Tag: Sportief Westfriesland

“Don’t try an elevator pitch when the doors are opening” – Rodric Leerling

My game developed as an almost perfect ref match. A lousy game for the two teams, but I felt myself in full control. At least I thought.

Two U19 teams were not playing their best game. Especially the guest goalkeeper messed up regularly. But they still managed to score first. The guests would counter score fast during 2nd half.

I created some confusion at the toss after quickly telling the captains I would not grant goalkeepers the ‘right’ to build a wall. The fouled party should indicate to me whether a wall should be put at 10 yards distance. If not, they could start at their own decision. The fouling party has no right to slow down the restart any further.

“So we can’t build a wall ref?” Sure, but if the fouled team wants to take it, I won’t stop them because you want to build a wall. Ah, a new rule insight!

And then it became dark and it started to rain. Many things started to run through my mind. The home club AR made a mess of his job and I decided to ignore him instead of replacing him. I had to start using my cards. And within 20 mins the same guest player was booked with yellow. But somehow I didn’t notice it on my scorecard. I allowed the free kick to be taken and saw the booked player taking off his shirt and walking off the pitch. Huh? I heard players yelling it was his second yellow an I stopped the game. Looked at my hard to read scorecard and almost swore to myself. Searched for the red card and showed him off, just after he thought I would not notice my omission.

But where were we? The free kick had ended at the other team’s goal. The home coach went ballistic. “Ref! What’s going on?” I ignored him for now and allowed the game play on, despite restarting at the wrong spot. No time to rewind the film and take the gamble.

Minutes later I blew the final whistle and got many handshakes. The furious coach asked for an explanation, which I honestly gave him. He calmed down once he heard he was right but just too loud at the time. We shook hands and he made sure they really won 5-4. Narrow escape indeed.

“I’m a salesman with the impatience virus, will it ever cure?” – Rodric Leerling

“I’m a salesman with the impatience virus, will it ever cure?” – Rodric Leerling

For my new magazine publishing project, we started with making sales calls to warm up key prospects. Forming a kind of ‘inner circle’ and making them our early ambassadors while testing the waters for our ew magazine. We then widened the circle to major players, calling and emailing, asking their support.

The kind of publication we are working on demands some form of business ‘foster family’, embracing the project and integrating it in their marketing plans. Once you find this party, you can start seriously building and connect to like-minded brands and institutions, referring to this publishing partner.

After 6 weeks we not only found a strategic partner, but were also asked to publish at a deadline with just 9 weeks to go. The timing looks right and we expect other brands to follow their example. We kept our patience even after some complex deal making and now have to present with more force, using the deadline to force decisions. Are you in or out? Impatient as always.

“How podcasts became part of my morning ritual” – Rodric Leerling

“How podcasts became part of my morning ritual” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, RefRod

Podcast is claimed to be invented by former TV-host, radio-DJ, and internet entrepreneur Adam Curry, some 10 years ago. Not everyone agrees, like the inventor of the RSS feed (claiming 2003 as the launch year). But fact is, Adam Curry was the first to make money with podcasts after launching the PodShow in 2005 and since has become a famous ‘podcaster’. Curry is also widely credited for popularizing the podcast medium.

Since October 2007, Curry is hosting the twice-weekly (Thu+Sun) podcast the No Agenda Show, discussing recent news and media memes. I don’t know how he manages this, but this podcast does not accept any advertising and is solely supported by the listeners.

I myself started thankfully using podcasts back in 2007 on my daily commute between our house in Montclair, NJ and NY City. On my subscription list: The Economist, BBC, CNN and some Dutch radio programs I missed dearly. Back then, you had to use iTunes and get your updates downloaded on your iPod. Today, with broadband connections and improved devices, streaming podcasts are the norm. Plenty mobile apps to choose from (DoublePod for me) and Podcast-Bob is your Uncle!

The popularity is booming and seemingly unstoppable. With a huge variety of programs to subscribe to, and the addition of audio interfaces in cars, it has become a new force in content marketing. Why? Because you can listen to 20-30 minutes episodes of programs you would miss on linear radio. Opinions, stories, tech updates, meditation, explanations etc. are updated automatically on your phone each time a new episode is created. And you tend to listen with 100% attention, doing your work-out, on the commute or at home. I’m totally hooked!

“Always a challenge: dealing with critical game moments” – Rodric Leerling

“Always a challenge: dealing with critical game moments” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, Sales Power Provider, RefRod

I sure had my moment last Saturday. The beaten home coach referred to this while shaking hand afterwards and said “you surely had your key moments ref”. He was referring to a collision in mid air during  the 1st half, in the goal area, between his attacker, an away defender and goalie. The latter fell and dropped the ball as a result, and the attacker scored. I decided a foul in my mind, even before the ball was played again and blew the whistle.

