Tag: zaalvoetbal

“Three good assessor reports, and now we wait” – Rodric Leerling

“Three good assessor reports, and now we wait” – Rodric Leerling

This week I received my 3rd and last ref assessment report of this futsal season. I’m proud to say, they were three pretty good and steady reports with an average of 8.20 which gets me well positioned for promotion to a higher ref league. At least, so much I was told by one of my assessors the other day.

Well, I don’t hold my breath as I’ve been here before. In fact, two years ago during a ref rule test, they asked who was ambitious and looking for ways to climb the ref career ladder? I raised my hand and was assigned three different mentors. After a couple of games, it all looked very positive, but it took forever to break the results. Vague stories increasingly sounded like an excuse and they foreboded less good news.

Then the phone rang just before the new season was about to start. My mentor started with “I know you did very well and I received really good reports about you, but…” It turned out there were five ambitious refs and only one promotion spot. The impression from the start was they were looking for fresh new refs and with a little extra mentoring we would all make it up to the next level. But for some weird reason they picked another guy and I was left in the league I was active in this season. So, even with three good new scores, I still reckon it might end up the same as last year.  It will probably take another five months before they break the news.

“Did the Futsal Secretary Kill my Promotion Chances?” – Rodric Leerling

“Did the Futsal Secretary Kill my Promotion Chances?” – Rodric Leerling

It was an important futsal night last Friday. On the roster a real futsal champions game. I checked the tables and realized the home team being nr.1 could become champion with just a draw, whereas for their opponent, nr.2 of the table, only a win would suffice. And on top of that my 3rd assessor’s report would be drafted based on this game.

I had ordered two chairs for penalty times and moved both sub benches five meters from the middle line and told both teams that they were facing the player sub area so don’t mess around! The indoor futsal hall was slowly filling with spectators.

I even requested a linesman to help me out. This is only required at next level games, but I didn’t want to take chances. The guy who was planned to be my secretary offered to take on this role while a former player was told to handle the scoreboard and clock. When I saw his sullen face, I suddenly realized I knew him as I had cautioned him in the past for dissent. A bad omen. OK, so this is how you start and stop the clock. And give me the last minute ok?

The game was tense from both sides but I hardly made any errors and was in full control. No cautions needed, so the chairs stayed empty. The shit hit the fan at the end of 1st half when the secretary forgot to give me ‘my last minute’. And shortly after, at the start of the 2nd half, he now forgot to start the clock and only after me shouting across the hall he did with 10 secs delay. Everything went fine and the home team was hitting home fast to become champion and get promoted to 1st class.

But my lousy secretary wasn’t paying attention again and he forgot to stop the clock at the last minute. Being fully concentrated, I noticed this immediately and started shouting across the hall to stop ‘the bloody thing’. And just when I looked up and then to my secretary, a home player took revenge (at least that I was told later) and tackled a guest player exactly at the same time. I only saw him drop and scream of pain, but didn’t see what caused it. I was still yelling at my lousy secretary, running across the hall and suddenly realized I missed a massive foul.

Spectators and players were yelling and screaming for justice. Why no cards ref? Come on, at least yellow? I quickly decided a free kick which seemed the minimum to everyone around me, but I didn’t know what else to do. I just ran the last 50 secs of the game with a deep feeling of frustration. The home team had won fairly easy and were celebrating their earned promotion. The away team realized they had just lost against a much better team.

Handshakes from both teams but I was still dazed and confused. I told the linesman that I was very upset about the stand-in secretary letting me down so badly. But he didn’t seem to care as the champagne bottles were popping and he just thanked me for a good game and walked away. Would the assessor have recorded what happened (from my perspective)? If not, I’m toast and can forget the hard worked promotion. All for nothing.

“Nothing more irritating than a good referee” – Rodric Leerling

“Nothing more irritating than a good referee” – Rodric Leerling

There are mainly two reasons why players can get irritated during a game: having either a lousy or a very good referee. They sometimes hope for the first so they can air their daily frustrations, but pray for the latter in order to fully focus on their own performance.

