Referee and Umpire Resources - Books, Articles and Ideas to Become a Better Rec Sports Official

Communication Ideas:

Never Split the Difference:

Ideas like “Tactical Empathy” and negotiation strategies (“how do you expect me to do that?”) make this a great book for refs and umps. References the idea that “Someone is crazy” often comes from a lack of information.

Verbal Judo:

The Classic from a former police office never gets old. Every Ref should be required to read the chapter on “Taking Crap with Dignity … and Style”

The Power of Moments:

A bit of an un-traditional choice, this book speaks to how people remember great moments and how they are created. If you believe in the power of “Hustle” as a defuser, and you believe that you can change the future as a teacher while still reffing and umping, then give it a try, especially the example about the Disney World Vacation, and how most people remember peaks and endings and not much else.

How to Make Difficult Conversations Easy

Eric Barker, one of the best aggregators on the internet, talks to Dr. Albert J. Bernstein (gotta love a guy who wrote a book called Emotional Vampires!!) about simple communication tips to slow things down, use questions, and avoid the YES-NO or “Oppo-Response” that is a natural escalator on the field.


Philosophy and People

Striking Thoughts

Frustrated at how unreasonable and insane players are acting? Give these classic ideas from the master a read, they always seem to help.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down:

A great combination of quick thoughts on life and people and the ways of the world. Since great refs always seem to “slow things down” it could be a good place to start.


Habit Formation and Routines

Atomic Habits:

One of the better Habit books out there, a really good dicussion of how habits impact identity. If you are a ref or ump sturggling to “become the scoreboard” give this one a read.

The Miracle Morning

Any book powerful enough to turn me into a “Morning Person” is probably powerful enough to help you rethink habits and systems while you are becomming a great referee and umpire.