Key attributes of expert NRL referees

Gavin Morris, Donna O' Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Experiential knowledge of elite National Rugby League (NRL) referees was investigated to determine the key attributes contributing to expert officiating performance. Fourteen current first-grade NRL referees were asked to identify the key attributes they believed contributed to their expert refereeing performance. The modified Delphi method involved a 3-round process of an initial semi-structured interview followed by 2 questionnaires to reach consensus of opinion. The data revealed 25 attributes that were rated as most important that underpin expert NRL refereeing performance. Results illustrate the significance of the cognitive category, with the top 6 ranked attributes all cognitive skills. Of these, the referees ranked decision-making accuracy as the most important attribute, followed by reading the game, communication, game understanding, game management and knowledge of the rules. Player rapport, positioning and teamwork were the top ranked game skill attributes underpinning performance excellence. Expert referees also highlighted a number of psychological attributes (e.g., concentration, composure and mental toughness) that were significant to performance. There were only 2 physiological attributes (fitness, aerobic endurance) that were identified as significant to elite officiating performance. In summary, expert consensus was attained which successfully provided a hierarchy of the most significant attributes of expert NRL refereeing performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-857
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume35
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2017
Externally publishedYes

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