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Reffing ain't easy: Colin and Dave take their Level 2 officials course

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Kombat's Colin Pinch and David Edwards recently completed their Level 2 Officials Course in judging and refereeing. Big thanks to Colin for this guest post where he shares their experience and sheds light on the difficulties of working as an official: It was a cold Sunday morning and Dave and I were on our way to what we thought would be eight hours of slow, uninspiring training. Sure, we were both looking forward to our chance to officiate and knew the training was essential, but how exciting could classroom training be? Well, I’m glad to say Dave and I had it all wrong. The course was run by Muzammal Nawaz (Maz), who had no trouble keeping us both motivated for the whole day. The course wasn’t just a “sit down and listen” session, it was 100 per cent interactive all the way through; some great questions were asked by all those attending, which really helped. The first part of the day was focused on judging. We all got to hold the counters and click away as we scored the first round of a mock bout. It was hilarious how inaccurate most of us were. You could hear everyone clicking every few seconds scoring rounds in the high 20s, double the accurate count! That’s what was great about the course; we got plenty of time to practice scoring and by lunchtime we all had a complete understanding of what judging involves. You really have to focus. The afternoon session was all about refereeing. We were lucky to have two of the most experienced officials there to help us through, Steve and Amanda (special thanks to Amanda who separated herself from her 5-week-old baby for the afternoon to help us out). We got to practice all the different aspects of being a referee, from checking the athletes to starting and stopping a bout. Making it a practical session was what made it easier to learn, although Theodora did seem to enjoy throwing foul punches and kicks a little too much! One thing is for certain, my appreciation and respect for all officials has increased considerably. The amount of things they have to focus on all at one time is tough considering all the distractions. Next time you see what you think is a bad call, just take a minute before you scream from the crowd. Firstly, you might not have the view that the ref has. Secondly, the referee’s top priority is the athletes’ safety; better to break a dangerous clinch or give a standing eight count than just stand there worried about the crowd’s reaction. And thirdly, we’re all human, right? We all make mistakes from time to time. An added bonus is this course will make me a better coach. I can take the skills and knowledge that I learned and pass it on to the athletes that want to compete. Don’t be surprised to have Dave and I ask you to get in the ring and throw a few foul shots at one another so we can practice our new skills!

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