Victoria’s Andrea Booth has become the most recent umpire to receive her All Australia (AA) badge, making her eligible for Suncorp Super Netball and potential international selection in the future.
After a few setbacks with injuries, Andrea was relieved to have finally reached her goal.
“It’s very exciting, and fair bit of relief along with it as well as it’s something I’ve been working towards for a while now,” said Booth.
“I’ve had injuries along the way which has set me back from getting to the ultimate goal of the AA badge earlier. At times, it’s been in doubt based on my body.”
We often don’t think about the athleticism of umpires who are running up and down the court just as much as the players. In Andrea’s case, being forced out of the game has helped her become more passionate about the game and her role.
“When you can’t umpire because of injury, you actually appreciate why you do it and what it attributes to you. Even though it can be stressful at times, it gives you such an outlet physically and it connects you with people.”
Having played for the Melbourne Kestrels and Phoenix, Andrea is able to draw correlations between being a player and an umpire.
“People think it’s a whole lot different to being a player; it’s exactly the same.
“You have things that you want to achieve, you get coached, you have to work on what you get coached about and you get feedback on whether what you’ve done on court is what the coach is wanting you to do.
“You’re still part of a team like you are as a player.”
Andrea is grateful for the opportunities she’s been given with access to some of the world’s best resources.
“I wouldn’t have got to where I am without the support of both Netball Victoria and Netball Australia from every aspect of my involvement in netball both as a player and as an umpire.
“We’re very fortunate in Australia to have high quality umpires.
“Our top-level umpire, Michelle Phippard has been amazing for me, she’s been my strongest supporter. And to have arguably Australia and the world’s best umpire as your support in developing as an umpire is just so amazing. She’s been through all my injuries and the hard times.
Andrea would love to see more players take her pathway if they want to stay involved in netball.
“It would be great if more players go into umpiring. I know it’s not the ‘cool’ path to go down, but I’ve had success with it.
“There are plenty of different personalities and different roles in netball.
You may not be a coach but umpiring is a way to keep involved.”
Sign up to the Foundation Umpiring Course to begin your umpire career: http://netball.com.au/get-involved/umpiring/accreditation/foundation-umpire-course/