Following on from our piece last week about U4E in Breda, this week’s Friday Focus looks at the inaugural EHF Level 1 Umpire Coaching Course held at the PUSH Hockey Club in Breda in August.

The course – a joint initiative between the FIH Hockey Academy and the EHF’s SNG (Supporting National Growth)- was held alongside the Breda PUSH Trophy (a youth tournament for under 16 and under 18 teams).  The weekend brought together 13 umpire coaches from all over Europe as well as 4 mentors (Craig Madden, Stella Bartlema, Rob ten Cate and Thomas Eilmer).

The success of the course was based on the positive interaction and discussion among all members: the focus was on umpire coaching rather than umpire management or assessment.

Friday concentrated on the theoretical aspects of umpire coaching, with discussions on the skills and techniques of coaching (i.e. positive approaches, questioning techniques and the challenges faced by coaches). The skills of umpire coaching were then illustrated with video clips of international games.The session closed with a presentation by Craig Gribble on Coaching Olympic Umpires.

Saturday and Sunday consisted of practical sessions in association with selected games. The coaches were divided into four groups, with mentors alternating groups during the two days so coaches received different approaches. During each of the four watching sessions one member of the group was in the “hot seat” as the lead coach with the others acting as observers. The “hot seat” coach then discussed the game with the match umpires with emphasis placed on discussion and exchange of views. The match umpires were then left with a development plan for future games. Lively discussions then ensued as the observing coaches discussed the approach and success of the “hot seat” coach in a follow-up session.

All participants achieved  EHF/FIH Level 1 Umpire Coach certification. Following the success of this first course the mentor group were enthusiastic about a second Level 1 course next year, and even the possibility of a follow-up Level 2 course at a higher level of games.

This format of an umpire coach seminar is unique and at this moment only available here in Europe organised by EHF and supported by FIH Hockey Academy.

Participants:

Claire Adenot (France)

Helen Henderson (Scotland)

Inga Jenkova (Lithuania)

James Mizzi (Malta)

Maksym Perepelytsya (Ukraine)

Rui Figueiredo (Portugal)

Antonius Kool (Switzerland)

Alexander Zahariev, Julian Bozhinov (Bulgaria)

Peter Murphy, Jamie Aiken (Ireland)

Nicklas Stenberg (Sweden)

Lubos Kamendy (Slovakia)