after that.

A Snapshot of Mentor Methodologies

Mentor Methodologies Talks @ the '1/2' Talks @ End
of Game
Sends ISS's* Observes Off Field Mentors as Official
in Game
Assigned Free Lance
Mentor / Traditional X X X X   X X
Mentor / Contemporary X X X X X X X
Mentor as Referee X X X X X X X
Mentor as Assistant Referee X X X   X X X
As Jamboree Mentor X X X X X X X

* Instructive Silent Signals
X ='s Yes   ='s   No
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