Record Turn-out for Umpiring Refresher Day 2014
The Annual Umpiring Refresher Day was held on 13th September, once again at Lanarkshire Ice Rink, Hamilton, with 43 umpires gathering to not just review the season past but to update their skills and knowledge as well as look to the season ahead.
2013-14 had been the busiest yet for umpiring with 28 Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC) competitions to cover and 19 umpires working internationally as well, including seven who had been invited to represent Great Britain at either the Olympic or Paralympic Games. Encouragingly for the future, five got international experience for the first time at other Championships. All that before including the 347 games of curling run under time clocks last year in Scotland!
Continuing the theme of recent years, “Working Together”, the Committee was delighted that Sheila Swan, RCCC Development Manager could join us. Sheila explained her role after asking everyone what they thought a “job description of an umpire might include”, something that it was good to stop and reflect upon. There was some very useful discussion on what umpires could do to assist Sheila and equally what she and RCCC Head Office could do to improve the smooth running of a competition from the umpiring perspective. Sheila also spoke of some future developments that were planned around archiving line scores and producing web results and how umpires could help in this process.
Dividing then into small groups, each looked at four rules scenarios and for the first time video clips were used for this which provoked plenty of discussion! The groups also reviewed the Chief Umpire report guidelines as well as looking at the idea of having personal development plans to allow the Committee plan how best to support and train umpires to the level they each aspired to.
The afternoon started with everyone on the ice refreshing their measuring technique and procedures. The group had to cope too with the scenario of a ‘faulty LSD measure’ and how to still get a fair and accurate result. Despite her wide experience as a player and coach Sheila learnt a lot about the procedures umpires have for doing a measure, even the most straightforward one.
The remainder of the day concentrated on the recent WCF Congress and the proposals passed relative to umpiring. The main one was the introduction of ‘Thinking Time’ which will be used from this year’s European Championships onwards. Practical issues from the timers perspective were identified and will be addressed before being used at the Kinross Under 21 Slam next month that will give umpires, as well as the juniors playing, first-hand experience of the new method of timing.
Many summed up the day as great to get together again and share views and ideas. Fun and camaraderie were also very much an important part of the day: Sheila’s work was not finished as she had to decide the winners of this year’s caption competition. The winners Graham Lindsay and Iain Jamieson had also to bear in mind that the photograph included Sheila herself from her coaching days- real pressure “to get it right”!
Convenor Bill Duncan closed by thanking everyone for their support and wishing them well in the season about to start, although for three it had already started as they were at the European Mixed Championships in Denmark.
Report and photos: Alan Stanfield