Bryan Sheehan discusses match day feedback with the group

Umpire Coaches Gather

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Umpire coaches from all states and territories gathered with football coaches in Sydney recently for the annual AFL National Coaching Conference. In excess of 110 umpire coaches attended and participated in a range of workshops and discussions groups as well as attending the conference keynote sessions along with football coaches.

The Umpire Coach program included coaches’ lounges – themed general discussion groups involving field, boundary and goal umpire coaches as well as a junior coach group. A feature this year was an opportunity for coaches to attend two practical workshops which focussed on applying technology in the coaching setting. Topics coaches could choose from included – use of ear pieces, facebook/twitter, glasses with camera lens inserted, footy mat and internet communications (Moodle/Utube).

A range of elective workshops were also offered which included – development and implementation of coaching plans, variety at training and coaching sessions, match day coaching, recruitment/retention and post match meetings.

Participants were also updated on some work the AFL is currently undertaking to further support umpiring including the introduction of 3 online courses:

  1. Level 1 Umpire Accreditation 
  2. Club Umpire program
  3. AFL Assessor Program

The AFL Umpiring Department, through Bryan Sheehan, AFL Umpires Assistant Coach, were involved in the program. Bryan led a session about match day coaching at AFL level. That included Bryan outlining what he is looking for in an AFL field umpire’s performance and how the feedback is undertaken at that level. Boundary and Goal umpires participated in a similar discussion. Umpire coaches then attended the NAB Cup matches at Blacktown and observed two halves of football acting in the role of a match day coach applying what had been discussed with them earlier. A review session was conducted on Sunday morning where coaches were able to share their observations of the previous night’s performances. 

Umpire coaches were encouraged to share and contribute resources they are using, activities they have undertaken and approaches they have employed which have made a difference with their umpires/umpiring group with the network of umpire coaches across the country through the website.

Attendance and participation at the conference is part of the AFL Umpire Coaches Professional Development Program. Participants in the program are also able to undertake their umpire coach accreditation, both Level 1 and Level 2.

Feedback from the umpire coaches at the conference and subsequently suggests that they got a lot out of their participation and that it was a worthwhile experience. Coaches will be followed up with during the season to see how they are progressing with their coaching.

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