Late in April, members of the newly formed group 9 of the EHF Umpire Development Programme (UDP) made their short trip across Europe to start their UDP journey in Vienna, Austria.

This group is led by two  experienced mentors,  Andy Mair (SCO)  and Karen Evans (WAL) and has six members

UDP 2

Paul van den Assum(NED)

Gavin Cruickshanks(SCO)

Sébastien Michielsen(BEL)

Robert Papalecca(AUT)

Nathan Stenier (BEL)

Rachel Williams(ENG)

The six umpires were greeted by EHF Vice-President and Development Coordination Committee Chair, Carola Meyer and Jean Duncan, EHF Education Committee member.

UDP 11

The umpires came prepared, as they had already been assigned some ‘homework’: to consider their expectations and wishes from the three year programme.

Following the warm welcome, each umpire had 10 minutes to introduce themselves and the group quickly fell into an animated dynamic. Small introductions always necessary, in preparation for a three-year term with each other, and a lifetime membership into the EuroHockey Family.

The weekend set a number of tasks for the umpires, some of which were practical, some which required some thinking and reflection. The main purpose of this introductory weekend was to try and identify individual learning points to take away and work on in the coming months. Some of the topics included:-

• Game Management and how this is affected by different cultures / nationalities of both the players and the umpires.
• Behaviours, attitudes, skills and knowledge of an ‘ideal umpire’.
• The concept of communication – verbal language (words), para language (intonation) and body language.
• The first forty seconds (and beyond of course), breaking down barriers and making your first impression a lasting one, for all the right reasons.
•Analysis of an Austrian national league game, umpired by a past UDP member (thanks to Michael Eilmer) followed by an active discussion in the lasting rays of sun for the day.

The umpires all also sailed through their bleep tests, which were administered the second day.

UDP

Refuelling over breakfast, the umpires sat and shared previous tournament experiences, some good, some bad, but all with their own learning points, with one another. This resulted in a feedback session and a performance workshop, which highlighted the importance of focusing on those things we can control, and to learn from one another’s mistakes.

Sunday morning focused on they psychology of umpiring – an incredibly complex subject to go into in a short period of time, but o Karen, engaged the group  on topics like body language, and watched a DVD of good and bad examples of what we can portray in certain situations. It certainly hit home about the importance of what our body is saying to the players on the pitch when even some of the best in the world have improvements to make.

UDP 5

In the afternoon, the umpires crafted their development plans, and planned their next meeting as a group. Rachel Williams summed it up best “I think I am not alone in saying that I felt the weekend provided an excellent launch pad for the new group joining the UDP. I believe the group has strong prospects and undoubted commitment to what is required from us as members. I for one, look forward to the continued progress of every individual in Group 9 within the realms of the EHF and FIH over the next three years. Watch this space!

 

Source: Rachel Williams/EHF