#FridayFocus – Umpire education in the spotlight

Posted On 17th July 2020

The EHF has been successfully running its well renowned Umpire Development Programme for the past 13 years.

Subsequently the same strategy was then applied into Umpires for Europe (U4E) and our Supporting National Growth programmes to ensure that umpires at all levels have the educational support needed to be the best they could be!

This year, our ‘pause in play’ has been the perfect moment to take the time to review, evaluate and improve our offerings and so the Umpiring education review got underway.

We recently spoke the EHF Lead Umpire Working Group, retired world class umpire and current umpire manager Rob ten Cate.

Firstly we asked Rob why the review was needed “Well, of course, we have a whole new Officials Committee now, bringing together the appointments and education committees, so there is huge expertise and experience there, and it made sense to use brains of all members of this group to question our activity and why we do what we do. I have to say there has been fantastic co-operation in the group and the result is a robust pathway and structure not only for our umpires but also for the Umpire Managers.”

“We want to build on the legacy of the past decade and use that for a framework which will engage in equal learning opportunities, so that we continue to provide high-quality umpires across more nations at each level of the game.”

“We also believe that each umpire is and must be responsible for their own development, supported and facilitated by the EHF. And finally this development must be measurable based on the personal goals of our Umpires and UMS.”

Speaking about the crucial parts of the new pathways Rob added “We are all agreed that the UM pathway must be integrated in the umpire pathway, so that we recognise that the UM are a core part of the Umpires education.”

“We considered the pillars of Umpiring education, which we believe are:

MENTORING: Globally recognised mentors and educators will be appointed and will work with each official.

LEARNING: Multi-dimensional. Including a new modular based approach integrated with practical umpiring.

TALENT:  Mentors and educators will highlight promising individuals.

TECHNOLOGY: Use and integration with all technological systems used globally across umpiring.

EXPERIENCE: Environments and cultures across the 43 members of the European Hockey family.

“We are delighted that we will be working with Coach Logic to ensure an advanced learning environment across all programmes for umpire education. 

So what did the EHF hope to achieve from this, Rob said “Two words kept coming from the group – It must be fun and it must be inspiring.”

“So then we set out our parameters:

“What” – To create an interactive framework with pre-defined intellectual outcomes

“Who”– Every umpire and umpire manager, at every level

“Where” – Education must be connected to inspiring events

“When” – Annual courses for each programme

“Why” – We must create an equitable and fair learning environment for all

“How” – We use educators from all over Europe, each with their own ‘style’ and we wanted to  embrace this and give them the freedom using the module learning outcomes as a guide.”

“From the experiences within the group, it is obvious that the umpire managers are our main umpire educators, not just at events, but often up to 6 months in advance of an event. We found that contrary to the Umpire Education Pathways, the education of our UMS was less clear.

“We think that now is the time to recognise this education process and ensure that our UMS have the tools that they need for this critical part of the education of our umpires, and we need to ensure that there is a consistency in this process.”

“The new Umpiring Education framework will be launched in September of this year, in conjunction with the nomination period for the Member Associations for Umpires and Umpire Managers.”

Summing up Rob, who feels passionately about these Umpiring education programmes “Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world.”

EHF Office /17th July 2020

Photograph: Jacek Adrian (Poland) and Rob ten Cate, Umpires Manager (World Sport Pics (c))

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