Dealing with a Bad Performance
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So I must admit, this blog post is coming from a recent game where I didn’t do well.
I left the rink feeling pretty disgusted with myself, upset at how I performed. It’s not a good feeling. Most of you reading this have probably been in similar situations.
As referees, we are often our own toughest critics. When we make a mistake, we know it before anyone else. We don’t need players or coaches yelling at us to know what we did wrong.
Last night I did a pretty high level game, and although I worked hard, I still made some tough mistakes. Waved-off some icings, which should have been icings. Missed some off-sides. I wasn’t conducting the face-offs fairly. Even managed to collide with a player knee-to-knee on the way to break up a scrum. He went down pretty good.
It was that kind of night. As the game went on – I felt more uneasy and nervous. It was a negative cycle – each mistake fed into my mental state, where I told myself I was bad, and that led to a lack of confidence, which led to more bad calls. It was a vicious cycle.
Now we take pride in doing well each game. After this game I felt embarrassed and defeated. I got an earful from both benches, and most of it was deservedly so I think.
I couldn’t sleep that night. It was that bad. How do we move on from games like that? I don’t know. It’s something that I’m still working on processing. I know that officiating, like life, is overcoming challenges. Everyone has down periods in their personal and professional lives.
This was certainly one of my lowest low’s so far. I’ve tried to process each mistake and tell myself how to improve, but that feeling still remains. Probably there as a reminder not to commit those mistakes again. Officiating is filled with instances like this.
How do you process a bad game? Do you sit on it? Do you move on quickly?
It’s tough too, because before the game I felt like I did everything I needed to do. I got to the rink early, I had a great warm-up, I visualised different situations in the game, I was focused. It was just one of those games. They don’t happen to me that often.
I wasn’t arrogant about the mistakes, I admitted them when I made them. I tried my best to be humble. But at one point I just felt embarrassed about the amount of apologies I was making – and kept questioning whether or not I belonged at this level.
To me – this is part of the reason why we wanted to start a referee community, to provide support and advice for officials encountering all kinds of situations. How do we get better? How do we serve the game in the best possible way? How do we feel pride in the jobs we are doing?
This is all part of the journey.
I think the best lessons I could away was that it’s important to have a short memory when you miss a call. Don’t let it affect you through the game, don’t try and make up for it, be consistent. Have confidence, have faith in your abilities. There is a reason you are doing the level you are doing.
I’ve also learnt that you should leave your game at the rink, don’t bring it home. Be positive.
I’m still learning, however.
Do you have advice for referees that are encountering the same situations? Do you have a short-memory after games? Do you leave the rink with regrets?
Whatever your thoughts – I would love to hear from you and know what you suggest and think.