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What is stopping you umpiring?

Every Saturday, as a club we have around 250 people playing hockey and supporting our teams. Despite this, we only have around 10 people regularly umpiring. Pretty much every week we are relying on some people doing more than one game, other clubs helping us out for away games and the same people every week umpiring around playing their own games.

With such a large number of people involved in hockey, we need to know why so few are interested in picking up a whistle and giving back to the game. Every season we have a smaller group of people to call on and it is a problem seen throughout Kent and wider afield. If we can get to the bottom of why players and supporters are not considering umpiring, we can start to work to solve those issues and get more people involved.

So what would I like from you? With my own umpiring commitments, I don’t often get to the club on a Saturday so can’t speak to many of you face-to-face. Please would you email me with the reasons why you don’t/can’t/won’t consider umpiring, or what is stopping you at the moment? I want to hear from as many club members and supporters as possible over the next two weeks, then we can perhaps start to reverse the trend. I will obviously see who the email is from, but who has responded (and how) will remain between the two of us. I just want to know what is stopping you volunteering to see of there is anything we can do to change that.

Be as honest as you can (even if the answer is ‘I just have no interest in it’ or ‘I give up enough time as it is without umpiring too’) and then we can start to work together to make sure we can produce the next set of umpires for the club. We are already looking at some things to lessen the burden in cooperation with other clubs and I am sure we can get the county to support us, if we know what we need from them.

I appreciate that umpiring isn’t for everyone, but I’m pretty sure you can all use email, so please do take a minute to send one, be as brief or as detailed as you like. If email is difficult, I am happy to talk about it either at the upcoming new rules sessions in the next couple of weeks or by phone any evening. Your captain will be able to give you my contact details if you don’t have them.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks Adrian Hull (Umpire Liaison Officer)