Seven-time Westfield W-League Referee of the Year Kate Jacewicz’s advice to referees is simple – learn from every decision you make.
The 2017 W-League Grand Final referee shed light on life in the middle of women’s football in an insightful Bankwest Women in Sport panel discussion at Crown Perth on Monday night.
Jacewicz, who was in town to officiate the Bankwest Women’s Challenge Cup match between WA and Perth Glory at Hartfield Park on Tuesday, October 3, was joined by international hockey umpire Melissa Trivic and AFLW umpire Gabby Simmonds in the 90- minute forum.
The FIFA-listed referee shared personal experiences on dealing with the pressures of making decisions during the game.
“I think one of the most crippling things for an official is self-doubt,” she said.
“Whether you’ve made the right decision or the wrong decision (in a game), it doesn’t matter – ultimately every decision you make is a learning opportunity.
“Don’t ever think of a bad decision as a failure. We all make mistakes. It’s what you do the next game that matters.”
Jacewicz said being able to analyse performances post-match was crucial to personal development.
“It makes you a better official for the next game and you keep growing on that,” she said.
“Self-doubt – wipe that from your repertoire. It just doesn’t exist.”
“You have the self-belief and the self-confidence because you have to make that one decision in that one split-second.”
For Trivic, an umpire at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, personal development has helped with the pressures of making mistakes.
“When I was young coming through, that would haunt me,” she said.
“It sill happens; there are still big calls. But you work to manage yourself better, so your decision making process is better.”
“My immediate thing is always self-analysis, why did I miss it?.”
Simmonds, who umpired the first AFLW match in WA, said it was important for female officials to maintain consistency in the standard of umpiring in female sport to progress player development.
“As a player, I used to get frustrated by that (consistency of officiating),” she said.
“I umpire men and women exactly the same way.
“Because I’ve played it, I think I understand the frustration if you’re not getting umpired the same way.”
Jacewicz, 32, will head into season 10 of the Westfield W-League looking to improve on her personal achievements that include eight grand final appearances.
“I am highly competitive, mainly within myself and where I finished last year – I work to be better to than I was last season,” she said.
“My last W-League game was in January this year so I’ve had seven, eight months to be better, better training, I’m more physically and mentally fit. I’ve been to three tournaments since then.”
“You do everything you can, watching football, breathing football, living football to be better.”
“I set myself a goal at the start of each season and that is to get the grand final. I do want to be better; it’s all about personal growth and professional development.”
Jacewicz has her sights firmly set on the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Victorian-based referee said increased exposure on high-profile female athletes across codes can benefit Australian sport as a whole.
“I think it’s great that women’s sport is going professional,” she said.
“The current climate forces each code to reassess and now there’s this healthy competition (amongst the sports).”
The Bankwest Women’s Challenge Cup was held at Hartfield Park in Forrestfield with all proceeds from the $2 admission donated to Telethon.
The match was Jacewicz’s first in Perth since the 2017 W-League Grand Final between Perth Glory and Melbourne City.