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Communication Skills

refereeing a rugby match The communication skills resources you’ll find in this section have been designed to support your development as an official, giving you the confidence to manage the game effectively by using a wide variety of communication methods.

Should you require more information as to what to do in sport-specific situations, contact your national sport organisation.

See below for a brief description of the communication skills resources.

Communication Skills

Communicating with participants and coaches

An important part of officiating is good communication. This fact sheet has simple hints and tips for communicating effectively with a wide variety of people involved in your sport.

Download Communication with participants and Coaches Fact Sheets (PDF, 40 Kb)

Communication styles

This fact sheet summarises the four main communication styles and points you in the direction of what the preferred style is for officiating.

Download Communication Styles (PDF, 24 Kb)

Listening skills

Every great official is also a great listener. This fact sheet outlines the key behaviours of what is good listening, as well as behaviours to avoid when you are officiating.

Download Listening Skills (PDF, 31 Kb)

The importance of being assertive

In order to maintain control of the game and provide a fun environment, being assertive is a key skill for every official. This fact sheet outlines the key behaviours of assertiveness.

Download The Importance of Being Assertive (PDF, 39 Kb)

Writing reports

From time to time you’ll have to write reports that provide information for others on the game you have officiated, especially with regard to incidents or injuries, and your comments regarding the behaviour of both teams.

This fact sheet provides report writing principles to keep in mind when submitting any reports following a game.

Download Writing Reports (PDF, 40 Kb)

Emotional intelligence for sports officials

Emotional intelligence is the ability to handle emotions in a way that enhances your productivity, personal power, and quality of life around you. It involves making your emotions work for you.

As a sports official you are dealing with a wide variety of emotions as players strive to compete – how you handle their emotions and your own can have significant impact on your effectiveness and the enjoyment of others involved.

This fact sheet provides more information on what emotional intelligence is, and how to enhance it to the benefit of your officiating.

Download Emotional Intelligence for Sports Officials (PDF, 53 Kb)

Session plan

This part of the toolkit provides some basic instructions and recommendations for delivering your session on communication skills. Those planning on delivering a session are strongly encouraged to go through this section before using the resources.

Download Session Plan (PDF, 260 Kb)

Role-play activity cards

These can be used in a workshop environment or amongst colleagues to improve your communication and conflict management skills. Ensure there is an observer who can provide accurate feedback to the person playing the role of the official.

Role-play activity cards

Download Role Play Activity Cards 1 (PDF, 27 Kb)

Download Role Play Activity Cards 2 (PDF, 27 Kb)

Download Role Play Activity Cards 3 (PDF, 27 Kb)

Download Role Play Activity Cards 4 (PDF, 27 Kb)

Download Role Play Activity Cards 5 (PDF, 27 Kb)


Download Role Play Observation Sheet (PDF, 34 Kb)

Self study scenarios

These are the same scenarios as used in the role-play activity, but the ideal responses for each scenario are included. This exercise is helpful to those who aren’t able to attend a group session where role plays provide an opportunity to put the learning into practice.

Download Self Study Scenarios (PDF, 128 Kb)

Self-check quiz

A simple multi-choice quiz so you can see how your communication skills knowledge is shaping up. If you’re struggling with the quiz, time to head back into the resources!

Download the self -check quiz (PDF, 37 Kb)


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