How To Get Back In The Game

I get some really nice feedback on the site. Thank you very much for all of you who take the time writing about anything, getting in contact with me.

One thing stands out from these comments. Referees generally get the most out of the articles here to get (back) in their ideal state. They either face a mistake or just lack concentration for some reason. It can be missing your expectations, or serious distraction by players, coaches, supporters, etc.

You know what? The why doesn’t matter. It’s the how that makes you stand out or the crowd. So, I want to write about how you can get back to the zone even during the game.

The first trick is to notice that something is wrong. People usually try not to face that there is a problem. They think if they ignore it, it may go away, and sometimes they may be right. But if they don’t deal with them soon enough, it definitely will come back.

But is during the game really a good time to draw conclusions? 

Ambitious referees want to correct their mistakes at once. They want to make everything perfect NOW! And that’s ok. It only means that you are hungry for success, motivated, and that is quite good! Still, there is one thing that keeps you from getting back in the zone: your EGO.

Your ego wants you to deal with your mistakes. It forces you think about the distraction. What should you have done differently? How can you avoid it? (Or you may only wish somebody behave differently.) If you notice that you are distracted, say thanks to this part of You. It wants you to be better. But during the Game, there are more important things than your ego.

How to get back in the zone

  1. Notice that you are out of the zone. Notice why you are out, if there is a particular reason that comes to your mind.
  2. Say thank you for the part of you that wants to improve. Be grateful. It is a really valuable part of you. Ensure it that you will get back later and analyze the situation.
  3. Fire your anchor of ideal state or confidence. Remember, you only have to fire the state that you previously anchored (by making a fist, tapping your butt, or anything you have chosen).
  4. Do some encouraging self talk like “OK, Peter, you are back in the game. Go on, white on defense, look at your area.” Avoid self-talk like “no problem” or “you should/have to get back to the game”. Be positive, encouraging, and kind to yourself.
  5. Put your focus on the present.

After the game, come back to your distraction. Analyze it, draw your conclusions, add them to your experience bank.

You can do this exercise in no time. The more you practice, the less time you need to get back in the zone. What’s more, it is an anchor, so later you will do it automatically every time you notice that something went wrong.

The point is

that a part of you (let’s call  it your ego) forces you out of the game sometimes. And while you can be grateful for this part, since it motivates you to be better, the Game is always more important than you. Let’s get back to the Game as soon as you can with the short routine above.

If you enjoy these articles, use the exercises. You will see how they help you improve. If you need more, or you may want to support our work here, you can get it by reading The Essential Referee Mindset, an eBook with a lot of exercises and deep analysis on the mental aspects of officiating.

If you have your own method, share it. If you need some help on anything, just let me know privately or in the comments below.

About Peter

Peter Papp is an enthusiastic supporter of open-minded referees, international basketball referee (FIBA) and NLP Master Practitioner. Peter is the founder of

  • I am genuinely glad to glance at this website posts which contains
    plenty of helpful data, thanks for providing these information.

    • Peter


  • m88

    What’s up, I check your new stuff regularly.
    Your humoristic style is awesome, keep up the good work!

    • Peter

      🙂 thanks


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