I told him as response that talking about my call mid 1st half was “water under the bridge”. In fact, if his own attackers would have scored the one or two obvious scoring opportunities we wouldn’t have had this conversation.

But I still want to know who pushed who. The attacking player claimed the two away team mates bumped into each other and he “wasn’t involved at all” (which normally means he was). I explained it as attacker pushing defender first. Neither video, nor an assistant to consult. Just me and my mental registration of the split moment. I will have one ‘alternative report’ in the mail though soon – from my assessor. I didn’t noticed him during the game (hidden on the big grandstand) but found a picture on his Facebook page being on the spot, so there’s definitely a report to expect. Let’s see what he thinks of it.

All in all, it was a good game. No cards needed, with just a few verbal cautions in an overall fast and fair game. I felt pretty good about most decisions. Had a slight injury playing up during 2nd half which slowed me down for few minutes. Let’s see if the assessor noticed that too.

“Do you want to know how I deal with female coaches?” – Rodric Leerling

“Do you want to know how I deal with female coaches?” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Sales Power Provider, RefRod, Leerling.biz

Rewinding the film, I realized I’d seen her twice shortly before the game. First when I was trying to find a door to the futsal area, and she walked by just ignoring me. Once in the hall, she again crossed my path installing the score board, again, not saying a word.

It turned out to be the U19 home team coach. No handshake, no introduction. Nothing. It happens once in a while. But after only 3 minutes the war broke out. At this game level, a game secretary is required along with a linesman. The latter was nowhere to be seen, the male secretary I had to explain how to start the clock.

In the 3rd minute, after the score became 1-1, I realized my secretary had disappeared. An empty desk and I was on the other side ready to whistle for kick-off. Demanding the hometeam to adjust the score. She shouted back “if you ask gently we can do it for you”. Ignorant woman. Don’t you know what is required at this game level? I told her to reinstall the secretary because I wasn’t going to do it. The guy returned and would not leave the remaining 47 minutes.

Again two minutes later, we rubbed into each other once more. This time much closer. Her players were standing next to the bench and I asked them to be seated, in passing. They didn’t. I asked again and she would tell her players the opposite and keep standing “as they would be subbed soon” and “I’m in charge of this”. I exploded and told her to have them sit down as it was me in charge of the whole thing, not her. And this was the second time we had a conflict. They were seated.

I always leave a little present for obnoxious people like this. I deliberately gave an out-ball to the other team. She screamed to me to be more alert. This time I ignored her with a smile. The home team won the game and finally she would finally shake my hand.

“I’m introducing video to support referee mentoring” – Rodric Leerling

“I’m introducing video to support referee mentoring” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, Sales Power Provider, RefRod, CoolBrandsPeople, Sportief Westfriesland

This weekend, the 2nd part of the football youth competition is supposed to start in the Netherlands. Since this week though, half of the nation is covered in snow and temps expected to stay below zero degrees Celsius. That part of Holland won’t play any football, that’s for sure.

But in my part, the western half, it’s frosty and snowy as well, but not all games have been cancelled yet. On the roster for tomorrow is a another new ref to accompany. It’s been a great experience ever since I finished the ref mentoring course. All the negative associations of a ref assessor don’t apply as I’m allowed to meet the ref before and afterwards. One is allowed to discuss his performance, hint on things during half time and I have even started sending video clips afterwards, showing the rookie ref what I meant in my written report.

Last week, I accompanied a relative experienced new ref – he already started five years ago – who needed a last push towards promotion. Somehow he had been neglected (his words) by the Football Assoc. I thought he did pretty well but should work on his condition and try to avoid long talks with players and coaches. I actually shot a video clip of how he took a player apart towards the end of the game, who should have been booked with a yellow card. Instead, he took him apart and said something (no gestures) and walked back slowly to the free kick spot, where the fouled team was waiting for the restart. Who’s time was being wasted here?

He was very grateful, not only for the positive report, but more so for the practical tips and, of course a novelty, receiving actual video proof of his performance and items to work on. I hope more mentors will start using their phones, not only to record your thoughts, but also to shoot quick clips.


“Human2Human” – Rodric Leerling

Sportief Westfriesland, leerling,biz, refrod, Rodric Leerling, Sales Power Provider
I was brought up in media sales with B2B and B2C marketing strategies. With the introduction of social media, the People-to-People or better: Human-to-Human (in short: H2H) is becoming increasingly popular as marketing trend. Weird, as this kind of communication has been around for as long as human beings started communicating. But ok.