The good referee sometimes wonders why he is criticized from scratch. It can get him totally out of his balance sometimes. Even when he recognizes the small nasty fouls and clearly shows he can’t be fooled. Especially when he is in great condition, concentrated on each game no matter the league level, and equal and fair in his decisions.

I tell myself often I should ignore players’ comments, knowing I’m a good ref. But last weekend I got the official word from a player: sorry ref, you are just doing a very good ref job. We are getting irritated because you figured us out, recognizing the little fouls which other refs just let go. Please accept our apologies.

I was flabbergasted. But satisfied at the same time. I should stick to my game plan and stay focused.

“Coaches who tell me it’s the computer, and not them” – Rodric Leerling

“Coaches who tell me it’s the computer, and not them” – Rodric Leerling

It’s almost done with football indoors, or ‘futsal’ as we call it these days. Same goes for outdoor football (soccer) by the way. And you would guess problems with player passes would not play up anymore.

Well, not in my game last night. I did the usual field check and asked coaches to point me the player on my screen. It started with the away coach who had a question: “What to do when you spot new players in the opponent’s team?” Well, for me as ref, nothing else than checking the passes, which I’m going to do now. Keep you posted.

The home coach had only three players on his digital form which he sent to my app (the minimum required to play). Oh, sorry ref, can you add four more, I had some admin problems at home. Sure, I can. Just tell me their names. Of the four he wanted to add, only two showed up in the system. Ehhhm, that’s strange, they played all season and suddenly they are not recognized. We tried again, checked the spelling of their surnames. Nothing.

Walking back and forth, coach telling me (and the parents watching) it’s all my problem, my app, the futsal association etc. Delaying the game start with eventually 20 minutes, I forced them to make up their minds. They were about to cancel the game because they didn’t feel like playing with five (normal team but no subs) against a strong team they lost against last time. Well coach, it’s either walking away and get fined or playing and losing again. Not my decision. He wisely decided to play. And lost 2-12. What a loser.

“My hobby: dealing with players totally out of control” – Rodric Leerling

“My hobby: dealing with players totally out of control” – Rodric Leerling

It happens once in a while, especially at indoor games: players behaving like they are on steroids.

Nr11 of the guest team last night behaved as if he had taken a pile of cafeine pills. A popular performance enhancing substance among football players. Not illegal because it’s easily confused with drinking 3 cups of coffee.

The away team played brilliant futsal and dominated the game. They are heading for promotion to the highest Dutch futsal league. Nr11 got his first warning after 8 mins. I was secretary for this game so had to control him on his penalty seat for 2 mins. Fuming over “the low quality referee” while he had just hit an opponent on the attack.

In 2nd half it became quite tense when nr11 was suddenly screaming with pain and dropping to the floor. In an effort to get the ball, his direct opponent touched him on the shoulder. I could see it from less than 10m distance. Even his team mates were taking a step back. No support for what seemed to be a ridiculous piece of acting. The ref told him to get up and act normal, which made him scream even louder. Everyone around him looked in utter disbelief.

A 2nd yellow for acting and unsporting behavior would mean expulsion and 5mins time penalty. I saw the ref taking his time while nr11 was crawling on the floor. Eventually, his coach would speak the magic words: sub! He was told to sit on the bench and cool down.

The aspirant champions scored some more amazing goals and won the game easily. I had a quick chat with the center ref before my own game would start. He admitted considering a 2nd yellow but feared the outcome of that. I was disappointed. A higher raking ref with no guts. Time for me to step up. Bring them on, you futsal-on-steroids-players.

“How I survive tough games and obnoxious players” – Rodric Leerling

“How I survive tough games and obnoxious players” – Rodric Leerling

Last night I was assigned to replace a colleague ref on two late night futsal games. Maybe he preferred watching Champions League or the outcome of the Dutch national elections. Two events close to my heart, but I decided to go refereeing anyhow. I need this distraction.

