Refereeing Tips - by Larry Eforgan

Sitting down to referee is like standing up to sleep. I don’t know anyone who can do it comfortably. To referee properly you must be able to see what the player is doing, which means watching closely without interfering with the shot or moving into or in the players’ line of sight. The optimum position is behind the player and slightly to one side dependant on the shot being attempted. Another way to assist the player is to allow him to concentrate on his shot without having to worry whether a potted colour has been re-spotted, the best way to do this is call the progressive score only when you have re-spotted the colour, not when it has been potted and still in the pocket or in your hand. This way the player knows he can take his next shot with impunity.

Calling the score correctly is also a way to assist the player, a correct score called correctly leaves no-one in doubt and the player can then concentrate on his game. What I mean by this is that the score should be arithmetically correct (yes it’s arithmetic not mathematics) and should also be called in the correct manner. E.g. calling a foul as “4 away” is incorrect, the correct call should be “foul [the name of the player receiving] 4 points” also, calling the score at the end of a break should be made by calling the players’ name first and then the score, e.g. “Maurice Chilton 60” not “60 to the top” this will also be a great help to the scorer and relieve the referee to arbitrate instead of trying to remember which of the players’ is on top, this duty is always the responsibility of the scorer.

Assistance by the referee with ancillary equipment, to the player, can sometimes be a stumbling block, that is, whether or not to assist. The golden rule is that it is more important to re-spot balls than to take a rest from the player. If a player has taken a shot with the rest and missed the referee has plenty of time to take the rest and put it away, similarly if the player has potted a red he has then to take a shot on a colour and the referee has, again, plenty of time to assist. Conversely, if a player has potted a colour and there are still reds left on the table then the referee should re-spot the ball. The player will have time to replace the rest himself whilst the referee is doing this. The exception to this, of course, is if the player is using a long rest and a cue extension. Assistance by the referee in this case will save a player struggling and possibly fouling. Another thing to keep in mind when a rest is being used is that a player sometimes needs to retain the rest for a subsequent shot. Don’t fight the player for the rest. Remember, also, that the responsibility for playing with a rest is the players. Fouls committed with any equipment by the player shall be counted against that player.

The scorer too has a duty to assist the referee, which in turn assists the player. His responsibility is not only to keep score but also to watch the game. If a referee misses something or calls a score or a foul incorrectly then the only help he has is his partner, the scorer.

Finally, remember that refereeing and scoring is a condition of membership and the discharge of these duties, in as a professional manner as possible, must be reciprocated when it is your turn to play.