When I worked with HOF baseball coach, Tommy Pharr. He would use this one word all of the time….It later dawned on me, It really worked!
Surprisingly, it is the same word to say to a police officer if you get pulled over….
Both police officers and referees bring out the worst in us, emotions… There is usually a call we disagree with, and in the moment, we are charged up with the situation of the game.
Disagreeing with referees are emotion filled because it means a poor call was made and it may be pivotal. These moments require precision with our words…Getting too aggressive, defensive, or making a referee feel like they made a bad call rarely works to our advantage. What often happens is the coach or athlete reacts, by shouting, getting upset, or saying it was a horrible call. Since they are not going to switch the call anyways,we can only make the situation worse. We must not react with emotion rather, respond with poise.
The goal should be to respond to the call, and help that the next questionable call will go our way. Not to mention being a good role model and keeping our cool. Referees are human as well; so feel free to use this one word to help with the next call…
This word is not aggressive, it assesses no blame, and it gets the point across!!! This one word puts the emotion and thoughts back onto the referee where it should be. The referee hears the word, or sees the emotion and body language of “wow”, and starts to mentally process their call and the situation. “Hmmm”, “Did I make the right call”, “He is kind of dumbfounded, was that correct?”
When we respond with poise, we can also ask “why” a call was made, and the referee will be more likely to take the time to answer, which will, in turn, help us coach and understand “why.” However, If we react with emotion, ref’s become closed off and less likely to respond to us OR respond with their OWN emotion.
Now, each questionable call can’t be responded with “wow”, because it may lose it luster. Besides, there are other words that help convey the same meaning…“Unbelievable” is akin to “wow” and can be used interchangeably. Feel free to begin applying this mental game technique and you’ll see the results…
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness. His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .