My 7s Referee Journey - short but... WOW
When I first made contact with Mike and the team at 7s Referee, I only hoped to get some rugby under my belt – something that was lacking throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Little was I expecting the fantastic, and ever growing, opportunity and experience that I have had.
Pulling up to my first tournament in Bristol, I was welcomed with open arms into the team. This was the first moment that I witnessed the incredibly professional manner in which 7s Referee manage both the tournaments and the referees ourselves. It was great to see a huge spectrum of referee ages, abilities and a large number of experienced referee coaches.
Every eventuality had been considered – from the huge PA system playing some amazing tunes throughout the day to get everybody in the mood, to the fantastic communication kits provided by Axiwi, and the small details such as a clothes rack and hangers for hanging up and airing out wet kit.
The attention to detail demonstrated by the team managers was incredible and I really feel as though these “minor” details go a long way in improving a referee’s performance.
I had nothing to worry about other than getting into the middle of the pitch and performing, or more importantly, enjoy my time doing what I love.
The initial feedback from the referee coaches was so valuable. Having a personal coach focusing on my performance did so much to improve my performances in the space of just a day. I left there having made several new friends and with a real burning desire to push on and achieve my potential within the sport of sevens.
Being invited back a few weeks later for a weekend of back to back tournaments, Mike, Tom, Chris and the team were extremely efficient in ensuring everybody was fully briefed and ready to go. I can only imagine it was a logistical nightmare, booking hotels and managing so many referees, but again, the planning, preparation and execution were spot on!
During the first day it was great to learn even more of the technicalities around refereeing 7s and to receive some very positive, yet constructive, comments around my performances. It was great to see the work I had been putting in between tournaments paying off and I felt that I was improving in a short space of time.
Being a referee can often be a very lonely place in sport, but 7s Referee demonstrates that every referee is in fact part of a wider team. It was great to see this in play and bond over dinner and stay together that night.
Day two rolled around, and again, the preparation and set up was faultless, even if some of were a little late – everything you could ever need to perform to your potential was there at our disposal thanks to the management team.
This day bought a number of fantastic opportunities; one of these being having the chance to work with professional referee Karl Dickson; a great chance to learn from somebody quite literally at the top of the game.
The main pitch came with a production crew and commentators, live streaming the event – not something you get to experience every day!
This was an absolutely fantastic experience, being watched by people all over the world, but it also provided a great opportunity for us to learn, as individuals and a team. Replays of games and incidents were immediately available pitch side for us to review with our coaches post game.
This tournament was a real eye opener for me –the coaches’ comments and feedback really made me finally realise my potential within the sport and has been a real motivator for me to push on.
The skills and feedback that I have received from 7s Referee have also aided my refereeing of the 15 a side game, with my performances improving rapidly week on week.
We were all recently asked what being a member of the 7s Referee family means to us. I answered this question with the words opportunity, experience and constructive advice and I really believe that these words appropriately sum up everything that 7s Referee stands for and aims to achieve.
My experience so far has been unbelievable and has been a real motivator for me to chase down my goals within refereeing, as well as giving me real direction and a platform that allows me to demonstrate my skills and grow.
I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me with the team!