Excerpted from Referee.com 7/20/18
What do a ninth-inning call at home plate, a crucial roughing penalty late in the fourth quarter or a block/charge call all have in common? They are all tough calls that can generate conflict, controversy and a coach who is going to be very upset. All officials have experienced conflict with a coach. Confrontations can have positive outcomes if the official follows the basic principles of conflict resolution management.
Being in the proper position to make the call and knowing the applicable rule are prerequisites to successfully selling the tough call. What if the head coach doesn’t notice or care? Fight or flight may seem like good options, but neither works. A better alternative is to apply conflict resolution management.
By practicing three easy steps, the outcomes of those confrontations can be quickly and successfully resolved.
Listen to the nature of the complaint. Let the coach disclose his or her feelings or vent frustration with your call. Do not interrupt while the coach is voicing an opinion about your call.
Nonverbal communication skills, including body language, can dramatically help sell the call. Make eye contact with the coach while he or she is talking. Keep your arms behind your back or at your sides, never crossed in front of your chest since that suggests you are guarded. Do not roll your eyes. Nodding, with one hand up to your chin, shows you value and acknowledge the coach’s opinion with a willingness to listen to his or her point of view.