The Royal Dutch Hockey Association (KNHB) held a special Congress for Umpires in August 2007. Just before the start of their new 2007 outdoor season, the participants heard all about the latest developments in hockey. Six hundred people visited the inaugural special Congress for Umpires. KNHB staff member, Yolande Brada, came up with the idea for this new annual event.
There used to be an annual seminar for hockey umpires, when around 200 umpires would meet once a year to hear the latest news about umpiring. Brada came up with the idea to make this event much bigger. ‘Umpiring has got so many different elements these days. It is so much more than just blowing a whistle. That’s why we decided to stage this special Congress. The event isn’t just for umpires. It is also very useful for people who have something or another to do with umpiring. So we also invited club and district organisers, umpiring teachers, umpiring assessors and umpiring coordinators. Everybody who had anything to do with umpiring could learn something during the Congress. The main goal of the new event was to improve the quality of umpiring.’
Umpires don’t have an easy life. The relationship between players, coaches and umpires in the
The improvement of the quality and the image of umpires was the central theme of the new congress in 2007. These aspects are also the main themes in the Umpiring Master plan 2007-2011 of the KNHB.
There were several workshops and speaker corners during the Congress, which participants were able to visit. For example: -
‘The good thing is that the speakers were very experienced’, says Brada. ‘So it was easy for them to give good examples. In theory you can say every club member above sixteen has to be able to umpire. But how do you achieve this goal? What kind of match is good for the development of a starter umpire? What do you do with members who really can’t umpire and who will never learn to umpire? The Congress gave answers to all these questions.’
All in all the congress was a great success. Brada said: ‘It is very good to provide information regarding the latest developments in umpiring just before the start of the new season. I am sure we will do the same kind of thing next season and that it will become a yearly tradition.’
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