Youngster finds motivation at Rookies Camp

“Some people umpire just for the money, but I would do it even if there was no money because it’s really fun.”

That statement stood out when caught up with National C Badge umpire Jasmyn Hughes following her experience at this year’s Netball NSW Rookies Camp.

The Rookies Camp is an annual event, which is open to all umpires who received their National C Badge accreditation during that season; giving participants a chance to mix and mingle with colleagues, whilst also getting practical coaching from some of the best in the business.

IMG_2964At 12 years old, Jasmyn was the youngest attendee at the 2015 camp which was held on Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November at Netball Central to coincide with Phase I of the 2016 NSW17/U Team trials.

Despite her age Jasmyn said she had a lot of fun and has learned a lot from the two-day camp, which was presented by some of the best umpires in the business.

“There were a lot of people older than me so it was a little daunting at the start, but I made friends pretty quickly,” Jasmyn said.

“I learned a lot from the camp. It was pretty fun learning as well; it wasn’t like school. I enjoyed the practical sessions because I could actually practice what I was being taught and the presenters were really helpful. They were really knowledgeable and understood we didn’t know as much as them, so they explained it so we could understand.”

Wind back the clock to the beginning of this year and Jasmyn admits she didn’t know about the Umpiring Pathway, let alone the Rookies Camp.  But after a whirlwind 12 months, Jasmyn says she is hooked on her whites and whistle.

“I started umpiring this year at my Association (Blue Mountains Netball Association) as I always wanted to try it. I didn’t know I was getting assessed for my National C Badge, so it was a bit of a surprise when they told me after the game that I’d got it,” Jasmyn stated.

“At the camp the presenters showed us the Umpire Pathway and explained really well the steps to get there. It’s sort of motivated me to get as far as I can.

“In the next couple years I’d like to get my National B Badge, which I know won’t happen straight away so I’ll working on my skills until I can get it.  But I definitely think the Rookies Camp has put me on the right track.

IMG_2961“I’m ok at umpiring, I find it just as fun as playing, if not more.  A few years ago, or even at the start of this year, if you asked me I would have said [I prefer] playing. But I’m really enjoying umpiring and after the camp I know where I can go with it.”

Jasmyn was one of 34 C Badges to participate in this year’s Rookies Camp, which included both practical and theoretical components presented by both National A and AA Badged umpires. Topics included protocols and procedures, umpire pathways and the opportunities they hold, as well as Game Sense Introduction by utilising the new online Umpire Community Toolkit.

“I would really recommend the Rookies Camp. If you’re a new National C Badge and you’re looking to improve your knowledge, the camp is really helpful and really fun,” Jasmyn claimed.

“Because I’ve seen what fun umpiring can be a few friends have also started umpiring, and a few more might start next year.”

Perhaps Netball NSW should start paying Jasmyn a commission.

A big thank you to Jasmyn and her mum Melanie for providing such terrific feedback on the 2015 Rookies Camp. We hope all participants enjoyed themselves and found the sessions informative, just like Jasmyn.

Remember; if you receive your National C Badge in 2016 keep your eyes peeled on for announcements for next year’s Rookies Camp!

For more information on Umpiring, including the accreditation process and future workshops, visit the Umpiring page or contact Netball NSW Umpire and Officials Coordinator Bonnie Johnson on (02) 9951 5000 during business hours or email