Major League Soccer
US Soccer


AR training days

May 14, 2013

The first Professional Referee Organization Assistant Referee training days were held in mid-April in Dallas.

The principal exercise during the meet was the replication of offside situations. On the video below, which was shot over two days, you will see that the ARs have to make offside decisions when forwards are running past defenders, and the idea during training was to make the decision as difficult as possible for the AR. 

When each AR made a decision they had the chance to look at the on-site monitor to see if their decision was correct. AR coaches were stationed at the monitor and on field to offer practical advice. 

PRO Training and Development Manager Paul Rejer explained: “If the AR made an incorrect call it was disappointing for them, but they had an immediate opportunity to put it right by learning from the previous error, taking on board the advice given by the coach, and having another go. 

“We don’t mind too much if the officials do make errors in training, as lessons will be learned, which will minimize mistakes on matchday.” 

Specific AR training was also incorporated - highlighted below - and these exercises were controlled by AR coaches. The key skills that this training provides that will benefit the ARs are peripheral awareness, prioritizing field of view, teamwork, eye contact, communication, alertness and awareness to surroundings, concentration and technical quality of signals.

Prior to undergoing the training, it was important for the ARs to prepare their muscles for game days and, to do that, PRO’s Sports Scientist Matt Hawkey put them through AR-specific pre-match stretching and warm-up exercises.

Part one, movement: Lead AR moves between cones, replicating game movements - e.g. side-stepping, short sprint. Other ARs shadow movement. 

Part two, movement + signals: Lead AR moves between cones, replicating game movements - e.g. side-stepping, short sprint and signals. Other ARs shadow movement and copy direction of signals, offside signal must always be in right hand. 

Part three, movement + opposite signals: Lead AR moves between cones, replicating game movements - e.g. side-stepping, short sprint and signals. Other ARs shadow movement and copy signals but must do the opposite, offside signal must always be in right hand. 

Part one, movement only: AR1 and AR2 move along patrol path replicating match day movement - e.g. side-stepping, short sprints. The referee (R) must remain level with both AR1 and AR2 at all times. 

Part two, movement + signals: AR1 and AR2 move along patrol path replicating match day movement - e.g. side-stepping, short sprints. The referee must remain level with both AR1 and AR2 at all times. AR1 makes signal and R must replicate (if R is adopting the role of an AR, use a flag, if R is a referee, they signal as a referee - e.g. directional signals and use of whistle for free kick, penalty kick etc.) 



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