In this week’s Friday Focus we take a look at UDP Group 10’s recent seminar in Rotterdam. Thanks to Sean Edwards for the report.

UDP Group 10 were lucky enough to attend the EHL KO16/KO8 competition in Rotterdam as the latest event in our three-year development programme; once again under the invaluable leadership of our mentors Michiel Bruning and Carol Metchette.

The group met up in the hotel late on Friday evening, but those of us that arrived early were lucky enough to make it to the venue to see the previous two EHL champions, Kampong and Rot-Weiss Koln, play out a tense, tactical battle during their KO16 match. It was an enthralling watch despite the horrific weather conditions.

Seminar weekend

Our development weekend kicked off on Saturday morning, where we were given our areas of focus for the seminar by Michiel. Following the experiences we took from our recent practical weekend in Belgium, it was agreed that we should focus on the management side of umpiring during this event, particularly the interventions made by the umpires – when they came, how they were delivered, and whether they worked. During the matches we split into groups and wrote down our opinions, before coming together after the matches to discuss these topics. Over the last two and a half years we have built a strong bond as a group, so we are comfortable in challenging each other’s opinion and having a productive, thought-provoking conversation. There is not always a right or wrong answer in umpiring!

UDP Programme discussion

During a break from the matches on Saturday we were introduced to Rob Ten Cate, who sits on the EHF Education Committee and has recently taken on responsibility for the UDP programme. It was great to be able to share our experiences of the fantastic programme with Rob, as well as to hear a little more about his intentions for UDP in the future.

At the end of the day we were kindly invited to join the umpiring and officiating team for dinner at a local restaurant in Rotterdam. It was a great opportunity for all of us to discuss things from the day’s play with the umpiring team in a more relaxed setting, and we are hugely grateful to them all for being so open and honest in sharing their knowledge with us.

Sunday morning had a slightly different feel to it, with the matches taking place between the teams who had lost their KO16 matches and who were playing for ranking points. It became clear early on that these would have very different management challenges to the games we had seen the day before, which created plenty for us to talk about.

Video Umpiring

In the afternoon we sat down with Carol, who at this tournament became the first female to be appointed to the EHL, in her role as Video Umpire Coach (well done Carol!). She showed us all of the video referrals from the previous two days – we reviewed them together, discussed whether we agreed with the final decision, and talked about the process that the VU must go through to get to the correct decision as quickly as possible. It’s fair to say we all left this discussion thinking that being a video umpire isn’t as easy as it looks!

This was another fantastic development weekend for UDP Group 10 to attend, and all of us learnt a significant amount which we can take back to our domestic game to improve our umpiring. It was also amazing to get a feel for being part of such a major event, with large crowds and some of the best players in the world. HC Rotterdam were brilliant hosts.

UDP Group 10 is hugely grateful to Peter Von Reth and Juanma Requena, Umpires Managers at the event, who were very welcoming, to the umpiring team who were so open in sharing their thoughts with us, to EHF for their contribution to this great programme, and as always to our mentors Michiel and Carol for their guidance.