Umpires Manager Renee Cohen explains what RtR is about
The Women’s ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach is a key tournament for the development of young umpires on the Road to Rio (RtR) list. The Road to Rio group of umpires currently comprises 47 members who have either already have a proven track record such as the World Panel, World Development Panel and Grade l umpires, or those who show high potential from the Promising Umpires list or International level.
“The key is the commitment from every single umpire to work with their assigned Umpire Manager on a Personal Development Plan and to follow the FIH fitness programme and to be available for FIH appointment to tournaments” says Renee Cohen who is one of the three Umpires Managers here in Mönchengladbach.
The FIH has selected several events which are designated as Road to Rio tournaments. These include World League Round 3 and 4, Champions Trophy, Champions Challenge I and the Junior World Cup. Cohen explains: “At these Road to Rio tournaments, if possible, we all arrive a day earlier than normal to work on what we call ‘the five competences of good umpiring’.”
- technical skills
- mental skills
- physical skills
- communication and management skills
- social skills
Technical skills mean the knowledge of the rules and their interpretation. As a preparation for the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup each appointed umpire watched a series of videos set up on a Dartfish Rules of Hockey private channel. Here it was possible to review a series of situations including tackles, the breaking down of play and self pass situations in order to agree interpretations and how these same situations would be dealt with in Monchengladbach. “These are the things we focussed on. When we met here in Mönchengladbach, we discussed the videos and comments together” Cohen says.
To strengthen their mental skills the group spent a full day with a sports psychologist who explained how to handle stress and improve mental preparations for a match. The group also went on a cycling tour in Cologne as part of the improvement of social skills. Cohen explains the importance of social skills: “They are also very important because you normally spend up to two weeks with the same group.”
Being on the Road to Rio list also means that each umpire works with her own personal mentor. “We give each RtR member opportunities to improve themselves and become better umpires. If necessary, we also get in touch with their National Associations or the Association in the country in which they currently live to ask for their support” says Cohen.
Sarah Wilson is a Promising List umpire and a RtR member. The 24 year-old is the youngest umpire at the Women’s ERGO Junior World Cup. “It’s an amazing opportunity to work with such experienced colleagues” says Wilson. This appointment is the biggest she has received in her umpiring career to date: “It’s my first FIH World level tournament. It’s so wonderful. I have already learned a lot of valuable skills.”
The umpire from Scotland was also part of the Umpires Development Programme (UDP) of the European Hockey Federation where she graduated last year. “The UDP was brilliant. It has given me the foundation to move forward” says Wilson.
The 24-year-old is working as a Physical Education teacher in Scotland. Her school supports her umpiring career giving her the necessary free time to take appointments. Asked about her objectives in umpiring Wilson says: “I would love to go all the way to the World Panel and to Rio.”Back