Umpiring – getting the basics right!


At the very least Umpires should have a decent level of fitness in order to keep up with play.
Umpires at national and international level must pass the bleep test before being appointed.

Basic Preparation.
Make sure you are wearing a jacket which won’t clash with either playing side. If possible co-ordinate your shirt/jacket with your co-umpire. Arrive to the grounds at least 30mins in advance of the game. For bigger games, Cup games etc give yourself an hour.

Kit Checklist!
small notebook/pen
Warm clothes!

Pitch Check
Check the pitch with your co-umpire. Player safety should always be paramount – if there are any issues with the pitch – inform the home Captain.

Warm up

Warm up and stretch before the game. Umpires can get injured too!

Pre-match discussion with co-umpire
– Agree on areas of control
– Who will take time in which half
– agree on length of game, extra time etc

Coin toss with Captains
– perform this well in advance of start time
– introductions, shake hands etc
– Away captain should call the toss

During the match
Whistling – A brief blast will suffice for “routine” offences, but a longer, harder blast for those offences that you consider to be either highly avoidable and leaning towards misconduct or intentiona

Signal clearly
Look to the other umpire if in doubt – work as a team

If you blow for an offence and are asked why NICELY, by all means signal the reason and maybe even explain briefly, but do not get into discussions with the players. Otherwise, there is no need to signal the reason for all offences. It is often helpful, however, to say “Play on” when signalling Advantage.

Be firm in your whistling and signalling and, when signalling, avoid looking at your feet or at the hand doing the signalling, otherwise this displays a lack of confidence that rapidly communicates itself to the players. In other words, keep your eyes on the players.

If a player goes down hurt but play moves well away and the player is clearly conscious, wait until the next natural stoppage before stopping time for the injury to be dealt with.
On the other hand, if the injury seems to be serious or the player appears not to be conscious, stop play immediately and have the player dealt with. Restart either with a bully (but not within the circle or 15-metre area) or an appropriate penalty.
Ensure time is stopped for the duration. The match should be resumed only after the Umpire whistles for ‘time back on’.

Blood Injuries.
If a player is bleeding, stop the game and arrange for the player to leave the field to have the wound treated.

Questioned Decision.
If you make a significant award, e.g. penalty stroke, goal, that clearly causes a great deal of doubt, stop time and consult your colleague. Your colleague cannot say “Yes, that was a goal” or “No, that was not a stroke”, but CAN, when asked, tell you what was or was not seen. You can then confirm or change your decision. But remember – it is YOUR decision, not your colleague’s. The very fact of the umpires conferring to determine a questioned, serious decision will give the players confidence that you are acting as a team, whatever the outcome of your discussion

The 5 Metre Rule.
Be firm throughout the game in ensuring that the 5 metre Rule is applied, thus to ensure that all opponents are at least 5 metres from free hits and hits to restart after the ball has gone out of play

In positioning yourself for open play, try to move so as to keep up with play.
Move upfield to support your colleague, but not so far that you cannot recover to your own end.

Be Convincing.
To convince, you must be convincing.
Be smart, be confident, but avoid being overbearing. And do concentrate all the time – do not allow yourself to be distracted by off-pitch incidents or by chat from the players.

Umpiring can be fun and rewarding, and definately improves with experience!

This guide is a guide – and not exhaustive – all Umpires should be familiar with the rules of the game before stepping on the pitch.

Posted by PWHC

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