Training Accurate and Coherent Decision Making in Rugby Union Referees

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Edinburgh, UK
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The purpose of this investigation was to pilot a video-based training program designed to develop referees’ shared mental models. A group of English Rugby Football Union (RFU) national referees, divided into a control group (n = 15) and experimental group (n = 41) made their immediate decisions on pre and posttests of 10 video clips taken from real game referee perspective recordings. Over a six-week period the experimental group studied training tapes consisting of 5 sets of 5 tackles, in each case with an expert providing his interpretation of the correct decision. The lowest ranked referees on the national panel significantly improved their percentage of correct decisions, becoming 17.43% more accurate in their decisions at the posttest. These results suggest that such shared mental model training is an appropriate method for improving referee performance.

Duncan R.D. Mascarenhas, Dave Collins, and Patrick W. Mortimer are with the Department of PE, Sport, and Leisure Studies at the University of Edinburgh, St Leonard’s Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ, Scotland. Email: duncan.mascarenhas@edu Bob Morris was with the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh.

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