Amersham and Chalfont HC - Umpires Getting Started

The Club is always in need of umpires and this coming season is no different.
We can’t play without umpires and with the club having 17 adult teams and 18 junior teams we need to make sure we have as many as possible to share the workload and ensure enough for every match.

Starting always seems daunting but it’s not as difficult as one might expect. It’s better to start after participating on a course but if you are a competent player and understand the rules this isn’t always necessary. Initially if you are a junior we like to give you just junior matches and if you are an adult it will be junior matches and/or ladies 6’. Also the club also has use of umpiring radios so your colleague or coach can help and you do not feel isolated. For help on these please ask and view this link.

Coaching is provided to help you progress, if you wish, but whatever level you chose to stop at we are really grateful for your help.


How To Get started
As a new or inexperienced umpire, you should first complete the EH On-line rules and an Introduction to Umpiring Course. This will give you an excellent introduction to umpiring and will equip you with many of the skills and confidence to do so effectively. You can book yourself onto a course here.

For those who will be going on to umpire Quicksticks (a four-a-side game for 7-11 year-olds) you can find a variety of useful documents here and insightful videos here that will help you deliver your sessions.

The next step is to complete a level 1 umpiring course. You can book yourself onto a course here. At ACHC we will help arrange suitable games for you to umpire, provide coaching and support and when you are ready a level 1 assessment.

Many umpires are happy to stop at this point umpiring only at their own club. However, If you want to progress as an umpire you should join your local Umpire Association (HUA). As a full County HUA member you will receive a wide range of appointments and your development will be supported by experienced people. To join a county HUA, you must have completed the Level 1 Umpire course and been assessed. Currently if you wish to take appointments you need to join either Bucks Hockey Umpires Association (for Men's appointments) or Berkshire Hockey Umpires Association (for Ladies appointments)
The next stage is to complete the Level 2 Umpire Award. Your County HUA must nominate you as a Level 2 Candidate and a screening match will be arranged. Once passed you will umpire within the South (or another Regional) League before being recommended to progress.

A small number of umpires each year will then complete the Level 3 Umpire Award and become a member of the National Programme Umpiring Association (NPUA). Working closely with England Hockey, the NPUA is responsible for the development of umpires operating in the National Leagues.

Umpire Development Pathway

Testimony from Pat Cross about pool umpiring within the ladies leagues as the ACHC representative.

First and foremost I wouldn't do this if I didn't enjoy it, so if you are thinking of doing it, make sure that you actually want to do it. Umpiring at club level is different from umpiring in the pool, aside from the alleged difference in skill levels, one of the teams is from your own club, so at least there are some (relatively) friendly faces hanging on your every whistle. Your only friendly face is the other umpire, so developing a rapport with them is key to success - communicate with them in the week before the match - agree what time you'll be at the pitch and what colour you will wear.  The 30 minutes or so before the start on the day of the match need to be spent getting to know your colleague and discussing who will blow when and where (areas of control etc), who will time the match and who will time the cards.

As at club level, but more so at the higher level, you need to be able to sell your decisions to the players, so knowledge of the rules is important, as is your positioning, your communication over the radio with the other umpire, the way you conduct yourself before, during and after the match, your whistle tone, your arm signals, the clothes you are wearing and your general confidence. Some of this can only come with experience/practice and maybe coaching. I have had umpiring coaching 5 or 6 times and the feedback can be brutal, but if you don't take it  personally (which is not the intention of the coach), then you'll be a better umpire for it.

Mistakes matter - they do at all levels, but more so here, especially in the 25s and the Ds.  Being in the right position is key, either to see for yourself or to be eyes for your colleague.  You have to be prepared for "constructive criticism" (or may be just criticism!) and know how to deal with it - I'm not sure I've mastered that yet! After a while you get to know the teams and your colleagues and that all helps, but it takes time.

So in summary...Only do it if you enjoy I, communicate with the other umpire in the week before that match, dress and act appropriately, stick at it.