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Skills & Training

Skills & Training

The content of this page is primarily for the use of members of the Ulster Society of Rugby Football Referees (USRFR: The Society).

This area includes drills and information to enhance a referee’s game management as well as their personal fitness and nutrition guidance.

This section provides referees with information on workshops, courses and training as well as general advice on skills, fitness and nutrition.

IRFU’s guidelines on Priorities for Referees (from August 2017) can be viewed here.

The Assessors’ summary on breakdown positioning is available here, to provide guidance for referees on what is expected of them as part of the assessment process.

Breakdown Positioning summary

Being a referee is a great way to stay involved in the game; from local club, youth and school/university matches, to progressing through the different levels of the game.

There is an expectation that referees will have a level of fitness to aid their competence to officiate.  Fitness can be fun, it also obviously has many personal health-related benefits and will allow you to perform well and keep up with play during rugby.

Being fit as a referee will help you to get into the best position at the right time during the match, in addition to providing you with the capacity to make important decisions while under fatigue.  You need to be able to mentally focus throughout the entire game and make key decisions at every moment during a match.

There is no excuse for a lack of focus as a result of a lack of fitness!  This is an area of the game that you can individually control and have a personal responsibility for.

You will also attain reasonable self-esteem from keeping up with play and performing well.  The teams will respect you better, your decisions will have credibility and you should take a pride in your role as a referee.  Physical fitness and being properly prepared for matches will help you in this.

If it’s been a while since you’ve exercised and/or you have health issues or concerns, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

Further information on Fitness Education & Drills can be found here:

Referee Fitness drills

Referee Speed resource

As with all elements of training, dietary needs should be tailored to suit the individual. Each referee will have different and varied tastes in the foods he likes or dislikes.

The IRFU’s advice on Nutrition for Referees can be found here.

Focused pre-season training to support the development of our referees has been provided in recent years at Shaws Bridge Sports Association, 123 Milltown Road, Belfast.

We were initially lucky to have recruited the service and support of Ryan Keating to lead this program.  Ryan has been a key Fitness Development Coach with Ulster Rugby; Strength & Conditioning Coach with Ulster Academy & Sub-Academy; Ulster & Irish Women and more recently conducted National referee fitness testing and Strength & Conditioning coaching for the IRFU.

Ryan’s Referee Fitness Drills summary is available here.

Referees know that a level of fitness is necessary to be competent in the role.  A graduated building of your Strength & Conditioning and general fitness in addition to improving your match day performance can only aid your personal wellbeing.

How can we sell this to you any harder?  You all know you must have a level of fitness to be competent in the role.  Put simply, the more you put in the more you will recoup.

Referee Development Manager

Richard Kerr

07493 868388
richard.kerr@irfu.ie