Umpire Refresher Day 2013
The Annual Umpiring Refresher Day was held on 7th September, once again at Lanarkshire Ice Rink, with 37 umpires gathering to not just review the season past but to update their skills and knowledge as well as look to the season ahead.
One of the key themes highlighted by Nancy Smith in last year’s Refresher Day was a need for closer links between umpires and athletes, we benefited from having a top international athletein Jackie Lockhart. Jackie, thirty years on since her international debut for Scotland, shared some thoughts of what she felt contributed to athletes and umpires working together to everyone’s benefit.
Jackie stressed the need for good communication and she encouraged umpires, no matter what level of the competition, to speak informally to athletes and teams before the start of a game in order to establish a good relationship. This in turn will make it easier for future in-game situations when intervention is required. In particular she asked umpires to make a special effort when officiating at junior competitions as many young curlers would be shy to engage in conversation with an umpire.
In her own inimitable style, she also gave some insight into the mind set of playing at the top level. This offered an invaluable insight into the mind-set of athletes and what it is like to play at the top level. Finally Jackie gave some very useful thoughts on ‘How to run a team meeting’.
As always, looking at the application of rules through some scenarios provoked a lot of healthy discussion and everyone rose to the challenge of trying to come up with the best solution on a tie break scenario. It challenged even the most experienced of umpires as well as gave the less experienced further insight into another aspect of umpiring and why Chief Umpires sometimes need to ‘disappear’ at the end of a round robin or section games for twenty minutes or so to put their thinking caps on!
A report was given from the annual meeting held over the summer, with the national and high performance coaches to look at how we continued to work together for the benefit of athletes and the competitions both at home and abroad.
The main joint initiative this season will be using time clocks at the Under 21 slam event at Kinross, thus giving juniors more exposure to time clocks. This will also give some umpires experience of working with time clocks whilst being mentored by those already with that experience.
In the afternoon group work, the topic of developing descriptors to aid Chief Umpires with their reports was considered. Each group submitted their thoughts on what were excellent/good/fair/poor standards across a range of headings. This will be collated and used to give guidance to Chief Umpires this season and hopefully lead to consistent and even more informative reports in future.
Many summed up the day as great opportunity to get together to share views and ideas. Laughter and camaraderie were also very much an important part of the day, which included a caption competition with Archie Shedden walking off with the prize.
Convenor Bill Duncan closed by thanking everyone for their support and wishing them well in the up-and-coming season with the first of the 30+ Royal Club events that umpires would be working in not far away. Although some will obviously be involved before then at the European Mixed Championships in Edinburgh.