Our FridayFocus this week comes from a blog post written by Shane O’ Donnell (IRL), one of the Group 10’s UDP Graduates!
“The EHL Round 1 in Barcelona, Spain was the setting for the UDP Group 10’s final weekend. This occasion was to be the Capstone event to close off the 3-year program which began back in April 2016 with our kick-off weekend in Vienna, Austria. While we were excited for the graduation weekend with Groups 11 & 12, we were a little sad knowing this would be the last time Group 10 would be together in the UDP.
The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with all members from the three groups, getting together for some traditional Catalan tapas. While everyone caught up with old friends and were introduced to new faces, the mentors Carol, Marc and Jean laid out the plans and what areas of development we would be focusing on for the weekend. With 8 games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, we would be analysing the tournament umpires for communication techniques, awareness, recognition, management, body language, timing and positioning.
Saturday morning began with some great hockey and even better discussion amongst the groups on how the focus areas were applied by the Umpires in the games. Jean, Carol and Marc facilitated great conversation and shared valuable insights on how to recognize situations on the pitch. During the day, we were lucky to get to chat with one of the Tournament Umpire Managers, Margaret Hunnaball. She shared some of her insights on how important the umpire team is and how to make sure you put your best foot forward in a short tournament. We also had the opportunity to catch up with Spanish Umpire Paco Vazquez, who is preparing for the World Cup in India in November. He was able to shed some light on his preparations for the tournament and everything he was doing to make sure he is at his very best. This was really inspiring and put into perspective the commitment required to be at the top level.
That evening, we had the highlight of the weekend, our graduation! To commemorate the final weekend of the UDP, Carol & Michiel put together had a special presentation of our time together and we were joined by Marijke Fleuren, EHF President, Jorge Alcover, EHF Member of Honour, Hans-Erik Tuijt, EHL Chairman and Angus Kirkland, EHF CEO, to celebrate the event in style.
We were presented with a special gift by Rob Ten Cate from the Education Committee on behalf of the EHF for our successful completion of the UDP and Marijke had some special words for us to take forward into the next stage of our umpiring careers.
On Sunday we started early, reviewing the games and discussing critical incidents in each game. We were even able to discuss the games with some of the on-field umpires to get their perspective of how the game unfolded. As the day drew to a close, it was time to start saying goodbye for the final time. While it was emotional saying goodbye to our Group, it was amazing to see the special bond and the strength of the friendships we had developed over the three years. It was fitting that the final weekend, we were all together even though Sean, Tim and Michiel were part of the Officials team for the weekend.
Thank you to Carol, Jean, Marc, Rob and everyone who made this weekend such a success.
A special thanks to Marijke, Angus, Rob, the EHF committee, and each of our National Associations for believing in us and giving us this amazing opportunity to grow and develop.
Finally, all the members of Group 10 would like to say a huge thanks to the best mentors, Carol and Michiel, for all the hard work and effort creating such an amazing development program over the 3 years. The level of support, training and coaching has been incredible. We have all developed more than we could have imagined from the program and made lifelong friends in the process. You have inspired us to be great and we are excited to prove to the world how amazing this program has been. We are eternally grateful for everything you’ve done for us. It’s not the end though, it’s just goodbye for now… ”
Signing off for the last time,
A very grateful Group 10 xoxo
Today the EHF will announce the names of the lucky Group 13! If you want to know more about our umpiring programmes and pathways, click here