Seriously appreciate the experienced input above. ^
I am new to reffing and am looking to improve my skills and help maintain a future of reliable refs in our small community as some inevitably retire or are unavailable.
I had the chance to put my hand up to ref as much as i’d liked to recently at one of our more relaxed events “Polo Camp” in the shuffle tourney and thoroughly enjoyed the “low stakes” opportunities at testing out my new knowledge (thanks Peers for the workshops!).
To me the desire to ref comes naturally in part of simply being very passionate about the sport. I’m sure that may not apply to all passionate players, but the ones I do recognise taking Polo seriously are the ones I will look to to enthuse putting their hands up to ref more often at our local events.
The greatest improvements I found were very similar to being self aware of your errors as a player in game. Consistently reffing a couple games in a row and recognising from myself in hindsight or from the audience or players what I may have missed, allowed me an opportunity to focus on my weaker reffing skills in the next game.
By the end of the event, I found myself much more confident making difficult “game changing” decisions and I think the players some very experienced, knowing that I was new to reffing and trying to improve and help out, were very receptive of my efforts (or so I felt anyway).
Overall, as a relatively new player who speaks to other new players, we typically agree fhat the fear is borne of ridicule from those who don’t ref and understand. Our most decorated refs in the club are incredibly fair to calls they wouldnt personally make and are typically very kind in correcting or discussing with you after a match because they know what it’s like, especially for a new ref. I genuinely believe that reffing pick up games is the key out of these fears and to improve new ref confidence and involvement overall.
Additionally: if you are an experienced ref and you see an audience member or player giving shit to a new ref who’s is doing their best, call it out and pitch in, however you find fair and professional in your own experience. It really makes a difference.