While the 16 best European men and women sides started their Eurohockey Championship this weekend, three UDP groups also arrived in London for a weekend of hockey, umpiring and loads of learning. 16 members of the three active UDP groups were present, complete with special guest Karine Alves Pereira (Group 6) for a busy weekend.

After the initial getting to know each other on Friday, the real work started on Saturday. After breakfast we all got together to prepare for the day ahead and Michiel Bruning highlighted the plan for the day.

UDP 1

After enjoying the first game of the day in the stands, we got our assignments for the next games. We watched the games in small groups and each got an assignment to observe all different aspects of managing a game. We looked at the positioning, the whistle tone, rapport with the players, etc… and prepared everything for our discussion on Sunday.

UDP 4

In between the morning and afternoon session we also got together with Jakub Mezjlik (Group 5) who has risen through the international ranks to the World Development Panel and shared his insights about what to take away from the UDP and how it helped him most. One of the topics we discussed is the role you have when you are appointed as a neutral umpire. Jakub told us that this slightly different role is very important, to make sure the umpire team is in fact a team and can work at its best, by helping everyone in subtle ways, both on and off the pitch.

UDP video

On Saturday we went to visit our mentors Carol and Andy, who were present at the Eurohockey Championships as video umpires. Carol showed us all the equipment and stuff they use to make the right decision in the truck, next to the stadium. She told us about the different camera positions and the difficult balance between making the right decision within a reasonable time, while a whole stadium is waiting for you. Very interesting to get an insight in the life of a video umpire, in a large truck full with tv screens.

UDP 3

After an interesting day at the grounds, we met up with some of the umpires and all went out to dinner together, a great way to get to know these great umpires in a more informal way but also giving us the chance to pick their brain about how a top umpire prepares for games/tournaments, how they got to where they are now and how life of a top umpire looks like. But also a great moment to have a good laugh, enjoy the food and each other’s company and get to know everyone a little better. The best advise Jakub gave us, was that we should be ourselves at all time and take something from each piece of advice we’re given throughout our career.

The next morning we all met after breakfast to discuss what we had observed and written down during the games that we analyzed the previous day, which sparked some interesting discussions and insights as so many umpires gave their opinion on what had happened on the pitch. Very interesting to hear so many different sides to a game as everyone emphasized different facets of the game. After this morning debriefing we headed out to the stadium again for a round of matches and umpire observations, after which we sadly had to start saying our goodbyes.
And so another UDP weekend came to a close, a wonderful weekend where we got to see some top hockey, had the opportunity to talk to some top umpires and coaches and a group of UDP members that learnt a lot and got to know each other a little better. We already look forward to seeing each other again all over Europe!

UDP 5

Present on this weekend were: Karine Alves Pereira, Kerri Targett, Ymkje van Slooten, Pietro Galligani, Jaroslav Suchocki, Laurine Delforge, Olivier Lucas, Angelika Koeppen, Emma Shelbourne, Lukasz Zweirchowski, Daniel Fernandez, Rachel Williams, Paul van den Assum, Gavin Gruickshanks, Sébastien Michielsen, Nathan Stenier, Robert Papalecca. A big thanks to mentors Andy Mair, Carol Metchette, , Juanma Requena, Stella Bartlema and Michiel Bruning.

Source: UDP member Paul van den Assum