Fitness Getting started!

You have completed your basic course of training to become a referee, taken the exam, and passed with flying colours. You are now one of the elite. You are now one of the Football Association's Referees. In the euphoria you readily agree to officiate your first game at the weekend. As you proudly announce this to anyone who will listen somebody says "Are you going to be fit enough to do it?" In anticipation of this great day, of course you have been training hard for weeks, and the 6km or more you will have to run at varying speeds and directions will not cause you any problems at all. Will it? If you have been fairly active recently you will probably be fine, but if you are taking up refereeing after a long lay-off you will need to ascertain whether you are in good enough condition before entering the field of play.

Fitness sessions in Hampshire

Referee Fitness Sessions take place around the County, mainly with the local Referees Society, and those who participate find them of great benefit. To find out where your local referee fitness session is taking place please contact Brian Le Breton Referee Development Officer (


"You should always get fit to referee and not referee to get fit"


The older you are and the longer you have not been involved in physical activity the more care you must take before starting to referee. Whatever your age the amount of exercise you do should be carefully considered so you do not suffer from undue fatigue or strain. After a bout of exercise you should feel 'pleasantly tired' and not totally exhausted. If you do too much too soon you will become fatigued and the results could be harmful. Getting fit is a slow and gradual process and cannot be achieved overnight.


A medical check-up should not be necessary before you start a fitness programme. However, you should start gently and gradually increase the amount of exercise you take. Consult your doctor if you have any doubts about your health or if you have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, chest trouble or aches and pains in your back or joints.


"Fitness is not an exam; you cannot cram it all in at the end" "It is your responsibility as an active referee to attain and maintain a level of fitness appropriate to the level at which you referee"

Importance of the cool down after a game or training session

How often do you see a colleague perform a cool down routine? This is possibly even more important than the warm up before a game yet so few people do it. Why? The cool down is aimed at getting the body to return to its resting state as quickly as possible, in a controlled way. Do not return to the dressing room and slump in a chair or on a bench. Advice for cool down:
* Jog across the pitch and on the return
* Gradually slow down to
* Long stride walking then
* Down to normal walking
Carry out stretching but hold the stretches each for 30 seconds on Calf, quads, hamstring and Achilles. This will help to prevent muscle stiffness and the onset of muscle soreness.

Training Guidelines

Follow these simple Training Guidelines to improve your fitness and remain free from injury.
1. Don't work too hard too soon. Improvements in fitness take time. If you rush your progression you may injure yourself. The primary objective is that you stay injury free, so don't over-train.
2. Try to vary your training so you alternate hard and easy days.
3. All sessions should start and finish with a warm up/down followed by stretching.
4. Always train within your training zone (i.e. 70%-90% of maximum heart rate).
5. Do not train if you are ill.
6. If you are injured try and substitute training for activities such as cycling or swimming to help you maintain your fitness.
7. Invest in decent clothing and footwear. It is important to wear good shoes especially when training on hard surfaces.
8. Don't jog in fog!
9. If you go jogging in the dark always wear light coloured clothing so you can be seen easily. Better still, wear a reflective jacket.
10. Don't eat, drink caffeine or use tobacco products within 2 hours of a game or training session.
11. Regularly consume water before, during and after training and matches.