On Sunday the Welsh Premier Assistant Referees met at The Venue, Home of the New Saints, for a workshop which combined practical exercises and match day situations through DVD analysis.
The morning session took place on the football pitch and lasted for 75 minutes where they were put through a physically demanding range of exercises which were based on speed, stamina and agility together with synchronised movement. Every exercise undertaken saw them carrying a flag in their hand, just as they would in a game. This session was under the watchful eye of National Fitness Coach Ray Ellingham and Specialist Coach for Assistant Referees Steve Hames.
After an excellent lunch provided by The Venue Staff the afternoon session took place indoors with Steve Hames conducting proceedings.
First Speaker was Dave Spendiff, the Physio at TNS who is working with Dr Tim Watkin-Jones, who gave a brief insight into a proposed new scheme for FAW Match Officials in terms of Sports Medicine Service which was well received.
This was followed by Phil Thomas who gave a very motivational (and humorous) address on his experience in the build up to and the match itself when he was invited to act as Assistant Referee in the FA’s 150th Anniversary game with the Republic of Ireland at Wembley in front of 82,000 people.
Almost all referees were also on games on Saturday so their dedication to give up their whole weekend is commendable
Last up was Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford who asked the participants to discuss six DVD clips. Three were from the Welsh Premier League and were contentious decisions with many coaching points to be discussed and three were from UEFA Champions’ League matches on Offside or not Offside. The clips all stimulated a great deal of discussion amongst the participants but the most important thing was that by the end of the session the correct course of action expected was clear to everyone.
Head of Competitions Andrew Howard commented; "The facilities at Park Hall were excellent for this seminar, which enabled the assistants to work both on and off the field. Almost all referees were also on games on Saturday so their dedication to give up their whole weekend is commendable."
"Last season, the FAW appointed Steve Hames as its first specialist coach for Assistant Referees and we have already seen the fruits of his labour with a higer standard of assistant refereeing and events like this helps us to improve things further."