Michael Vozzo mentored in the academy in 2010.

Strong Year from Academy Umpires

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 2nd intake of the AFL/ASC High Performance Umpiring Academy recently completed their final camp in Canberra. 

The academy aims to provide talented young umpires with the highest level of development assistance possible. 

The umpires that participated in the 2010 academy had some great performances –

  • James Ralston unfortunately picked up a hip injury in round 22 and subsequently was ruled out of any finals action.
  • Kane Vellar is umpiring well in the NTFL after a good 2010 Queensland season.
  • Matt Gestier umpired the NSW Div 1 Grand Final with 2009 academy member Paul Barron.
  • Nick Foot umpired the TSL Grand Final and was named umpire of the year.
  • Chris Pattinson umpired a reserves final.  2009 academy umpire Scott McPhee umpired the WAFL Grand Final.
  • Andrew Stephens umpired the Div 2 QFL Grand Final.

In 2011, the AFL High Performance Umpiring Academy will again involve seven field umpires in an ‘AFL High Performance’ officiating program aimed at giving each umpire the opportunity to develop as an umpire on and off the field.  The program will again be overseen by Brett Allen, AFL/ASC High Performance Umpiring Academy Coach. 

Umpires participate in a range of activities including an ‘AFL High Performance Mentoring Program’, personal development opportunities within the ASC National Officiating Scholarship Program and activities incorporating the AIS/AFL football academy.   Umpires will also participate in the 2011 AFL Umpiring Department Preseason Camp in Geelong. 

The academy will provide an excellent opportunity for umpires to gain critical knowledge and further develop their skills in order to achieve their desired outcome of making it onto the AFL Umpiring list.  

Nominations are currently being finalised for the 2011 academy intake. 

To be accepted into the program umpires must have umpired a State League Final and demonstrate the following qualities –

  • Dedication to umpiring
  • Willingness to learn
  • Motivated to get the best out of themselves
  • Professional in their approach to training and umpiring
  • Willingness to contribute and share experiences within a team environment
AFL Umpires as Mentors

The role of AFL Umpires as mentors is critical to the development of the academy umpires.  The major responsibilities of the mentors within the program include: 

  • Assisting with the development of the academy participant’s knowledge and skills in the area of umpiring
  • Being a role model for the academy participant
  • Being a resource to the academy participant – either by sharing their knowledge or directing them to other sources of information
  • Providing instruction or feedback to other people who may assist the academy participant’s development 

Michael Avon, Stefan Grun, Hayden Kennedy, Mathew Nicholls, Brett Rosebury, Michael Vozzo and Stuart Wenn all did outstanding jobs mentoring the academy umpires throughout 2011.

Umpire Learnings

Teleconferences and other sessions conducted during the year allowed the academy umpires to develop strategies to manage particular these umpiring situations.

Dealing with adversity/setbacks – avoiding setbacks
The academy umpires explored the concept of dealing with adversity and setbacks and agreed that it was impossible to avoid setbacks and the ability to overcome them was a key factor in determining the success of an umpire.

Ideas to overcome setbacks were:

  • Getting involved in others success
  • Setting short term goals
  • Find a positive and focus on that.
  • Talk to a mentor or coach to receive some experienced advice for overcoming the particular setback.

Diving on the ball/dragging the ball in
The academy umpires emphasised the importance to follow the process when deciding on holding the ball decisions relating to diving on the ball or dragging the ball in. Is the tackle legal? Has the player dived on or dragged the ball in? Has the player knocked the ball out immediately?

It is important in these situations to be aware of players who are bumped on to the ball or who have the ball dragged under them. Consistent enforcement should allow the game to flow more easily and be easier to umpire.

Off season / Pre season training
The academy reinforced the importance to continue some form of physical activity and maintain appropriate diet during the off season to minimise the potential for injuries when pre season training recommenced.  This is particularly important for umpires as they get older. 

Not only does this allow you to maintain fitness levels  it also ensures you do not have to come too far to meet fitness benchmarks.

Ideas to assist with pre-season training outside of the group:

  • Get involved with a group during the pre season to encourage solid sessions and make it more enjoyable.
  • Cross training activities assist with keeping the training enjoyable and helps to minimise the running load.

Concentration
The academy umpires identified some techniques to assist them to maintain concentration:

  • A trigger of some type (example – write a key word on a hand or tap your leg when you regain control of play). This may be used when you drop concentration intensity when the play goes out of your control and then comes back into your control.
  • Continue to be involved in the game even when you may not be umpiring. For example, change or adjust your position or umpire the game in your mind when others are in control to remain focused.

Umpiring Finals
The academy umpires identified 2 components to umpiring finals; the game itself and the lead up or hype surrounding the game.

  • The game - should be approached as any other game implementing the game plan. It is important to have a good start to enforce to the players you are in control of the game and that the same rules apply to finals as they do for the home and away season.
  • Lead up to the game - recognise the importance of the game and that there is more at stake. However, take your mind off the game by keeping your preparation similar to that of any other week.  Keep busy with your normal activities and don’t take days off to be well rested if this is outside your normal preparation.

Brett Allen did an oustanding job delivering of the AFL/ASC High Performance Umpiring Academy in 2011.  The academy has allowed valuable information sharing which will improve the skills and capabilities of the academy umpires for future years. 

 

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