Article: Anger Management

Discussion in 'Development, Skills & Advice' started by keely, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. keely

    keely FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    10,403
    Likes Received:
    778
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Another installment of my ongoing series (see Article: Use Your 6th Sense To Succeed and Article: Expert Performance in Umpiring), I though I'd share this article from the March issue of Referee magazine on the topic of Anger Management.

    This has come into play for me lately as I've had the opportunity to be the Senior Umpire (a combination of UM and umpire) at two national championships here in Canada. When I briefed the umpiring team, I focused on a few issues, one of which was communication with players and coaches on and off the field. Having been exposed to the practise in the English NL of sitting down with coaches/managers and captains after the game over teas and seeing how constructive (although not always easy) garnering this feedback can be, I wanted to bring it back home and really open up what has been a closed shop in our umpiring community for many years.

    The results were very interesting. Obviously some umpires were better equipped to hear feedback that wasn't always pretty, and others had far less skills and experience in dealing with an angry or very negative coach after a game. What I wanted to see was that we as a team didn't shy away from getting the messages and, by our willingness to hear people out, prove that we're truly interested in not only improving our standard by being more empathetic to the players and coaches from a hockey perspective, but also in being accountable for the things which we need to improve.

    One reaction I saw out of umpires on a few occasions was anger. When met with an angry coach, they responded in kind. Not lashing out in the same way, but being unable at that time to find another approach - call it diplomacy, tact, mediation, whatever - to cool off a confrontational situation. The common reaction was to get authoritative and order an end to the dialogue. If it was during a game, "I don't want to hear any more out of you!" combined with death looks and pointed fingers, or off the pitch, "I don't want to talk to you."

    I feel like this is going to be a big challenge for me in helping other umpires. For many of us who've been around for a while, this is a very different approach and change is never easy. For the youngsters, it can be really intimidating to deal with peers and older adults at this level.

    I'm wondering, in the context of these comments and the article, what kinds of approaches you've tried to manage your own anger as an umpire and perhaps overcome the knee-jerk defensive reaction it's very easy for us to get into? Have you employed any particular strategies? Did a particular person help teach you how to manage your anger better, and how did they do it?
     
  2. animal

    animal FHF All Time Great

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    3,450
    Likes Received:
    392
    Location:
    Townsville Australia
    From a known and self confessed serial hothead. I try (with increasing success) to apply what I call my "five minute rule". Before I go feral on an official or an opponent I ask myself will I still be p.o'ed about it in five minutes? Is it worth five minutes on the bench? Will I allow it to affect my game in five minutes time? The answer to these questions is more times than not is, NO. So, since it is just a game ( :eek: ) and I dont care what level you play at it is just a game. Suck it up, build a bridge and get over it.

    Simularly, I expect the same respect from both opponents and officials immeadiately after the game, give me five minutes to get shot of my gameface and I'm quite prepared to talk rationally and calmly about the officials incompetance, or how lucky my opponents were to cheat that blatantly and get away with it.

    Some very interesting points here, Keely. Thank you for posting them and giving us the links.

    ANIMAL
     
  3. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,101
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think it raises an interesting question, keely, for us to ask ourselves, namely "What makes(each of) you angry?".

    As this is not specific to umpiring I will start a new thread somewhere more appropriate.... I think it would be useful to do a bit of 'self analysis' on thsi, because it might help us with our own anger management to be more aware of the kind of things which 'wind us up'.

    FWIW the thread is "What makes YOU angry...." and it's in On the Bench.

    (I couldn't relate very well to any of the categories, but I guess the nearest would be 'conflictual'.)
     
  4. Bulsara

    Bulsara FHF Regular Player

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    15
    A very intersting thougt and article. In direct answer to your question about what do people do about their own anger, I deal with things differently depending on the situation, I have what the article calls conflictual anger, it helps a great deal in my job and therefore I let it flourish in that environment but on a hockey pitch and afterwards in the bar I deal with it in a very different way.

    On a hockey pitch when I feel myself getting angry, I deal with it very much in the way animal does i.e. will I be bothered about it in 5 minutes time and is it worth loosing concentration for those few minutes and maybe messing up a few decision which then not only ruins my afternoon but also that of the players, and remember we are there for the players. So I have a little trick of slowing things down, more often or not I will tie my shoelace or I will change whistle i.e. an action to refocus my mind on what I am doing here and also I will try and have a word with the nearest player about something trivial e.g. too hot to be here today (mind you I umpire mostly in Scotland so that is not often used!!) All these are used to distract me from the anger and refocus myself.

    Afterwards in the bar, I always make sure i have a shower before i go to the bar, to make sure everyone has had a cooling of period but most importantly I view these as a learning session and therefore I want to get something out of the time and I won't do that if I can't control my anger. Another thing I would do is make sure that I have thought about the instances in the game, during my shower, which have caused contraversy and think what did I do, what could I have done and what did they want and that often means I go forewarned knowing roughly what they are going to say. Once faced with an angry coach, I always let them have their say, without interruption and then I will take a drink before answering, giving me time to think have they said anything worthwhile, what can I learn and also if it is the wrong situation should I just say thanks for your views I see it very differently, explain why and then walk away. I had to do this recently with a coach at a recception who was forthright about his views about the standard of umpiring.

    None of these are very original but they seem to work for me and I suppose the whole point of the matter is that I try and do something to refocus and calm myself down rather than get involved in an argument which is not going to help anyone. I was once told "pick and choose your fights" and that is good advice and you will find hockey is very seldom a reason to have a fight.
     
  5. keely

    keely FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    10,403
    Likes Received:
    778
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Your strategies may not be novel, Bulsara, but they do underlie some really important issues.

