23rd March: The UDP story continues as we focus this Friday on our UDP that met earlier in March. 

Alexandra Mahieu shares with us the group’s experiences in Brussels:

“On the 9th, 10th and 11th of March, 6 members from UDP Group10 met for yet another practical weekend. This took place in the beautiful Belgium. Ilaria Amorosini, Shane O’Donnell, Tim Meissner, Sean Edwards, Michiel Bruning, and Alexandra Mahieu first got together Friday night, a little outside Brussels in Waterloo, over dinner whilst ‘chitchatting’ about anything really. Friends enjoying a night out.,

On Saturday morning after breakfast we met for a friendly seminar to discuss and fill in a form with our personal accomplishments, our general expectations and future plans. Then we went on examining the main subjects that umpires have to focus on in a different league than our home league: team work and communication, deviances and application of the rules, and the ‘not so exciting’ administrative business. Some situations might take us off guard during the game, in case it wasn’t discussed beforehand. Anticipation is therefore key. For the Belgian league, we discussed the green card, the above shoulder play and control of the game . Our objectives for the games was to get all the decisions right. Being decisive. And overall have fun!

In the afternoon our group split into three to leave for different hockeyclubs in Brussels. Tim and Shane went to umpire a boys U19 game, the Royal Racing Club vs Royal Uccle Sport, with a top level coach, Geoffroy Van Elegem . Sean was paired with Magali Sergeant, a leading Belgian and International Umpire, to umpire a similar boys U19 game, Royal Wellington vs LARA Hockey Club, and they were coached by our mentor, Michiel. Us girls, Ilaria and Alexandra, went to umpire a girls U19 game, Royal Leopold Club vs Royal Wellington.

After our games we drove back to the hotel (minus Shane who couldn’t join us unfortunately) In the evening we met with Pierre-Philipe Van Besien who was accompanied by two U4E members, Lena Osswald and Petr Vetrovsky, and a lucky UDP group 11 member, Michael Dutrieux . We all went for diner at l’Amusoir, a very nice restaurant recommended by Pierre-Philippe and greatly appreciated by all., Thank you Pierre-Philippe on behalf of our UDP group for making this weekend possible in the Belgian League.

We have now had the opportunity to umpire in a few European countries, which made us grow, become better umpires, and meet many many more great umpires and coaches.

Sunday came and our big games in the senior league. Group 10 drove together to Royal Victory Hockey Club. There we were nicely welcomed by Peter Vriens, the staff member of Victory’s 1st teams. First game up was Royal Victory vs Watducks women honor division and umpired by Ilaria and Alexandra. The second game was men’s 1st division game, Royal Victory vs Royal Ombrage, umpired by Sean and Tim. Both games went smoothly under the watchful eye of Michiel. We will genuinely take his feedback to our next games. Thank you Michiel for your patient with us and your helpful advice.

Looking forward to our next weekend in Rotterdam at the EHL.”

 Thanks to Alexandra Matthieu and for bringing our #FridayFocus this week!