This past weekend, 30th September – 2nd October, UM Philip Schellekens conducted an umpire and umpire coach seminar in Glasgow, Scotland.  This course is part of the Supporting National Growth (SNG) programme, which is the beginner tier of EHF’s three tier Education strategy.

Two umpire coaches from Wales and Ireland and four umpires, from Scotland, Norway, Wales and Ireland, took part in the course, which was organised in conjunction with Scottish Hockey and its inter district U16 and U18 girls tournament.

The course kicks off in the classroom

The course began on Friday evening with a classroom session, where conductor Philip Schellekens took the participants through the roles and competences an umpire coach should have; followed by the expectations for the weekend seminar. The second part of this classroom session focused on communication tools: open questions and a positive approach with umpires.

2016 SNG umpires SCO

The four umpires also attended this umpire coaching session, which helped provide a different perspective and helped the umpire coaches and umpires work together. The group pored over an example Umpire Personal Development Plan.

Positive Feedback and Coaching (not watching!)

The focus of the weekend was ‘Positive Feedback’. This made the umpires more open and brought about a marked improvement in their performances over the weekend. All umpires were surprised at the progress they had made, with only some positive corrections like changing hand positioning or angling their bodies in a different way towards play. The umpire coaches also had opportunity to improve and learn how to better deal with different umpiring needs.

2016 SNG umpires SCO

An interesting exercise showed all participants that asking the right questions and listening to the umpire; focusing on the experiences of a game by the umpire himself can be more helpful than the umpire coach simply telling the umpire what mistakes he has made during a game. This was an eye opening exercise as the very last feedback session was completed without the umpire coaches watching the umpires on the pitch at all, but simply discussing and listening to the umpires talk about their on-pitch experience.

2016 SNG umpires SCO

A huge thank you to Scottish Hockey, particularly Colleen Reid, who kindly organised this great learning weekend for all participants.

Would you like to host a similar seminar in your country, or participate in a neighboring country? Make sure to email us and let us know!