Supporting Club Umpires

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

By Chris Burrows
AFL Sydney - Western Sydney Umpires Coach

The Black Diamond AFL Club Umpire program started last year.
Firstly, at the pre season umpires forum, the groups were split into 2 groups, the Newcastle & Central Coast Umpires Association umpires and the Club Umpires.  I conducted a forum for the Club Umpires, and this was mainly to explain how the program would work and that as their coach, I was able to offer support and advice.  I advised them that I would not be a fitness trainer - that was a big issue for them.
I would send out a weekly email update - highlighting any questions/issues that may have been raised with me - the umpires would email me for clarification of rules and decisions etc. and this was a good way to relay the information to all the Club umpires. This email also included coaching notes and tips and would also relay any information that the League wished to be passed on, and answer any questions that came to me through the week, which would spark email conversations between the umpires themselves.
I also visited individual clubs - 2 per month - to meet with the Club umpires, conducting a coaching session and also to get any feedback from them regarding any issues they had from matches and working with them to achieve resolutions, generally being their support person. The whole idea of the club visit was that the session would be coaching umpire matters, positioning etc. rather than fitness training.
Even though sometimes I would arrive at a club and there would only be 1 or 2 umpires, the trip was still very worthwhile as those particular umpires would be very interested and we were able to have an in-depth discussion on any particular questions.

Support provided to Club umpires is an extremely important activity as part of improving the general football environment.


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