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Young England Umpire reports on Youth Festival
01 Jun 2007 13:39

England Hockey’s National Young Umpire Programme has been expanded to include the introduction of regionally based panels of volunteers to steer and deliver their young umpire development programme.

During March/April 2007 5 regional championships were organised as part of the National Youth Festival where selected young umpires undertook a comprehensive and well supported training programme. The umpires, all between 11 & 21 years of age, officiated a number of matches under the watchful eye of their umpire coaches.

The coaches themselves were participating in a ‘working with young umpires training programme’. As a result of the programme, mentors and buddies will be appointed to each umpire with a view to developing a long term development partnership, which it is hoped will be beneficial to all those involved.

One of the young umpires, Kevin Freeman, reports on his experience at the Midlands Youth Festival: -

I recently attended the Midlands Regional Hockey Youth Festival along with 19 other young umpires I found this an exciting day for me as this is the Festival where my umpiring began last year.

Going as a ‘new kid on the block’ last year was a big experience for me, I met loads of new umpires and new umpire coaches that gave fantastic advice.  This year I attended as an umpire on the NYUPL which made things loads more exciting, plus the Midlands nominated me with 2 other umpires from the NYUPL to act as mentors.  I found this a step up for me and I enjoyed being able to help the new young umpires we have here in the Midlands.

Throughout the day I saw some good talent and potential from the new umpires.  I felt that the 5 nominated for the National Umpire Challenge were a good choice by the umpires manager and coaches.  I was one of the 5 nominated from Midlands last year something I have greatly benefited from.

When I got to the Midlands Regional Hockey Youth Festival I instantly noticed a BIG change from last years Festival.  There were many more parents, spectators and volunteers to help make the day such a success.  All the umpires were given new polo shirts, which I think made things look better as well as making us look like a team.  We were also all given a free Fox 40 whistle and lanyard, sponsored by Hockey Warehouse, this helped make umpiring consistency easier.

Throughout the day I took the time to speak to nearly all the umpires and asked them how their day was going.  Most of the comments were in the lines of “Fantastic” or “I Want to come again”, I could see by the look on their faces that they felt like someone special, and in my mind they should all feel special as there was some great talent and potential in them all.

Of the 20 umpires I didn’t hear one complain about their appointments, colleagues or any other issues that could have arose.  We also had 6 umpire coaches and I also took the time to speak to some of the coaches and ask what they thought of the Festival and again I had the same comments as the young umpires gave me - “We enjoy working as a team and helping the younger umpire’s progress”.

The umpire coaches were fantastic and really helped the young umpires.  On a couple of occasions I had the opportunity to step in and listen to some of the de-briefs and when I then went to watch the umpire later on in the day I could see the change in them., it was fantastic that the young umpires were picking up the comments and using them that quickly.

Our umpire manager for the day was Andrew Barnes, he did a fantastic job.  I believe he also had a good day and I’m sure he was happy to see the amazing progress by all the young umpires.

I would like to thank all the people that participated in the Festival and to Cannock for letting us use their facilities throughout the day.

A big thank you goes to all the sponsors that made our Youth Festival a truly fantastic day.

Kevin Freeman (Midlands Young Umpire)

The participation of the young umpires in this year’s regional events was assisted by a grant from the FIH WorldHockey Umpiring Boost, which contributed towards the course materials and equipment costs.

Source: England Hockey

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