At the beginning of the month (April 7-9), the newest UDP Group (11) had their official launch weekend in Berlin, Germany. The umpires and their mentors, Jean Duncan (SCO) and Marc Knulle (FRA) had a full weekend ahead to get to know one another and to set the goals for the 3 years ahead. EHF Vice-President Carola Meyer also joined the group during the weekend, to officially welcome all to the programme and take part in some of the activities.

What happens during an UDP weekend? If you have ever been curious to find out, this excellent report by the umpires lets us peak behind the curtain and gives us some great details about how team building is mixed with some very serious learning!

Friday, April 7

UDP group 11 descended on Berlin for their launch weekend, under the watchful eyes of mentors Jean Duncan (SCO), and Marc Knulle (FRA). We all arrived safely in the hotel and started with some 1-1 chats with our mentors to set out our expectations of the weekend, and the whole programme. Following this, we engaged in some speed dating, which helped us learn some interesting facts about everyone, which we would present to the whole group on Saturday. Dinner was arranged at a nearby restaurant, at which we were fortunate enough to be joined by Carola Meyer, Vice President of the EHF, who officially welcomed us all to what will be an incredibly exciting and rewarding 3-year journey.

 

Saturday, April 8

Day 2 started with breakfast and travelling to the venue Berlin Hockey Club. Each umpire gave small presentations on each other with what we had learnt during the speed dating activity, followed by Jean and Marc discussing some of their best (and worst!) experiences.

Before we started, we set our group rules, the way we will work as UDP members, our behaviour, how we approach the seminars, our relationship with our mentors and with the EHF. Great ideas came out!

Be on time Respect, don’t criticise Sharing experience Good communication
Skype Call & Webinar Be prepared Support each other Send UDP reports
Learn from everyone Be open minded Respect each other Be positive
Love what you do Listen each other Accept feedback Be yourself
Have FUN Set your goals Making new friends Integrity
Participate Answer mails Networking Honesty

Following this, we had a session on Communication and Body Language. Marc spoke to us about the what makes a good communicator, which is composed of 3 elements:

–          Body Language (55%)

–          Pana Language (38%)

–          Verbal Language (7%)

He spoke about how we should manage our communication skills in various situations to improve our umpiring and in addition, he shared how important good communication is in preparing for a match (Before – During – After) and how we can use different tools to manage conflict situations. We also explored the notion that in order to be a top umpire we must have the following characteristics:

Decisiveness
Poise
Integrity
Confidence
Motivation
Consistency
Flow
Rapport
Concentration

To test our team-working and communication skills, we divided into 2 groups, boys versus girls. Our mission was to build a card tower as high as possible. The girls used their superior imagination power and took a clear victory, whilst the boys still kept trying…to no avail! The important aspect of this task was the communication and how we organised our teams to be as effective as possible.

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to watch the top two club teams, and even got to see our mentor, Marc, in action! Afterwards he had probably the biggest debrief of his career, led by 6 UDP umpires! It was very useful to hear him analyse all the aspects that we had worked on during the weekend, including language, communication and presence.

Our day ended by enjoying a good pizza and pasta in a local Italian restaurant, where we were joined by UDP Group 10 umpire Tim Meissner.

Sunday, April 9

A sunny day dawned in Berlin, we had breakfast together and after packing our bags, we checked out and headed to the club. It was Jean’s turn and she spoke us about the Psychological Aspects of Umpiring. The most significant points we discussed were the following:

Negative Language: Eliminate negativity, aiming for positive thinking.
Positive Self Talk: Inhale confidence and exhale doubt.
Goal Setting: Identify your goals, set goals that motivate you, set SMART goals, make an action plan and stick with it.
Relaxation and Mental Relaxation: Thought stopping, smile, prepare, enjoy, slow down, focus, cue words, etc.
Concentration: Trigger words, routines and switching off.
Imagery: Reliving or creating an experience in your mind.

We put into practice the art of relaxation through a group meditation activity, closing our eyes and relaxing for a few minutes. To finish the team working rematch the boys beat the girls in a coordination and speed “game”. We analysed the weekend and it was clear everybody learnt a lot, and took so much out of it. Now we look forward to our next event –  Amsterdam in August.

We would like to thank the EHF for the opportunity to take part in this programme, Carola Meyer for taking time out to be with us, and Berlin Hockey Club for their excellent hospitality and support.