England Rugby (RFU)
Case Study

Whistle-Stops - Training Videos for English Rugby Referees

The challenge:

The England Rugby Referees Associations (ERRA) required a series of training videos for its members about how to officiate different parts of the game of rugby.

The videos needed to be short, informative and relevant, regardless of viewer’s level of experience as a referee. Not only would they provide a valuable service for members they would also help the grassroots refereeing community to maintain the highest standards when officiating.

The approach:

Rugby has laws that are quite complicated to understand. This meant working closely with the England Rugby Match Official Development team to write presenter-led storyboards. that:

  • Were clear about the overall training objective
  • The video footage to be used to illustrate key training points
  • How best to use role-plays and simulations
  • How and where to use animated graphics.

Each video required a presenter who was an experienced referee, someone whom the audience would respect and listen to.

The solution:

The videos are known as Whistle-Stops. To date, 9 have been produced:

  1. Refereeing Children
  2. Refereeing the Tackle
  3. Refereeing the Scrum
  4. Communication Essentials
  5. Refereeing 7s
  6. Positioning
  7. Player Safety
  8. Managing Players & Captains
  9. Managing the Touchline

Each video is 4 – 5 minutes, and depending on the topic, are filmed on location or in a green-screen studio.

The result:

Whistle-Stops are now an established training tool for ERRA and are an important way of delivering training material to a niche audience. Each Whistle-Stop is released firstly to members of ERRA and then distributed via social media to members of the Keep Your Boots On! community.

The videos are well-received by the rugby community and attract between 10,000 and 20,000 views on social media.

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