Mindset: Calibrate to the increased speed of 7s play. You need to be the third person at every breakdown to see a fair contest or first infringement. Scrums and lineouts are a simpler, quicker restart than in 15s. Keep the game moving, but in the high pace of the game, you need to be present, decisive and calm.
Prepare yourself: Find a technique that works for you to get your head in. Visualize yourself in the game, watch a couple of games before yours, watch 7s in the days before your tournament. College level 7s will likely be closer than international 7s to what you will officiate. (FloRugby has USARugby’s College 7s.)
Contest: Good teams are fast, open and will hotly contest the ball. Look for players kicking high and sprinting at the kick off to jump for the ball, lightning quick penalty kicks, players not retreating at penalty kicks, quick throw in at lineouts. Many teams avoid contact, and players at speed and under pressure may be prone to failing to wrap or tackle correctly. Maintain strict standards against foul play.
High Standards: There is no time to “get the feel” of the teams, so start strong. Teams may be moving on to a higher level competition, and you aren’t doing them any favors by relaxing the standard. Do your best to referee to the expected outcome of the contest. If you are new and unfamiliar with this term, stick to the basics for now; you’ll learn more about expected outcomes as you get more comfortable in the middle.