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Bill Robers: Football Referees are Deaf but not Blind!

Bill Robers gives insight to the game of football from his unique perspective as a NCAA referee in the Big Sky Conference. Robers talks about why he started officiating, the characteristics of a good referee, and the challenges of the job. Most importantly, Robers talks to NFL agent and host of the Pro Mindset® Podcast Craig Domann about how training, purpose, and passion are important to his Pro Mindset and being successful on-the-field.

“It’s a job where you are expected to be perfect when you get there and get better every week”


There is truly no other job like that of the referee, from the criticism of fans, coaches, and players to the constant review of skills and accuracy, the job is demanding. Robers explains how he deals with mad coaches through empathy and communication. Coaches get mad at calls and often the anger is rooted in other things like the pressure of the job. Coaches can lose a job over a lost game and for that reason Robers says it is important to hear them out and explain the call and why it was made as well as be empathic to their frustration rather than taking things personally. His best advice for the job? Just be a good person. Everyone is human and gets emotional and makes mistakes but at the end of the day his purpose as an official is to create a safe game where everyone is being enforced by the same set of rules. It is a simple objective, but a lot goes into it. Just like athletes practicing their plays, a referee has to continuously work on knowing the rule book, reviewing their calls to increase their accuracy, and even watching film so they can see how to improve their positioning so they are in right place to make the right calls. They are constantly being reviewed, graded, and worked with to assess their accuracy, just like a player does with their coach to improve their game. In order to do well in his work Robers has utilized the Pro Mindset building block of training to get to the college level of officiating. He also finds his purpose in being a referee and getting to be a part of the game of football, without the dedication to his purpose he would not be where he is today and that is why purpose is an integral part of his Pro Mindset.

“I want to be the best one here… but also because I wanna move to that next level”


Refereeing has similarities to being an athlete. They all train hard, they are passionate about what they do, and they work as hard as they can in order to reach the next level. Striving to be the best and competing to get to the top is something that all people can strive for in their work. The Pro Mindset building block “passion” encompasses both passion both for what you do and why you do it. For Robers his love of the game of football is what brought him to become a referee. Getting to be a part of the game and the excitement that comes with officiating a game as well as his desire to play that game within a set of rules, is something that he loves. He has found passion in his work, which is the only way to get through such a demanding job and still be successful. From dealing with angry coaches and fans to the constant travel for games and the work he has to put in to improving his craft, he still loves doing the job. When Pro Mindset host Craig Domann asked him how many weeks he gets off Robers said 3 or 4 a year, but that he usually finds a game to officiate outside of his conference those weeks. Working on his days off just because he cannot get away from the thrill of the game is the sign of true passion.

To hear more from NCAA Referee Bill Robers and his unique perspective on football and building a Pro Mindset, listen to the Pro Mindset Podcast here.

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