Elite Refereeing Performance: Developing a Model for Sport Science Support

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Edinburgh
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To identify a framework for referee training and selection, based on the key areas of effective performance, we conducted content analyses on Rugby Football Union referee assessor reports, referee training materials, performance profiles from a group of English premier league referees, and a review of published research on sports officiating. The Cornerstones Performance Model of Refereeing emerged, overarched by the psychological characteristics of excellence (see McCaffrey & Orlick, 1989) and featuring four key areas: (a) knowledge and application of the law; (b) contextual judgment; (c) personality and management skills; and (d) fitness, positioning, and mechanics. Focus group interviews confirmed the usefulness of the model as an assessment and training tool, which the RFU now use to develop referees throughout England.

Duncan R.D. Mascarenhas is with the Department of Physical Education, Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK. E-mail: duncan.mascarenhas@education.ed.ac.uk. Dave Collins is at Edinburg University/UK Athletics, West Midlands, UK; Patrick Mortimer is now at Leicester Tigers Rugby Football Union Club.

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