Whistle Dynamics
  • The whistle is a communications tool – just like the flags, body language, hand signals
  • A whistle’s tone should distinguish the referee’s signals from whistle sounds that might be heard from a nearby field
  • Whistles that produce an overly penetrating or loud tone should be avoided with very young players
  • There are no specific, standard guidelines regarding:
    • Tone
    • Length of signal
    • Loudness, or
    • Number of blasts
  • However, in all these elements, the referee must vary whistle signals at minimum to distinguish among:
    • Simple attention getting (“look at me” – don’t start yet or the play is dead)
    • Stoppages for “ordinary” fouls – imperative attention getting
    • Serious events – indicating strong action to follow or seeking to disrupt retaliation
  • Avoid overuse of the whistle so that, when the whistle is blown, it is more likely to draw the attention of players
  • Carrying a back-up whistle is highly recommended


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