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Major success for WorldHockey Umpiring Boost
02 Apr 2007 08:49

At the beginning of 2007 the WorldHockey Umpiring Boost officially came to an end. Eighty National Associations participated in this successful FIH project. Recruiting officials in any sport is not an easy task, but the FIH Umpiring Committee succeeded in giving umpiring a boost. In this feature story, FIH Umpiring Development Manager Richard Wilson explains all about the WorldHockey Umpiring Boost.


The WorldHockey Umpiring Boost is a project, jointly devised and executed by the Development & Coaching and Umpiring Committees, to help as many National Associations as possible to encourage, promote and develop Umpiring in their own country. Additionally it is intended that the project will be on-going with a lasting effect, and not just seen as a one-off two year long project.


The preparations for the WHUB took place in 2004, central to which was the production of the WHUB Handbook which contained three sections:

  1. Recommendations and Guidelines for a National Umpiring Structure, including Umpire and Umpire Coach Accreditation Scheme Schemes
  2. Information regarding FIH supported Umpiring Courses
  3. Ideas to help recruit, retain and develop umpires

Each section was supported by various templates and resources, in order to assist National Associations put the proposals into practice.

The Handbook was prepared in time for the FIH Congress in Leipzig in November 2004, when the WorldHockey Umpiring Boost was launched and formally introduced to NAs. The Handbook, together with its supporting resources, was also posted onto the WorldHockey website as part of the Umpiring section, in both English and Spanish.

Global Youth Hockey Marathon

The first significant event of the WHUB was the Global Youth Hockey Marathon, held in May 2005. As with previous years there was a theme to the event and on this occasion it was ‘The Big Try Out’ i.e. giving umpiring a try.

All National Associations who had signed up to participate in the WHUB were encouraged to write a report on their own event and send in photos. With some assistance from FIH Official Supplier TK, the Starter Umpire Kits were provided against the TK Umpiring Package Sponsorship, meaning that the only WHUB expenditure were the freight costs of sending the kits out. Each of the first 50 National Associations to report as requested were sent 10 Starter Umpire Kits, which comprised:

  • Whistle
  • Set of umpiring cards
  • Polo shirt
  • Cap

The Starter Umpire Kits were aimed at helping to continue to promote umpires and umpiring within the NAs youth and development structures, and to further assist in this process each NA was sent two copies of ‘A Guide to Umpiring Hockey’ – a book, written by Jane Nockolds, specifically to aid umpires from grass roots to international level .

National Umpiring Development Officers Workshops

The WHUB budget included an allocation to support a workshop for each Continent, to be used to introduce National Associations to the FIH Guidelines and Recommendations for a National Umpiring Structure. The target group for these workshops are the people who, within their National Associations, are responsible for Umpiring Education and Development.

In conjunction with the Champions Trophy in Canberra, the Oceania Workshop for National Umpiring Development Officers was held in November 2005. The Workshop was used primarily to introduce the FIH Recommendations and Guidelines for a National Umpiring Structure to some of the smaller Oceania National Associations, was led by two of Oceania’s top Umpire Coaches, Don Prior (AUS) and Jan Hadfield (AUS).

The African Workshop was held in Accra (GHA) in May 2006, in conjunction with an African Hockey Federation Development Forum. The Workshop was led by a leading South African Umpire Coach, Dennis Perkins (RSA).

The Asian Workshop in Kuala Lumpur (MAS) in October 2006 was used primarily to assist National Associations to develop viable umpiring structures/networks by introducing them to the FIH Recommendations and Guidelines for a National Umpiring Structure. The Workshop was led by one of Europe’s top Umpire Coaches, Jane Nockolds (ENG).

Two mini Workshops were held in Europe in Rome (ITA) and Sofia (BUL) during 2006 to assist National Umpiring Development Officers’ introduction to the FIH Recommendations and Guidelines for a National Umpiring Structure.

The remaining Workshops for Europe and Pan America are being planned on a Zonal basis and will be scheduled and held during 2007, in combination with other planned Development and Coaching events.

National/Regional Courses for Umpires and Umpires Coaches

In their applications for FIH NHA Development Fund Grants for 2004 and 2005 National Associations had been encouraged to apply for Umpiring Courses. For the two year period of the Boost the WHUB budget supported the staging of an additional 12 Courses per year, over and above those due to be run via FIH NHA Development Fund Grants awards i.e. an additional 24 Courses in total. Each WHUB Umpiring Course was supported by an FIH appointed Course Conductor, who is provided with a series of resources in PowerPoint show format, together with accompanying notes, in order to ensure that a consistent ‘message’ is presented worldwide. The Conductor can select from the various resources, appropriate to the participants and the requested level of Course

These Courses were generally held for Umpires of varying levels of ability and experience; as well as for Umpire Coaches, with the intention being for them to be able to run their own domestic Umpiring Coaching Courses in order to spread the ‘message’ left by the FIH Umpiring Course Conductor.

All 24 WHUB Umpiring Courses have been held, but due to the average cost being less than the allocated nominal amount per Course, this has enabled us to plan for an additional 5-6 Umpiring Courses during 2007.

Project Evaluation

The official period of the WorldHockey Umpiring Boost has now ended. Overall the project has been extremely well received by our National Associations, particularly on the basis on the evaluations received from the various Workshops and Umpiring Coaching Courses.

In terms of the Key Performance Indicators for the WHUB:

  1. The number of National Associations which participated in the Boost was 80
  2. The number of National Associations currently having a National Umpiring Development Officer or Umpiring Administrator is 50
  3. The number of National Associations currently having an Umpire Education and Umpire Coach Accreditation Scheme in place is 40
  4. The number of National Associations currently having a long term Umpiring Development Plan and associated budget is 40

Recommendations for Follow Up

Based upon our observations from the project so far:

  1. In National Associations plans, Umpiring is often forgotten or not as well catered for as the playing side of the game. It will be necessary to keep a focus on Umpiring now that the official period of the Boost has ended, so that the good work from this project can continue
  2. The Boost has been most valuable in building up a network of National Association Umpiring contacts throughout the World, which will help benefit the cause of Umpiring beyond the period of the WHUB


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