Physiological aspects of refereeing performance and training

Warren Gregson, Matthew Weston, Werner F. Helsen

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    The football referee is charged with the responsibility for implementing the laws of the game. To undertake this role effectively the referee and the two assistant referees must strive to keep up with play. Referees routinely cover 11 km during a game with match activities placing high demands upon both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Assistant referees cover approximately 7 km, with moderate and high requirements for aerobic and anaerobic energy production respectively. Both groups display evidence of fatigue towards the end of a game that can be partially offset by high-intensity training regimes. Along with the physical demands, referees must also make two to three observable decisions per minute throughout the course of a game with the frequency of critical decisions often increasing during the latter stages of the game. High standards of both physical fitness and perceptual-cognitive functioning are therefore expected of elite referees. This necessitates the implementation of well structured training programmes that address the multi-dimensional requirements of elite refereeing.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe Bulletin of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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