President Blog – April 2018 Nationals and Reffing

Nationals, Platform Etiquette and Reffing 

We are a few weeks away from the 2018 BPU and ABPU British Championships being held at Bodypower. As we have a lot of new lifters (5 years competing and less) it was thought it would be useful to put in some refereeing info for you. 

First and foremost – the referees are there to help and WANT you to get the lift. All of our referees must be current competitors and in order to be able to sit a referee exam, they must have been competing a minimum of 2 years. For me, I have been an international referee since the late 1990’s and nationals since…… well…… a few years more than that! Darren has been an international referee for 4 years now, Patricia has sat her international exam in 2016 and passed her practical and still has the written to finalise. We have a wealth of experience there to help you from our national referees and dont be fooled if someone looks young – they may well have been competing a lot longer than you since they were 15 or 16. On a personal note, recently a new competitor said “what do you know, you just bench” – seeing as I RETIRED from full power in 2000 after 12 years of competing full power, just be careful what you say to people who are trying to help you when you are new to the game! 

If you get a red light, ASK! Dont strop off in a huff, ask! Genuinely, all our refs give a red with regret and will do anything to help you get that lift in. Also remember that angles taken by video, unless taken EXACTLY behind the referee at the same height etc, are misleading. None of our refs will comment on videos shown as you just cannot see properly and frankly if you start waving video at us, you will get a really sharp answer. If you try to show us a video from the front – then run! You cant judge depth from the front unless it is really obviously high. If you have got 2 no lifts, particularly on squat, and your friends are all saying “it was in” and waving video – ignore them, they are not helping you at this point. Speak to a referee and find out what is going wrong or get someone to call your depth from the side – or ideally both. 

Referees do make mistakes, things happen on platform and in the event that there is any doubt, it is obligatory to give a white. However, if you absolutely think it was in then you need to immediately speak to the head referee, not 5 minutes later with a video as at that point we cant do anything about it – there are so many lifters going through we really cant remember what happened on your 2nd bench. You may sometimes see a squat go through you thought was a little high – frankly unless youre standing exactly in the same position as the side ref, you really cannot see. However, as a referee, if you are unsure about a lift and its depth or position etc then you have to give the benefit of the doubt to the lifter and give white. Comments are also passed about depth when people are standing on one side where the lift looks high and they get a red but 2 whites from the front and other side, but the lifter is twisted, lop sided due to physical issues or one foot is slightly in front of the other which means they are in one side and not the other. So, before anyone starts moaning – think about those things. 

The aim of the referee is to provide impartial and fair judgement. I dont know of any of our refs that I would ever consider “not” impartial or empathetic. At international competitions where you dont know the referees, stand and watch how it is going. What do you need to do in order to get those white lights? What are they watching in particular, is there someone reffing depth from the front (I know we dont do it but some internationals do) and watch the referees style. These are all things as a lifter I had to do personally for years and still do. 

Lastly, if you get a lift failed, dont take it personally. You may be pissed off, but believe me when I say most refs hate the fact they have had to give a red light. When a lifter hates you for it and takes it personally, it really does hit hard even though you cant show it. I have shocking guilt red lighting people even though I stand by decision and am completely confident in the decision – we dont take it lightly and a red is the last resort. Do remember that if you absolutely disagree or something has happened which hasnt been noticed then you need to action it there and then and of course it will be fully taken into account and dealt with appropriately. If you feel a referee is consistently giving bad calls then mention it to the head referee. We dont close ranks (unless you’re being an aggressive or disrespectful tit) and all still compete. We are there for you, to help and give fair judgement so always make use of us. Ask ask ask ask and ask! 

Anyway – here we go, a few weeks away now and I wish everyone an outstanding British Championships with endless whites and the results you have been working so hard for. 

Emma Ylitalo-James