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Reffing Theory Part III

In the third installment of my Reffing Theory series, we will explore the rocky relationship of coach and official. The Reffing Theory series is more of trying to remedy a lack of articles and perspective from officiating wrestling, not a "I know everything" series. If you have questions or comments to add, I'd love to hear them in the comments section below or send me an email at koatig@yahoo.com 

Wrestling coaches are passionate people and by sheer proximity, right on top of you. Football and Baseball officials are at times hundred or more feet away from the shouting coach. In Wrestling, they're in your hip pocket and this leads to some unwanted behavior on both parts. 

While the previous image is awesome and hilarious, it may be an unfair shot at Coach Brands. Wrestling officials should remember that the last thing they should ever want to see on a bench is disinterested coaches. Wrestling coaches and athletes have incredibly close relationships (highest in NCAA survey), and they are going to get fired up. Saturday, I am umpiring some games at a charity softball tournament tomorrow and I don't expect to go the whole day without someone thinking the call should have went the other way on some "bang bang" plays. I shouldn't think differently at a Wrestling district championship. 

Let them chirp!

Wrestling refs should remember there will be close calls and there will be people who will feel that close call should have gone their way. It's a "duh" statement, but important to remember occasionally. Chirping from the corner or the bench is going to happen. Check your ego and understand no ref has ever walked the planet without this occurring. Blowing the whistle and keeping the matches moving will 99.9% of the time the best solution. 

Going back to proximity, if the displeasure a coach was spewing at you was 100 ft away, it probably wouldn't affect you emotionally nearly as much. 

Most people are shocked at the very low amount of coaches warnings I give in a season. You work through situations and the coaches appreciate that more than anything in the long run. 

Know your stuff!

It's a lot easier to defend yourself when you are reffing on criteria for certain positions than feeling. An escape at the end of the period is much easier explained by saying "his hands were broken and his hips were away, coach". Having a quick explanation for takedown criteria and other positions shows your willingness to work at each position to get it right. 

For coaches...don't be a dick. 

This can't all be on the refs. When I was a coach, I was pretty tough on refs (more so than I should have been). Chirp from the corner and save your table visits for dire circumstances. You can do a lot from the corner to help fight from your wrestlers, but stopping matches to argue is likely going to agitate the official more than anything. If you go to the table, it better be about a rule that you feel was mis-interpreted that you can argue right now with some chance of success for overturning. Don't go to the table to vent. Chirp from the corner, but know refs are human beings. Also, look around at the ages of refs. You need young refs. Being civil with them and talking rules in a calm manner is the best thing for the sport. 


Shane Sparks number one rule of broadcasting and life: Don't be a dick. The more you adhere to this rule in any role, the better things go. 

Wrestling is the greatest sport in the world, but it is a combat sport and dangerous. We need a combination of good coaches and good refs to grow the sport, and keep it safe to compete in.