Ed. Note: If you missed Part 1, click here to catch up.
If you are considering an upgrade to R-7 or above, please be realistic about your refereeing goals. Take a look at my numbers in the previous post. I admit that I went to an extreme, but any successful upgrade requires a level of commitment and determination over and above being your local club’s “Big Fish in a Small Pond” and just working some weekend games. Especially for the R-6, you have to branch out and get away from your comfort zone, work a wider area, with different people, network with higher-level referees and administrators, and put in the hard work. No one can have a successful upgrade alone. Working with fellow referees, mentors, and assessors combined with the commitment to hard work, being coachable and adaptable is where success can be found.
“Wanting better games” is not enough for a successful and long-lasting upgrade. Better games come as a result of hard work and improvement, not the other way around. You need goals like self-betterment, becoming an instructor, assessor, or assignor, or expanding your knowledge and skill base in order to mentor other, younger referees. These are some of the goals to keep in mind for making an upgrade successful. That said, your follow-through after any upgrade is paramount. It does neither you, your state, nor the game any good to upgrade and then do nothing with it. Advanced referees must give back by paying it forward for the next generations. Advanced referees are the examples that the referee masses look to. We set the bar.
Take into consideration your age, experience, and physical tools. Not to be harsh, but “I’ve been a R-8 (or R-7) for x-number of years, so I plan on upgrading” is not enough. Any advanced grade upgrade has to lead to something else. Simply getting to the next level for advancement’s sake misses the much larger picture. Advanced referees cannot plateau. Not everyone can be a R-6 or higher, but none of us can rest on our laurels. Advanced referees are advanced for a reason. We must all continue our development.
Coming up in Part 3: Matt explains the extraordinary stats behind his upgrade.