Umpiring a vocation at Ku-ring-gai

News got back to Netball NSW recently of some fantastic stuff that has been happening out of Ku-ring-gai Netball Association, particularly in the umpiring space.

The Association had an incredible turnout for their Beginner Umpires Day, with more than 140 netball enthusiasts turning up to participate in the workshop.

While we were very excited here at Netball NSW HQ, we had to wonder – what are Ku-ring-gai doing to encourage so many young people to pick up the whistle and their whites?

“We have a very reciprocal approach to umpiring at Ku-ring-gai,” Umpires Convenor Steve Cary said.

“It’s not my Association; it’s the Clubs’ Association – everyone has a responsibility to generate good umpires, just as it is everyone’s responsibility to recruit players, coaches and managers. 

Having held a National A Badge for almost than 30 years, Cary still remains heavily involved with his local Club as well as the Association; something he says isn’t rare at Ku-ring-gai.

“We encourage our older, more experienced umpires who can’t run around the courts anymore – like myself – to come back and help coach and mentor the younger umpires coming through.  That way we are continuing to uphold a high standard in our umpiring, and it also gives our younger ‘whites’ plenty of support week-in, week-out,” Cary admitted.

Cary admits some of the success Ku-ring-gai has experienced with umpiring is thanks to an initiative the Association adopted almost 20 years ago in which they educated their members on the umpire pathway and National Accreditation Badges.

“Our introductory program is something that’s only recognised within Ku-ring-gai and was first established to encourage people to pick up the whistle,” Cary said.

“There’s no prerequisites for the program – basically if you have a whistle and wear white, you’re good.  But we do expect our participants to sit the Level 1 Umpires Course and attend our regular umpire training days, which are held throughout the season.

“Because of this we’ve seen a really high attendance rate to our Beginner Umpires workshops, with a large majority of those going on to achieve their National Accreditation.”

One thing Cary is proud of is the camaraderie of the Clubs, with umpire coaches banding together to help mentoring.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Berowra or West Pymble, small or large Club, we pair umpires together from different Clubs so everyone gets to know everyone and we develop a strong community environment,” Cary explained.

“What I love about umpiring is the camaraderie.  It’s important that you enjoy what you do and have fun; it’s the first three letters of fundamentals and that’s what I tell the team in white.

“I love the sport. Netball is a wonderful game and being an umpire may be about the game, but it’s also about developing world skills like decision making, confidence, understanding and developing relationships.

“I think umpiring is a vocation.  It’s as much a sport as the sport itself, and I still get excited about it.  I’m really looking forward to the season ahead and the many workshops and programs we have in the pipeline to continue our great work together,” Cary concluded.

For more information on Ku-ring-gai Netball Association’s umpiring programs, please visit their website: www.kna.nsw.netball.com.au.

Thanks to Netball Australia and the Netball World Cup 2015 SYDNEY Legacy Program, over 600 Associations across Australia will receive for free the new Community Umpire Toolkit.

This new contemporary umpiring resource is designed to further support the development of beginner umpires at the grassroots level > Click here for more information.

To find out more umpire-related courses and workshops, check out the Umpire tab on our calendar or contact Dianne Brown on (02) 9951 5000 during business hours or email [email protected].