Monday, April 3, 2017

Using the Scrum app during training

After using the scrum app during our match official group sprint sessions, I've made a few tweaks to the app. Update from the stores to get these improvements:
  1. Each time you choose a mode, the playlist is now limited to 10. There are more than 10 videos (and next update will include some new ones) but each time you choose a mode you get a random selection of only 10.
  2. Text on the answer buttons is now readable on iPhone 6 :)

If you haven't tried the app during training yet - I thoroughly recommend it. What we did:
  •  Warmed up as usual
  •  Paused running and each person using their own phone or tablet, watched a set of videos in normal mode, noting the score.
  •  Then we did our sprint session, running till fatigued.
  •  Paused again and each person using their own phone or tablet, watched a second set of videos in normal mode, noting the score.
  •  Used the score difference as an incentive - If you scored 10 on the first attempt and 8 on the second, you ran 2 more shuttles. This part is not essential but a little competition is motivating!
It was quite apparent the second time around that you had to focus harder on the activity. Most people did score better - but whether that was attributed to the greater effort or familiarity of the videos is hard to say. It was from this experience that we thought it would be good to limit the exercise to 10 videos, but work towards increasing the number of videos that the 10 can be selected from.

As you watch the videos you may be tempted to debate the individual result, but that's not the point of the exercise. The absolute score that you get isn't meaningful on its own. Remember the videos are shown as a random collection. Also remember that you don't have game context to help with your decision. This is a gut response. The training exercise here is to practice make decisions - and i believe the more under fatigue you are, the better!

If you haven't downloaded the app yet, find it here
NB: Scrum is a little hard to search for in the stores. If you search, I recommend you search for RCIP (on iOS) or Referee Coach in Practice (on Android) and then scroll down and see other apps from the same publisher.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Scrum learning tool now in Apple and Google Play stores

Match Official Brain Training is blossoming in 2017, stay tuned and subscribe now for apps and resources to improve your refereeing.

Today, the Scrum learning tool has been released in the Apple and Google Play stores! Either search the store on your device or browse to this page and click the appropriate link below:



This app is a learning tool for rugby union referees to practice observing scrum scenarios making the correct decision.

After watching each short video clip, choose the response that the referee should give from the four choices on the right. The next video will automatically start.

You can use this app in three modes:
  •  normal speed with scoring - this is perceptual training - use this to develop your perceptual skills from repeated watching, processing and responding.
  • 1.5 times normal speed - this is stress exposure training - use this to improve the response you would give at normal speed, by training in a high stress environment
  • review mode (no scoring) - learning mode -  if you find your scoring low, use this mode to see an annotated screenshot with the answer explained after you make a choice.

Use the app either at physical rest or during a physical training activity. This great in a sprint session: between sprints, pause and watch all the videos, then sprint again. This simulates your game experience - during a match you need to make decision whilst running around - now you can do that at training too!

Companion apps will be coming soon for other elements of the game.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Referee Coach In Practice app now in Apple and Google Play stores


The first app in a collection of match official training tools has now been released in the Apple and Google Play stores! Either search the store on your device or browse to this page on your device and click the appropriate link below:


This app presents the content of the ARU's Rugby Referee Coaching in Practice book and organizes it in a way that you can use it to self assess a game of rugby that you have refereed.

Every game you referee is an opportunity to learn and improve. With or without a referee coach, you can review your game and prepare for the next one.


How to use this app:
  1. Choose an element of the game of rugby (tackle, ruck or maul, scrum, advantage, restarts, lineout) that you would like to review. You can only review one element at a time.
  2. Choose events that happened in your game. Select events that stood out to you or may have been brought to your attention by the captain or team coaches.
  3. Review the competencies listed. Are these areas of the game you might have had an issue with?
  4. Consider the coaching hints supplied. These will be a collection of actions that are applicable to all of competencies that were displayed on the previous screen.

Some hints are straight forward - probably the most common is 'review the laws' - but many may require you to seek assistance. Talk to your fellow referees face-to-face or online, or engage with a local referee coach to create an improvement plan.

Thank you to the ARU for giving permission to use the content of the Referee Coaching in Practice book, in this app.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Welcome to Match Official Brain Training


In all sports, match officials learn on the job. It's almost impossible to fully prepare to officiate without participating in actual games. Saying that, teams often don't take well to match officials that are learning, they just want a good referee all the time. So how do you get 'good' in this seemingly 'Catch 22' situation?

Match officials typical prepare themselves physically using similar training techniques as players, and mentally prepare by revising the laws of the game - but this is not enough to become a good match official. Decision making whilst under physical stress and whilst in the pressure of a game situation, is significantly different to when you are calmly sitting on the couch! Any way that a match official can incorporate decision making and physical and mental fatigue into their fitness training, will help them prepare for real games.

Match officials must also learn from their real game experiences. Game reviews are important for match officials at all competency levels. Some match officials may have the luxury of a coach, but most do not. Match officials must review their own games to ensure that they continuously learn and improve.

The apps and activities presented here aim to help match officials to:
 - learn how to review their own games to aid improvement
 - immerse themselves into typical game situations and practice their responses
 - incorporate mental training into their physical training program