Last weekend marked a very important date for EHF Education: our annual Breda weekend! This weekend brings together our Coaches 4 Europe (C4E), our Umpires 4 Europe (U4E) and our Officials to one place for one weekend of learning, sharing and hockey fun. EHF President Marijke Fleuren paid them a visit on Sunday and thanked Herman Kruis, who has been instrumental in making the Breda weekend happen. Our coaches kicked off the weekend last week (see here) and we now turn to our officials and umpires.

MF breda

Officials – Basic Judges Seminar

This year’s basic judges seminar was again held in Breda at HC PUSH  last weekend (26/28 August). This year’s seminar was the largest to date, with the seminar filled to capacity with 31 participants from 13 countries! They came from as far East as Russia and West as Spain, Scotland in the North and Italy in the South a great cross section of participants: GER (3), ITA (1), CRO (3), DEN (2), FRA (2), HUN (2), BEL (2), NED (1), POL (1), ENG (4), SCO (2), ESP (4), RUS (4)

The participants were divided into groups and rotated in and out of theory sessions and first hand table experience at the tournament. With 32 matches on Saturday and 20 on Sunday, the officials were kept very busy indeed. The theory sessions covered everything from completing match report forms, GK equipment, stick and strip checks, passport and entry forms, rules, regulations  and the different roles at the table. Management and planning were also discussed, and all officials received training on the AltiusRT management system, as well as media guidelines.

This seminar is a very important part of EHF’s Education strategy, as beginning in 2017, only officials who have received training will receive an EHF appointment. This great mix of theory and practice allows the officials to learn and practice and improve during the weekend as well as learn from their own mistakes and from their peers. Sunday morning included a feedback session where each group could review their performance and receive advice on how to improve at a table in the future.

The conductors for the weekend were EHF TDs and Education committee members Barbara Morgan, Edna Rutten and Sylvie Petitjean, as well as Sonja-Annabel Schwede, who all did an extraordinary job!

Umpires 4 Europe – Umpiring Pathway

U4E kicked off its new year in Breda with 34 umpires to umpire all matches during the weekend. With 52 matches over two days, the umpires were challenged and mentored through their performances. This year, 6 mentors led the group: John Heron (SCO), Belen Gonzales (ESP), Tamas Hermann (HUN), Jean-François Stappaerts (BEL), Pierre-Philippe van Besien (BEL) and Mirjam Wessel (NED).

John Heron, one of our returning mentors, said of the experience, “I am mentor to a group of incredibly mature umpires who have now completed their second year of the U4E programme. In that time, their enthusiasm to develop as elite umpires and make lifelong friends has been a humbling experience for me. Without doubt Anne, Ivan, Luka, Miriam and Jake have made me reflect that I get as much out of the experience as they do. Mentors are all volunteers, but seeing your ‘family’ become more mature as individuals and umpires as their confidence grows is fantastic.”

U4E 2016 Breda

This year also saw the introduction of the UDP candidates to the mix, as Saturday served as an ‘audition’ day for the umpires who have been nominated for UDP Group 11. Education Committee Working Group Umpiring Chair Paul Box-Grainger was on hand during the whole weekend and took part in the audition process on Saturday, alongside with UDP Lead Eric Denis and Appointments Committee member Yolande Brada. This is part of the new Umpiring Pathway, which creates a definite path for the umpires to follow in their development and streamline the UDP selection procedure.

U4E umpires during their fitness test
U4E umpires during their fitness test

The weekend includes not only a lot of umpiring opportunities, but also a tv crew who record the umpires and provide them with some video feedback of their performance and their mentor’s comments. This is a great tool as the umpires can review their performance at home and continue to work on their skills.

Thank you to all the mentors for all their time and dedication!