Counties may decide to appoint a buddy/mentor to new referees to guide them through their first few games and get them active. As a buddy/mentor they will be allocated a trainee referee who has successfully completed the LGFA referee course and is ready to begin their initial challenge of refereeing matches.
As a mentor they will need to contact the trainee and make themselves available as someone they can call upon for help, advice and support. Mentors are asked to try and watch at least one and preferably two of their trainee’s initial six matches if possible and give informal feedback afterwards. They should also invite the new referee to shadow them and learn from what they are doing on the pitch.
The key points for any Buddy/Mentor to remember when watching a referee are to:
- Say “well done!”
- Ask the referee how he or she feels about the game, two things they feel they done well and two things they would like to improve
- Congratulate the referee on the two strongest features of his or her game, encouraging them to maintain those strengths
- Discuss possible solutions to the area of improvement of the referee’s game
Mentoring is all about encouragement!
The relationship with the trainee is ongoing and not limited to occasionally watching their matches. It is important that mentors are accessible for the trainee only when available as this role should not feel like a chore to the buddy/mentor.
The benefits to the new referee (mentee) include:
- Increased confidence and motivation
- Feeling of being supported through the process of their refereeing
- Constructive feedback on performance
- Helps translate theory into practice in a supportive environment
- Helps retain referee in the long term