For many purchase decisions, we all like to check with our peers or relatives. Also checking out the manufacturers directly online (do they exist at all?). Do your friends have experience with this product or that particular destination? How much did they pay and are they still happy with it? Increasingly, thanks to social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, we can now get a personal product analyses from our friends. In stead of through a well-thought-of B2C campaign, for which a complete strategy and marketing execution has been worked out, tested with A and B advertising plans etc. Taking time and big communication investments, but often using a polished language.

The B2C tactics will no doubt continue to play a role, using linear TV as prime advertising channel, in order to hit a large batch of consumers at once. The viewing numbers for this medium are starting to crumble, though. And more and more consumers are online, doing their own research, using critical notes from other consumers to shorten the list of brands before they purchase. People are also more concerned about the environment and want to know how things are being produced and at what costs. They don’t take the boxed advertising for granted anymore. And they follow other people with experience, with a solid tech view on products or just funny articles on daily life.

Consumer manufacturers have taken notice and are starting to get a stake of this new communication channel. They are hiring people to influence us as consumers in a different way. It started years ago in the US with big TV and sports stars (the so-called ‘macro-influencers’ with sometimes 1mln+ followers) who were wearing sponsored shoes or paid to promote a skin cream. And the masses followed, because they trust these stars and want to be like them.

The new trend is to start using less of the macro influencer, but rather mimic H2H and use a set of ‘micro-influencers’ (with max 10k social media followers) and spread the word in more consumer corners and niches. It will not only reduce the costs and help a brand to reach more consumers with different flavors, but also requires a normal language, like H2H language. People will be paid to continue tell their story online, how they cook, how they sport, how they travel etc. So beware of certain messages that might come across as very ‘human’ but are still orchestrated by a brand you might consider buying and using yourself.

“Tell me a joke, please!” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, RefRod, Sales Power Provider
Always have a good story ready. That’s what, in my opinion, a true salesman has to do every day. Not just an elevator pitch and consequent sales story, but preferably an anecdote or cracking joke. Just to elevate the atmosphere or simply get people’s attention by surprise.

I seem to have a good, associative memory for jokes and also seem to know when to tell the right one. The one I most often tell came back in the mental ‘joke-carousel’ when I saw the pope recently, shaking hands during one of his visits abroad. My hero for this particular joke, Mr. Johnson, who’s a good friend of the pope, is eventually recognized by a total stranger on St. Peter’s Square while the pope is just labelled as ‘that guy in the white dress’. I know the long version and the short version of the joke, by the way.

After telling jokes like this, people regularly burst into laughter. They experienced an unexpected twist in a story, realized it is indeed funny, and let go of their emotions. You got their attention now, with their brain focused on what else you have to tell. And they already like you, even before you started the serious part.

I bet you will ask me to tell another one of these great jokes next time we meet. I’ve got a few more, I promise. But always expect a serious (sales) story to follow. One you won’t be able to forget either.

“Proud to ref the best Dutch U16 players” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, Sales Power Provider, RefRod, CoolBrandsPeople, Sportief Westfriesland.

To my surprise and excitement, I was assigned to another pro U16 game this season.

Only disappointment was the different game location. Due to some Christmas event it wasn’t in a real football stadium this time, but just at the neighboring amateur football club.

I can hear you think: hey, it’s the game, stupid. I know, but at 3pm with fog, in mid December and darkness closing in fast, you need good lights. Unfortunately that was not the case at this club with just basic training flood lights, leaving the middle parts of the pitch in twilight. Especially the goal areas were tricky at times.

But there was no way back, despite comments from the away coach (a former pro player) complaining he at times couldn’t see where the ball was. Glad I spotted most fouls though and had pretty good AR’s working the lines.

Everyone happy the game finished in a good manner despite the poor conditions. Especially the home team, who won and beat the table leaders for once.

“My New Hobby: Mentoring Young Referees”- Rodric Leerling

“My New Hobby: Mentoring Young Referees”- Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, Sales Power Provider, RefRod, CoolBrandsPeople, Sportief Westfriesland.

Three week ago, I was asked to assist another promising referee. The 19-year old was assigned to an adult game in a lower league. The weather was predicted to be lousy with lots of rain and thunderstorm. Lucky the pitch provided a covered spectator stand.

The game proved to be an easy one, mostly due to the calm and professional performance of the rookie ref. In fact so easy, that I almost had nothing to do, which made me work out a new activity. I’ve seen it so many times from inside the pitch, it was hard to forget: video from my mobile phone! Crystal clear picture, but battery draining, unfortunately.

My report with lots of compliments and positive reporting was accompanied by some cool, 2meter high level video clips and pictures. It showed the ref being positioned at the right spot in different situations and running to another spot when the ball was kicked around the pitch. The video proved to be sharp and gave an excellent additional piece of information to both the ref course instructor and the rookie ref himself.

Next week, they will be used in the final ref course meeting, along with another set of video clips I shot with the female rookie ref of last week. Setting a new trend, as always.