Barcelona was the venue for UDP Group 10’s latest seminar, this time at the Euro Hockey League Round 1. Our group was a ‘man down’ for the seminar, with Tim Meissner appointed to the umpiring team at the event. It was great to be there to support him at this important tournament.

Day 1 began with EHF President Marijke Fleuren speaking to us at breakfast about the reasons for introducing the new EHL scoring system, and the developments it is hoped this will have on the game. We then had an introductory meeting with our mentors Carol and Michiel, where we were presented with our topics for the weekend. These included how the new scoring system will have on team tactics and how that may change our approach as umpires.

After watching two matches and discussing our topics in detail, we were lucky enough to spend some time with Pierre-Philippe Van Besien and Philip Schellekens, the Umpire Managers for the event. They provided some fantastic insight about the things that separate the best umpires from their peers, as well as their thoughts on some new positioning interpretations being encouraged at international level.

 

On Saturday evening we joined the umpiring team for dinner, which as well as enjoying an enjoyable Spanish meal, gave us the opportunity to discuss a number of topics from the umpiring briefing and review how effectively they had been implemented so far. We even got the chance to celebrate a couple of birthdays with the team!

Sunday morning began with an excellent interactive workshop with Olympic umpire Paco Vazquez, who recently umpired the European Championships final in Amsterdam. Paco spoke in great detail and with real honesty about the sacrifices required to excel in your umpiring career, as well as the tools we can use to support the development of our umpiring skills. One phrase that stuck with all of us is “hard work is no longer enough”.

 

Watching the final games of the tournament, we focussed on some of the individual situations that occurred as the pressure increased, and whether we would handle these situations any differently if we were umpiring. At the end of the tournament we reflected on a fantastic weekend and reviewed how much we had learned.

       

UDP Group 10 would like to thank everyone involved in the tournament for being so open to sharing their experiences with us to support our learning, as well as to Marijke and Paco for offering their excellent advice over the weekend. Next stop Dublin in November where we have a practical weekend!