As high performance players and coaches get better and faster, attention has turned to umpires to help prepare them for the demands of umpiring elite netball games. To help to meet the demands of the inaugural 2016 Samsung Premier League, Netball NSW held a camp specifically designed to assist umpires meet the increasing demands of umpiring elite matches.

National ‘A’ and ‘B’ badged umpires attended the “Insiders’’ camp at the ANZ Championship Preseason Training Game on Friday, 4 March. Eighteen National ‘A’ badged umpires joined 67 National ‘B’ badged umpires then came together again on Sunday, 6 March for an all-day workshop.

Netball NSW recognises that umpires are as critical a component in the high performance pathway as players and coaches and the camp was designed to give the A and B umpires the opportunity to understand the demands put on an elite umpire and provide them with the opportunity to be part of the high performance pathway.

The camp concentrated on treating umpires as elite athletes and educated the group on what is required to be a high performing umpire in today’s elite netball era. Umpires were trained in high performance mental resilience, nutrition, pre-game preparation and post-game recovery and how to sustain performance throughout the netball season.

Friday’s workshop was facilitated by Netball NSW Umpire Coach Sharon Kelly and attendees had the opportunity for a post-game Q&A session with the on-court ANZC umpires Helen George, Michelle Phippard and reserve Tara Warner.

Sunday’s sessions were presented by Sports Psychologist, Andy Johnson (How to mentally prepare for the upcoming season and the importance of resilience), Sports Science Lecturer Mikah van Gogh (Physical pre game preparation and post-game recovery) and Dietician Samantha Lewis (Nutrition required to ensure umpires prepared for the demands of an 18-week season). With no on-court component, the camp was different to what umpires has attended previously, however the new approach proved to be a great success.

“Thank you for organising such an interesting, challenging camp,” said attendee Brie Quarmby. “The presenters were engaging and the material, whilst very different from previous years, was really informative. The tools and ideas that were presented will send me outside my comfort zone, and will be incredibly useful to me. Judging by the laughter in the room, the rest of the group enjoyed the day as much as I did.”