The hall was still empty when I arrived, so this game could have been scheduled earlier. Checked the digital player passes and got the game on track. The away team was ranking low, whereas the home team was close to promotion. But the away team scored early goals and got the other team frustrated. The game needed my full concentration from scratch.

This focus helped me  to spot a handball near the home team goal: yellow and penalty kick. Made the call and got compliments from the home team for spotting it and taking the correct measures. But they eventually made more fouls and I had to send off three of their players in total with yellow.

I ignored all their comments and showed yellow where appropriate. The game resulted in a narrow one goal difference victory by the away team. Handshakes from most of them, but still a talking home captain and goalie. I told them I heard enough and said I now understood why the futsal FA sent me to this game. He looked at me surprised. “Seriously? Are we being scrutinized?” He walked off steaming.

I was already into my second game when I saw him walking towards me with his sports bag and wet hair. With a smile this time and a hand on my shoulder. “Sorry ref, we were a bit frustrated.” Sure, I understand, I said. “But what was that about the FA and you reffing us?” Ha ha, got you bro. I pulled your proverbial leg and you went for it. He laughed and wished me a good night. I used my second game to cool down and left for home with a great feeling.


“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!

“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.

“Working on a Good Futsal Ref Reputation”- Rodric Leerling

“Working on a Good Futsal Ref Reputation”- Rodric Leerling

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

It’s been a while since my last referee assessment. Especially for my futsal referee activities.

To my surprise, I just noticed an assessor is assigned to watch and report my futsal game performance next week. That’s one year after the previous report. I double checked and indeed, my last futsal report was Feb 2016. Have they forgotten me? Have I ended up in the ‘deplorables’ category?

Frankly speaking, I don’t really care. I tried to get up one league last year and was put in a special promotion group but was let down by my mentor. The games I’m reffing are mostly handled nicely, with some exceptions due to obnoxious teams or coaches, or sometimes me being not 100% focused. I know most of the time who is to blame and apologize if it was me.

But to make it one more step up, more is required than just reffing a good game. Consider these elements that keep cropping up in reports:  making it to the base line regularly, taking correct game management steps (yellow cards, even when advantage is given). Crossing over for a re-start closer to your current sideline. Making sure the subs are done in a proper manner. Using right whistle tones and proper hand signals. Making sure the right distance is being taken at all restarts (5m). Talking to players in a polite but straight way (eye-to-eye). Showing a calm posture in everything. Counting at restarts (4sec) especially when the goalkeeper possesses the ball. And this is all done by just you. No assistants, no colleague refs. Just you. Sometimes in a pressure cooker game of 2×25 minutes.

Do I want to make that step up? Good question. My ego says ‘yes’, but never know what assessors make of it.

I will let you know after reading my first futsal report in 12 months.

“Thanks for ruining our game” – Rodric Leerling

“Thanks for ruining our game” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, Sales Power Provider, RefRod
Reading back a report on a game I reffed is not a thing I pursue passionately. But when a tweet with my pic appears on the home team’s web page, my interest is aroused. Especially the pictures showing me running down the line and keeping up with the speed of the game.

Looking at the pics, the game itself came back to memory. Another game followed this one and I reffed a field game on Saturday as well, so you tend to forget quickly. I showed two yellow cards both for the home team. They played lousy, as their report honestly stated. The cards were not disputed either and clearly described why they were ‘one man down’ for two minutes each. The first for purposely bumping into the goal keeper, not the first time, and the other one for pushing away an opponent. The 17-year old captain was irritated and showed his frustration.

Their 2nd half effort to try and catch up with the score was not sufficient. They lost and the captain would thank me ‘for ruining their game’. I held on to his hand and told him he was not being fair and should know better. His coach acknowledged the bad attitude and told me he would talk about it. Well, he can also read their own game report. And probably watch the game video.