    You mentioned that you always let the angry coach or player have their say. I feel this is critical as well. I'm amazed at how many times I turn to a player on the pitch who's upset, ask them at the appropriate time to tell me what's on their mind, and then say "ok, I hear you" or something to that effect, and that's enough to diffuse the situation. People want to see that you respect them enough to be heard and many are reasonable enough to understand that you're not going to change your last call. All they want is to be heard.

    Your refocusing strategy is mentioned in the article as well - a physical cue like tying up your shoelaces or changing your whistle that gives you to time to take a deep breath, or engaging someone else who isn't the target of your temper. This is where using the captain is such a good tool for you and the teams. Let's say you're a little less than pleased at a remark made by another player; you can call over the captain or have a word during a natural pause in play. You're unlikely to feel as angry at the captain and you'll be able to make a rational appeal for their intervention, removing yourself from the heat of the conflict.
     
  6. keely

    keely FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    10,403
    Likes Received:
    778
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    This had nothing to do with techniques umpires can use to manage their anger in their role as an umpire. Let's get back on topic, please.
     
  7. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can see you opened a window on what may have been some very intense experiences, but perhaps they are for another time and place, not the Umpiring Corner. However, can you do what the american professor was claiming to do, and turn those experiences into some positive (and not too long-winded ;) ) tips for the umpiring fraternity here?

    e.g. Do I correctly understand the tree analogy as follows? An angry person is venting an emotional state in your direction, but not necessarily at you personally. If you try and stand up to it & be unyielding you risk becoming personally involved, reacting to the negative energy and inflaming the situation.
    If you let the anger directed at you flow around / past / through you, but don't react to it personally (remember they are just venting) you are more likely to remain calm and be able manage the situation.
     
  8. Magpie

    Magpie Administrator
    FHF Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    4,718
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Purga, QLD
    Thanks for the article Keely, although I would say I'm a nix of the last two.

    As Bulsara indicated most people will use a mix depending on the situation, this would be an indicator the the person handling the situation is experienced and or confident.

    I have noticed recentley that players have commented about the amount of verbal abuse I will tolerate before I take any action, I have explained that their anger is not directed at me but at themselves. However, the people commenting also said that I run the risk of loosing control of the game if I don't deal with it. Thinking about it now the comments are correct, the players anger whilst not directed at the umpire has a flow on effect, especially to spectators who only 'hear' what is being said by the player(s).

    My next umpiring job, I'm going to change tack and jump on the 'verbal' stuff early and see if it makes a change.
     
  9. Alexei

    Alexei FHF Regular Player

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice Article...Many thanks Keely!

    Umpiring has been very challenging for me since day 1 and Umpiring helps me to learn control my temper.

    Have seen some incidences where umpires made decisions when in anger. Certainly not useful.
     
  10. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, my first ever yellow card I handed out I did so in anger. I was so p*&^%$ off that a player could be so stupid. Just had to remind myself after that that cards are meant to be calming. I now try to defuse the niggles, give a quick warning, and generally communicate with the players - whilst you can't keep every feral player in place, over all, I find that better communication = less cards & less instances of angry players, umpires, coaches & spectators.
     
  11. Bulsara

    Bulsara FHF Regular Player

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    15
    If you are angry over what a player has said, I will very seldom confront the player as that is only ever going to inflame the situation i.e. two angry people makes for a confrontation, one angry person and a calm person can lead to resolution. If it is verbals and you feel it is worthy of a card, give the card but there is no reason to call the person over to talk to them they will know what they have done and a signal to your colleague will tell him and both teams what has happened. If it is not worth a card tell the captain and let them deal with it they are going to be more effective then you, again no need to stop the game to do this; do it when passing them or at a suitable calm moment.

    I would also say that giving a card when you are angry is something to be very careful about, I tend to blow the ‘pea’ out of the whistle (well I would if my whistle has one) and that acts as my trigger for refocusing, it is at this point that I decide if the card is appropriate, not before.
     
  12. philthy

    philthy FHF All Time Great

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,962
    Likes Received:
    423
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    I know it's hard to do, but one of the best ways of dealing with an irate and angry person (player/umpire/coach/whoever) is actually to just let them rant. 9 times out of 10 they'll talk themselves out, then feel fairly sheepish, and then you can deal with the situation. If you constantly try to interrupt to calm them down or shut them up then often you just end up irritating them and they become more agitated. Best to let them get it out, try and develop a thick skin to it, and then when they've talked themselves out and realised they're being stupid you can take the appropriate action (including cards they may have talked themselves into during their rant!)
     
  13. pogoref

    pogoref FHF Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    1
    Whilst they rant it gives you thinking time as to what you will say and the action you will be taking. This is something I employ when football (soccer) refereeing also. However, when they have finished and I start to speak, should they try to interrupt I remind them that I had the courtesy to let them speak without interruption and it is now my turn and that the discussion will be cease when I've finished. I also believe one should be brief and not give long lectures to players or coaches.
     
  14. keely

    keely FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    10,403
    Likes Received:
    778
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Good points, pogoref, and welcome to the forum. :)
     
  15. johncoxon

    johncoxon FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,655
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Salford, geeater Manchester
    I find analogy with my teaching experience . With kids who get into a rage, lose the plot, they actually go into a kind of primal mode where their adrenalin kicks in and in fact their ability to process spoken language is severly inhibited thus as as pogref rightly says, waiting till the red veil subsides a tad is essenial and then brief assertive statements are the thing- and it is my belief that when one lectures at kids / players in this kind of situation it is more of the stereotypical parent mode that people fall into during high stress rather than doing the practical thing and simply asserting themselves and instructing the errant player / child.
     

Share This Page