By Coach Shane Martin
I wrote a lecture a few years ago on the psychology of the referee and what I have seen in my coaching experience is a few interesting points to employ.
1) Know your referee.
If you have been around for a period of time, you will likely know who is refereeing you. Knowing their style helps your athletes 10 fold. Generous depth call? Long pauses? Long start commands? Hate soft knees? Knowing how they referee will aid your ability to cue your athlete so they don’t get any surprises on the platform.
Where are the side referees sitting. Where are the spotters in relation to the line of sight. These can all benefit or hinder your athlete. For example, if an athlete has a tendency to have their butt come off the bench, but the side referees are closer to the front of the platform, they may miss it. So perhaps, don’t draw attention to it. Or, maybe your athlete is squatting big weights and the spotters are blocking their hip crease, this could result in a benefit of the doubt call for the lifter.
3) Mood or personality.
They a dick head? Really nice? New or Veteran? Get to know them by introducing yourself before the event and thank them for refereeing. A little sugar at the start of the day never hurt no one. This short conversation will also get you a feel for their demeanor that day. If they are grumpy or happy, or you notice nothing, at least you got a better idea of how they are feeling and if it will effect them.
Shane Martin is the owner and head coach at Smartlifts. Shane is an International Level Referee, Team Canada and Alberta Coach, and multiple time National Champion. He has recorded a 2025lb total and has a medal from the IPF Worlds. Shane coaches beginners to world champions and focuses on longevity through smart programming and technical mastery.