In our refereeing series, we take a closer look at the way WFC- and SSL-referees Thomas Andersson and Rickard Wissman prepare for their games.
Three categories of preparation
Andersson speaks of three different periods of preparation. The first one is the long term prep, which is more than one week before the game. Here, they decide how to travel (plane, bus, car) and which accommodation they’ll take (if necessary). Remember: Sweden is a huge country, so things like this should be thought off well beforehand!
The med term prep starts around two days before the game. The duo decides which clothes they’ll wear – “Always common” – and who’ll pick up who. Usually, Andersson is responsible for getting food, while Wissman is the driver.
Excel document as list of focus points
The referee partners keep an excel document in which they write down anything about the teams they have been refereeing throughout their career. What happened last time? Is there anything they should focus on more than usual? It’s written down in this list.
Furthermore, Andersson and Wissman have a look at the table and statistics. Is this a do-or-die game, in which the energy level will be extremely high? Or will it be a game between two teams that have already relegated?
The final part of the preparation is the warm-up. Here it’s all about not letting energy get away. Andersson explains: “Anything that’s slowing us down, costs energy. Not enough food available? An annoying distraction. Is the locker room for referees not open yet? Things like that all consume energy, not a lot, but in total it can add up. And we want to have our energy available during the game.”
Around 1,5h before the game, the team arrives, finds the locker room and checks out the field. There’s also time to discuss with the coaches and or players about changes in line-ups and such. Anything to conserve energy and to get the right energy flowing. Andersson and Wissman even have the same Spotify playlist they listen to, to get the right energy flow!
Time to get the football
To help to get the head empty and the body warmed-up, Andersson and Wissman always bring a football with them. The two have a specific ball to bring for national games (that is: for games in Sweden), and another to bring to international matches. On the international ball, they write down the tournament and the date, as you can see in the video below.
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The game they play is called ‘two-touch‘. Players can touch the ball only twice, but won’t be allowed to use their hands. The (small) pitch is divided into two parts and, from your own half, you try to score. The other tries to stop the ball (which will be the first touch) and aims to score himself (second touch).
Funny part: the loser of the game has to carry the ball, so people around always know who lost the warming-up game. An alternative for this game is a regular penalty shootout on big goals (best of five, three sets).
Getting close to the game
With less than 20 min before the game starts, the team plans a second field inspection, in which also goal cages, lines, secretary, and match record get a check. The last preparations start off at 6-7 min before the game: follow up on pre-game analysis, important areas/topics and getting the pulse up!
With 5-6 min before the game starts, Andersson and Wissman always play the same song – Chesney Hawkes “I’m the one and only” – as the final part of their preparation before the game starts!
The team enters the arena according to schedule, 100% ready for the game. The purpose of their detailed pre-game routines is to be as well prepared as possible when the game starts. Let the game begin!
During the intermissions and after the game, the team usually continues listening to the same playlist (although to different songs).