Means of communication are increasingly making their way into field hockey. At the highest levels, the ‘ears’ are indispensable. But also for the guidance of youth members who make their first steps on the referee path, it offers a solution. You don’t make referees, but children are on the field with much more confidence.
The young teenage girl, dressed in a strikingly brightly colored jacket, blows her whistle because of a foul. Gently. The young field hockey players look neither up nor down. Coaches scream along the line murder and fire. Parents grumble. She blows again. A little louder. But the players are so in their game, they don’t react. More grumbling along the side. Helplessly the young referee looks around. Then she sounds in her ear: ‘okay, and now blow that whistle as loud as you can. Then they’ll listen. The young referee squeezes her lips, a shrill flute sounds and the game is stopped. Shoot. Free ball,’ she says. Briskly she stretches her arm.
The young referees and their companion are in a direct connection via a referee communication system with an earpiece. Youth members, especially girls, find whistling quite exciting the first few times. They are insecure in the field. With the help of the walkie-talkies we support them. We give them the feeling that someone is there for them when something really happens. That gives them a safe feeling. On the other hand, we provide them with tips. This mainly concerns positioning, whistling louder, arm gestures and things like that. We don’t interfere with decisions. Whether or not it’s a shoot, it’s up to the referee’.