It’s What You Do Next That Counts

I’ve seen many games. Good games and bad ones, good referees and exceptional ones. One thing is clear from that experience. One character clearly tells the difference between mediocre and outstanding referees: how they handle their own mistakes.

It’s all about positioning yourself.

The best officials I’ve seen are definitely aware that they make mistakes, and they are comfortable with their own mistakes. One of the greatest told me exactly this word: comfortable.

it's what you do next that counts

An old Accenture advertisement with Tiger Woods

Looking at the face of my partner tells me everything about what’s going on inside. After a mistake they curse at themselves. They validate how stupid and bad they are. They start the time-out with explaining their calls. They try to rationalise and explain themselves. They position their own self as bad referees.

Sometimes all the time-out goes away talking about the past, debating about a foul or a traveling. That’s useless, and it suggests the feeling of uncertainty and poor teamwork.

Tell yourself you made a mistake, and that’s all. Learn to be comfortable with your mistakes, even on big games.

It’s not the mistake that counts, but what you do next.

I don’t say that you should hide away from your mistakes. Being comfortable with them means that you don’t find it difficult to admit, but take care of them only as long as you learn something. Not a second more.

So, next time you catch yourself beating up your own ass because of a stupid little mistake, remember that even the very best referees and athletes make mistakes. You can see it yourself in this video.

The difference is what they do next.

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


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