Arrive early, park your car wisely (don’t allow yourself to be blocked in), be dressed in a clean and proper uniform, inspect the field and surroundings and tend to administrative details early. Those are all wise tips. Here are a few other things to remember to do.

Hold a thorough pregame. Either while walking around the field to inspect it or while watching the teams warm up, hold a pregame with your referee partners. The extra time spent before a game discussing various mechanics, strategies and philosophies is invaluable — even if you’ve worked with your partners before. You’ll avoid problems during a game by discussing them before it.

Watch players warm up. Watching players during warmups allows you to do several things. You’ll see which player might be in a bad mood — just got a poor grade in school or had a fight with the spouse. You’ll see who is exclusively left-footed or right-footed. You’ll see who is shooting — and connecting — from 22 yards out, right near the penalty arc. You’ll see who is taking long practice throw-ins and who is taking corner kicks — inswingers or outswingers? All of those things help you make better positioning decisions.

You’ll also see how the teams cooperate in sharing the field (might presage a willingness or an inability to cooperate during the game), whether the practice is player-led or coach-led (gives some idea of whether the coach is intrusive or quiet), etc.

Meet with the coaches and captains, examine your equipment (whistle blow? pen write?). Relax.

Talk to the players. It’s challenging to walk that fine line. The goal: To develop a good rapport by being cordial, but not overly friendly. The same is true with the coaches. Be respectful and expect respect in return. Keep conversations short and to the point — and not obviously favoring one team over the other.

Make clear signals, keep the game moving, don’t give medical aid or advice, keep track of cards given and know where the game manager is located.

Stop play, if needed. If you err, it should be on the side of safety. It might be lightning or some other weather-related cause. It might be something from the neighborhood spilling into the area around your field. It might be temporary — such as waiting until the water sprinklers that came on unexpectedly can be turned off. It might be a termination — bad blood between spectators caused the police to be called and you feel you cannot maintain order on the field if the game is restarted.

Leave the field as a crew, don’t talk to reporters or fans, thank the game manager, relax, leave the locker room cleaner than you found it and go to the (wisely parked) cars together.

Get together after game. Plan in advance to stop after the game and have a root beer or meal with your partners. Go over the game plays and your mechanics. Talk about strange plays. Ask yourself, “Could I have done a better job handling that?” Better yet, ask your partners. Solicit their advice and criticism. If they are perceptive, they’ll be able to tell you what you need to work on. If asked, provide them with the same honest feedback.

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